I haven't done any sales analysis blogging lately. It kind of keeps falling off my radar, I guess. I really kind of miss the days when I used to do the tables and charts and things in these reports. I'm going to try to get back to that over the course of this year. I need to recover some files off a defunct laptop or else recreate them. Guess which I'd rather do? Recreating actually wouldn't take that much time, if I could just remember everything I did. I'll give it a stab and see what happens.
In the meantime, here are some recent thoughts on recent sales.
The holidays were really good to me, booth-wise. It was the best month of the year for me. I had a lot of stuff. I sold a lot of stuff. And, interestingly, I had a lot of stuff left over. Since I closed a booth at another store in October, I actually had stuff on hand for two different locations. I decided to just go for it and put everything out.
I blew through all my wrapping paper stock in a short time, so I made sure to pick up quite a bit during the post-holiday clearance sales. I didn't do as well with Christmas cards, but I think I got them out a little late. I didn't pick up any more at the sales, so I'm going to get my remaining stock put our earlier this year.
Vintage Christmas stuff sold well for me, as always. New ornament sets did not do as well as in years past. I had more left over than I usually do. I think it's a casualty of having so much stuff out this year. Since I'll be back to two stores for this year, I think things will go back to normal. Still, I was very choosy about ornament sets at the sales.
The one-two punch of crappy, cold weather and being sick really threw my sales off last month. January usually has a bit of a post-holiday lag, but then starts picking up as folks start to file their taxes. Didn't really happen this year, although the last week was strong for me. I think if I had been feeling better, I could have pushed more stuff, but it didn't happen. Oh well. Ebbs and flows.
So far, the month is going strong. I'll have rent made in a few days, which leaves plenty of time for sales to add up to a decent check for me. Last weekend was a really good one. It's getting warm and melty here, so this one could be too. (Unless the desire to shake of the cabin fever doldrums pulls people to other venues. It could go either way. We'll see.)
THE NEW SPOT
I have to admit that the new booth is drastically under-performing. I made February rent the first month, but did not make back the January rent I had to pay up front. It's an odd feeling for me. I'm not used to this. Part of it was the aforementioned weather and illness, for sure, but there's another factor.
I simply was not ready to open this booth. When I got the call in mid-December to move in on January 1, I knew I would not be able to work on getting things together until after we got back from Arkansas after Christmas. I did not think it would be that much of a problem. After all, I have boxes of tagged, ready-to-go stuff from the booth I closed sitting in my shed. Then I found out that I would not be able to use the booth number that I've been using since 2009. There's already a vendor with that number at that mall, so I had to pick a new one. It's my usual number plus another digit, so it's not that far off, but it does mean that existing tags on anything I bring in to that store have to be replaced or at least altered. That takes time.
There's a fine line you have to walk when it comes to stock. Too much stuff and customers will bypass your space. Too little stuff and customers will bypass your stuff. I've yet to hit the "just right" threshold with this space. When you're understocked and you sell even a few items, then your space looks practically empty! A couple of times when I visited, I had to honestly admit to myself that I would pass my own spot by, based on my paltry stock.
I am working on the issue. I took a half ton of stuff in last Saturday. I have another half ton, plus more shelving and small furniture and larger items to take in this weekend. That should put me on better footing. I'm not worried, just a little irritated by the situation. It's completely fixable and should be in shape by the end of the month,
I'm also getting ready to launch a major Craigslist blitz for both stores. I need to get a few more photos, and I'll be ready to roll that out. I haven't used CL much lately, so I'm excited to get back to it. I'm also launching a new phase of my top secret project in a couple of weeks, which will increase the visibility (and hopefully sales) of both my locations.
I'm optimistic about the unfolding of tax season, the rapidly-approaching yard sale season and the retail scene in general. I'll keep the blog up to date and things progress.