If you read our most recent blog post about moving into our new 3,000 square foot production facility you will quickly realize that getting to the place where we could open up a retail store wasn't easy, nor quick. It was years of hard work, uncertainty, failure, excitement and success.
When I was a kid, all I really ever wanted was to have a store of my own one day. I didn't really know what, I just knew it was something that I wanted to do. When Tanner and I were 16, we started printing shirts. This is when I decided that I wanted to have a store where we sold the things we made. When we were in high school we became fascinated with old warehouses. We would walk around RiNo all the time looking at all of the old warehouses thinking how cool it would be to one day have one of them be ours to have production in the back and a retail store up front. I would actually be up all night sometimes dreaming about what it would be like to have a space that fit our dream just thinking about how we could work to get there one day.
When we first toured 3851 Steele St. (7 years after we made our first batch of shirts out of Tanners parents garage) we realized that what we used to dream about could actually now be a reality.
Flashback to 3 years ago when we met Kiwi from Craft Boner. We met at a very small holiday market. This market was very slow so Kiwi and I started talking. After years of getting to know one another we started to see that although our business were very different, we had very similar long term visions and both shared the dream of having production and a real functional retail store in one central location that we were proud of.
When we decided to share our space with Kiwi we thought well this space is great for accommodating all that we need but thought how will we possibly create a store that is cohesive considering the fact that both of our brands are so different? Kiwi then came up with the idea to have a central name for the store and that is how Yes Please was born. We wanted people who walked in our doors to say "yes please!" when they took a look at the products in our store.
We spent quite a bit of time thinking about the store layout and how we could make this a place a shopping destination that people wanted to go to. Since the location of our place is nestled in between a bunch of old warehouses in an industrial part of town we knew that it's our job to drive traffic to our store. We knew that the only way to get people in the doors was to make our space something people will tell their friends about.
After brainstorming for days and weeks, we felt like we came up with a modern concept that could really showcase both of our products well. We transformed the front of our warehouse into a retail store with a modern aesthetic by installing 8 foot custom made wooden peg boards on both sides of our store. We then used the back sections to showcase both of our products. We installed an entire t-shirt wall on our side and Kiwi installed a card wall on her side since cards are a big part of her brand.
The Denver community is a huge reason why both of us have been able to stay in business. Both Kiwi and us have participated in the Denver Flea for years so we have a lot of the same customers with many of them being Denver residents. We have both also built separate customer bases over the years by participating in local markets, through social media and everything in between. People have been asking all of us constantly for years where our store was. We always had to tell them that they could buy online or find us at a local market so we knew that people were interested in visiting us at a brick and mortar, even if the location wasn't exactly a traditional retail store. We were excited to give people who like both of our products a place to buy them all but were also excited about the idea of introducing both of our customers to one anothers brand if they haven't heard of one of us before.
It took 3 weeks for us to go from moving in to hosting our grand opening. Yes, this did require many 12-14 hour days. We only had about 3 weeks to get our entire 3,000 square foot space put together which also meant that we only had 3 weeks to promote our opening. As you can imagine, doing it all simultaneously is a great deal of work.
A week before opening our doors we had local press wanting to do stories on our store. We were thrilled but then they asked for pictures. Keep in mind, our store wasn't even done until about 30 minutes before our grand opening so at the time all we had was blank white walls. We scrambled and we got our peg boards up as fast as we could and staged them to look like the real store in order to get the journalists what they needed.
We promoted as much as we could to our customers, business contacts, maker friends and personal friends while still focusing on getting our space put together during that 3 week period. We then opened up our doors at 7PM the night of our grand opening and to our pleasant surprise, within 30 minutes our place was packed! For those that couldn't make it Friday, we decided to open our doors on Saturday. Kiwi and I showed up on Saturday while Tanner set up a booth for Moore at a local market. Kiwi and I sat at the shop for about an hour and nobody came. We thought, well I guess we won't be opening our doors on Saturdays in the future. Shortly after that, a couple walked in. And then another couple walked in. And then just like that our store had steady traffic all day long. We felt at that moment that our efforts really paid off and that Yes Please was off to a great start.
Moving forward, we will have regular business hours that will be 11-6 Monday-Saturday through the holiday season and hope that you will come visit us at 3851 Steele St. Unit C Denver, CO 80205!