Okay, so my apologies to the original 5 P’s slogan, but I want to get to the root of the message in this installment. Planning is key. Yes, sometimes people are just plain lucky, but that is rare. Most long-term successful shop owners have a plan, and work the plan. Don’t underestimate the part this plays in their success.
In the world of fabric, the four seasons represent new releases from the fabric producers. It is really a constant thing, but the uptick in the numbers is measurable for “winter” and “summer” collections. The big surges are in “fall’ and “spring” offerings. That said, release dates are not your challenge, delivery dates are!
Specific examples are often useful, so let me use Henry Glass as an example.
I just received 15 new collections from Henry Glass, representing their early Spring 2019 releases. Keep in mind, since Quilt Market is held in May, there may be some newer releases to come, but this is the major portion of what we’ll see from them for now. Of those 15, three are available “now,” four will deliver in August (five months from now), four more in September, one in October, and two in November. The 11 that are future releases represent 147 SKUs to choose from. Your challenge is to a) choose from those 147+ fabrics those that will sell in your shop, b) choose quantities that will sell in a timely manner, and that work in your OTB plan, and c) keep track of when those fabrics are scheduled to deliver – along with any other fabrics from Henry Glass or Benartex, or Moda, or Northcott, or…- you get the picture – you have bought or may buy in the future. Here is where your planning will pay off!
A caveat that I must add is (and you already know this if you are a shop owner), delivery dates are not carved in stone. A September delivery date is often a “Septober” window. Could be September, but just as likely to be October – and could be later, depending on issues the manufacturer encounters in the production of the collection. Unless you specify a cancel date when ordering, your budget is potentially subject to ebbs and flows that will challenge your planning. Buyer beware!
I have seen shop owners who write nothing down during the selection process. Others keep a journal, recording manufacturer, collection, number of SKUs ordered, and pricing. Still others take photos with their cameras of any cap sets or folio cards selected during the process. One owner brings her laptop computer into the meeting, recording SKUs, quantities, pricing, and delivery dates as the orders are placed. (As an aside, she is only dealing with me with one vendor, so this is easier for her to do than my typical shop owner, but it’s an amazingly “perfect” scenario of being on top of the process!) There is no “right” way to keep track, but there are smarter ways to do it. Your plan has to fit your shop and your capabilities.
So, you know you need a way to plan, but how to do it? I’ll address that in another episode, but be thinking about your process and where the holes in your process are. I will give you some concrete guidance to help you create a Planning Process that helps you to Prevent Poor Performance. Stay tuned!