Consignment no more :(

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main at 4:01 am by carrie

I’m sad to report that I had to let all 50 of our consignors go. I’ve been so overwhelmed this year so far and had to find ways to keep my sanity and cut back some of the things that produce a ton of work. I figured I was working a minimum of 24 hours per month on consignment alone and after crunching the numbers, it’s just not worth it for the shop. I based this on the cost of gift wrapping and packaging, merchant fees, paying my bookkeeper, cutting checks, mailings… etc etc. If there are products that fly off the shelves, I plan to buy them up front where I can. But as far as logging, tagging, counting every sold tag each month, bagging what needs to go home with the consignor, cutting checks and mailing them out… it just can’t be done anymore, not in a timely matter anyway. I feel terrible about it, but something had to be done. I hope that nobody takes it personally :(

This may be the time I get into a new tagging system, bar code system or check out system up at the shop. Keeping up with inventory has been a mystery ever since we expanded. At any given moment two years ago, I could tell you we had 3 of something… now I’m lucky if I can find anything at all. Chalk it up to getting older or busier… in any case, there has got to be a better way :) Time to investigate!

I think reading Alicia’s post inspired me this morning. I feel like I need to start evaluating what I do and what I am doing and figure out the best use of time in any situation. For example, it’s 3:20 am and we just gave the dog a bath. I’m currently doing laundry and avoiding the inevitable packing for our trip. Right now I should be doing something else… what am I doing? Procrastinating. I guess I’m “organizing my thoughts”… so this could be a bad example… but I know daily, I could be more organized with my time.

As far as the shop goes, I do feel it’s like having a baby. I’ve watched it sit up, crawl, take its first steps and now it’s starting to get its first teeth. It’s been crying and been very demanding lately and i’m just frustrated. Okay, cheesy analogy but… I’m starting to see patterns each year with the shop now so the “mysteries” are starting to make some sense. Although, things change constantly, I’m now seeing this pattern form for one calendar year:

First Quarter-January, February and March

1. Christmas is getting boxed up, trees taken apart, Christmas lights neatly wrapped and put away. Any available storage you had is now gone.
2. Order all fall, Halloween and Christmas items for the end of the year.
3. Pay sales tax. Ouch.
4. Think you have money until you pay all your vendors and sales tax. Gleeful feeling gone ;)
5. Set up Valentine’s day by 1st week of January at the latest.
6. Take down Valentine’s put up Easter.

Second Quarter-April, May and June

1. Take down Easter, prepare for Mother’s day – gift baskets and bath products a must!
2. Pay more sales tax
3. Orders down to a minimum… need to batten down the hatches for the summer
4. Teacher gifts and Father’s day big right now.
5. Our anniversary party is in there somewhere. Need to send out postcards 4 weeks in advance, decide on food to serve etc.
6. Fourth of July up by 1st week of June (ha!)
7. Order Valentine’s day, Mother’s day and Father’s day for next year
8. Order Christmas Trees
9. Use down time to make as many things for the shop as possible. Beef up back stock on jewelry, boards, bath products etc.

Third Quarter-July, August, September

1. 4th of July up- take down… add summery items
2. Halloween up by end of August. Shipment probably is in by end of July. Find room!
3. Order fill-in for holidays in August or September.
4. Halloween party cards out.
5. Halloween items up on website. Scan in Christmas items and have them ready.
6. Pay more sales tax
7. Check tag, business card, sticker and register tape inventory. Order more if needed.
8. Keep crafting and squirrel it away.
9. Order thick mat thing for behind the register, save legs

Fourth Quarter-October, November, December

1. Christmas up no later than November 1… in reality, a bit earlier
2. pack up/sell on sale all Halloween
3. Keep making things. Very little time after Thanksgiving.
4. 1st week of oct – make christmas postcard
5. Send out postcard 1st week of november
6. Order ribbons, bags, boxes and tissue for packaging. Should have decided packaging theme for the year (i.e… 2 years ago, white feathers, last year, vintage glittered tags tied to each bag)
7. This is where I decide if I can hire someone. Not as of yet, but soon.
8. The day after thanksgiving starts the 26 days with no days off. Start taking tons of Vitamin C, plan on getting lots of sleep and do not craft at home. Need to figure out how to handle the website at this time!!!
9. Schedule massages… figured I should have one every 10 days or so ;)

Add all the paperwork, accounting, cleaning, cardboard clearing, customer service, merchandising, pricing etc etc into that equation… it’s hard to juggle :)

It’s 3:47 now and I may or may not start on a necklace that I want to wear at the wedding…which is in 18 hours. We hit the road in 5 hours and Nathan is sitting on his computer composing a piece of music. The dog is still damp. We still have nothing packed…and now I’m hungry :)

I’ll be back in a few days… happy thoughts to Alicia of Scott and Alicia, married in 18 hours… happy thoughts with Allison who is actually going to be induced on wednesday now (I think she’s relieved not to have a baby the same day the Omen is released) happy thoughts with everyone who is traveling and happy thoughts in general… Stay positive, think positive, set big goals, dream big… it’s bound to pay off eventually :)


  1. Michele said,

    June 6, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Carrie,

    I found your site from Alicia’s (http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/) comments from yesterday. I think it brought us all out of the woodwork! ; ) I just wanted you to know that I think your shop is adorable and I like your blog too. I’m sorry you had to give up your consignors, but I wish you the best and much success with the store. Have fun on your trip!

  2. Analilia said,

    June 8, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Hey – I love hitting your blog. This entry is great – gives me a sense of what it’s like to run a small business while maintaining a life. As my friend Jules in NZ says, “good on ya girl!”

Leave a Comment