Business overheads

This is getting annoying. Everywhere I look I find more business overheads. They are seriously eating into my meagre profit margin, but what do I do?

Most people would instantly think, ‘Put up your prices.’ but that doesn’t work either. We are in a recession and I am struggling to make ends meet just like the next person. Believe me, I DO understand. So I must try to find a balance between the two sides. 

Firstly, let me point out some of the overheads that consumers don’t generally think about. Material costs are higher than most people think. My glazes are between £6 and £10 each for a 4oz (tiny) pot that doesn’t last long for instance. That kind of cost is fairly obvious but what about the indirect costs? For example, the electricity to run the kiln at least twice for each item made, the fees that we have to pay to list items on sites such as Etsy and Folksy before we even make a sale, the commission that these sites take when we do make a sale and of course PayPal want their cut as well! Craft fairs charge for tables and I need a car and petrol to get to them. Let me continue, I need equipment like Kenny, my kiln, a computer and internet connection in order to advertise, a decent (not great) camera for photographing my stock and so on. Then I need a place to work. I work in my garage for the dirty work, in my spare room for the painting and on the sofa for laptop work. The list goes on but I think you get the idea.

So as you can see I need a way to try to cut down expenditure so that I don’t have to put up prices. This is something that’s never far from my mind. Just yesterday I was looking to order more business cards as I’m down to my last dozen or so. Last time I had a good deal from a well known online company using one of their vouchers so I went back to have another look. I was gobsmacked when I saw the new prices, and before VAT and postage! The prices are now 3 times what I paid before for half the number of cards. I felt very disappointed and quite simply can’t afford to pass that price on or absorb it myself. 

My solution for this one is to print them out myself and sit there with a guillotine trimming them all. Yet another task that takes time away from creating. Anyway, as all the design work for the cards and the branding has been done by me I really didn’t think it was worth paying silly prices for. I have the design and have set up the template for printing. I know that I will have printing costs. I bought thicker, better quality paper for the printer and I will have to reorder ink quite soon as well. But, and here’s the genius behind my thinking, I only have to make as many business cards as I need and not bulk order. This way I only need to pay for the costs of the number of cards that I know I will use in a given time. I was so pleased with myself. So here it is, the new branded version of my business cards. 

Ty Siriol Ceramics & Crafts business card and branding
The new branded design of business cards for Ty Siriol Ceramics & Crafts.

So as you can see, I am doing everything that I can to try to keep the business costs down but without compromising quality to the customer. It’s a constant juggling act but on this occasion I feel that I have come out on top.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of my new design. The back is always blank as I like to hand write a personal message to each customer. 

Thank you for reading and please buy local this festive season and support your local economies. 

Cath xx

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