Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wow, I have had a frustrating week. My ZoloWear chi is not in flow.
  • Erica told me she's quitting. This is the 4th person in the shipping job since October. I feel like the worst boss in the world, but the last 3 people swore they loved ZoloWear and our office and even me. One left to go back to school and the other 2 left to get paid what they really deserve to earn, which is more than this small company can afford. Erica is just awesome and I am heartbroken that she's leaving. She says she will help out a little bit even after she goes, because her new job is working from home, so it will be flexible. Still, wah. :( My life is harder and much more stressful when I do not have enough help.
  • Solarveil sizing problems - major headache.
  • We are out of printed wearing instructions. Our graphic designer is working up a really gorgeous new version, but we're still working through final drafts, so it's not being printed yet. When it goes to the printer, it will probably be about 2 weeks before we get the finished product here. Meanwhile, we've gotten several small runs done at the local copy shop, and they are EXPENSIVE to get color copied. REALLY EXPENSIVE. So we keep trying to scrape by with what we have until we get the new design complete, and we keep running out and going to the copy shop and shelling out a fortune per piece.
  • We are also out of DVD's. Kind of the same story - we're combining the pouch and ring sling DVD into one, with a pretty new cover, and we're going to get them mass-produced. The guy who created the DVD just had a baby, I mean, his wife did, but he still managed to crank out 150 DVD's to tide us over until we get the mass-produced one. Not enough, by a long shot. We are already almost out.
  • We can't sell slings without wearing instructions or DVD's! The printed wearing instructions are at least something we can make locally. When we are out of DVD's, we're in big trouble.
  • We figured out that the 866-264-ZOLO number on all of our business cards is ringing to our old call center - that we stopped using in January. No idea how long that has been the case. Getting it back is MAJOR paperwork and many hours on the phone. Which we already did. In January. Shelly has the patience of the saint, after talking to no less than NINE people at SBC/ATT today. After talking to 9 people, the only information she had was that ATT does not own the #, so they can't give it back to us. Total nightmare.
  • Our telephone is dying.
  • Our persnickety printer is still dying. I have huge fabric, design and printing bills and no money to buy new office equipment this month. We gotta hang in there a little longer.
  • I found some packaging that I love, and the company is sold out of it, even though it is still on their website and they just sent me a sample of it. It was going to be my short-term solution.

The good news:

  • I have a long-term plan for packaging. An envelope style clutch, like a purse. Will have to get it custom made, but that's OK, now I have a plan.
  • Shelly has agreed to work full-time, and we're going to try to make a go of having one employee again, and outsourcing some stuff (quality control). I'm hopeful that it will work. It's a lot of work for one person, but not quite enough for two.
  • Came up with a new shoulder design, it's in production so I can start getting it tested.
  • New custom brocade came in. Still need dupioni to finish slings, but the brown brocade w/ turquoise floral is mighty fine.
  • The mass-produced DVD is at least well on the way to being made. I sent in the paperwork today, and Webb, the guy who has the original, is going to take it to the duplicator/replicator people tomorrow. We're going to get another batch duplicated to tide us over until the replicated ones are done. (duplication = under 1,000, different process, replication = 1,000+, glass master, REAL DVD - another one of the wacky things I've learned in this business!)
  • Awesome new mod print came in. Yay! I want to roll around in it.
  • Embroidred slings are on the way, still not constructed. Long story I can't get into on a public forum. But I'm actually happy with the results of this, as we can get crankin' on these soon. My local production guy is actually a little backed up these days - things are hopping.

I did the year to date sales data last night, partly to figure out how many DVD's to order.

Sage small and medium remain the best sellers by far. 11% of all slings sold are sage small or medium. Mocha is the second most popular color. Black is the third. Cornflower medium is very popular, but the smalls and larges are much less popular.

The most popular print in 2006 has been Lucky Blossoms. Second is posie pique. Sapphire paisley has been popular as well.

In pouches, black small is the best seller, with black medium close behind. 20% of pouch sales are black. Most popular pouch print was Jetson, second most popular pink/black stripe. Then posie.

We are selling mostly smalls and mediums in all colors. We are not selling very many larges. We used to cut 50% medium, 30% small, and 20% large, but that has shifted recently. The breakdown of sages sold is a good indication of the sizes we are selling now in general:
2% XL
5% XS
13% L
35% S
45% M
This is slightly skewed because fewer larges and virtually no XL sell in feminine prints. Gender neutral sage is the most popular large.

Cottons are much more popular than silks. The most popular silk is the black, but black medium silk was only 2% of total sling sales. Next most popular was green (just 1%), but that is not fair to compare because we were out of green for much of this year. I intend to carry less inventory in silks in the future, because it’s just too expensive to stock a variety of silks when they are nowhere near as popular as the cottons and solarveils.

Solarveil is difficult to report because we clearanced our inventory and were out for a while, then have new colors in. But in general, solarveil is very popular.

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