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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, November 22, 2013

Christmas Week 3: Starting to Cook

Sales were finally perking up this week until Wednesday ran in the red for most of the day, only redeeming itself with one sale at the eleventh hour. That’s awful. Then Thursday rebounded with a very healthy 13 sales. Today’s looking average. The best I can say is that this week was uneven. Google Analytics says I’m getting nearly 400 visits a day, yet spot-checking their realtime traffic report rarely shows more than one person online at any given moment. Christmas just can’t quite seem to get rolling. 

Paying my November charge bill is a nail-biter. Right now my bank balance is $1,400 shy of covering the payment scheduled for Dec. 3. Hitting next week’s $4,000 sales target would make everything better, but last year’s “next week” was the week after Thanksgiving rather than the week of (if you managed to follow that). Shoppers typically slack off on the holiday and then swarm the malls on the day after, making both days weak for me. I’ll most likely accumulate enough money to pay the bill in full, although my next paycheck is in peril if customers don’t get down to some serious shopping very soon.

December needs to be extremely intense.

Curio City is ready to feed the frenzy. The cellar is overflowing with merchandise and no shortages have appeared yet (in fact, nothing except Panther Vision caps is really selling yet). I don’t have one standout product like Whiskey Stones but I do have a good solid range of unspectacular stuff. I’m getting nervous about it, though, as the boxes keep coming in a lot faster than they’re going out. My last newsletter of the year is scheduled and my mailing list updated. Google Shopping is up to date. I still need to order some boxes and shipping envelopes, but I’ve done everything else that I can do to get ready for the blitz. 

Whiskey Stones, incidentally, died after a respectable three-year, $14,000 run. Word’s gotten around that they don’t really work very well (I refunded my last sale after the customer complained about feeling deceived); the vendor confused the marketplace by introducing too many variations; and several competitors selling the same thing popped up last year. I’ll retire the product after the last eight sets sell. Virtually all successful products have a similar trajectory – hot for a year or three, then killed by discounters or copycats. Earlier this year I feared that lighted caps had gone down that same path, but it looks like they’re going to carry me through at least one more Christmas.

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