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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Baby Steps

This July beat LY’s sales every week, and even came within spitting distance of my sales plan. Nice! I had eight transactions on Wednesday alone. If I could sustain that, you wouldn’t be reading posts about rescue products and marketing crises and new directions and all of that tommyrot. In fact, you might not be reading this blog at all. I’d be too busy counting my money. :)

One four-day sales drought (a typical summer phenomenon) gave me some time to address my punch list. It also left me utterly unmotivated, bored, and dispirited. The drawback to working at home is that, when you aren’t engaged in your work, there is always something more interesting and rewarding to do. My mind was mostly on my upcoming Berkshires vacation – probably my last vacation for several years, if I really follow through on my intention to open a store next year. Although I’m reluctant to abandon Curio City Online while it’s on a roll, I’m looking forward to getting out of town for the first time in ages.

I did make a little progress on that damnable list, though.

I found a few amateur fashion models in the vicinity who would work for reasonable fees or “trade time”, whatever that means. Salacious adult “modeling” services provided an interesting distraction, particularly on Craigslist. I finally decided that (a) because my studio is actually a garage workbench with a sheet thrown over it, (b) because my photography skills and camera are both marginal, and (c) because my wife knows that no young beauty left un-chaperoned could possibly keep her hands off of me…I’m better off just buying a Styrofoam mannequin head.

Being a cheapskate, I wasted too much time looking for a local retailer before finally coughing up $10.49 (mostly for shipping) at some internet wig shop. I named her Polly Styrene.

I tried for two days to re-photograph my cap lights, and discovered why professional photographers have all that expensive equipment. I took hundreds of photos in various lighting conditions before I finally got a handful of acceptable quality. Those have been posted, and Polly is now an internet star. At least none of my competitors – including the manufacturer -- have decent pics, either.

I’ve finally settled on campers as the primary target market for my lighted caps. I think it’s a fairly large specialty group that overlaps with fishermen, hikers, tradesmen, IT guys, and other smaller segments. I didn’t get as far as researching publications for them, although I do have the resources at my fingertips. I’ll hit that when I get back from vacation.

While doing some email archeology, I found an old tasklist for Eric that included this item: “Perform the Sunshop 4.0 upgrade due out this summer.” That email was dated May 24…2006! A Turnkey email announced this week that it’s really shipping on August 6. If that’s true, I might yet perform the upgrade this year.

When a customer asked if the 5-LED clip-on cap lights will work with a hard hat, I remembered an old one in our cellar – er, I mean, in the Curio City warehouse -- from a news assignment that my wife did ages ago. So I tried it, took some photos, and updated my product page. If luck breaks my way, there might be an order for 200+ units in my future.

The truly huge order that I mentioned last week fell through. Oh well.

I sold my Google Analytics code again, for the fifth time. This buyer got a discount for buying the 3.5.1 version, with no tech support, when 4.0 is imminent. This was the first time that I tried to perform an upgrade without Eric’s help. At this writing, it didn’t go particularly well. The code isn’t working.

Speaking of vacation…there will be no post next Friday. Yes, I’ll be checking e-mail daily from our Berkshires hideaway, but I’m not planning to do much more work than that. Tomorrow night I’ll suspend my advertising and post a “warehouse closed” message on the News page.

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