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, March 18, 2016
Go Fly a Kite
Thanks to global warming and El Nino, kite season took off a little early this year -- climate change does have some sliver linings. For the past couple of years Bird kites have been my bread and butter from April through October, or six of the year's 10 non-Christmas months. They're my most important product overall.
When I had just one eagle kite left I went to Jackite to order more. Alas, the bald eagle has joined the long-lamented Create-a-bird and the Blue Jay (two left in stock as of this morning, folks) in the "There are no products to list in this category" category. How could they run out of eagles? I have sold 172 of them at $70 a pop, and many of those orders included poles worth up to $75 more. Orders for two or three eagles with poles worth $300 or more are not terribly unusual.
Jackite took them offline because their stock had run low. Yesterday the falcon kite (265 sold at $40) went off-sale, too. I bought as much stock as I could afford, and they were still filling dropships as of yesterday. My contact explained that "We're waiting for our Tyvek to come in." That's worrisome; they were "waiting for Tyvek" when Create-a-bird went out of stock at least two years ago. I said I hoped they'd make more of those, too (571 sold at $10 each). No comment. I asked again for an expected restock date on eagles; no reply.
Those three kites alone have brought in at least $28,000 over the years. Add-ons like poles (at least 136 sold) and line rigs (675 sold) easily bring that over $30,000. I have enough stock to cripple my way through a week, maybe two. After that I'm going to start bleeding. If they're gone forever I'm probably out of business -- I just don't sell anything else in any quantity during the summer months, and it's not like I can switch suppliers; AFAIK there are no other companies making an equivalent product. However much this shortage hurts me, it's got to be exponentially more damaging to Jackite, so I'm sure they'll remedy it ASAP unless my darker fears are realized -- it looks suspiciously like a company that's clearing inventory preparatory to selling or dissolving itself, and I've noticed other, more subtle signs of a company potentially in distress. I can only hope that I'm wrong and this is just a blip.
This morning I learned that eagles won't be back for "3-4 weeks, at least." No word on falcons but it's probably the same story. I've stopped advertising kites for as long as the top two sellers are unavailable.
Remember last week I said I was going to set up a Bing Shopping campaign? I was pleased to see that Bing has a function to import my Google campaign directly. Surely it couldn't really be that easy, could it?
Nope. " CampaignInvalidShoppingCampaignProviderId" Uh, excuse me? " Fix this issue directly in your import file, and try importing again." Well alrighty then. I have no idea what issue you're talking about or where my import file is. Let's try setting it up from scratch, then, shall we?
After a couple of hours I think I got it right. After a few days my product feed was apparently accepted. As far as I can tell the campaign just started running yesterday. Four impressions and no clicks is underwhelming, but it does indicate that it's working.If I'm not going to have kites to sell, I need to step up my advertising for everything else, and I need to do it as cheaply as I can.