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January 2018: What Makes Me Smile

January 2018:  What Makes Me Smile . . .


Gather, count, enter data.  Gather, count, enter data.

I have a love/hate relationship with inventory.  It’s tedious and boring work.

At the same time, it gives us a unique perspective on our products and our business.  We touch everything over a few days times – products, supplies, display pieces.

We have lots of sales data that we analyze regularly.  I can tell you average sale price, average number of sales in the showroom vs. shows vs. online, etc., etc.  But those numbers tell only one story – actually touching, moving, examining each product tells a second story.

What makes me smile?  What has a great story to go with it? What am I tired of seeing in the showroom?  What no longer feels like it belongs to our collection of products?  What’s missing? What do I want to see in the showroom and online this year?

We gather like products together which gives us an indication of the balance among our selection of products.  Do we have too much pottery compared to textiles?  Too many candles compared to tin?  What should be on our shopping list for market and what should we not order?

This gathering also gives me an indication of this year’s color story:   is there a color theme, does one color dominate, is a favorite color missing? All these notes go into the shopping list.

The zeros on the inventory list also contribute to the story.  What sold well and why? What do we learn from those to add to this year’s new products?

Inventory allows us to look at display pieces and accessories with a strategic eye.  What does a good job of showcasing products and makes it easy for customers to see those products?  What doesn’t?  Which room needs to be reorganized? How can we improve flow and checkout?   

Finally, we look at the storage and work rooms, again looking at what works and where we need to improve.  Would rearranging shelves help us find products faster? Is there a better flow for packing and shipping?  Do we need to replace or improve any tools or technology we use?

At the end of this tedious and boring process, we have a wealth of information.

If all goes as planned, we will finish inventory by Wednesday, January 17.  We will then study what we have learned, make price adjustments if necessary, price any display pieces we will be selling – and probably go out to dinner to celebrate!

We plan to open for showroom shopping Friday and Saturday, January 19-20, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (weather permitting).  Please understand that most products will still be on sale (and you will pay the sale price), but they will not be marked with sale prices as our January sales are primarily online.  We suggest studying the website catalog before coming and bring a list.  We will be adding a few showroom-only specials:  25% off Allegheny Treenware and 1818 Farms products, and all remaining battery tapers (non-decorative) will be priced at $5 each – but this is end of season and colors and sizes will be limited.   We will also have a small selection of damaged items ready for your repair or repurposing. 

We will close Monday, January 22 for our winter break.

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