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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Catalog

I called about 5 wine stores yesterday and had interest from 2.  Not a bad rate, actually, although so far they've only asked for information.  As usual, it's one step forward, one step back, as I realized I needed to update and reformat my catalog.  That took me off sales and into marketing, but it was a necessary step as I'd promised my catalog to Pearson's.

It's done, at least as much as it needs to be to send to wine store buyers, because I guess they'll only care about those 2 pages.  (I do need to get some more samples made, though.)  But I feel like it needs a total overhaul before I go back to the bookstores.

I really want to get back to the original vision:  colorful, simple, and cheap.  Student budgets, right?  I want to refocus on a single layout - vertical, no shoulder strap - with crazy color and pattern combinations.  That's what's going to differentiate my sleeves from the others out there.  What I need is 2-3 samples in each size so that the buyers get a feel for the design, which they will then order by size and quantity.  No more trying to duplicate ones that I've already made with fabric resources that are often very limited.

Unfortunately, the samples in my catalog don't reflect this vision at all.  It's a hodge podge of old things that never sold and new things that I've made with the etsy market in mind.  There's kind of a unifying design - flap tucking into a front strap - but even that isn't 100% consistent and I have some with velcro, some with buttons.  Plus the combinations are too tame.

So, I think the plan is this:  I need to continue calling the wine stores and I should make up 2 more samples:  wine is the answer, and happy 21st birthday.  This I will do today.

Then, I need to make 10-15 sleeve samples with the new (old) design in 5 standard sizes:  ereader, ipad, netbook, notebook, and large.  These will go into the front of the catalog.  In the back, I'll put the old stuff which can be ordered, of course, but only in quantities of one.  I've got some time for this because back-to-school (BTS) ordering doesn't begin until June or July.  Making a bunch of them now, though, will let me find out what my rock-bottom wholesale price can be and still make a little money.

Too bad I already cut up so much material, and mostly for bags, not sleeves.  (The sleeves have to be wider because they don't have straps to provide additional width.)  Well, I can just cut down a larger size to make the smaller size; I don't sell many of the really large laptop sleeves anyway.

And what about etsy?  I guess I'll keep some stuff out there but really it's just too massive.  I posted a 25% off spring sale on FB (which goes to Twitter) but I'll be amazed if anyone uses the coupon code.  I'd like to get out of retail sales altogether.

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