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Melanie Dallas
Boutique Talk
Melanie Dallas is the owner of Sloppy Kisses, a boutique business with locations in Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park, N.Y. A retail shop owner since 1997, she opened her first pet boutique in 2006. The second boutique opened in March of 2009. Strong motivation and a dedication to marketing have made Dallas a success in the pet product business.

July 30, 2012
Poor Parenting on Display in the Store
The summer tourism season is in full swing here in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with the opening of the oldest sporting venue of any kind in the United States...More» 

July 9, 2012
Appealing to Your Summer Customer
Wow…summer really snuck up on me. The 4th of July has come and gone and I haven’t even done my spring cleaning yet! But who has the time...More» 

June 13, 2012
Pet Product Offering Update
It has been several weeks since I added Blackwood Premium Dog Food to my product offerings. So far, I’m generally satisfied with customer response...More» 

May 25, 2012
How About a Little Respect
People do sometimes say the darnedest things. My husband recently attended a business association meeting with fellow Downtown Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) merchants, restaurateurs and service providers...More» 

May 9, 2012
The Dog Food Decision
Originally, I shied away from carrying dog food for a number of reasons...More» 

April 19, 2012
I Learn Something New Every Day
One of the things that I like most about owning my own business is how much of a learning experience it can be, especially when your gut instinct doesn’t always lead you in the right direction...More» 

March 29, 2012
Who is Protecting our Dogs?
I recently had a customer in my boutique looking for something to settle her dog’s stomach. The dog had been lethargic, vomiting and experiencing diarrhea for a few days...More» 

March 16, 2012
Industry News
Don’t know if you caught it a few weeks ago but the woman behind Puppy Cake, Kelly Chaney, was on ABC’s "Shark Tank.” Puppy Cake is a packaged cake mix for dogs made with all-natural, human-grade ingredients...More» 

February 24, 2012
Creating Emotional Attachment to Your Pet Boutique
I recently attended a presentation by a company that specializes in helping businesses create a brand for themselves. While it’s great to carry high-quality products at reasonable prices, in order to excel and differentiate your business from the competition, you need to do more...More» 

January 30, 2012
Surviving the Winter Months
I hope all of you have had a chance to catch your breath during this post-holiday lull. Thankfully, this winter has been devoid of snow so far in the Northeast. As a result, the weather hasn’t negatively impacted my business as drastically as last year...More» 

January 9, 2012
New Greeter at Sloppy Kisses
After more than six months of being without a dog, our house is a home again filled with the beautiful harmony of tail thumping, playful growling and soft whimpering thanks to Santa who delivered an eight-week-old Peekapoo on Christmas...More» 

December 12, 2011
Tips on Moving Your Business
If there was an optimal time of year to pick-up and move your business, it probably wouldn’t be during the holiday shopping season. However, sometimes you just can’t control when opportunities present themselves to you...More» 

November 10, 2011
Honesty is the Best Policy
I find myself sitting down to write this blog, and I realize my recent posts have been "observations” that can be interpreted as venting. I’m not sure why. Maybe after two stores and six years in business, I have become slightly jaded ... More» 

October 25, 2011
The Six Types of Dog Boutique Shoppers
After almost six years in business, I’ve started to see a pattern develop with respect to shoppers who come into my dog boutique. I’ve boiled it down to my Top Six. How many of these have you seen in your boutique?... More» 

October  7, 2011
Price, Quality and Service: The Trifecta of Boutique Shopping
At the beginning of each month, I like to review previous-year numbers and make projections and sales goals for my staff. It’s funny how this time of year, my weekly numbers are inversely proportional to the temperature outside—as the mercury .... More» 

September  22, 2011
T Minus 100 Days and Counting
With only around 100 shopping days left until Christmas, here are some ways to try to expand your customer base so that this holiday season is the best ever... More» 

September 8, 2011
With the economic outlook in this country still gloomy, it is exciting to see continued year-over-year growth in the pet industry. Due to the popularity of pet/dog products, some corporate retail heavy hitters are trying to "cash in" on our bread and butter ... More» 

August 10, 2011
Fall Merchandising Tips
Even though the mercury is still registering well into the 80s, it’s time to start thinking about fall merchandising. As we get into mid-to-late August, all the major retailers will be full speed with back-to-school apparel. ... More» 

July 22, 2011
Preparing for the Craziness of Racing Season
With the opening of the 143rd thoroughbred racing meet at historic Saratoga Racecourse just days away, I’m feeling confident that I’m prepared for the onslaught of visitors to our sleepy, Victorian town in Upstate New York. ... More» 

July 1, 2011
Do Deal-of-the-Day Offers Grow Your Customer Base?
It seems like everyone is getting into the "Deal-of-the-Day” business. The popularity of Groupon has grown like a virus and companies with similar type business models fill my email inbox everyday with amazing offers ... More» 

June 17, 2011
Saying Goodbye to Marley
Over the last year, I’ve blogged several times about the many joys of owning a dog. Unfortunately, this past week I experienced the other side of that coin as we had to say goodbye to our 14½ year-old chocolate lab, Marley... More» 

