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, March 27, 2015

Out of the Blues and Into the Black

...You pay for this and we send you that. Hey hey, my my.

Being able to post black ink for the first time this year does a lot to dispel the winter blues. Christians buying Dove kites for Easter pageants led March to profitability. Quickbooks puts me ahead by a healthy $296; Excel only grants me $143 to the good. Either way comes with a plus sign, and the fiscal month still has a day and a half to go. 


Total income: +3.6%
Total COGS: -2.6%
Payroll: +3.5%
Marketing: -85.5%
Net Income (Profit): +123.9% (+$714)

Year to Date

Total income: -16.8%
Total COGS: -14.3%
Payroll: -16.1%
Marketing: -4.6%
Net Income (Profit): -30.5% (-$174)

Income's up a wee bit and costs are down...but that's only because Google hasn't taken its pound of flesh for March yet. April's marketing spend will be correspondingly inflated.

If the person with whom I've been dancing for a month follows through with her promised bulk Dove kite order on Monday, her $1,000 will wipe out my year-over-year deficit and give fiscal April a strong shot at more black ink -- not to mention enabling me to pay off my Mastercard. I never count on these windfalls until the money's in the bank, though; at least 3/4 of them fall through. 

I'm losing the argument with myself against going to the Cavalcade of Crap. It looks like Monday's weather isn't going to suck. The Pro argument is still "I really should go" and all the Anti camp has is "but I hate it." Not having any money matters less than you'd think because I never have any money. So I'm going to waste a couple of hours on Monday at that sad little trade show (plus an hour commuting each way, plus the expenses of lunch and T fare).

Friday, March 13, 2015

February Is the Longest Month

I'm one of those annoying "SAD" people who get depressed every winter. February is always when I bottom out. And this February was one for the record books: The snowiest ever and the second-coldest in history. There is still a solid two feet of snow on the ground and the Boston Globe says that it won't be gone until late April. Boston is 1.9" short of the all-time snowfall record. Whether it tops that or not, this was the worst winter ever.

For the past 10 years I've started most mornings with a three- or four-mile walk. I require (1) enough bare pavement that I'm not slipping and sliding; (2) it's not actively raining or snowing; and (3) it's at least 25 degrees (30 if it's cloudy or windy, and 35 if it's both). My mileage always sputters from December through February, but this year an unprecedented eight weeks went by without meeting my walking criteria even once. I gained five pounds. I eat and drink too much when I'm depressed anyway, so being inactive in February is especially detrimental.

It didn't help that Iggy died the day before our first big blizzard, and Curio City's been slogging through one dismal week after another all year. I haven't been motivated to do anything about anything.  

Fortunately, February eventually ends. This year it dragged on (in spirit) from the last week in January through the first week in March. But we've set the clocks ahead, the snowbanks are shrinking, and my Burpee seed order came yesterday. Spring's not here yet but winter's back is broken. The new Switchables finally shipped and they're selling nicely. Kite sales are back, led by the Dove of Peace for Easter. This week is already the best of the year to date with a day and a half left to go. The Commonwealth is paid, my CPA's fee is in the bank, and I can finally start whittling down my alarming Mastercard balance. If sales hold up for a few more weeks I'll be able to make some forward progress by May.  

The Cavalcade of Crap is coming up at the end of the month. Will I go? I don't know. I haven't any money and hate avoiding salesmen. OTOH, finding new products is my main goal for this year, and it's not impossible that I might find something worthwhile at the Boston Gift Show. Getting motivated will probably come down to the weather. The mile-long walk from South Station to the convention center (and back) is miserable when it's raw and wet, as March usually is. 

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