I have a very small business selling children’s books, and educational toys, puppets, games, and more. I started out as a direct seller of Barefoot Books, and over time added other brands that seemed to complement the books well. I’m no longer an official Barefoot Books “Ambassador”, but a generous former team member agreed to place wholesale orders on my behalf after I left.
As you can probably imagine, the holiday season is by far the busiest time of year for a business like mine. Last year, I did a large number of events – mainly cash-and-carry, but also some preschool fundraisers – and made a good chunk of change doing so. However, one of my costliest mistakes of 2013 was over-buying merchandise for the events I had scheduled. A fair amount of that inventory remains with me today, unfortunately. In my defense, several of the events I did were new to me, so I had no frame of reference. They were order-based events, with only a few days to fulfill the orders. Therefore, it was necessary for me to have ample inventory on-hand to fulfill the orders. And because I had no idea what the order volume would be like, I had no idea how many of each item I would need. To be safe, I ordered liberally.
I was able to sell some of the inventory to local customers, and some via my Amazon store, but I have plenty left as I head into this holiday season. At the same time, some of my most popular items are sold-out, and I’m feeling like maybe I should purchase some of them in preparation for this holiday season’s events. After all, I know these items sell well for me, so I may be giving up some easy sales without having them in my inventory…
The decision I’ve come to is to not place any additional orders, unless a customer specifically requests a particular item. After all, at any given event, customers see and shop from what I have on-hand, and have no idea what else I could have, but don’t. Perhaps if I wasn’t working to pay off so much debt, I would be a bit more liberal with my ordering again this year, but I’m just not in that position right now. Instead, I’ll be selling what I have, and (finally!) recouping last year’s expenditures.
(And if you know anyone interested in purchasing high-quality children’s books, toys, puzzles, and more, please let them know that they can save 20% sitewide with code SPOOKY, through 10/31/14.)
What do you think? Did I make the right call?
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