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Topic: A little slow this Xmas season . . .
Message: Posted by: sethb (Nov 26, 2007 10:30AM)
I just finished doing the last of three Xmas bazaars, with somewhat disappointing results. Although the events were well publicized, the traffic was somewhat sparse and people were not quick to buy. I still drew and held fair crowds (and apparently did better than many of the other vendors), but it was not up to my usual takes.

I attribute this to the general economic situation -- with $3-a-gallon gas, adjustable mortgages and inflation in general, people seem to be less inclined to spend, especially on impulse items like magic tricks.

Just wondered how other folks who are also working the same type of spots are doing this time of year. SETH
Message: Posted by: TWOCAN (Jan 1, 2008 06:09PM)
Things are tuff all over Seth. The USA I heading for a depression and every ones so uneasy about it and as well they should be. Just make your prices reasonable for now and as things get better just level prices out and back to business as usual. Best of luck.
Message: Posted by: ScottRSullivan (Jan 1, 2008 09:01PM)
First of all, I am very sorry to hear about your season. It is always hard to look at numbers and realize they are not or were not where we expected them to be.

Economics can be an interesting and fascinating thing what with all the variables and trends that can be studied. In fact, I personally, find it very interesting watching local, national and global trends, both economic and technologic (is that a word or just a song?)

[b]The Situation[/b]
Here is a link to a story about Black Friday sales being 7.2% HIGHER than 2006: [url=http://www.smallcapnetwork.com/scb/final-retail-sales-results-for-black-friday-weekend/1409/]link[/url]

And, here is a CBS news story from a few days ago ([url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpgUhH3HgPE]CBS Economic report[/url]) mentioning that November saw a surge in consumer spending, the largest in 3 1/2 years. Not to mention the rise in the stock market: about a thousand points higher than one year ago.

Finally, here is a story from yesterday's edition of Morning Edition on [url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17716248&ft=1&f=1001]NPR[/url]: "2007 was a year when oil prices soared, home sales plunged and the U.S. dollar took a dive. But it was also a year when the U.S. economy performed well."

[b]The Potential[/b]
I can speak firsthand. My business has grown more this year than any year in the past. My wife (a full time caricature artist) has also see a HUGE increase in her annual gross.

Part of the reason for these results is watching trends, seeing where people and technology are going and what is likely to work in the future. We move our advertising to what works. For example, we haven't advertised in the Yellow Pages for over 5 years and we've seen nothing but growth.

I have always believed that if I or my business don't do well, it is my fault and my fault alone. I look at what I did that caused the poor performance and I see what I can do to improve. Blaming someone else for my bad business will only lead to more bad decisions being made.

It is identical to turning a blind eye to a spectator that calls you on a double lift. Do you pretend the spectator never said that and think, "stupid spectator." Or do you look back and say, "Ok, my double lift needs work. How can I fix it."

Just look at the big record labels. They are failing right now because they cannot adapt to the new market. They are trying to apply a business model from the eighties when they should be looking at what Apple and Amazon are doing right and why they are succeeding.

[b]A Solution[/b]
Seth, here's an idea that might improve your sales numbers. Give it away for free (sort of...). Start a video podcast that you publicize at your bazaars. Print up a link and a brief description of the show on a business card sized card.

At first, your subscriptions may be low, but keep it regular, keep it broadcasting. Over time you will build up a huge fan base and at the beginning or end of each show, feature a single item that is for sale until the end of the week and can be purchased using a coupon code given in the show on your website.

You'll not only turn one-time customers into fans, but you'll sell them more in the long run.

Just an idea from a guy who may have done something like this before. *grin* Good luck!

Message: Posted by: KenW (Jan 1, 2008 11:00PM)
Yeah....things in So. CA sucked big time all so!
Message: Posted by: ScottRSullivan (Jan 2, 2008 12:13AM)
Ken et al,
I am curious what you are doing, marketing-wise, to produce said results, so we might better improve your sales. As I pointed out above citing several sources, we're in a pretty good economy and people are spending, contrary to what many keep saying about the 'recession.'

Are your clients going to someone else? Are they saying to you they can't afford you? Have you adjusted your pricing recently? Let's figure out where the weak link is so we can fix it!

Best regards,

This would probably be better discussed in the Tricky Business forum, but, hey, we're here!

Very nice Okito routine, TwoCan (is it Paul?)
Message: Posted by: ScottRSullivan (Jan 2, 2008 12:53AM)
By the way, if you feel I am prying, please let me know! I don't want to make you feel I am asking too many personal questions!

All the best,
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 2, 2008 07:02AM)
Hi Scott -- Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Actually, I had a bang-up Spring, much better than expected, but I was just hoping that the Xmas season would put a little "icing on the cake." You just never know when lightning will strike, I guess!

Actually, I am planning to do a few things a little differently this year (2008). I'm going to add one or two new items to my inventory, and see how they go. I'm also trying to be more selective in the spots I do take, by eliminating some of the slower and/or less profitable ones. I'm also going to shoot for more craft shows, fairs and festivals, because they generally produce better business than the fleas.

And I'm dropping a few locations that charge what I consider to be overly large booth fees. Sometimes the traffic at these places justifies the large fee, but often you just end up being partners with the sponsors, which is no good. And considering that some of these events have no rain dates, you are taking a pretty big risk. So I'm now trying to minimize my risk and maximize my profits by working smarter, not necessarily harder. SETH