Thursday, 23 August 2007

All's right with the world

Well, DH came and got us so we are all together again :). It makes such a difference.

And everything is starting to come together, I think I have sorted out the non-payer (the old exploding computer trick (now I come to think of it, half of you will be too young to remember Get Smart)). I got a big order which has just about cleaned me out, she ordered a nappy before and I was about to email and ask how it was going when another order came through, so I guess it must be working! So I am back to sewing nappies, which is nice. I wasn't sure how long it would take before I needed to re-stock.

You know the feeling - should I be saying "I've been open a couple of weeks and I've sold this many! Yay!" or "I've been open a couple of weeks and I've only sold this many :(." After the big order, I'll go with the Yay!

Getting the hooded towels sorted as well, so I will be able to add them to the site and get another newsletter out to my subscribers, then I have to decide what to work on next - is it getting too late for the sleepsacks, with the time needed for testing, should I get the sunhats and clothes going instead? Oh, and then there's the accounts I couldn't do while we were away, I have a huge pile of receipts to sort through. Sewing nappies is much more fun.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Drilling out snaps on soft stretchy fabric ...

is NOT my idea of a good time. I managed to get the entire thing wrapped around the drill twice, even with someone else holding it for me, and eventually ripped the snap off grrrr. DHs response was that you just need strong fingers to hold it. I replied, you mean we need a clamp of some sort. "No, you just need strong fingers." Darling, you may have strong fingers but WE need a clamp. (Alternatively I could just put the snaps in the right way round the first time.)

So that sleepsack is in a bag until DH arrives to drill out the snaps for me, and I am making one for my nephew's birthday. I wanted to send one off to be tested so I could start selling them, but it will have to be next week.

Bit depressing, the orders have dried up and I have had my first non-paying customer. It was very lucky I didn't send the order off because it was all packed, but my Mum and DH told me off and it was a good thing I waited. I have sent a couple of emails and not got any reply, there is this package sitting there looking at me. I just don't get it - surely if you change your mind it is not too hard to contact someone and let them know? Especially when there is a custom bit to the order. My hope is that they have forgotten to go back to do the direct debit and don't check their emails. So if you are starting to get worried that your parcel from me hasn't arrived yet, contact me! The really annoying bit is that I have been contacted about that nappy, I don't know whether to hold out a bit longer or let the other person know it is available.

I knew that the hunters would dwindle, now I'm having to think of other advertising strategies and have been looking at all the parenting websites. Unfortunately some of them do it in alphabetical order and W is rather far down. Might have to revamp the budget a bit. (Budget? Hah! you need money to budget!) Of course I'm hoping that the people who have bought things like them and start to tell other people about them. The trick is to get enough out there to get word of mouth going!

I do wonder how other people manage that sort of thing. Is it because they have such a fantastic product that people want to tell everyone about it? Do they choose the chatterbox testers who they know will rave about it? Are they a social butterfly and have lots of friends who want to help them out? Well the last one is definitely not me, unfortunately, so I will have to rely on 1 and 2. And now, of course, I will get all insecure and worry that the reason no-one is talking about them is that they don't like them and are just too polite to tell me ;) And the people who are telling me they are great in private emails are just saying that. I do have one lovely public affirmation from a hunter, I will have to console myself with that for a while.

Take care and keep hunting everyone, they really are great prizes and you won't have any competition from me!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Reflections on being open

Well it's been an interesting week. I am now addicted to the email and am elated when there is something business related but (more often) depressed when there isn't. I know that I am very new at this and my product is very different to most people's so I can understand customers holding off until they see others using it. It is also very much for a niche market, a lot of people don't want to use snappis.

It's interesting having a look at other businesses through the GDUNH. I notice that a lot of the other new places don't have anywhere near the stock that I do. This is probably a good thing, there is less risk for them. The only reason I have so much is because of the way I bought the materials, it had to be in bulk. And with a lot of people going through the store I wanted to have a good range to appeal to different people.

I've been a bit surprised looking at other people's designs and prices. Considering the materials and the fact that it's a very complicated design, mine are underpriced. But see above about new product and niche market, I don't think I can realistically charge any more until I am better known. And I was happy with the price when I set it, so the fact that other people are charging more, good on them if they can get it.

I am all prepared to go and very calmly talk to (read argue with) the manager of a shop tomorrow. I got a lovely new sewing machine, unfortunately it doesn't stop sewing when you take your foot off, which is a bit of a hassle when you are sewing patches, or stretching elastic, or trying to carefully line up decorative stitching. It's record so far is 8 stitches, and it has a few problems winding bobbins and other things too. So I took it back on Saturday and after talking to the manager a staff member said it was a warranty issue and they would have to send it away to be fixed. I was sure that wasn't right, so I rang the ACCC this morning, and I was right. If you are sold a faulty product the seller has to offer you a "suitable remedy" such as repair, replace or refund and YOU get to decide what is suitable. I don't want to be without a machine while it is repaired, so I can insist they replace it. The really silly thing is that it doesn't affect the store at all - it is the manufacturer's problem, they can just send it back as faulty and have it replaced. So the only effect on them is if they upset me as a customer and I then complain to everyone about them. I honestly believe small business would be falling all over themselves to fix the problem, but a big one ??? Wish me luck.