December 18, 2008 ---ah, oops I mean December 27, 2008...........Nope December 28, 2008.
That's it, I am done, I am finished. It's Over Johnny! Pack it up, move it out.....we are out of here! I have officially been replaced as Matriarch of the house by the Wii.....yes it is true. My family live, breath and drink the Wii. Even my two dogs, who got dog beds have given up on me.....they are sleeping contently in the room with the Wii as the rest of my family entertains themselves for hours on end with that damn toy. Curse you Wii!
Yet, on a side note I was able to clean out the house, donate toys and clothes and finish a blog post. May not be everyone's best day - but for me, heaven! I also slept in to some unforsaken hour today that I will not ever repeat, so shoot me if I seem overly optimistic!
Okay, no I am not quitting, or closing up shop but I am done (we are done for the year) with shipping out our products for Christmas - got everything done
yesterday, last Wednesday. We rallied at the end, who knew one could work 12 hours a day for 6 straight days and not go crazy?
The Efficiency Queen Fails
I think I have made it very clear how we strive to be efficient here at JPD. It is what helps us stay lean and mean - and make all of our promises to our customers and sales channels. Running a small business that is not efficient is like running in circles, with scissors. I as the business owner need to wear many hats, some years I wear more than others. I know it is just a must, but I was not so great at a few things:
Made 5 errors on 5 different Birth Certificates
I was (in my defense) multi-tasking and my kids were acting very um....kid-like. I was for sure not focusing and I screwed up. The good news is they were caught before going out the door so we fixed them quickly. It became a joke in the work room as the ribbons were put on the tiles, I would hear, "Um Jam, I found another mistake!" Oh how I would cringe as they piled up!
Shipping Labels are not my thing
I never get them right, well no most times or sometimes I do get them correct, but I make many mistakes. I mean okay I get them right, but I forgot how labor intensive it was to make them, and even though we shipped everything out I did not get the correct tracking number to a few channels. I am an anal super organized person, with a great memory for products............however I do make mistakes.
My office is a mess
It is messy, it needs to be cleaned....and I do not have the energy to do it. Oh well - such happens when you ship out 2 weeks of work in 2 days. I figure I will clean when I am dead (just like Martha Stewart, I will sleep when I am dead). I am talking the whole office is covered in crumbs, and I have not been there since um.....oh gosh I don't know when. Tuesday? I need to do a deep cleaning, organize and possibly get some decorating advice from the divine Ms. Kennedy - if you have not seen her work area do drop by. Just try not get to green with envy before you take a peek - gosh knows I did!
The Good Side of the Coin
We kept open longer this year - what I mean is we took orders from our customers and channels up until December 15th. Now, to get across the country (we are based in California) we had to ship everything out by the latest on December 17th............drum roll please....we did it! My employees, my husband, we got it all out.
The crazy part is after working all Monday night to get products done by Tuesday, we kept taking orders
yesterday - that would be Wednesday. We got orders yesterday morning, made the tiles, ribboned them, got a label and shipped them out to arrive by Christmas. It was a crazy day with laughing and sighing (I mean singing, we had the Christmas carols blasting through out the office, much to the chagrin of my Dad and our Shipping Clerk - who uttered last Thursday morning, "Oh Thank GOD only one week left of Christmas Carols!") but we did it. So thrilled to have gone above and beyond what I had promised my sales partners. I am already thinking about shortening my turn around times once again.....after seeing what we did at Christmas time. Take that hand-painting!
Money in the Bank
It is no secret that the Economy is struggling. Our sales are off to say the least - I wish I could spin it more positively and say something about re-adjusting our expectations....but somehow the word sucks sounds better. When we look at our numbers - Christmas ended up good - we did good. When I compare them to last years numbers, a horse of a different color if you need a description.
Yet, I want to stay positive, realize that we could be worse. We could have gotten no orders this season. I am very thankful we continued to get orders. As I stated much earlier this year, I feel that as long as you continue to sell items to your customers, they won't forget you. Whatever we are doing we need to stay in front of our customers and make sure they remember us. Because, even I know this will turn around, the Economy will improve....not sure when, but it will fix it self some day!
Ask & You Shall Receive
Ask & You Shall ReceiveI have learned to ask questions of my sales channels, this has been hard but I do it. I ask if they want exclusive designs, promotional sales partnerships, if they like my products, how they are selling, what I can do to improve.
The one question I asked that has been pivotal in one new product is - what am I missing in my line. Don't be afraid of asking this, you may be able to improve your products, add something new to the mix OR not. Also, you may not like the answer - so be prepared for what they tell you - do you know, if you don't ask you won't ever know.
Looking to the Future
As crazy as it sounds I am actually excited about two new products for 2009 (and no they are not coffee cups for tots, though some mornings my six year old could use a cup of java). I can not believe I am expanding - but I am. I feel the need to bring one more product into the mix, and I also feel the need to do it fast.
I am super excited by it also - really, I could not be more excited. It is a bit scary to think of a new product, or a new concept - but it is what keeps me sane. I can not sit here any longer and scream the sky is falling....cause it is, I get that. Nothing keeps me more positive than developing something new, painting new designs - working to develop a great product.
Who knows what the future will have in store for me, or Jamie's Painting & Design - I can not guess. I can only forge ahead, keep my head up, wait and see. I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season with your businesses and especially your families. I wish I had posted this a few weeks ago, however life got in the way of my blog. Just like it always does!
Maybe in 2009 I can get this blog back to the front burner of life and post daily.......um well if sales stay slow might be possible. Well - I can wish anyways - to POST daily, NOT the Economy thing!