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Thursday, October 30, 2008

the down side of consignment sales

Okay, so I'm feeling a little discouraged today by my sales on consignment.

I just went in today to take in more inventory to sell, and for a look-see at how my items are displayed, etc. I haven't been keeping as close an eye on things over the past several months, because the monthly checks have been coming in, and in the past the owners of the shop have told me more than once, "you're the ONLY ONE of our sellers that comes in like this to check on your inventory." Yes, they do have a few other vendors who sell similar jewelry-type items to mine, although their main sales come from home and garden items - a real cute shop. I can't figure out how the other vendors can afford NOT to check their inventory. My sales had picked up after I took in a nice willow-branch tree for display, along with a nice-sized earring hanger that gave good visability; and I also took in nicer quality items that were what I would buy if I were shopping for myself - and I priced everything a little higher to reflect the upgrade in quality of materials and my time spent on workmanship. The owners seemed pleasantly surprised when things sold at the higher prices, even though their target market is not art & jewelry sales. But...they still told me no one else tracks what specific items get sold like what I have been doing.

All in all the relationship has been great. I just have to price items high enough to cover the consignment fee. My best sales have been when people can see and touch the actual item they're buying in person, compared to online sales with only a photo to go by.

So....today I finally went in to refresh everything before the Christmas rush....and other vendors were front and center on my willow tree display, with my items getting pushed to the back. No problem. I just rearranged things to suit myelf. Then the owner returned an earring that had gone missing last April. It happened to be one from one of my most favorite pairs. Unfortunately for me, I gave up hope and just TODAY altered the mate to re-work it into something else. So...I just messed up one of my faves!

So, I made note of what was there in inventory, came home and compared to my "inventory in /sold items list," and calculated that over the past 10 months I have not been paid for $73.50 (that's my portion only, not the total sale price) in inventory that hasn't been accounted for and I no longer see in stock. The owners say that they'll reimburse me for items that go missing, but in the past when I've wondered aloud if perhaps small items like jewelry get stolen, our conversation has never gotten past the point of them telling me they'll check for the item "in the back," and me letting it ride in case the items actually are in the store somewhere and I just haven't seen them at that hurried moment of my spot-check. They do have the jewelry right up on the counter by the register in plain sight where it would be hard to steal. They also gave me a break one time on my portion of a consignment fee on a painting that saved me $25 last year. I didn't want to drop my price on the paintng, and they felt that the normal consignment fee would make it too pricey to sell. (It did sell, so I felt vindicated, and now they're more open to taking more pieces of a similar nature).

Meanwhile, $73.50 means a lot to me. So, do I just write it off as a business expense, and raise my prices even more to cover just such things? Do I push the point and try to recover the cost with the shop owners at the risk of losing my "in" there where I generate my most steady monthly income, and the nice "hands-on" exposure with word-of-mouth compliments trickling back to me?

Maybe that's just the cost of doing business, but at the worst, I hate stealing; and at best I hate having to chalk all these dealings up to experience. I've been getting more and more "experience" lately. I hope this is just the "experience" of me needing to get out my bifocals and look again. I'll probably find everything somewhere in the store, then I can forget everything I just wrote.

I hope I'm growing in age, grace and wisdom a little each day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

they're finally finished...

do you think this soul is going to heaven or hell?
My Day of the Dead clogs are painted. What do you think?

the potato story

A friend sent this to my friend, and then she shared it with me:

Girl potato and boy potato got married and soon they had a little sweet potato and named her Yam. She grew up and they told her the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked so she wouldn't get mashed and get a bad name like "Hot Potato" for herself and end up with a bunch of tater tots.

Yam told them not to worry as no spud would get into her sack and make a rotten potato out of her. She also told them she would not always stay home either and become a couch potato. She would exercize so not to become skinny like her shoestring potato cousins.

When Yam decided to go to Europe, Mr. and Mrs. Potato told her to watch out for hard-boiled guys from Ireland, or the greasy guys from France. They told her to watch out for Native Americans too so she wouldn't get scalloped. Yam told them she wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds or the ones that have advertisements on their trucks that say Frito Lay.

When Yam returned, Mr. and Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that's Potato University) so that when she graduated she would be in the chips.
When Yam returned from P.U., she told Mr. and Mrs. Potato that she was going to marry Tom Brokaw. Mr. and Mrs. Potato were upset and told her not to marry Tom Brokaw because he was just a common tater.

Now how's that for a potato story?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

columbus day costumes

i'll grant you three ships if you bring me back gold

Yesterday I made nineteen Spanish sailor hats out of black construction paper for my daughter's third grade Columbus Day play. I asked my sister if I could lend a most excellent queen costume she made a few years ago to the class for the part of Queen Isabella. She said fine, but when the costume box came out, the fur trim had been chewed off of her highness' royal cape by Peg's Jack Russell terrier.
"Oh, that's what Dottie chewed," she said. "I knew she got into something, but I didn't realize it was the exact costume we needed."
Let me tell you, Peg's costume box is the thing legends are made of; it is so wonderous and extensive. Peg is a sport, and so good at costume-making, that last night she went to Wal-Mart, purchased more fur, along with a glue gun and some big fake jewels and some styrofoam to make a scepter. This is all based on my casual off-hand comment to my daughter's classmate that I might have a very good queen costume she could borrow. No problem. Just a little errand at dinnertime with four kids in-tow. She makes it seem that that is exactly the way she was going to be spending her time anyhow, because it is "fun"...and "easy."...those being her words, not always mine.
Last year when my son told me he wanted to be an exploding volcano for Halloween, I gave it a try. "That's a great idea," said Peg when I mentioned it to her beforehand. "You know," she said, "Just make a mountain/cone-shaped kind of thingy from some paper and wire; wear it like a sandwich board sign; make a cone for a hat, make some flowing lava from some felt; glue it on; put some fiber-optic lights coming out the top. I like that idea so much I may do that one next year for one of my kids", she said. Okay. Away I went to give it my best shot. Now, remember, my name starts with "P" for "procrastinate," so it was October 30th by then. Well, about five hours later my son and I had made a mountain with an erupting top hat that was so heavy we had to attach it to his bike helmet for support underneath, and he couldn't wear it without leaning his head way to one side. Besides that, it wasn't looking so good overall, he couldn't move well or sit down in it, and I was getting "annoyitated," as my son says. It was a lesson for me to learn on how to cut my losses and move on and have fun anyway. I think the kids went trick-or-treating dressed as hobos with burnt-cork beards on their faces and some last-minute raggedy clothes. (This being a costume I remember from my own childhood, and now I understand a little better where mom and dad were coming from on that one).
... So this morning we attached the new fur to Queen Isabella's cape. Peg whipped out a crown made from a cardboard egg carton she spray painted silver, and I attached metalic lace trim and the jewels. We visited and had fun. At the same time we did a couple of loads of laundry, she took care of her 4 month old baby, and I got glue from the glue gun in places it didn't need to be while she razzed me on my technique and showed me how to whip that gun away real fast so I didn't trail little glue strings everywhere. Tonight I'll make twenty-one more sailor hats for the other third grade class in between dinner, helping with homework, and watching the presidential debate.
...."Hey honey, how was your day? What'd'ya do today?"....
I can't say enough times how cool my sister is, and how thankful I am for the time we spend together.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

more thank yous

Thank you also to "abovegroundgourds" at Etsy. Check out this seller's shop at Etsy.com. She has been a great customer, and helpful to me.

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