As I approach retirement, I plan on a little store close to the beach in Oregon or Washington. I wonder, what do tourists buy when they go in these little tourist traps? What kind of things do you buy as souvenirs?
small things like less than ten dollars, things which are unique and they will know came from Oregon, small ballpen holder with Oregon flag on it, shirts with oregon on it, and thranx items, keychain etc
You're going to have to go down there and watch people. Not just see what's in the shops, but see the look on their faces when they find something they like. Also take note of the prices.
You want to find out the best sellers from the shop keepers themselves? They're not going to be too forthcoming with the information. So grab a microphone, and a friend with a decent sized video camera and do interviews as if you're shooting something for a television program.
I imagine most would willingly give up some tips that you wouldn't have got in a million years had they thought you were going to be competition.
You could ask shoppers what they like, why they like it and what wasn't there that they would have willingly bought.
Hell, you might enjoy the experience so much yourself you decide that shooting mini-docos is your thing and you broadcast them via Youtube and you make hubs to accompany them.
Tourists buy any and all crap. That's what's so great about tourists.
Most have agreed to bring back something for each family member, and friends, People always ask; hey bring me back something?
so it is t-shirts, key rings with the name of the place or symbols, animals native to the area, etc... cheep enough to give away to non family, or office mates.
Some spend big money for nice stuff though. Collector stuff also is good. Local Handcraft artists are a good source, get them to con-sign items to you, you take a comission, no overhead.
anything small that they can put in their luggage to remind them of where they have been. i usually stay away from really kitshcy or tacky stuff though. for example, you see tons of tacky stuff like ceramic saguaro cactuses or scorpions in acrylic paperweights around, which is fine if that is what people want, but i usually buy stuff like little windchimes or suncatchers. the trick is to get things for a diverse group of tourists. good luck...that sounds like fun!
Photography books feature local attractions and landscapes.
I know this post if very old. I’m a foodie and flower lover. I always buy a cookbook or memorabilia from places I visit. I’ve visited both Washington and Oregon and have a lovely seafood book about cooking aboard a sailing vessel, one published by a group of townspeople with favorite handed down recipes and one on flowers from Vancouver Island. These bring back memories, will always be admired and never collect dust or be thrown away from lack of interest.
No one I know ever opens a shop, then wonders what they will sell or service they may provide. Do your market research first then put together a full business plan. The old adage is 'What is the easiest way to make a small fortune? first start with a large fortune'.
Cheap $5 or less "carp" items. Like keychains, magnets, and other things you would never buy if you lived there.
Best thing to sell is souvenirs, as long as they have lots of pictures or writing of the place on it. I noticed that "flagged" products seem to sell very well in tourist hot spots. Get merchandise with landmarks and stuff, maybe even a souvenir where you take their picture and put it on something. People love pictures of themselves!
We have boxes of junk! We have in the last 20yrs or so chosen one thing really nice to remember our vacation. Usually a print or a unique piece of pottery. Ok, my son and I usually get strange t-shirts.
When the wife and I find ourselves in one of these places, we're looking for something, a gift, for someone else, or a Christmas ornament for the tree or refrigerator magnet that reminds us of the place.
t shirts!!! you have to get a shirt with the name of the place you visited on it.
That's helping a lot, keep them coming. Does anyone buy books?
Got the video camera- keep a look out next summer as I cruise the beach!
not wanting to be a naysayer, treasured, but do as darkside suggests. garner as much info as you can, keeping in mind that your competition sees you as just that. trinkets and t-shirts are a dime a dozen. even with a truly unique trinket or t-shirt, you'll still be in competition from those selling for ten cents less than you. it matters not that yours is a cooler t-shirt or a shinier trinket.
having done retail, i'm thankful to see that it's in my past. of course, it was a specialty gallery, focusing on a product specific item. still, there are so many factors beyond your control that will determine your success, or failure. do some homework. think long and hard about where our economy's at and where it's headed. let me know if you need more suggestions.
Clothes and shoes...no matter where I go with my family, we always buy clothes and shoes.
My mother and I just spent all day in Boston (a city filled with history) and we shopped at Copley Plaza for 3 hours!
Oh, and umbrellas!
