I've been in a bit of a daze lately - this time of year is heavy on thinking at a time when I'm feeling too tired for thinking. On a good note, I'm ahead of schedule on my work with the accountant - we finished up W2s and 1099s last week. Now "all" that remains is the final prep to get everything ready for the tax preparer. These are the not so thrilling days of our lives. Additionally, Tuesday was inventory day so we were closed while we finished counting the whole store. It's not a particularly difficult task, just tedious, though more enjoyable because I like the things that I'm counting. It would be worse, for me, to inventory Home Depot. All of us discovered things we had forgotten about which revived my desire for more square footage, with some modification. I always think of more space in terms of more stuff, but it would also be nice to have more space so that I didn't have to cram all the stuff we have into this small space. There is quite a lot that just doesn't get as much space or attention as it should get. That said, post-inventory, I've finally gotten to the pre-Christmas clean-up which allows everyone and everything a little more breathing room. We still have our Christmas sale table but I also made room for Valentine's cards and craft supplies. It is a little early for me, but I know it will here before I know it. We do have two at least two other card companies coming in and are waiting for the anatomical heart stamp as well. I've enjoyed finding some empty drawers, doing some consolidating and rearranging. I've also enjoyed the instant gratification from selling things that haven't been sold in a while, all because they got moved around. It's nice to give the place a little freshening. I've never been much for the hard sell so I've compensated by honing my talent for tweaking the arrangement of product in order to boost sales. It can be a very powerful tool which, in my opinion, not enough stores make use of.
And with all that talk about needing more space for the stuff that we have, it might seem incongruous to say that we are two days away from our first buying trip of the year. This trip will take us to Southern California to the Craft and Hobby Association trade show. Each buying trip has its own perks, but we are particularly looking forward to this one because it gives us a chance to see what is new in the crafting world and also provides a little refueling of our own creative juices.
I haven't had time to do a lot of planning but we already have a list of some shops to check out in Long Beach, which is where we will be staying. My brother-in-law teases us about our busman's holidays and it might be true that I should find something else to do with my spare time, but I'm looking forward to seeing what other people are doing in the retail world, and also just strolling without my down coat on. I could even just sit on the beach and read a book, wouldn't that be exciting!
I think one of our favorite things about this show is not just finding new vendors and products but also the displays that all the vendors create. There is always a lot of inspiration... We are looking for some new craft table projects, but also some window display ideas, new things to make & sell. I will have limited computer access so I'll probably just blog when we return, so I'll just leave you with pictures from the last time we went.