January 21, 2008
So I mentioned in an earlier post how I would tell you some of my failures, some bad decisions, and some blunders. I was going to go back to where it all began....on a galaxy far, far away. Yes, my children have been home for four days straight and YES we have been watching Star Wars....sheesh. Sorry, I digress - I decided I might just start with a recent (air quotes) a bad business decision I made.
What Works & Does Not Work
When I first started the business I really did not know where to sell my items, nor did I know what to charge. I knew what I would pay, but I did not know what the customer would pay. I also knew my best customer was a woman - be it grandmother, mother, mother-to-be, aunt, cousin, sister, friend (need I go on?) - I just sold my products mostly to women. I found a decent amount of women - in the correct demographics - at Craft Fairs and Mothers Club Boutiques and even Home Shows. But, I did not enjoy it, I am sorry to say - it was not my finest hour. Also, more importantly ('cause sometimes you do what you gotta do) my products did awful at these shows, most times they did awful at the shows.
The one time I did a huge amount of business when at the last minute (while I was setting up) I figured - screw it, I am not going to fail - I will sell it all at wholesale. It was my second Christmas, I was getting ready to stop hand-painting so I did it. Yes, I sold a ton of products - but I also realized for ME and my company - these shows were for discounts, my products were too expensive. That was the last show I did.
Trust Your Gut Instinct
Fast forward to 2007 and a really good friend suggests I do her school's boutique. At first, I start with my, "Oh, thank you so much for thinking of me.....blah blah blah....but we don't do those." Then we discussed it some more, and like I said - she is a very good friend, and I hummed and hawed (spelling is off I am sure), and then I said, "What do I have to lose?" So against my gut instinct, against all our sales statistics, I said I would do the show. I just had to supply the inventory - and whatever did not sell, I would have left over for the Holiday Rush.
So, anyone want to guess what happened on that fateful day (my birthday none the less) in early December? Hmmm, anyone? anyone? Low and behold (shocking I know) my products did not do well, we hardly sold a thing. And, I was stuck with some inventory. I do not blame my friend, she just asked - I actually wanted to just hit myself in the face and go, "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"....but that would have not been so cool, especially in front of everyone that worked for me.
What I Should Have Done
- I should have discounted the products, I knew it worked in the past
- I should not have given them SO much inventory
- I should have exhibited at the show, I did not know "others" would be at their booths
- I should not have made products that are not part of my product line*
*Yes I did bring back coasters - and no they did not set the world on fire, and I knew they wouldn't (again listen to voice in head). They did alright, they were cute - but nothing huge. The wine coasters and the martini coasters - they were just for the show. I made a lot of them. I sold um, one of them. Yep - one!
In the future I will probably not do this show - I am not willing to take the risk. The demographics were dead on, the home was beautiful, the people I worked with fabulous - but that is not enough. That "sales channel" is all dried up for me, it just is. Craft Shows do not work well for me, so I need to accept it and stay where I am. If they do well for you and you enjoy it - stick with it. I found though, even small shows can be expensive, can be duds and can cost you a bunch of money.
I feel like this post should be "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" - but really it is more of a "See I Make Mistakes Too". I have made some big ones - and NO this is not the biggest. But it goes back to trusting your gut, and knowing your product. Unfortunately I did not listen to myself....hmmm, maybe I should be reading some past posts?
A Free Gift for YOU!
I have ten sets of these babies taking up space in my office. No, no they are not hurting anybody - but they do seem to mock me everytime I walk into the work room. And, I can honestly say that they do not really fit well into the whole "Children's Industry" line of products - "Here little Frankie have your milk in a Martini glass k? And use this cute coaster with drinkie-poo's on them"
They are wrapped up nice in a thin black ribbon and a little JPD tag on them. They make great hostess gifts (so I have been told) and should do well at a Holiday Boutique (ya right - scratch that one!)
Who wants them? The next ten people to comment on the blog get a set - please take them! I won't be able to ship them till next week (unless you need them sooner (for an emergency Shwanky Martini Party - in that case I can come and thanks for the invite!) as I am going on vacation Friday, and hubby is out of town till Thursday night....and that explains the Star Wars on TV. And just for the record I don't care if you are a competitor, my mother, my sister, my friend, or think you are a competitor or you hate me - YOU comment - you get a set! Please...I beg of you, put me out of my misery.
Okay, be careful out there - no drinking and blogging okay?