Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Launch

Behold the new and improved Curious Workmanship online store!

I decided to make my life simpler and only put booties in the store, and take orders rather than track inventory. Everything else I've got is still going to be on Etsy. In fact I probably won't be making any of that stuff (scrubbers, skillet handle covers, etc.) unless I get a bee in my bonnet or a special request for it.

I've got three contractors now under contract for 60 pairs of the most popular colors and sizes of booties. Contracts are due on various days the end of this month, so hopefully I'll get some orders! Eventually I want to get 6 or 7 contractors, but I can't afford it right now. Soon I'm going to apply for a business line of credit, and if I get that I can afford it, or else I can make do with three contractors till I earn enough seed money to hire on some more. But if I can get that many contractors on, then I can afford to quit teaching because I'll be taking home as much profit a month as my teaching salary for one class. I like teaching, but it's just getting so difficult, with the commute to Salt Lake City and all. I'm finding it's taking me a week or more to grade stuff, just because the kids won't ever leave me alone during what's supposed to be my prep time.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ready To Launch

I'm about to do something bold and possibly stupid with my business.

There's been hellacious wholesale demand for my baby booties. I did nothing but wholesale booties from October to May, and after that I vowed to take on no new wholesale customers until this October so that I could make something else besides booties. But I found myself spending all my free time making wholesale booties anyway, just to keep up with demand from my existing wholesale customers and retail sales, and I was still getting 3 to 5 wholesale inquiries a week through the summer. One intrepid (or illiterate) soul even placed an order despite being told no new orders till October 1.

So I'm poised now to make a big move. I'm bringing on three contractors just to make booties for the wholesale market. I crunched some numbers and it looks like I can do this with just a small increase in my wholesale price-- less of an increase than I would have to do if I were the only one making the booties. If this works out I eventually want to bring on three or four more contractors-- and if I can do that and make it work, I can afford to quit my job, because the business will be bringing in as much take-home profit as teaching one class at SLCC.

I've been wanting to bring back my Zencart-powered store ever since I took it down this spring in favor of my Etsy shop, which was bringing in more business. One of the reasons I took the store down is that it was difficult for me to keep up with updating it. It was tracking inventory so that people could only order in-stock items, and to do this I had to use a mod that at the time wasn't compatible with the latest version of Zencart. I couldn't get the Quickbooks import mod to work, so I had to hand-enter all website transactions. It was kludgy and keeping all the quantities reconciled with each other was a royal pain. I didn't have time to do it so I took the store down and just sold on Etsy and at craft shows, until it became painfully obvious that having two kids with Asperger's is not really compatible with attending craft shows. When I'm the POD (Parent On Duty) at home, I can't accomplish anything unless I can do it in 30 second intervals, and the only time I'm not the POD is when I'm out of the house or on selected weekends-- which were then the weekends I went out of the house.

But if I use the store only for wholesale booties and the Etsy shop for retail and picking up wholesale accounts, and quit doing most craft shows, I think I can make this work. While I'll miss the shows themselves, I won't miss the discounts I had to give to sell anything to Utahns, nor the arrangements I had to make to be able to leave my family for an entire day at a time, nor the inconvenience of having to take down the Etsy shop every time I went to sell at a show; and it'll be nice to have back the money I've had to spend on gas driving to these shows. It'll be nice to be able to be home on the weekends and tag-team it with FH so that I can get some housework done.

So I've almost got the store ready to go. I'm still working out the shipping modules, and I don't have all the policies up, but the store works and I'm shooting for launch on October 1. Wish me luck!

Girls Are Boring

Well, OK, "girl" colors are boring.

I have all these ideas for onesies to dye. I love color and I've been playing with overdyes. So I make all my ideas, and I put them out for sale. And the reaction is... these are really cute, but where are the "girl onesies"? And that's when I realize that the onesies aren't pink.

So I was racking my brains to decide what colors besides pink would be "girl colors", because there's only so much you can do with pink. Lavender? I tried lavender, they went unbought in favor of the pink ones. Blue? I thought some blues were suitable for girls, but no, every blue is almost universally met with a "boy color" reaction. Green? boys. Brown? boys. Yellow? neutral, not "girly". Pale green? Boys! Red? Boys! Orange? Boys! Black? Boys!

For heaven's sake people, are all girls exclusively dressed in pink?????

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Paradisiacal Hell

"Recite the tenth Article of Faith."

