Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Goals Smoals - Business post

Me and goals don't get along.  Well, on the surface we don't.

It is not like I don't have goals, just listing them and checking in seems to be a way to be sure I will not meet them. I work better with a daily check list, keeping in mind a larger goal.  This way, when I mess up, one day is not earth shattering.

Although many are saying 2016 was awful, I will agree on the superficial level.  Politically, socially, it was awful.  Personally, it was only bad in that I was super successful with my business - which made everything really busy.

Here are some fun numbers for comparison:

Patches - 2014
Quilts - 12
Hems - 12
Misc. - 14

Patches - 2041
Quilts - 52
Misc. - 308 + 300 or more give-aways.

Patches - It is interesting to me that I thought I had lost business with patches.  Truly, I thought I was WAY down.  However, in January, there was a big order of over 200 patches, so I do think this year there will be a downward trend.  Mainly because the scout shops are starting to sew patches while shoppers wait and they are pushing the badge magic HARD.  I get people coming to me crying over that stuff.  I would have to do a big push to raise those numbers, but I am not going to. If these eventually fall off, I think I am ok with that.  I have no intention of stopping, but I am not pushing either.

Quilts - yes, this was an amazing year for quilts!  A jump of 40!!!!  This year is already starting off with a band because I have 10 in my possession and 10 on a waiting list.  It is only January 3rd.  I am only taking on a waiting list though.  Maybe next year I will be able to push more, but I am only one person.  My prices are not as such that I can add an employee either.  Maybe one day.

Misc. - This includes everything else.  I should start breaking this up into Police/Fire key fobs, Key fobs, Hooded Towels, General Embroidery, Pillows, then general misc.  Hind sight is 20/20, I was not doing those things at the beginning of the year and the fobs did not come in until around August.  So, this is everything like ribbon necklaces, pillows, towels, name embroidery, shirt appliques, all kinds of key fobs, memory bears, repairs, anything besides patches or quilts.  This comes easily as add-ons. I don't even have to market them really.  Just have them displayed when people come in or tell them about it.

What I learned last year...

is that asking gets you a LONG way.  I always hated when an employer would tell you to "ask the customer for X".  There is an art to it though.  Some customers, I never bring up other things I sell, but about 70% I do.  1% buy right away, and about 30% buy something later.  I have almost a 98% repeat customer business.  I ask everyone to tell others about me.  About 5 are my little marketers and so every now and then, I will give them something for free.

What I want to see in 2016 with the business...

is limited growth.  I am slammed until about August with homeschool, that I really need to focus on and it will not leave a lot of time for more work.  I want to do some personal sewing - like my husband's quilt, my son's quilt, my dad's quilt, my father in law's quilt, my mother in laws quilt, and play around with the stuffies.  I have the cutest moose, tooth fairy and tooth goblin, bunnies and a big elephant! 

Looking further in the future....

I want to start doing some limited and very well thought out shows.  For example, drill team competitions and/or cheer competitions are great for selling personalized items and quilts.  Swim meets are great for the hooded towels.  I may/may not have an opportunity with a scout shop to sew their pre-order patches.  I am still not sure if I want to do that or not.

Overall, I like the quilts, hooded towels, key fobs and stuffies.  The patches are ok and are the backbone, but a little boring.

The plan:

1.  Patches as they come in - 24 hour turnaround for uniforms, 1 week for patch blankets

2. No more than 2 quilts on order at one time (meaning in house) utilizing a waiting list until around August. 

3.  Cut off Christmas orders in October!  NO GOING BACK ON THAT!!!  Christmas was awful this year - I had no breaks.

4. Prioritize the kids by working with them first in the morning.  That way, I get uninterrupted work and I have still given them time.

5. Make enough to pay for one quarter of my son's college - ~$3,500.  Should be doable without much effort.  I just need to stop buying embroidery files!

Oh, I almost forgot - the 300+ giveaway.  I give Police Fobs to all active and retired Legal Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters.  I am well over 300, but I lost count. I have 3 different types, but only the badge ones I give away.  The Texas and wristlets are only for sale.  (Yes, I can do other states as well)

I will think about the personal side another day.  Back to work!


  1. Wow! Those are some remarkable numbers. Another option for you to help you scale yourself would be to calculate the hourly cost/wage for each item, and figure out which things are the most cost/time beneficial. Then, either adjust prices or reduce things that are costly from a time perspective, but don't yield as much of a return.

    1. I do that as I go. My biggest problem is I hate to see people not be able to get something nice because it is too expensive. At this point, patches and T-shirt quilts are the best pay outs. Pillows are next. In order to add employees, I would need a location and their salary, which would really knock the prices up. I need to do this with the stuffies, though. You would be proud, I am starting to charge for removal of patches!