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!