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How's trade been for you these past couple of months?
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Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 06 4:55 pm    Post subject: How's trade been for you these past couple of months?  Reply with quote    

We've been very very busy - in fact in May, we took more than we normally do in November We thought it may calm down a bit this month, but no - still going nuts. The trouble is we haven't a clue why. We've done no additional advertising, got no new special tops, or designs, haven't sold that many george cross tops, it's just a lot more of everything. That makes it quite hard to capitalise on, as if we don't know why, we can't make it happen more/all the time

The only thing we think it might be is that we've been going for over three years now, and we think perhaps finally people are beginning to trust us more, and accept that were're here to stay. We're having a lot of repeat business (schools and such like) for our bulk jobs, and gaining new ones all the time, which is great.

Has anyone else who's been running for a few years experienced this? The books all say that after the first few years, you tend to get an increase, but it would be interesting to know other people's experiences.

jema
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 26618
Location: escaped from Swindon
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 06 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It is funny how it goes, the last 3 months not counting the last few weeks had gone practically level for me At least that is on the income side. The business itself just kept on increasing.

As such I assumed that sooner or later the money would rebound as well, and these last few weeks it has to the point where I'm earning practically the mininum wage from my forums

But who knows, as you or I do get better known, the word of mouth effect may create a gradual avalanche of trade?

I know I am busier by 25% over the last 10 weeks

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 06 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I had three orders last week, thats in the first week of having the new shop, glitches and all. I'm pleased with that for starters

alison
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12908
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 06 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We have been here 5 years this month, and have a steady growth each year.

We are certainly busier in the caravan storage business, with the most vans we have ever had, and the phone is busy for the B&B, but we are cutting down a bit of the eggs business, as the return isn't really there for the amount of work it generates.

OH, since giving up work, last November, has been doing some contracting, and that has been better money., and it is farm income, which we need.

I think things do go in cycles too. We have return trade in the B&B who come 3 or 4 times a year, and others who we are on their every 3 year rota. We are still building on their patronage though, but in a different way.

I am now thinking about some winter courses, for people to stay in the B&B and experience some downsizing / smallholding activities during the late Autumn, Winter and Spring months.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 06 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Not much been happening here lately- the new wool coincided nicely with Spring so that'll probably be back end before it gets going (sold our first international order though, to the US).

Planning permission [or lack of] has stopped the sausage making for a few more months yet, and there are still eleven running around that need 'converting'.

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 06 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have a sneaking feeling that I've got to a stage where I need to spend about an extra day a week on my business if I want it to grow to a point where it could make a real difference to our long term plans. Trouble is, I just don't have an extra day a week at the moment. I woke up several times in the night alternating between being pleased that we can now list a lot of our current stock on the online shop and worrying about what I'd do if I then took most of it to an event and came back without enough to fill any orders whilst I make more.
I know this is nothing unusual for small businesses, and it doesnt help that at the moment I'm rather fed up with the day job so I can't even use that as a bit of relief as I spend all day there thinking about my projects and feeling guilty for not giving work my full attention.
Better go to work now

Fee



Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Posts: 15902
Location: Surrey Heath
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 06 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm still on holiday, but selling a few tiara kits a week at the moment

And I have my first Web Design customer, to work on next week...when I'm 'officially' starting to work!

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13500

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 06 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We are in a depression, thats not only UK wide but Europe wide and even world wide !
So to you people who are bucking the trend I say "well done !"

I have reps and suppliers telling me that they can hardly shift a thing.

This is mirrored in my little part of Wales and speaking from my own experience, I can say that our retail side is down a good 50% on last year.
Thankfully the service side is booming.

jema
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 26618
Location: escaped from Swindon
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 06 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

So much depends on your market and market share.

If you are a physical outlet then if trade is down generally then you will suffer.

If you are a "vritual" outlet then given the correct marketing, then if you are starting off small then you may progress from 0.01% of a vast market to 0.1% of a depressed market! e.g. you can grab your share and grow whatever the prevailing market climate.

The only exception to this I can think of, is where margins are thin and prices are cutthroat and hence the small guy is on a loser in terms of the deals they can offer.

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 06 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Do you have any idea why Bodger? There doesn't really seem to be any logic to the trading paterns at the moment. One week we'll be flying, miles up on last year, next week completely dead, makes no sense at all.

Overall though we're up this far about 17% in the shop on last year, 25% + on bulk orders and 20% + on-line. That could all of course change if Christmas is poo, as we do around 20% of our annual turnover in the last 5 weeks of the year..... fingers crossed!!

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 06 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

And the best can always do better in a depressed time, as there is less competition from opportunists & people are generaly looking for better value for money.

jema
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 26618
Location: escaped from Swindon
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 06 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Also crossing fingers here for Christmas, August,September and October were fantastic, November is slipping a little comparatively.
But we are more than 4x ahead of last November
Realistically we need 25% more on the forums business to really take it into a healthy level of profitability, but last November we needed a 5 fold increase! So being down to needing 25% is incredibly close to being there.

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 06 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I havent sold much at all in the last two months, but its that time of year now so I hope it will pick up

katie



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 708
Location: midlands
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 06 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It's been a pretty bad year for the plants business. First we had the really late Spring - then we'd just about got over that only to be hit by the drought and hose-pipe ban. Even those who didn't have a ban couldn't be bothered to buy plants because they didn't want to be watering them all the time (know the feeling!) People have also been watching their spending more and buying maybe just one plant instead of two or three. Add to that the general tendency to smaller gardens, decking and plants as features rather than huge cottage garden borders and you can see why it hasn't been a brilliant year and why I am currently working on plans B, C and D

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 06 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Interestingly enough, over the last couple of months I've noticed a lot more people wanting to know if we have a shop, whatever that says about the market

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