What a month January turned out to be! If there was ever a month that underscored how unpredictable and erratic this business can be, it was January 2012. I went from the highest highs to the lowest lows, from looking pretty god to looking pretty bleak back to pretty good again by the end of the month. Honestly, at one point, I was looking at one of the potentially worst months ever, and in a few days, everything was completely reversed. While it didn't turn into the best month ever, the situation did right itself and I came out pretty well in the end.
Let's break it down a bit:
I really defied conventional wisdom here. While my booth was looking its worst and I was really neglecting it due to my illness, my sales were strong. I sold a bunch of stuff that had been just sitting there for ages. I even sold one of my display shelves that I had grown to HATE. I was even still selling Christmas stuff.
Then, when I got better and got the place whipped into shape--seriously, it was looking really good--everything died. I had a week where I didn't break 10 bucks once. Not. One. Single. Day. I never had a goose egg, but came pretty damn close. And, then, just when I was at the point of despair, sales came roaring back in with a vengance: fifty dollar days, forty dollar days, a nearly hundred dollar day. And the month got pulled back from the brink of hopelessness.
So, I ended up pretty well off. It still could have been better, though. The sucky week meant that I came in between 100-150 lower than I should have.
I also remembered, when reviewing the monthly print out from the store,
that I had bought three shelves for the booth one night when I didn't
have any cash on me. They were nice shelves, and a good buy, and I
needed them, and I'll be able to sell one (maybe two) of them at
YesterNook later and make more than my money back, but since I didn't
have the cash for it, I advanced it out of my sales for them month,
which means I lopped 30 bucks of my monthly total my own self. Dumb
move, that. I try to stay away from advances at all costs.
But considering the alternatives, I'm pretty pleased overall. And, now that it seems like tax return season is upon us, I'm hopeful for a good February and March.
YesterNook continues the pattern of staying all over the place, as far as sales are concerned. I'm still having days with no sales whatsoever--there were three in January. I'm still having too many days with single digit sales--at least 11 (!), just based on a quick scan of my sales sheet. And then there are days that are flat out spectacular. What I don't have is any kind of a reasonable expectation.
With the Peddler's Mall, I know, based on history, that I can reasonably expect that 75-80% of the days in any given month will be at a certain level or above. I'll have a few below that mark, and I cannot always be certain how far above it things will go, but I can identify a baseline.
Not so with YesterNook. At this point, the only thing I can say with certainty is that there is nothing I can say with certainty. Maybe I still need some more time to acquire data, but I feel like I'm missing something and I cannot put my finger on it.
There is some kind of an "X factor" that comes into play when you move up from a more flea market style of environment to a store like YesterNook, and I'll be damned if I can identify it, at this point anyway.
And, despite all of the above, I had the best month ever there in January. In fact, it's the first one that has come close to meeting the goals that I had set for the booth when I first started. Looking at some of the numbers on some of the days, it should not have been possible, but somehow it happened.
Another curiosity is furniture. This is the first month when furniture actually comprised a significant portion--almost half--of the total sales. This is after having no significant furniture sales in December at all. And, yet, December managed to come close to equaling November's sales, when there was some furniture sold. So, based on the previously demonstrated strength of my smalls, it seems like a strong furniture month would really boost the final tally. Instead, my smalls sales actually decreased in January.
One of the things I've learned about sales is that your best days aren't made up solely of sales of your big ticket items. Typically, the best days have a lot of sales of your smallest and cheapest items, combined with a lesser number of your mid-priced smalls, and a few of your higher-priced smalls, finished off with one (maybe two) truly large, truly big ticket item. The YesterNook patterns are nowhere near this.
So, basically, what it boils down to is that YesterNook remains a curious beast that requires further study before I'll truly have a handle on it. As long as I can keep having months like I had in January, I'm willing to keep on trying to solve the mystery.