Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back To The Basics

In an attempt to get a little more organized, I visited a shop at which I consign to take inventory of all the items I have for sale. I was happy to know I hadn’t slipped on my record keeping too much. As some crafters and artists know, the business end of the business can get in the way of creating and more times than not gets put on the back burner. This little inventory trip gave me confidence in my record keeping skills and also gave me the opportunity to ask the store owner a very frank question. What do you want?

The store carries a little bit of everything I make, from the bottle cap magnets and drink charms to the paraffin, palm wax, and beeswax candles, from the note cards to the embellished votive cups. This particular store owner gets a priority when it comes to stocking, because hers was the first store to ever accept my wares. So when I asked her what do you want, I had a genuine interest in what she thought would benefit both of us.

Her first response was, “more.” She doesn’t like to put too much demand on her crafters and artists because she knows how busy we all are. I appreciated her honesty and expected nothing less than a direct answer to my direct question. However, she made an addendum to her statement. She suggested, regarding the candles, less diversity.

Less diversity? How in the world can you reach every single customer if your products are less diverse? I was a little disappointed in her answer. I immediately felt my efforts at being creative with my candles were unappreciated. The second feeling was that my creativity may have resulted in a less than desirable product. As I thought about it some more, my candles are neither unappreciated nor undesirable. The name of the game is sales. And we’re back to another question. Do you sacrifice creativity for increased sales?

Two or three scents with various solid colors is what she’s asking for. Solid colors? I always thought you could get solid colors anywhere. Yankee and Party Lite come to mind and put a nasty taste in my mouth. If I made candles of a solid color, what would set them apart from the ones sold at the Hallmark store down the street?

As the creator of these candles of course I reserve the right to make them however I choose. I’d also like to make a living at selling my products. The store owner has so much more experience in retail, so I’ve decided to give her suggestion a try. What will set my candles apart from Yankee and Party Lite and Hallmark? The fact that they are hand-poured. Each and every one of them will be tended to, assuring there are no air pockets hidden inside the candle, that the wick is the correct size for the type of wax, fragrance oil, and diameter of the mold, and that the fragrances and colors are pleasing to the senses.

I’ll continue to make layered candles of multiple colors. They sell well at shows and boutiques. I’ll also continue to carry a multitude of fragrances and colors to satisfy custom orders that come my way. For this particular store, I’ll produce solid colors in choice fragrances. She told me what she wants, and I will deliver.

Once I got my head wrapped around the idea of minimizing the diversity of candles I got excited to get started on producing a few batches for the store. I have a feeling that taking her advice will yield good results for both of us. It’s been said that different is sometimes better. My production practices for the store will be different, but the motto for the season is uniformity is sometimes better.

I told the store owner that I was going to be one of her top sellers in 2009. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Come and see what’s new this holiday season at The Farmer’s Daughter.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...