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.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Christmas Week 5: Where Is Everybody?
What if they threw a Christmas and nobody came? The December crowd that I hoped for after November’s no-shows isn’t showing up. Last year three enormous lighted cap sales led this week to my all-time sales record of $6,400. This year it’s struggling to crack $2,000. I didn’t expect to break the record…but $2,000? Really? My email chime ought to be dinging every half hour to announce 15 or 20 sales a day; I didn’t even break a dozen until Wednesday. Everything is still running a week behind where we should be. I’m busy, but I’m not flat-out, stressed-out busy.
I do have one ace up my sleeve in the form of a very large lighted-cap dropship. The customer is trying to decide between the bird in the hand (4-LED caps that Panther has in stock now) and one in the bush (6-LED caps not due to arrive until Dec. 13); either decision will deliver the big spike I’ve been waiting for. But that’s bittersweet since I’ll be selling merchandise that I haven’t bought yet; I really need to sell down the mountain of paid-for stuff that came in last month.
Unfortunately, darkness is also gathering. Somebody who bought $400 worth of loose golf balls last month is convinced that they have a production defect. Her photos don’t show any flaws that I can see and her description is vague; I’m waiting for her to mail me a sample with the alleged defect marked. I honestly don’t know how this will play out until I can see whether the balls are really defective or if she just doesn’t like them. A $400 refund at the same time that Christmas is winding down would be a big shock to the old cash flow.
With two weeks left (less, really; online sales start to fizzle by 12/15) it’s too early to start the post mortem. I have a couple of theories that I’ll keep to myself for now. I’ll just mention for the umpteenth time that this December really needs one more week.
My radio told me that Amazon.com recorded 300 sales per second on Cyber Monday. The mind boggles. I averaged one sale every two hours.
Metal Earth models are beating expectations, incidentally. I now regret ordering them late and conservatively because it’s too late to replenish. They remind me of Bicycle Chain Bottle Openers in that they only ever sell at all during Christmas, but they’re quite strong for a few weeks. (In a strange footnote, the workshop that makes bicycle chain products burned down last week. The company will recover, thanks to insurance, but they have no inventory for Christmas orders this year.)