OK, so here is why I haven't been posting. I haven't had much of anything good to say. Business slowed down tremendously last year and after many expert opinions I went with my gut....I felt that our product was becoming a bit of a commodity. I had felt this way at the beginning of last year but sales were so robust....but I was trying to move into something more organic, something unique. I don't know how to sew so I took the time to take a sewing and pattern making class so I could bring my ideas to market. Finding the fabric, the local cut and sew and on and on has taken forever. We are getting close but not in time to deal with the downward trend in sales.
I was told that my website just wasn't under the right keywords, it wasn't structured correctly, it was too difficult to buy from, that we should focus on our wholesale market...and all from experts. In my gut though I just felt that this was simply not the case. I looked around, went to a printing conference last October, saw the competition and new offerings and quickly came to the conclusion that it was more the product/price point rather than my web positioning, marketing plan, website etc. Our shirts were unique 3 years ago and could fetch a higher price point but now they sell kits at target for $8 to make your own shirt. Now, my site is more a place to get ideas from to make shirts. Plus, there has always been cafepress and now zazzle (which I think is ultra cool) and a ton of others. My art shirts aren't my best sellers and the music industry strips most profit off through licensing. Other websites were kicking ass selling the rock shirts and people were buying from them instead of taking the time to look through our collection.
What is a girl to do? New line not ready (and I know it will kick everyone in the butt when it is!) Old stuff is not moving.
Had to start cutting hours. It sucked. It really sucked. Because we had grown so rapidly, our expenses had grown with us. When sales dropped we were losing A LOT of cash per day. I had to stem the loss of blood. Our competition was eating us alive with these damn rock shirts so one day we came up with selling rock shirts on a different site. Then, I thought, hell, let's just sell them on Baby Wit. Why not? Turn Baby Wit into a cool store. So we did. And our sales took off into our normal range again. But we are whores. We are selling rock shirts made overseas and no, we have no idea what circumstances they are made under. And we hate it but my employees are now back at their regular hours and Baby Wit will be around for awhile.
So, I suppose that for now we are going to sell rock shirts made overseas until we can either procure our own licensing (doubtful) or get our new line out or get our really cool stuff up (coming from vendors that make their stuff here BUT it takes about 6 to 8 weeks to get stuff in stock from them because it is handmade...and honestly, we weren't going to be around that long unless we did something in January.)
On top of all that I hired a company to build out a super new cart with a product configurator, paid for half of it up front, and ended up 3 months later after lots of hassle and letters and stress with absolutely freaking nothing except most of my $ back. So, yes, we have loads of new inventory we would love to put up on our site but can't.
Life has sucked for a long time. So I haven't written anything in a long while because things were so bad...
Like when some small site asked if I would sponsor a contest last November and I am like yeah, sure, why not. I will give two shirts to your winner thinking a November or December contest. But, 3 months later someone emails me...I won a shirt and I can't even remember what this is all about so I am spending 30 minutes trying to figure it out as the person who owned the website didn't bother to email me. I finally find out it is 3 little duckies and send out a shirt thinking ok, whatever. Then the following month another person emails me out of the blue, again without a note from the person running the contest, hey, I won a shirt...so I was not nice. I emailed the person who was running the contest and asked what the heck was going on. Why is this contest going on FOUR months later and please take us down and she was so nice to me and I was a grumpy horrible person when it would have taken me less time just to send out another shirt, spread goodwill, etc. What is wrong with me? Well, hormones for one. I am mega dosed having made it to my 6 month. I am huge, low on iron, can't sleep well anymore because something keeps moving around in my belly, my back aches all the time and I have gas. I hate pregnancy and all the weirdos out there who go on and on about how they LOVE being pregnant are really just freaks. There, I said it. Freaks. All I can think about is how big I am now and how much bigger and more uncomfortable things are going to get in the next 3 months and how much I have to do to get BW running on its own before #2 pops out and I need a chill pill BAD.