Owner, Vinyl Chatter
60 Seconds with Debra Odell
What inspired you to open a store like Vinyl Chatter and what makes it so unique?
My daughter, Kristina, inspired me to open a store after lots of "kitchen table crafting." We made lots of gifts for family and friends and eventually even sold a few. I began to look for a place to consign my "craft" and then was encouraged by family and friends to sign up as a vendor at Market Days on the Square. So, in 2011 I became an annual vendor and for Market Day. By the end of 2011, my "craft" and my customer base had outgrown my home. I was still working full time and perfecting my crafting skills on the side. It was time to make a decision – rent retail space and make it a business or leave it all behind. So, I rented a small space in the Wahoo Shopping Center off the Hwy. 34 bypass.
Our uniqueness comes from many inspirations, but a lot of the designs that I use for personalization are designed by me personally. I love working with a client to come up with a one of a kind design for their home or business. Our quick turnaround time is also unmatched in the area. We can quickly turn around personalized items in just a day or so – sometimes quicker! We are a true family business as I am now fortunate to work with both my daughters in the retail side of the business. You will see their faces when you walk through the door. My husband and son work behind the scenes, moving and building displays or cutting custom signs for a special order and their list goes on. I am very blessed indeed.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced as a business owner so far?
My biggest challenge is learning that not all small businesses are created equally. Yes, we should all have a competitive edge, but there are plenty of customers to go around. I have many friends who are business owners and we should all strive to help our neighbor survive. If my neighboring business is successful, my chances of being successful increase and vice versa. While my grandmother would remind me that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," it is difficult at best to see a concept I created or design idea duplicated.
Saying "no" is my next biggest challenge. When a client comes in and needs something in a hurry and the shelves are already packed with special orders to be processed – it's hard to disappoint them. Sometimes that means working extra long hours to accommodate each and every request.
Why did you decide to open your store in downtown Newnan?
I outgrew my small space on the bypass and knew that I wanted to be downtown. I loved the charm of all the downtown boutiques – the hustle and bustle of Market Day – the special events offered by Main Street Newnan and I wanted my business to be part of that. I knew this was the place for us to be. I have been in my current location since January 2013 and the community welcomed us with open arms. We are proud to be part of the downtown Newnan landscape and we look forward to contributing to the further growth for a long time to come. God had been good to us and we believe in giving back to our community as He continues to bless us.