Do it yourself clam digging kit! Or sell videos of the engineers that blew up the whale!
personally, I buy shot glasses wherever I go in order to continue my 'collection'. so, a collector's item perhaps?
I look for shops that sell handcrafted items unique to the area like if it is the beach then things made out of shells or driftwood. Mountains I like things made out of natural elements like grapevine wreaths or chimes from the wood in the area.
Hats, hats and hats. I live in a beachy tourist area and tee-shirts by far sell the best but they can't be expensive. On the other hand, every time my family goes on a trip someone always comes home with a new hat because they forgot their old one. I've also noticed that rocks are becoming a favorite among the souviner seekers who are left at home. Someone always says bring me back a rock - given the area you are going to be selling in you might want to look for some inexpensive but interesting sources that you can promote.
The next question would be to start fresh or buy an established business! I know how to check books and such to see if it is a good business.
We always buy t-shirts or hoodies. Just kind of a "thing" in my family.
TP, I don't think the fresh vs established means much outside of financial concerns in a tourist business. Tourists are a revolving door and you're always going to be marketing to a "new" consumer base. In the kind of business you're talking about, it's all going to be about location, location, location. So you're most likely talking about an established business.
In Vermont and Florida though, I know that a lot of the big-cash touristy stores are located in the podunks, but smack dab on the route between two major tourist spots. Those guys totally rely on signage to get business, but they certainly do get business!
I don't buy the ususual tourist stuff anymore. I've started buying art from local artists of wherever I am and have also started a folk tale collection from countries I've visited. I find this much more rewarding than the crap I used to buy. Good luck with your store!
TP - with the NW coast the mecca of many writers, why not do both? Books with a sideline of novelities...Good Luck!
Make sure that you stock up on those little domes which cause a snowfall when you shake them. You could put the white house inside. Utterly irresistible to tourists!
My unit and i recently visited petra in the country of jordan and i got caught up buying a camel bone neclace... but i dont think that really helps you. oh yea but clothes like sweatshirts and crazy hats does it for me
Only unique, local items that you cannot find if you left the area. Hand made pottery, hand dipped candles, tapestry, flours, baked goods, locally made stationary paper, stained glass and even menus from local restaurants (those were for some foody friends).
I agree with LRobbins and Beth100 - locally produced is the way to go - food, crafts etc.
Whever ever I visit in the world I always buy either a shot glass or a very small glass object to put on my shelf in the kitchen. It reminds me of all the wonderful places I have been fortunate enough to visit. I am running out of space.
I look for nicely designed refrigerator magnets that represent the place. When I visited Seattle, my cousin gave me a coffee cup shaped magnet with the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier in the background. It was perfect.
I love T shirts. I am a young lady that is about to open my tourist shop in Turks & Caicos Islands, It will be located on Grace Bay. It will be called T's Tee N Things. This site was very helpful to me as I did my research. Thank you.
Usually, small souvenirs like keychain, ballpen, mug, ref magnet, cap and T-shirt...easy to put in the luggage. If the place is known for baked goodies like cookies, I bring home some to share with loved ones and friends.
Me, I'm more of a "take in the sights and experiences" kind of person without buying the touristy stuff . . . but I have friends who think that buying the same thing at every destination is essential. Here's what they go for:
N. collets mugs
A. collects ballcaps
L. collects shot glasses
P. collects spoons
So, I've opened my shop in Turks and Caicos, I find that tourist like, magnets, T - shirts, small art, shells. Small stuff to fix in travel bag.
Something smallish, otherwise too bulky to carry home, and also something made in the area (and not imported from China or wherever).
I like buying local paintings of the place I'm visiting, inexpensive jewellery, I used to buy a lot of handcrafted ornaments but trying to cut down on that now (no space to put them), clothes + shoes.Oh, and fridge magnets. But I like well made, arty things as opposed to cheap and tacky.
I was about to post a reply with my tips and noticed the original question was posted 12 mo ago so I wonder if the shop is open now? What did you decide to stock and is it selling well?
Tourists want authentic souvenirs. Nothing made by a machine somewhere else, these should be somewhat useful, nobody wants to hord things and stuff their basement. So hand made and useful, authentic and not always with the name of the city on it.
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