Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I went and blasted through my budget yesterday.

After 12 weeks of being at or below budget, I spent what was left of last week's, all of this week's, and most of next week's.

The biggest reason was because of American Sports Cards closing.

Even though I doubt I'll get many of his customers.

I've always had somewhat rocky relations with sport collectors; especially once discounting became the norm in that industry. I need to charge at least 40% on any product, and prefer to get 50%. The SRP for most sports cards run between 15 and 25% before the mass market adds their discounts.

So if I'm going to charge more for sports cards, I need to be up on my sports, willing to yak with the guys, and do a bit of trading, buying, or consignment. None of which I have the time and energy for.

If all it took was putting the boxes of cards out, multiplying the COG's by 1.6666 on the calculator, and waiting for customers to buy, I'd be fine. Despite the absolute devastation the sport card industry has suffered, the collectors were so spoiled during the bubble years that they still tend to be a bit demanding and arrogant. So, if they come to me and say, "Treat me really good or I'll go elsewhere..." my response will usually be, "Let's get this over with....buy from me at my prices, or go elsewhere...." Kind of a stand off.

I've always wondered when they'll realized that their little hobby has all but self-destructed. At the peak of the bubble years, the sports cards entered the mass market channels to such an extent, that I think its considered standard product. (Most of the mass market stores have middle-men who actually package and sell the product, so there is no risk.)

That, plus the internet, has made card shops unnecessary. Even so, enough guys want to sit around and chat about sports, that there is always some youngish retired guy willing to make beer and cigarette money off his sports card shop, while he lives off his 20 or 30 year pension. What really shows the weakness of cards are that even these guys are quitting.

Still....no sense in not at least having a wide variety of product for sale. And since summer is on the way, when I at least have a chance of getting fresh customers, I thought it was worth a try.
I had reached a peak of 10k in inventory in sports cards, and that has kind of winnowed down to about 7.5k.

(I have wavered from getting at least one of every basketball and baseball, and two of every football; to one box of every other basketball and baseball, and one box of football; so I'm back to the former option.)

By the time I got all the product from the last 2 weeks that I missed, and upped my orders on the stuff I did order, most of my budget was gone.

Meanwhile, this is the week I order all the seasonal stuff. I ordered a bunch of stand ups (it seems as though every time I stick John Wayne in the window, he sells.) I ordered the funny candy; the Machismo candy cigarettes, the Death mints, etc. The funny action figures, like Albert Einstein and William Shakespeare.

I stocked up on every Calvin and Hobbes, and Zits, and Far Side, and so on collections. Every Asterix. Summer product.

If I cut back a bit over the next 3 weeks, I should have the budget back on track again.

American Sports closing is a special circumstance. Like Gambit Games closing, it behooves me to stock up and try to capture some of that business. There is a certain level of inventory I need to be at to have any credibility.

At least I hope this isn't just a rationalization. The proof will be if I can cut back on the next few weeks budgets and get back on track.

1 comment:

Rhea said...

Wow, you own a book shop. What a wonderful, yet precarious life.