Mommy Needs a Business is all about the joys of running your own business. You never drafted a complete business plan, you couldn't be further from your law school degree and you are now referring to your 12 years of law enforcement as your "former life." But you get to screen print tee shirts in your pajamas while pulling your toddler and preschooler out of vats of ink. What more could a mom want?
Check out Kristen's blog, Mommy Needs a Cocktail.
I apologize to all of you who have now stumbled across this post as a result of a google search. In fact, this post has absolutely nothing to do with pre-game rituals, must-have appetizers and the cocktail concoctions of choice. Cocktails…. Sorry, I’m back. But since you are here, hi, and welcome to Work It, Mom!!! We rock. Surf around a while. You’ll like it. If only to see what kind of sweater dress and tights Sarah says you should be wearing this season!! I think we could all use a little fashion advice right about now. And wait. I think Chris has some recipes that might work for the big game. She does have a baseball team-sized family she is feeding every day.
The Big Game I am talking about is actually a metaphor for several craft shows coming up in my life involving my business. I know I have talked about craft shows ad nauseum lately, but it is what is keeping the hope alive in the finance office at preschool that I will actually pay my bill this month. This weekend is the big Holiday Craft Show in Fairfax, VA. Rumor on the street among the hair bow people is that it is the biggest local show of the year (two weeks from now it is the famed Bizarre Bazaar in Richmond, VA).
I would once again like to say that it is amazing that I am able to keep this business going let alone successful since I always seem to be out of the loop. My husband says it is only because I have a kick-ass product. LOL. So now scandal of all scandals, I find myself a late entry into a craft show that is supposedly IMPOSSIBLE to join if you haven’t signed up 8 months in advance. Who knew? I applied and got in. I’m not complaining. But now the work begins. What to bring this weekend?
People often ask me to identify my big sellers. I would GUESS that my Mommy needs a cocktail tee is PROBABLY the best seller if you looked at sales over the year, but any given day is a toss up. I had a Mommy Needs a Cocktail Party two weeks ago and, are you ready for this, only had three items with multiple orders (different sizes) in orders for 45 shirts. Um, hmm. On the one hand, I’m pleased to see that my range of products is well-liked. On the other hand, it makes preparing for a craft show nearly impossible.
My ability to keep my costs to a minimum is based predominantly on my made-to-order manufacturing. I purchase 12 large blank brown tees. You order a “Mommy Needs a Beer” tee in size large. I go to my basement at 10 p.m. and screen print your tee. The next day someone orders a “Mommy Needs a Latte” tee in brown, size large. No worries about having to commit to a certain style in one size because everyone this month wears a size large for whatever reason and all I have to do is print them up as I go. Next month might be Super Small Mommy Needs a Margarita month.
Craft shows are different. You are selling on demand. The joy for the crowd is instant gratification for a purchase and a reduced price. The trouble is, what is the crowd going to buy? I’m stuck taking an “educated” guess and printing up some of everything. Maybe I won’t sell that margarita tee but maybe someone will order it online soon. Sure I can take orders at the craft show but my joy is instant payment for a purchase and unloading tees that I have already made. That and we find ourselves back to square one with the customer’s joy being instant gratification of the purchase in hand.
These are the troubles of expansion. Sure my decisions would be much simpler if I was back to my days of 10 products, but now I have broadened my range of appeal. And let’s just not even talk about how the heck this 6-month pregnant woman is going to lug all of this stuff to and from this weekend. This small business stuff is no piece of cake.
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