Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh, Lordy Lordy...

It's been over a year since my last entry! And what a year it and downs and recessions, oh my! And that's just enough said about that. I'm looking forward, not back, and starting a new game plan of blogging more often. Raise your hand if you've heard that before...okay, ALL of you put your hands down. Mea culpa and apologies. On to 2009!

What's been happening so far? A lot more than usual for me this time of year. I started exhibiting at wholesale shows last year, and am now on the circuit...which meant that the new year began with a BANG for me on 1/5. The Atlanta Mart Gift Market was from 1/9 to 1/13, and I had to get everything pulled together for the setup on the 6th...eek! Transitioning my booth from retail to wholesale takes some work, but I managed to get set up with relatively few issues. Though the wheel of my hand truck I am trying to haul my full loads from the parking garage, down the hill, across the street, to the Mart - did I mention that I only had a *few* issues?

The show itself was good..and bad. Bad because I have yet to break even at a wholesale show, so it cost me more money than I made. Not a good sign for positive business revenues. Good because I was in a much better location than at the previous shows, and I actually wrote decent orders and got a chance to talk to retailers who are interested in the work. Typically - at least at the beginning - the goal for wholesale shows is not to *make* money...but to make contacts. Wholesale is a slow-growing process, not an instant "I love it, I'll buy it and take it home now" situation like retailing. But I want to expand and have my designs available to more people, and IMO this is the most efficient (though certainly not the least expensive) way to do that.

I had several "ASAP" orders which was great - they will be shipped by EOM and I am taking those revenues to Tucson with me for shopping! And then I'll have some more orders to fill when I return, so hopefully those orders will ease the gap between the wholesale events and when my retail events start again, which is typically April.

In February I am off to Tucson (!) for the annual buying trip, and my list is nearly complete already. I'm eager to go and get the goodies so I can get crackin' on new designs for this year. And after I return from Tucson, I head off (right off, only one day later) to Philadelphia to exhibit at the "end all, be all" of wholesale events - the BMAC (Buyers Market of American Craft). This is an all-handmade show, which will give me exposure to a more suitable group of buyers. At the Gift Markets, I am also competing with mass-produced and imported items, so pricing becomes an issue and those buyers aren't necessarily comparing apples to apples. At the BMAC, we are all creating and selling our own designs, which (somewhat) evens the playing field. Plus, my designs can reach an audience in other parts of the country - so far I have mostly had exposure to Southeastern customers.

Today I should be finishing items for orders due at the end of the week, but instead I am working on lots and lots of online updates. New pics for the wholesale and retail sites, updates to other sites related to wholesale...and I am just not that fast with cropping / editing and uploading pics, so I tend to put those things off. Then I kind of wait until I have a whole batch of stuff to do, and just grit my teeth and start doing it. Fortunately I can un-grit them now, because most of that's done for a while. Now, on to finishing the orders that will ship this Friday!

Back soon (I promise!),

Original post date: 01/19/09

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