Vender of the Week: Covet SF

Vend Covet SF

“I actually determined what I should be stocking more of in my new location based on sales by category and then fine tuned the hours by looking at the sales by hour. So start taking advantage of the data right away, because it can really help grow your business.” -Adrienne Wiley, Owner & Operator of Covet

Who: Covet

Where: San Francisco, California

What’s Covet’s Mission?

Covet is all about “effortless chic” with everything from motorcycle rubber bracelets from Java, leather bracelets from Florence, and quirky socks from Japan.  Adrienne Wiley, owner and operator believes great style shouldn’t feel forced. Everyone should be able make their own personal style statement, and it doesn’t have to be fussy or  super expensive. Covet offers fun and versatile pieces that are all under $100.

How did it all begin?

Covet began as a jewellery design studio and boutique in a small split level space in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond neighborhood. I have been designing a wholesale jewellery line called Frolick for over 10 years, but in wholesale I rarely ever got to meet or see the end consumer of my jewellery. So the idea for Covet was to have a design studio upstairs that overlooked the sales area downstairs.

I got to meet customers, get feedback on new designs, and make lots of fun custom pieces. About a year and a half later, I opened a second location in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of SF, then about a year later that location expanded to a bigger space and I added the apparel, so customers could get a complete look. We also opened a location in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of SF last July.

What’s the local community for Covet like?

Covet has a strong local following. A lot of word of mouth and friends bringing in friends. I don’t do any paid advertising right now, but I’ve been looking into it to boost our online presence. I launched online shopping for Covet a little over a year ago.

What brought you to Vend and how has it helped your business? 

I actually found Vend after researching and comparing POS systems, both cloud-based and store-based. I tried a few cloud based ones and was really disappointed and discouraged with the lack of capabilities. None of them could do all the functions that were needed in a retail environment… and most were geared towards food service. So when I found Vend I was so excited!  It was easy to import the products and get started right away, I remember prepping my team for a long and crazy inventory and implementation period, but we were actually up and running in three days.

No joke, Vend revolutionized the way we were doing things. The stores are small and the inventory is manageable, so we were handwriting receipts. It seemed to be working ok at the time, but now I look back and can’t even understand how the stores were running BV (Before Vend). The data is amazing and helps me make buying and scheduling decisions and we can issue store credits without having to give someone a piece of paper that they have to keep up with. We can easily look up transactions and item quantities between location without having to call every location looking for a specific piece.

The icing on the cake is that I can look up the sales or assist someone in correcting a transaction from anywhere! I still travel a lot for my wholesale jewellery business, so this is invaluable.

Where does your passion for jewellery and fashion come from?

I’m passionate about creativity, design and curating a great customer experience. So that motivates me to always keep my jewellery designs fresh, and to search out new designers and brands that will get my customers excited. I want people to keep coming back because they know there will always be something new and fun. As for what holds it all together…definitely a little bit of crazy glue (lol). But seriously, I have a great husband who is always there to help…whether it’s transferring shipment boxes between locations, installing cameras, or replacing alarm batteries. It also helps tremendously to have a great team that really cares about the stores and the customers.

What advice would you offer new retailers?

For Vend, I would say, be sure you’re using the data. At first I was just using it basically for ringing up sales…but once I finally started using all of the was wonderful! I actually determined what I should be stocking more of in my new location based on sales by category and then fine tuned the hours by looking at the sales by hour. So start taking advantage of the data right away, because it can really help grow your business.

For life, I would say don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Work life balance is an important part of small business ownership that a lot of people forget about because our businesses are our lives. Be sure you give yourself breaks when you start feeling overwhelmed, it can prevent you from getting burnt out.  Even if it’s a walk in the park or going to exercise for a half hour. I work pretty close to home, so sometimes at lunch I’ll go home and snuggle my dog and take him for a quick walk.

About Austin Gunter

Austin helps run the North American marketing efforts for Vend. Growing up around his family's Honey Farm and store in Texas, he has a passion for small business in his DNA. Austin is a writer, a traveler, and a live-music lover. Ask him what he's reading this week!