It's been a busy couple of weeks. I did two local shows within ten days of each other, one which I co-organized. And the verdict? both were very slow. But the upshot- b programmed and purchased equipment for a live sales system, which is working perfectly.
Through the the holidays, I've filled four wholesale orders, two of which were international. The retail sales on my site are off the hook. So all in all, a great holiday season- December will be my best month ever in six years of keeping records, and 2008 will be my best year. All of this in a recession year.
The reason for such a difference between the live local events and my web-based sales? (all of the wholesale purchases were initiated through the internet as well) My guess is that it's because I've been building this business on my own for the past six years, with b's help for the past year or so. I've been targeting customers and drawing them to my site, and what I'm doing seems to be working. It's taken a lot of observation, especially in the year before I launched the site in 2005. At that time I was looking at other websites to see how they were doing it, especially ones that seemed to be selling a lot! I was drawn to clean design and easy navigation, and made it a point to use those elements in my own site.
Before planning to put up a website, I had been selling on consignment in a few stores in Los Angeles, where I lived until 2004. This is where I initially learned the basics of production, selling and marketing. I used what I knew, having the confidence from strong sales in brick and mortar shops, to build the online store.
Selling at the two shows this season, I was reliant on the whims of retail buying in general, as opposed to my own specific, targeted marketing. Sales at gifted yesterday were slow for most, with a few exceptions. A maker of raw chocolate products sold out his inventory, and was able to leave early. Our neighbors to the left were doing well with wooden toys that were in the $15 to $25 range. Looking around at the other vendors, my products seemed a little high end for the show.
so that's it. a lot of energy exerted for not a lot of sales. but a great holidays season despite that fact.