I have to admit I was taken aback when Princess' dance teacher asked me this. I think the last time anyone demanded that I recite an article of faith from memory, I was eight years old and the bishop was interviewing me for baptism. I shamefacedly admitted that I didn't remember the exact words and didn't know off the top of my head which one was the tenth. So I asked her why she wanted me to do it. "I want to hear how you pronounce a word," she said. What was the word? "Paradisiacal."

I told her that I would pronounce it "pear-a-DICE-ical" and she said "That's what I thought, but some people in my ward are pronouncing it 'pear-a-dice-I-acal' and they're making a big deal over it, so I'm asking everyone I know how they pronounce it."

I suggested that perhaps the best thing to do then would be to consult a dictionary and find out what the correct pronunciation of it is. But she went on about how these people in her ward were constantly correcting people's spelling and pronunciation in a rude way, and acting like snobs about it, so she was going to continue to ask everyone she knew, presumably until she found a sufficient number of people who pronounced it "pear-a-DICE-ical" that their combined weight would crush these rude people when thrown in their face.

Two notes on the incident:

(1) Of what possible use can it be to constantly give unwanted correction to the pronunciation and spelling of various words, outside of an English class? Jesus is still the savior no matter how we pronounce his name. As long as the meaning is clear, is there any compelling reason to pick nits? When nitpickers set the tone of superiority, they invite people to a pissing contest, and somehow I don't remember Christ ever encouraging those in the scriptures. Hell, even the blogosphere, pissing contest capital of the universe, frowns on grammar nazis.

(2) What difference does it make if 15 krillion people mispronounce a word? It doesn't make it correct. On what planet is it easier or more accurate to take a poll of your friends of how to pronounce a word, than to crack open a dictionary and find out for sure?

When I couldn't recite the tenth Article of Faith, I felt like maybe I wasn't "Mormon enough." But I'll take a basic understanding of Gospel principles over verse recitation any day. I bet in the New Jerusalem, there won't be any fights over how to pronounce "paradisiacal". How does fighting about it make us closer to living it?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Look Ma, No Glasses!

Today I stopped by Sam's Club on the way home from work. My intention was to pick up a couple of things and come home. But I walked past the optical department, and I remembered that my glasses were being held together with duct tape after being cobbled together from two different frames, and I knew we had the money for new glasses, so I decided "what the heck, I'll go get my eye exam today."

There was a box on the forms I was filling out that asked if I was interested in contacts, and I said "Maybe". But when the eye doctor suggested them, I thought "oh, what the heck?" and got them!

I put them on and had a big surprise when I sat down in front of the mirror. I knew my face was fatter than it used to be, but I really wasn't expecting that I had so many wrinkles. I think they were hiding under my glasses frames; I couldn't see them with my glasses off before, because my vision was so bad.

So now I'm officially old... but at least now I don't have to see the world through baby fingerprints.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Holy Cow, It Works

I made some ointments in the medieval style, including one out of St. John's Wort and comfrey root. We had them up for sale at Harvest War, and we had a "tester" jar where people could take a dab of the ointment and put it on their small wounds. I'd only ever tried it on scratches and such, and found that they would heal within 24 hours.

Today I had a chance to test it on something a bit more serious. One of our rabbits bit me on the finger this afternoon when I was trying to get a harness on her. It was a pretty bad bite, she got a real good chunk out of my middle finger, and it bled like crazy-- it took me 10 minutes and an ice cube to stop the bleeding. I use that finger pretty extensively for crochet, so I really had to have it heal fast. So I put some of the ointment on it. That was about 2 or 3 pm. This evening I noticed that it wasn't hurting when I pressed on it. I hadn't noticed it (you never notice when it doesn't hurt) but I thought it was unusual, so I changed the bandage about 9:30 pm to see how it was going. It's almost completely healed. I put another tiny dab of ointment on it, and hopefully by morning it will be completely healed.

Finally, I've made something that actually works!

UPDATE 9/10, 9 a.m.: I took the bandage off to let it dry out (it gets too wet under those bandages). It is healed up to the top layers of skin. The very top layer can still be made to gap a tiny bit, but the inside of the wound is completely knit together. I'll apply some more ointment and a bandage, just to keep it safe from the markerboard dust, and check it again after work.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

10% Real Fruit Juice

The other 90% is the juice of fake fruits. You know, either plastic or styrofoam. Sometimes candy, but it's getting increasingly hard to find those candy-filled fake fruits that they had when I was a child.

Accept nothing less than 100% real fruit juice! Because styrofoam is not good for you.

Also, boycott shampoo, demand REAL poo!