So you prepared for the holiday crunch and things did not go as planned. Business is booming big time and you have more orders than you can handle. Fantastic! Call it a spoil of riches, but organizing your inventory for your upcoming craft shows has taken a major back seat. Sure you have all your classic designs saved and organized neatly in Stitch, but as for the newer variations and those special holiday gift boxes, forget it. Time is running out and your hands need to be in the studio, not in front of the computer.
I think we have all been here at one time or another. We can plan all we want, but part of the excitement of small business is the unexpected peaks and valleys. Things just happen. What I love most about Stitch, and yes, there are just a few million things, is that Stitch works no matter how or when. Best case scenario is that the holiday rush comes and all of your inventory is up to date. You have integrated all your sale channels on Stitch, receiving quick and easy PO payments via PayPal and moved all your inventory over to Sail. Things are pretty well automated and you can sleep soundly at night. For me that scenario is often a dream, but I never worry. Stitch always keeps Zelma Rose on track! I have learned from experience that Stich's inventory management system is so valuable because it works no matter how you plan.
Here are my tips for using Stitch when your plans have gone out the window:
The Old Fashioned Way.
There is nothing wrong with reverting to pen and paper. Sure it is not ideal, but if all else fails and you have not had a chance to enter inventory into Stitch before a show, no worries, grab a notebook and keep track of your sales the old fashioned way. Post show you can go into Stitch and update your sales and inventory quite easily, I'll walk you through it below. Granted it does not provide that magical automated feeling, but it still works and can help you get back on track quickly. Make sure you at least have some pens, a sturdy notebook and a calculator on hand.
Clearly Mark Your Prices.
If you are having to go the pen and paper route, make sure you have very clear signage as part of your display. If you do not have time to tag and price each item, clearly price each design, including tax. When you are going the old fashioned route it might take a few seconds longer to process a sale. Keeping the customer questions to a minimum can help keep things speedy.
Create a Master Price List.
No doubt you will need a hand at your booth, even if it is just to grab some coffee and make a bathroom run. Help out those who are kind enough to help you by having all your prices in one place. Since things won't be fully automated through Sail, a master list at your register station will let everyone at your booth quickly reference prices. A simple list in large print usually works like a charm.
Have a boothmate or helper run the show for a few minutes while you take stock of your inventory mid-show. Count and recount to be sure all your sales are recorded. Do the same before you pack up your inventory for the night.
Stitch it all together.
After the show, give yourself a block of time to go through your recorded sales and cross reference with your remaining inventory. A few hours is probably adequate. I like to trace my steps by creating a Stitch order for an entire show. That way I can easily compare how my numbers differ from the same show the year before. For example, for Renegade Craft Fair, I create a single order for all the inventory I sell at that specific show. To do this, you will go into your Stitch account, create a new order and you can easily add sales item by item. When the order is complete, set the order as paid, and move on! All your info is nice and neat!
Isn't Stitch grand?! Want to learn more about how I use Stitch? Post your questions below :)