The start of a new year is always a time to reflect both personally and for the business.
One aspect of the business that is not working for us is pillow talk… haha, not as interesting as it may sound. Being a married couple who run a business together, then business talk is always on the agenda. Sometimes it is too intrusive, and I especially am guilty of discussing anything and everything whenever it pops into my head. Mr Wellydog is much better at writing down thoughts and then discussing them at more appropriate times. So with a promise to try and separate our business and personal life better in 2018, we have had our first meeting. With advice from the Wellydog apprentice (she is very clever business woman), we made sure it was away from home or the shop and we went out and had a coffee. We had a strategy meeting to look at our long term goals for the future of Wellydog. It was interesting really as we looked at figures and targets and Mr Wellydog had done some clever graphs and figures to show all sides of the business and how it compared to previous years. Although I knew we were on target to have an ok year, things were better than I had thought. So although we know we are in for some very quiet months before the end of our trading year, we are still looking at a successful 2017, where we exceeded planned targets. We now need to look at how to grow the business next year.
Selling in other shops has not proved to be as good as we had hoped this time last year, and we have scaled down where we stock. It is hard to keep stock sitting doing nothing in some places. But others may have had quiet times, and we know they are doing their best for us and we hope to continue with them. We have had some shops who are ordering wholesale so that again is another avenue to consider growing.
Online is always a struggle for us. We had some great advice and training this year, which certainly has helped, and we have seen a small growth. But there is a dilemma between successful online selling and keeping the one of a kind nature to what we do. With the time involved with listing each individual item, instead of producing 10 or 20 of identical items under 1 listing, it is a fine line of time against profit. We have looked at the possibility of listing similar items under the same heading, for instance a green seaglass bracelet, but each made to order and although the structure will be the same, then the glass will vary on each one. It would also help with the stock tracking. At the moment then each item listed online is marked. If it sells in the shop we can immediately remove from online, but it only takes for a busy time, or and internet access problems and we could run into problems. Does doing this mess with the essence of our business, the business of handmade, does that cause a conflict?? Are we getting into mass production? And if we do, is that a problem? We still haven’t come to a conclusion on this one yet. I have a feeling this will be an ongoing discussion. I would be interested in your thoughts.
We also need to look for more peoples work to stock in the shop. As we qet busier then we are not keeping up with the making quite so well. The people we currently stock have all agreed to continue with us next year, which is lovely. But we also had some issues with stock levels at a very busy time, because we had a few people who we agreed to take work in from, but they never delivered. So we will start to look for new people again and hope to form new lasting relationships and have a shop full to the brim in 2018.
Overall though we are happy with where we are, but where we go from here is the unknown. I am excited for 2018 as I feel this will be our turnaround year. Hopefully the one that takes us from doing ok, to actually gaining ground. Of course, only time will tell but I am looking forward to finding out.
Happy new year to you all