Tab A in Slot B: Getting my Shop Together

So as of yesterday, I now have full inventory of all 25 notecards. It took about a month longer than I thought it would.

Anything that could go wrong, pretty much did, but ended up being a small ripple on the larger pond. And all of this kerfuffle is really just up-front disorder and static that goes with any new undertaking never tried before. Nothing ventured…

What I have learned so far is that just because people have been enthusiastic about the cards in person does not mean they will find them online and scoop them off the digital shelves like the Black Friday rush at WallyWorld.

Build it, and they will yawn.

So with all this stock, I am going to have to take initiative to find a buying market other than the Etsy storefront. I am going to have to prepare x number of each card set for shelves in local stores that I keep restocked on a recurring basis.

Where I’ll ask for space and how many vendors I’ll be willing to keep supplied is something I have not sorted out yet.

And here’s the crunch: retail sales is NOT going to be easy money or much of it per unit sales. And high volume is beyond the capacity of my thumbs, who are both on disability.

Selling wholesale to stores takes a bite out of the small margin per card.

Each “unit” requires an awful lot of touches from the time I get cards from the printer to the time I send them off in the mail or leave them at the Country Store.

I can see the tedium factor skyrocketing rapidly. I can see turf wars between one side insists he needs a lot of seemingly disordered surface area and the other who values “all that junk off the table” no matter why it’s there.

All of this is to say that today is the real beginning of this undertaking. I’d love to be successful in bringing in a bit to supplement my meager Social Security check. But how much busywork, how many touches, how many hours a week would represent more “success” than I’m willing to give to this “great idea” I had a few months back?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Allen and I feel your pain (and ambivalence.) You need a 10 year old willing to work for a couple bucks an hour to do that stuff. Your good brain and talents are wasted on that “donkey work” as my dad called it. Think of it as a mentorship. Some budding entrepreneur must be around somewhere nearby.