Looking to a ‘golden January’

November 19, 2011

Skynear was never a place where we had a Black Friday, but often we had a golden January.

We can’t really count on this holiday season carrying us through. When you’re in Washington’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, it doesn’t work that way. If you’re in a mall, everyone goes to one-stop shop.

Our best sells used to be when we were in a mall during pre-Christmas time. But in Adams Morgan, sometimes you see it after Christmas — someone got their check and they know how much money they have left to spend. They’ve held off on buying for two or three months, and now they kind of know what they have left in their pocket. We can have a better January than we see pre-Christmas. But with concepts like Small Business Saturday, it could make the Adams Morgan holiday season our golden season just like in those one-stop shopping malls.

We have been around for 25 years. Skynear started out as a home furnishing store with some art and an some fashion — a mini-Anthropology.

Right now, we’re reinventing what Skynear is. Now there are 20 major corporate stores in our area, so we can’t keep doing business as usual. We want to have our own brand of furniture. We’ve been attracting artisans, working on prototypes of tables, chairs and lighting. Our goal is to have people who are in California or New York want to have a Skynear line.

The other part is that we have seen so many art galleries shut down. I’m a huge supporter of the arts, so we’ve taken part of our space and created a gallery. We attracted one of the most famous living artists — Romero Britto. We are now looking to have other artists here whose work we have in the store. I’m always looking for artists to bring into the store, and we’re trying to do as much as we can locally.

We stay competitive because we hire talented people who have design backgrounds. Our store has done decorator showhouses. We redesigned the Iraqi Embassy.

It’s not always about dollars and cents. For the holidays, you cannot think, “Oh, I’m just going to keep marking things down.” There’s always going to be someone who is cheaper than you. You can’t stay in business doing specials.

Right now, it’s about sourcing, creating our own line, and having a greater variety so that if customers know if they bought something from us, you don’t feel like you just got it from Pottery Barn.

Lynn Skynear is the owner of Skynear Designs Gallery, an art and home furnishings boutique in Washington’s Adams Morgan neighborhood.

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