Welcome to Curious Business

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, November 02, 2007

Oooooooo Scary!


We’re going to the Berkshires today to see Nosferatu at MassMoCA and cash in a couple of free nights at the North Adams Holiday Inn. I think the hotel has WiFi, but I want to minimize the work hanging over me this weekend, so I’m posting a little early today, and writing short.

October sales finished only 5% below LY. The month ended with a small profit, and I’m still in the black YTD as I go into the busy season. Not bad. Web upgrade costs will soon revive the red ink...but that's ok; YTD sales don’t mean much in the face of the next two months. It all comes down to Christmas, and a very good one could pay for the web upgrade without making me hit startup cash. I’d love to get through 2007 without infusing any more funds.

November is a scary, scary month. It came out of the chute very strong, then fizzled for Halloween. I can’t imagine how I’m going to match LY’s intimidating sales. It seems impossible, to me (with my tiny token paychecks), that so many people could really have so much money to spend on non-essentials. And yet the consumer orgy somehow spools up for Christmas, as it does every year. It is the central miracle of capitalism, and it is already underway. People grumble about retailers starting to promote Christmas after Halloween, but I assure you that I’ve been seeing Christmas shopping since the beginning of October.

The web upgrade is progressing well; it should go live next week, at long last. Thanks to Anne’s work with the mailing list, the pursehook postcards that I told you about last week will go into the mail before I leave town tomorrow, and I’m going to send out some of the remaining caplight cards a few days after we get back. None of these media mailings have borne fruit yet. But it will just take one success. Media feeds upon media. One mention leads to another.

Here’s something odd: After going nearly six months with no international sales, I’ve shipped three packages to Canada in the past week. The USPS rate tables are still not working, so Canadians can only choose (overpriced) UPS delivery. If three Canadians placed orders despite that disincentive, others almost surely abandoned their carts when they saw the shipping cost. I wonder where this apparent surge in Canadian traffic came from. Did repeatedly mentioning Canada in my last several blog entries somehow raise Curio City’s profile in Canadian web searches? Search engines work in mysterious ways. If there is anything to my theory, this paragraph should continue my sudden and unexpected surge in Canadian business…about which I’m ambivalent; as I said earlier, export sales are more effort and expense than they’re really worth, but Curio City is too lean and hungry to discourage them.

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