Monday, November 30, 2009

Hello, again!

Still trying to get caught up but taking a few minutes to post for the night.

I've been really disappointed with my online sales this holiday season so far but my offline sales have been fairly steady. Most are coming from repeat customers which is a good and rewarding feeling. Most have been for customized items requiring a fair amount of designing effort and , in one case, a couple of trial and errors on designing the pattern! This was for a large plush creation. I can usually eyeball the pattern design fairly well and rarely have any totally unusable disasters but I've really had to work on one particular item. It's been a bit of a learning experience. I think I've finally worked it out and should be able to complete that project within the next day or two.

In addition to the sewing projects, I've been painting quite a bit each day. (Yes, I even put in a few hours with the paint brush on Thanksgiving Day!) Most of the past week, I've worked on clothing orders but this week will involve some smaller furniture pieces which means some time spent sanding. I'm hoping to find time tomorrow to list a few new items in the shop and to work on stock for some of my direct sales.

This year, I've tried a sales approach which I'm referring to as "Totebag Sales." Basically, I've provided totebags to a few sales agents (nieces and other family and friends) filled with "little" items which they can simply sell right out of the bag. These have included potholders, ornaments, mini-plaques, hair accessories, some smaller clothing pieces, etc. I've also included some one-of-a-kind items. They collect the money and keep their cut (sales commission) right off the top. They also have some catalogs/fliers featuring a limited selection of my larger items (mostly personalized products) which they can take direct orders on also. I deliver those items to the sales agent and they, in turn, deliver to the customer.

This approach is working fairly well. The smaller items generate quite a bit of cash flow but are not really practical for online sales as shipping costs as much as the item in many cases. I find folks are more likely to buy small items in this manner rather than needing to order them. I have asked the agents to e-mail me the orders each evening instead of holding them until a specific date so I can work on the products as the orders are coming in. I tried this in a very limited way last Christmas and I fine-tuned it a bit this year.

As I mentioned above, my potholders seem to be a popular item this year. I include a cookie recipe with each set and, in my direct sales, also include a cookie cutter. Luckily, I can make these fairly quickly. I hope to get some more sets up in the online shop but they seem to be moving so quickly through direct sales that I haven't had a chance!

Well, I've still got painting to get done before I go to bed, so I've gotta run.

See y'all tomorrow!!


paintingpam said...

What a great idea. That spreads your name and product to different places.

Che Birba said...

Hi, I'm Laura from Italy! I have a blog and I'd wrote a post where is cited also your blog:

I'd like to invite you to visite my italian blog, bye bye Laura!

Custom T-shirts said...

Thanks for sharing. If you are looking to promote your brand in a unique way or want to add that special touch to your gifting solutions, an ideal option is to use customized gifts like t-shirts, pens, mugs, bags which have your company logo imprinted on them.