It is very true that the process of running one’s own business, big or small, expands to fill all available time. Further, on any given day, the plans for that day may wind up being preempted by events or activities that represent higher priority. Yesterday was such a day.
I had planned to spend the day pulling, measuring and photographing some of our recent great Denver Show finds for the website. It never happened. That is because clients ALWAYS come first.
We awoke to find a $300 order from the website (what we call the store). That is larger than the average order, and was a nice way to start the day.
We have somewhere around 2,000 items in the store, and I had to find 9 of them (I usually do this part of order fulfillment). It actually took us a few years to get this part of the job down to an efficient process.
We have large plastic bins where we store all of the items listed in the store. The bins are labeled by type of stone (say Palm Stones), and if the type of stone requires more than one bin, the bins for that type of stone are alphabetized. We have 5 Palm Stone bins.
Each bin contains Ziplock type bags; one bag for each variety of stone (say Amethyst) in that bin.
In each of those bags we keep all of the available stones in that variety, with each stone residing in its own small velour pouch just like the ones that we give with the stones that we sell. The difference with these pouches is that they are all a pale yellow color.
Inside each pouch with the stone is a small piece of paper that has a number written in black Sharpie. The number is the item number for that stone (If it is Amethyst Palm number 5 the paper will simply have the number 5 on it). That paper is placed so that the number is positioned facing toward the outside of the pouch. The reason that all of the pouches are light yellow is that that it is the only color pouch available which allows us to read the black number directly through the pouch.
So, I pulled the 9 stones ordered by our client in Canada. I exchanged the yellow pouches for the more nicely colored ones, and put the yellow ones back to use again for more store items.
Then, I checked all of the stones against their pictures on the website. This, in theory, is not necessary, but usually about once a year there will be a problem related to us having made a mistake labeling a stone in one of the yellow pouches. It takes time to do the checking, but it is worth it not to be embarrassed by and having an unhappy client by sending him or her the wrong stone.
A worse problem occurs, luckily infrequently, when a client orders a stone which turns out to apparently not exist…. most likely due to a client having visited the house, buying a stone listed on the website, and us forgetting to remove it from the store listing. That is very embarrassing for us and we are getting better at avoiding that one.
Anyway, after matching the ordered stones with their respective pictures and laminated information cards (Kathi does an awesome job creating these cards. They are both very beautiful and extremely informative), I then proceeded to pack everything for shipment to Canada.
Each stone is bubble wrapped in its velour pouch, and all of the stones and cards are packed with lots of protection in an appropriately sized box for mailing.
We also are i the process of having advertising for the website placed on the back of our car. At one point I had to talk to the provider doing that job in order to discuss a couple of issues. Then I signed, scanned and mailed back the authorization for the job.
We have another client in Canada who has been with us since Day One, and besides having a large box to mail for him yesterday, he had asked for about another 30 stones and I started working on that order. He buys only the best of the best, and trusts us to select stones for him sight unseen.
After Kathi printed up our mailing labels, we went to the post office and mailed off the two boxes to Canada.
After we got home, I did a little more work communicating with our Canadian friend about his order in progress, and by then it was about time for dinner.
Even though we mailed out well over $1,000 of orders yesterday, by the end of the day I felt as if I had gotten nothing accomplished.
Hopefully, today, I will get more stones photographed and ready to go up in the store and Kathi will have time to work on more of her wonderful information cards besides printing and placing auction number labels on each of the 157 plastic bags containing our current eBay listings.