Creatives Near You: Allison [Barta Bailey Retail Consulting]

For the last few years we’ve crossed paths with Allison Bailey as we’ve dropped off product at Shop Good and other places around OKC. As a retail consultant we’ve seen first hand some of the projects and shops she’s been involved with and we can honestly say that she’s been an intricate part in planning some of the biggest community centered events for the local districts around town. If Allison is not the brains behind the operation and organizing the entire event, you’ll also find her volunteering her time when it’s something she truly believes in.

What I love about Allison’s perspective is that she’s not just a girl who likes to “shop” (don’t let those blonde curly cues fool you) but everything she does is smart and strategic. Her passion is to truly support local retail shops by helping them establish a shop philosophy that they can continue to grow from and create a shopping community like culture that customers want to be a part of again and again. What originally started as a love for supporting local retail in the form of the blog Shopcrawlr has now become Allison Barta Bailey a full fledged retail consultant business for independent shops and districts.

Q1) How does one become a retail consultant?

A1) Honestly, I’ve only met one other retail consultant that works with independent retailers. We both took different routes to our careers. She started as a shop owner. Although I did work retail, I started from a completely different angle. I began recruiting shops to my start-up website, and gradually transitioned into managing marketing efforts, events and promotions for some of the shops that I became familiar with.

After consulting on weekends and evenings while I worked a corporate job, I had a revelation and decided to quit my full time job and jump into consulting for small shops full time. That was over two years ago and I still get excited thinking about that moment.

Q2) When a potential customer walks into a store what are the three key elements that can make or break their purchase?

  1. Environment: Does a customer feel welcome in the shop space? Is a shop owner friendly without acting like a salesperson? Candles, music, wall color, walkway space… all add to the initial perception. For example, Black Optical (in the image featured above) pays close attention to detail and makes it easy for a customer to feel comfortable trying on dozens of pairs of glasses.
  2. Product Rhythm: Product arrangement, how do the products’ prices and purposes translate to a customer’s path through the shop? How is the shop philosophy shared?
  3. Although this actually occurs before they enter the shop… Availability: Is your shop open when customers want to shop? If you aren’t open, does your window indicate the next time that you will be open?

Q3) How do you use creativity within your business?

A3) Large businesses can plan a promotional campaign and dedicate a substantial budget to marketing that campaign. Small shops don’t usually have that luxury, so every promotional project or event that I work on uses creativity to make it successful and interesting for customers.

Q4) Name some recent project/shops that you have been a part of?

  • Mustache Bash: An event that Shop Good hosted that benefited Sunbeam Family Services, a great organization in Oklahoma City.
  • Clean Start Project: Blue Seven’s raw denim project that incorporates members of the community.
  • Okie Gourmet: A take on the food o’ the month club, Red Dirt Emporium ships two Made in Oklahoma products each month to participants.

Q5) Looking back what are some of the main factors that played a key roll in the growth and development of what your business is today?

A5) I immersed myself in the OKC community by volunteering for community projects and attending events for years. It wasn’t a conscious decision; it was just something I enjoyed. However, it’s amazing how many of those friends that I made in non-work related activities became valuable pieces to growing my business later.

Q6) Does living in the Midwest make it difficult to keep up with shopping trends, etc? What about where you live inspires your work and makes it better?

A6) Thankfully not! With the Internet and Pinterest at my side, I can keep up with pretty much everything that I have time for. In OKC, I’m constantly inspired by artists that don’t look to New York and Los Angles to validate their style. That goes for small business owners too — from coffee shops to graphic design firms or small apparel shops — Oklahomans have talent that constantly reassures my decision to stay and make a life in OKC.


Q7) What does a typical date night look like for you and your husband?

A7) If eating is a hobby, I think it’s ours. We enjoy sampling new restaurants and venturing into local dive restaurants, so, typically, our date will be centered around that, followed closely with dessert & coffee at a cupcake shop and Netflix on demand at our house. Our dogs love it when we come home and cuddle with them on the couch.

Q8) Obviously you like to shop. What is your husband’s “guilty pleasure”? ;)

A8) Although he has absolutely no guilt about it, my husband is a dedicated sports fan (Go Thunder!). ESPN is on our TV more than I would like to admit.

Q9) We know you LOVE all of your dogs but which one is your favorite? Why? ;)

A9) I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. I know my husband loves Maxwell the best, so I will have to say Matilda to even it out. The girls of the house need to stick together.

Q10) Describe your favorite business casual outfit, why do you like it, and where do you get it?

A10) I pretty much live in dress shirts and dark denim jeans. In the winter, I’ll throw a thrifted sweater or blazer over it. In the summer, it’s ankle length pants and soft leather flats. Most of my clothes are from local shops in OKC, but I also try to pick up one article of clothing from cities that I visit. It’s always fun to remember a good trip with a good outfit.

Q11) What are your top 5 favorite shops of all time?

Picking my favorite OKC shop is almost as hard as picking my favorite dog. So, here are my 5 favorite shops from around the country instead.

I love how stelladallas (in the image above) incorporates a variety of products in the customer path, both by function, color and price. They drop hints about their office accessory and pillow designs through product placement in the front half of the shop, but really expand on those product lines in an organized, designated location.

  1.  A Perfect Pair, a shoe shop in Nashville. TN
  2. stelladallas, home accessories & design shop in Dallas
  3. Prospect & Prospect Youth in Park City, Utah
  4. PH Design, a stationery shop in Houston, TX
  5. Brook Farm General Store, Brooklyn, NY

Also, Bloom in McKinney, TX is a convenient and must-see shop for Okies.

Q12) For you, personally, what makes a great gift?

A12) I love a gift with a story… it doesn’t have to be an extensive story, just something fun or thoughtful.

We’ve known Allison for nearly two years now but it wasn’t until recently that I was able to room with her at the ALT Design Summit that I really got to know her. It was there that we bonded over cups of coffee, cab rides, and late night chats that lasted hours after the lights had been turned off! It’s true, I’m really proud to call this girl one of my friends and I look forward to running alongside her and watching both of our businesses continue to grow.

Follow Allison on twitter and her blog as she shares great tips for local shops and even ideas on how to get your products into shops.

Thanks for sharing Allison!

From the Farm

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About meg:

I like curly lines, and the simple joys of life. Good coffee and the perfect souffle.

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