Do you know that secret door that leads you to Narnia? Well, we found one that leads you to San Diego! There is a virtual bookshop called
The Secret Stash "Adam Lottes", the owner and creator, opens up to us about his virtual bookstore "The Secret Stash" where you find: San Diego Flavor, mix a little Starbucks relaxation, sprinkle a bit of Liberal intellectualism, and just as cozy as your local bookstore in the town square!!! We asked Adam some questions about The Secret Stash and below you will find out what makes it so Secret!
What is "The Secret Stash"
The Secret Stash is an on-line shop offering an assortment of books, gifts and clothing. Featuring local San Diego authors, artists, makers and emerging brands. The goal is to someday become a brick and mortar (Physical Retail Store). In the meantime, there will be plenty of pop-up shops, street fair booths, author events, a road trip up the coast in the Spring and much more in store. It’s also a place where people can come together and not only find a new book or new clothing brand but they can connect with each other and be inspired to live their dreams. What makes the store so great is that it is full of authors, artists and makers who have walked away from (sometimes) lucrative careers to pursue what they love doing. And I’m here to support them and promote their work.
How did you get started in this business?
I have worked in retail for seventeen years. I started in the stockroom and worked my way up the change to management. I still have a lot to learn about business and retail (and learning more every day) but I feel good about trying it for myself. I’ve always wanted to own a store where I could create eye-catching displays and shake the hand of every person who walks in and be able to thank them from the bottom of my heart for visiting.
How long have you been in business?
The Secret Stash officially went live on-line on July 14th, 2017.
Why did you start the Secret Stash
I started The Secret Stash to make my own dream come true. But also to be a place where independent authors could have a shot. Sometimes the bigger bookstores won’t always promote the lesser known
writers (not because they are evil or sinister but for practical business decisions). While my choice to make the store more about emerging talent that may not be a wildly popular business choice there is still
a niche for it and I get much more satisfaction from being there for these new voices and offering them a platform to share their passion and work with the world.
Where do you find your Authors, Brands, & Artist?
All over the place. Instagram is a great place to find authors, brands and artists. Word of mouth,
however, is where I learn about a lot of them and I think is the best way to get the word out about anything you are doing. Social media is great to get connected but really it’s about people. That’s what makes retail so fun for me is talking to people and hearing their stories and listening to their journey. There is so much we can learn from each other and how we can help build each other up – simply by listening.
I’ve spoken with – and become friends with - many authors and artists and worked with a few brands. When I’m at street fairs I’ll take my “lunch break” and stroll through the fair and simply chat up other vendors. When I find brands or artists that share my enthusiasm and dedication to what they do I’m sold.
What type of books are your best sellers?
Romance. Love wins the day always.
How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
Technology has made it possible for me to start my business. It has also made it easy for me to
reach customers across not only the country but the world without spending an arm and a leg on marketing and advertising. Thanks to smart phones I am connected to my customers, my business, my family and my friends 24/7 and I can respond quickly. While I love old-fashioned person to person interaction I love how technology can enhance those interactions. I’ve got local customers who I run into around town and will mention a book they want. I can go home, hop onto the site and shoot them an email with an order form in a short amount of time. Which makes them a happy customer. It has allowed for a painless shopping experience that becomes quite enjoyable.
Technology also makes it easy for me to offer a large number of books. I can only put so many titles a day on the site (due to other commitments my time is limited). For instance, you want a book that you can’t find on the site. Shoot me a message or email and if I can get it for you at a great price we can get it all done digitally in a matter of minutes. No long customer service line or lengthy customer service call with an operator on the other side of the world. Just friendly me wanting to get you something you want.
What type of Products do you sell?
Books, Gifts and Clothing. Right now the Book side of the shop is up and running and the gift department will be bulking up for the holidays. I try to carry more independent authors (meaning authors who have self-published or are new to the scene) vs. offering familiar names. I want to give them a chance to shine. And for gifts – we have mugs, tote bags, hats, gift books, POP Lites (night lights with a POP icon screen) and journals as well.
Clothing is still a work in progress. I recently went from a “Mens” and “Womens” page to a Clothing page in an effort to offer apparel to anyone who likes regardless of gender. Currently the apparel offered is more geared for guys (in that a male model is showing off the goods…no pun intended ;) ) – but the variety will be increasing in the next couple of months. I will also be learning how to make my own shirts and launching a line of apparel exclusive to the store.
What is your favorite item?
So many! Books in general I love so any book really. I do have my favorite author recommendations – if you want a light-hearted romance find Gloria Herrmann. A local author favorite is Eric Peterson (The Dining Car) and Joshua Rutherford (Sons of Chenia). My favorite of all would
have to be my “Rise and Grind B*tches” Mug. It’s what gets me started with at least three cups of coffee at the crack of dawn as I start my work day. And of course anything from Skull&Bones NY – a great team and great gear that’s super comfortable!
What is the future for The Secret Stash?
The future is bright! I could not be more pleased with the response to the store. I love chatting with everyone who comes across my path. Many have ideas for the store and I try to look into them all because there are many great ideas. I also take book recommendations as well. 2018 will be the year of events. I’m taking the shop all over the place next year. I mentioned the road trip up the coast but many more pop-up shops and author events. It’s going to be an exciting ride and I invite everyone to come along and be a part of it.
Don't forget to checkout "1990"