June 7, 2011
Local Assemblyman Supports Companion Animals
Something monumental happened this past week in my "neck of the woods.” It was so big…it even made it into the Wall Street Journal and gathered support from "reality TV show" celebrities. On June 1, 2011, legislators, animal... More» 

May 27, 2011
Late Spring/Early Summer Merchandising
Wow…I was ready to call in Noah and The Arc these last several days as it has been raining cats and dogs in the Northeast (no pun intended). Hopefully, things will start drying out soon so people and their dogs can enjoy the great outdoors... More» 

April 29, 2011
Location, Location, Location
Occasionally, I read through pet industry message boards and a common question I see has to do with pet-related businesses either wanting to move into or out of a mall setting. I have a somewhat unique perspective on this based on my two... More» 

April 6, 2011
Marley Update: Spring 2011
The last you heard from Marley, our now 14-year-old chocolate lab, she was enjoying a large scoop of vanilla ice cream at a local ice cream stand (June 8, 2010 post). Marley is a little more gray, takes a little longer to go from... More» 

March 24, 2011
Don’t Miss Out on Easter Business
While Christmas is far and away the holiday that dog owners splurge the most on their animals, Easter, in my opinion, is not that far behind in second place. Not only do customers love buying Easter-themed ... More» 

March 10, 2011
Owning Your Own Business: All Fun & Games?
Sometimes I have to laugh about the comments I hear from customers about owning their own business. The other day I was engaged in conversation with a new customer who had never been in my store before. He commented that he... More» 

February 24, 2011
Dogs Do Make the Best Companions
With Valentine’s Day just past us, it is time to pay homage to our furry friends who provide us with unconditional love. So here goes…Top Five Reasons Why Dogs Make the Best ... More» 

February 7, 2011
Getting Through the Winter Months
The change of pace between the bustling holiday shopping season and the quiet (and quite frigid) months of winter is striking. Here are some tips to jumpstart your business during this sleepy retail ... More» 

January 14, 2011
Protection for the Dog’s Pads
As the Northeast digs out from the second major winter storm of the season, it seems as though more and more customers this winter are interested in purchasing something to protect their dog’s pads from the evils of winter (i.e., road salt, ice, clumping snow)... More» 

December 30, 2010
Reflections on the 2010 Holiday Shopping Season
I hope everyone had a wonderful and busy holiday season. I definitely sensed a renewed vigor with regards to holiday shopping for the family dog. For me, not only was traffic up but the amount spent per transaction was up significantly from last year... More» 

December 3, 2010
Dipping My Toes into the World of Television Advertising
As if deciding on what products to carry and how much to order for the holiday shopping season isn’t enough, there is an equally important decision to make about holiday advertising... More» 

November 15, 2010
How to Capitalize on Increased Traffic During the Holidays
With the trees now bare and the season’s first measurable snowfall in the books here in the Northeast, my focus has turned solely to the upcoming holiday shopping season. Recent economic indicators raise hope that the worst ... More» 

October 29, 2010
Different Ways Dogs Touch Our Lives
Just about every week, I meet people whose lives were touched in a very special and sometimes unusual way by the presence of a furry friend. Just last week, I had three such interactions ... More» 

October 14, 2010
Some Advice For…
As a mother of two girls, ages 11 and 7, I find myself giving advice often whether my girls ask for it or not. With that in mind, here is some advice for... More» 

September 28, 2010
Backordered Until When??
I’m sure some of you boutique owners are finding that reordering popular products this year is not as easy as in years past. Almost across the board, from mom and pop manufacturing shops to large corporations, inventories are thin. In addition, I’m being told by wholesalers that getting product in from overseas... More» 

September 17, 2010
Why Roll in the Stinky Stuff????
September has arrived and so has the cooler weather in the Northeast. If my 13¾-year-old Chocolate Lab, Marley, could talk I am almost certain she would say that fall is her favorite time of the year... More» 

September 9, 2010
No Questions Asked?
Driving into work a while ago, a radio commercial for Kohl’s, the one on its "no questions asked” return policy, caught my ear. This national department store, like many others, will take back merchandise (worn or otherwise) without a receipt with no time limit for the return... More» 

August 27, 2010
Dining with Your Dog
As businesses with a national presence continue to open their doors to our four-legged friends (e.g., TD Bank, Days Inn, Motel 6), restaurants are getting into the act as well... More» 

August 13, 2010
Who Doesn't Love a Bargain?
In a previous blog entry, I wrote about ordering fall/winter merchandise. What better way to make room for this new merchandise than having a "Summer Sidewalk Sale”... More» 

August 6, 2010
Christmas in July/August?
For some pet retailers, this is a slow time of the year as summer starts to wane and focus starts shifting to fall merchandise and, invariably, the coming holiday ... More»

July 6, 2010
Winter Dog Clothes
I have worked in retail long enough to know that ordering of seasonal merchandise happens 4 to 5 months before it is actually needed ... More»

June 28, 2010
Owner on the Floor or Off
I’ve had my dog boutique open now for about 4.5 years and I’m still trying to find the proper balance between working there every waking hour and turning daily operations over ... More»

June 8, 2010
Lessons from Marley
Here in the Northeast, it looks like we are going to skip spring this year and go right into summer. We’ve had several days over the last few weeks near 90 degrees ... More»

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