Money Saving Monday

Money Saving Monday: Know When NOT to Jump on a Trend!

The new Monday tradition here at RCD is Money Saving Monday.  Each Monday you will be able to check here and find anything from a quick tip or a long winded post on things that help you SAVE MONEY while selling your wares!  Today I want to talk to you about when NOT to jump on a trend!  I am going to use Pillow Pet Gate 2015-2016 as a prime example!  If you are not a Silhouette/Cricut user and haunt the Facebook Groups you may not have been aware of Pillow Pet Gate but I will clue you in…keep reading…

During the Holiday season in 2015 Dollar tree started carrying small Pillow Pet toys.  At $1 each the price point was too good to pass up for people that could personalize them.  So Pillow Pet Gate began.  People were clearing shelves at every Dollar Tree within a 100 mile radius.  The stores were receiving massive shipments of Pillow Pets that were ordered on the website to be delivered to the store.  Dollar Tree tried to put a limit on how many you could buy at one time but that really didn’t matter people still found a way to get their sought after item.  The item personalized with a little vinyl were selling for upwards of $10 if I remember right.  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Not in my neck of the woods and I am not the only one…there are a lot of people out there that may or may not admit to having 100 plus Pillow Pets left in the aftermath!

Know what sells in your area!

I was itching to jump on board but 2 things were holding me back

  1.  I didn’t have a heat press and couldn’t even imagine trying to do them with an iron
  2. I knew they wouldn’t sell very well in my area…not well enough to put the effort in the item instead of items that were already selling.

You have to know your area!  Not everything sells well everywhere!  In the south you all monogram EVERYTHING!  Nothing against that but in my neck of the woods I mention a monogram and people give me the blank stare like I am speaking a foreign language!

Keep an eye on the BST (Buy Sell Trade) Groups in your local area and watch which posts people are commenting one…which ones they get really excited about!  This includes your competition’s posts.  Keeping up on what your competition is up to is part of being in business.  No that doesn’t mean stalk their page and do everything they are doing but it DOES mean that you can see what has sold for them historically (like last Christmas) and if they sold small fuzzy personalized animals by the 100s last year then the Pillow Pet train might be a good one to jump on.  If they listed them and no one NOT ONE PERSON commented then there is a good chance that you will not be able to sell any no matter how hard you try.

Time and Effort = Profit?profit

In looking at the Pillow Pets even if I had a heat press and they sold well in my area I still am not sure I would have jumped on board.  The profit may not have made up for the time and effort I would have put into them….AND the time and effort I would have taken away from other projects that might have been more profitable.

$1.08 (1 Pillow Pet) + $2 (vinyl, probably less) + $5 (for the half hour it takes to design, cut, weed and apply the vinyl saying I pay myself $10/hr which is super super low)= $8.08 per Pet cost.  This does not include the time it will take you to list, follow up and deliver the Pets locally.  You charge $10 (which is what I saw in my area for the few that sold) that a PROFIT OF $ 1.92.  Doesn’t seem to great now that you break it down now does it?  Yes you may get faster and find other ways to cut costs but in the end you aren’t making much per item.

I spent my time on Height Rulers!  Costs me $20 (including all the aspects listed above) to make and I sell them for $40.  Yep I would rather make 2 height rulers and make $40 than do 20.83333333 pillow pets!  That also saves wear and tear on equipment and overhead.  See where I am going?  It may SEEM like you are making a lot but in the end you may not be and actually may be losing money.

Will making 100’s of furry creatures burn you out?

Yes…it will!  It’s a fine line between making money and  making smart decisions.  While you are buried in Pillow Pets that you are making for new customers (customers that are chasing trends so more than likely they will not be long term customers) your already existing loyal client base can be easily ignored.  You must be able to find balance between making a profit on new items and keeping your current clients happy and court them with new items THEY will love.

When should you jump on a trend?

  • If you will make a profit…an ACTUAL profit!

    I don’t jump unless I will make AT LEAST a 50% profit REALISTICALLY…which means looking at all the factors involved.   This is very individualized to your price points and what you expect from your work.  Please remember YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE…YOUR WORK IS AWESOME…YOU DON’T DESERVE TO WORK FOR FREE! I

  • The supplies are readily available to you!

    • Another trend that hit was Yardzee…I jumped on that puppy so fast and made GOOD money doing it!  BUT I live in the Pacific Northwest and untreated cedar 4x4s are readily available for me.  I found a great local source for the 5 gallon buckets and was able to do assembly line production!  Yes I got to the point where I never ever ever want to see another Yardzee dice in my life…but it was a wise business choice for me and I was able to manage my time to keep all my customers happy.
    • People jumped on the Yardzee train in parts of the US that does not have the wood readily available therefor they had to use more expensive wood which took a chunk out of profit. People also jumped on the Pillow Pets without knowing if they were going to be able to continue getting the little furry animals. They sold out in many stores (I HATE shelf clearers…don’t be one!) and then they were no longer available online.  Sure was to lose customers is to promise an item only to have to go back and tell them you can’t get them anymore!
  • You are new and need the practice.

    • If you are new and are looking to create a client base and practice your trade then a trending item might be a good fit for you.  You will retain a few returning customers and will make a little money if you price correctly.
    • Always make the item before you try to sell them.  Do not ask to use someone else’s picture to “gauge interest”.  That’s dishonest advertising and you will almost always shoot yourself in the foot!  Just don’t do it please!  Make a couple…you have time…the trend won’t die off while you are doing it!

I hope you will take all of this information and think about when you see the next trend hitting the groups.  Losing money sucks…especially when you don’t realize it is happening.  Also having a closet stuffed full of Pillow Pets that you couldn’t unload because you misjudged your market also sucks!  Your family members will get tired of getting them for gifts very very quickly!

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