Sunday, May 17, 2009

Business is booming

Yahoo! It is so exciting to be part of a new business that is doing well. I'm at a point that I HAVE to figure out how to be more efficient so my mind in constantly evaluating the processes I follow to conduct business. One thing has become clear is that I must invest in a commercial serger. My little home serger is just too slow. It has served me well over the years but now I need speed! My husband gets excited about machinery so he's been doing some research for me. I'll need to wait a bit before I can actually purchase since I'm running this business on cash, not credit. So far, just about every dime has been reinvested.

Yesterday was another day at the Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville, under the shade of the Fuller Warren bridge. The weather is starting to heat up but it wasn't unbearable. I rearranged my booth and had MUCH greater traffic and sales. I had my 2 4 foot tables at the front of the booth and one 4 foot table down the side. After I rearranged things, the honey people next to me, experienced show participaters, agreed that it's better to have everything up front instead of doing a U shape or L. Some people are hesitant to actually enter booths. And based on how many people actually stopped to talk to me, see my products and buy, I now have to agree! I sold out of my plain white unpaper towels by 12:30! Holy cow, it was amazing! And one lady bought $51 worth of kitchen towels and unpaper towels. That's my highest single order at a show. Keep in mind that the majority of my stuff is $1 so getting to $51 is quite a job! I also noticed a huge difference in sales and interest in my hand dyed kitchen towels. In my previous 2 market days, I sold a small number of them...most likely because they were in the back of my booth. Yesterday, I sold quite a few!

I was so excited this week to have a banner with my business name. Last week a passerby told me I needed a banner on the front of my tent to explain who I was. I had previously ordered a freebie banner but it didn't arrive until this week. I proudly put it on the front of my tent when I set up yesterday. Halfway through the day, my excitement was squashed when the jeweler's husband came over and told me it was really bad! More specifically, the location was bad. He pointed out that half my product was hidden. Doh! He was right! I moved it to the back of my tent and it opened up the view. Now I need to actually buy a new one that will go all the way across the top front of the tent. Boy, I just keep learning new stuff every week.

I took a custom order from a super nice lady in avondale. She wants 10 of my birdseye kitchen towels, half plain and half dyed a soft minty green or a pale sky blue. I'm working on the blue right now. I'll dye both colors and let her pick her favorites. Now that I'm looking at the color, i think this one might be a bit too dark so as soon as this batch is done, I'll dilute the solution a bit and try for a lighter color.

Also in the works is black & blue and a lovely fushia. My roll of fabric is getting smaller and smaller so I must order another roll ASAP.

My friend Jennifer from my MOPs group came by and sat with me for a while...and she had her adorable 4 week old son with her. Oh my goodness, I got to hold him and admire him. I can't remember the last time I held a tiny least a year ago, I think. I didn't forget how though. ;) Alicia came by, too, and so did a friend of Diana M. (Diana is my local friend who seems to know everyone in Jacksonville. And if she doesn't know them, she undoubtedly knows someone who knows them!) Tonya B from church stopped by. Congrats on the kids getting into the school you wanted!

The one person I didn't see??? My dh's co-worker Danny who in the past has the uncanny ability of showing up when my booth would be empty. Maybe I was busy with a customer when he walked by this time and I missed him? hehe

Thanks to being on the front page of etsy yesterday morning, my recent online sales have skyrocketed, too! Everyone wants my plain white unpaper towels. I'll be working on getting those orders out today...delivering them to the Kings Road post office later tonight so they will have a headstart on their journey to their new homes across the United States and Canada. The photo on the left is of my prewashed fabric, waiting to be cut into squares and serged up. I do prewash and dry the fabric in my dryer to encourage shrinking BEFORE I cut but I have found that using my clothesline as soon as the fabric comes out of the dryer allows me to skip a time consuming step in the process.....ironing! And seeing yards of fabric billowing in the wind just gives me an unexplainable sense of joy.
It was also nice to see some of my North Florida Etsy friends... like Dawn from First Glass Light ( and her family. She was there as a participant and not a vendor this time. I love her glasswork! Oops - i just checked out her store and found a paper weight that I want. It could help prevent my unpaper towels from threatening to blow away at a future RAM. And Kelly from Happy Shack Designs ( stopped by, too. In addition to running two etsy stores, taking care of a family, teaching and participating in RAM, she also runs our team website And I thought I was busy!

So, these are exciting times here at Athena Creates.

I also became the proud owner of this...

I quickly added some basic info and I will be tweaking soon as I have fulfilled all my outstanding orders. My goal is for it to be an informational website with a link to my online store.

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