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, July 08, 2016

Working In a Coal Mine

This week is noteworthy for what didn't happen: Today should be the second day of my traditional summer vacation. We opted not to take a vacation this year after dental bills siphoned off thousands of dollars. Besides, we didn't want to abandon two young cats who have never been alone for more than a few hours. On the plus side, Curio City could pick up a few hundred dollars of revenue by not shutting down, and that would put an extra $40 or $60 in my own pocket (there's no such thing as "paid time off" for a one-man business). On the minus side, profitability will take a $75-100 hit from not suspending those ads. 

I'm not really fond of vacations anyway, and we are going to celebrate our anniversary with a four-day weekend in August. 

You'd think that would give this July a leg up on LY, but not really. A $600 golf ball sale and a $300 Switchables sale plumped up last July. This July will come up short by around $400 without at least one similar lucky strike.  

Golf balls used to be a solid summer staple. Then, a few years ago, my supplier launched a new consumer-direct website. They also raised their wholesale price from $5 to $5.50 on half of their designs, making me choose between raising my retail from $9.99 to $10.99 or swallowing a smaller markup. Since profitability is already on the ropes I went with the price hike...and for good measure I raised the price on all styles to give myself a little extra markup on those that still cost the original $5. The vendor held the line at $9.95, which search engines had already recognized as lower than my $9.99. Their shipping charge is also lower than mine and a buck or so below the actual cost of shipping. I still sell a few golf balls here and there, but not like I used to. Because of their cost advantage, a vendor who decides to sell direct will outcompete retailers every time. 

Switchables, OTOH, are as random as always. I'll sell scarcely any for a couple of months and then enjoy a nice run on them over a few weeks. These hiccups come without any pattern, but they do happen fairly reliably.


I successfully imported my 157 "good" email addresses from Constant Contact into Mailchimp yesterday, and tentatively started the long and tedious process of learning a new interface and creating a newsletter template. Learning new things at my age is bullshit.

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