Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Inventory Woes and Good Times

We will be closed on March 18th and 19th for Inventory.

Yes, spring is here and that means flowers, birds, new seeds and, of course, INVENTORY. Argh. This is my least favorite part of having my own business. Counting all the parts is bad enough but the worst bit is seeing all the items that I love but ordered a few too many of. Why are they still here? Am I the only one who loves them? I look at all those ingredients and see all the fun times that I (or you!) could have working with them. Can't you see the good times? Beading a necklace and chatting with a friend and sipping a cup of tea. Creating a card for your mom and talking with your sister while she stamps some gift wrap. Stringing up a bracelet for a friend while you both listen to music and solve the world's problems. That's what I see when I look at those beads or ribbon or rubber stamps.

Unfortunately, the Wizards of Inventory DON'T see good times, they see SKUs* and this means we have to count them all. We'll close for two days and do a lot of "1,2,3,4,5..." while listening to loud music and eating junk food. If you see me at the grocery on the 18th or 19th you'll know why I am carrying three boxes of granola bars, two bags of potato chips and a six pack of Dr. Pepper.

There are a few things that experienced store owners will tell you when you are starting out; things like Buy At Multiple Price Points and Buy For All Your Customers Not Just The Noisy Ones but the hardest for me to really listen to is Do Not Fall In Love With Your Merchandise. That's rough. I am not selling widgets or cleaning supplies or lumber. I am selling BEADS. For pete's sake, how can I NOT fall in love with them? The point of that pithy saying is that as a store owner I should be brutal and just mark down things that don't sell quickly. No love, no second chances. It seems so harsh, though, so mean, to tell that strand of lovely beads or that book that it's not worth full price. It is hard for me to look at just about anything we sell and not think of all the good times that could be had if I just made something out of those ingredients.

Since we have Inventory coming up next week I have put on my Cruella De Ville hat and walked the stores. We have lots of teary-eyed beads and do-dads wearing green stickers. My husband and business partner does not understand why this bothers me so. He's a numbers guy; a statistician with years of working for a giant corporation where numbers were IT. He doesn't get all high-pitched when something new and sparkly arrives. That's good, usually, and really I think I may have to put him in charge of marking items down...

*SKUs are Stock Keeping Units. Doesn't that sound sweet? So romantic and friendly. Arggh.

Items that need to be part of your Good Times: