Friday, June 27, 2014

Slow Times=Slow Adjustments

Right now it is really slow at the flea market so we are adjusting our schedule to accommodate the slow times.  The market is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays but since it is so slow on Fridays we are opting to stay closed on Fridays for a while.  We will work Saturdays and Sundays and see how things go.

We had another meeting about production with our manufacturer of our beef jerky. Things are coming together quickly. We are getting more and more excited and nervous every single day.

Luckily with the holiday week this week, I have been given a ton of hours at the Michaels. This will be so nice when it converts to cold hard cash in a few weeks.

I have also been working on some "samples" for the classroom where I will be teaching some classes. Baby hats, scarves, tablet covers, etc.

So we are adjusting to the heat, slow times, and learning patience in the waiting game for jerky.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Lord Provides Once Again.

No I am not surprised but I do need to begin to trust more.

About a week ago we had a huge storm that came through here.  Our canopy on our RV was destroyed.  It was a bent and mangled mess of aluminum.  We called our insurance company and an adjuster came out on Tuesday to take a look at the mess and report back to our insurance company.

This morning I called the retirement organization where I am cashing out and we aren't to expect a check until late July. Sigh.  Last week we were asked to set up a produce stand about 15 miles away from us.  We agreed and bought $100 in produce from a guy at our market (wholesale) and we set up Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and we sold $28 total for all three days. By Wednesday evening most of our produce was at the end of its prime.  There was no way we could sell it another day.  We had to cut our losses.  I cut up the fruits and veggies and froze what I could. It was a gamble that didn't pay off this time.

Yesterday my husband and I were discussing our finances again.  I suggested I ask for more hours.  He is going to apply for some more jobs. We will be super poor for a while longer.  It is frustrating and weren't quite sure what to do.

This morning while my husband was on the computer scanning the jobs listings he got an email.  A guy wants to buy our old digital camera we have had on ebay for a while.  Yay!  That is $100 in our pocket.  That will get us some groceries at least until I get paid next Thursday.

On his way to mail off the camera he got a phone call from our insurance company.  They are sending us a check to replace the canopy.  It will arrive on Monday.  Whew.  Now we can pay rent here and at the market, and a bill that we are behind on along with more groceries and gas.  Whew.  Just when we needed it, He provides.

We have been reading a book recently "The Man Who Gave Up Money".  It is a book about David Suelo. One of the themes of this book is reliance on God to provide when we need it.  This has happened so many times in the past couple years and we feel so blessed when it does happen.

Yes, we will get our canopy replaced when I get my retirement money.  We can wait another month.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

People Who We Thought Were A Threat

Back in the flea market world we have found people who have become our friends and those who we label as a threat to us and our business.

In the beginning of our endeavor at the flea market we began to attempt to "protect" our product.  We didn't want others to swoop in with our product and set up close or even far from us and sell the same product.  We identified one person, Chad, who owned a dip business three aisles over as a potential threat.  He had spoken to us and we had gotten to know a bit about him through our conversations and watching his actions.  He wanted to expand, take other dip businesses out, and take over the dips business in all of the flea market.  He began to expand quickly to two other locations with a possibility of a third location in the market.  Another dips business had "words" with him and he was hot to take them out of business. In casual talks with my husband Chad was told (by my husband) that we were looking into expanding to bakery items (pastries, cookies, breads, etc).  Next thing we know Chad has bought and opened a booth on the busiest aisle of the market and is selling breads, cookies, and pastries. Hmmmm..... wonder where he got that idea. Chad came over to our booth one day and bragged about his new booth and him selling baked goods and he mentioned he would also be selling jerky as well.  My husband reminded him of their "gentleman's agreement" that we wouldn't sell dips if he didn't sell jerky.  Chad responded with, "It's just business..."  Again, this man was labeled a threat.

We kept doing what we intended to do in the time we intended to do it in.  We opened up a booth with baked goods but ended up closing it within a month. It wasn't making money and it was taking away from our focus. We did it on our time and in our way, not because someone else was trying to swoop in on our ideas.

Chad eventually put jerky in his booth on the busiest aisle but the jerky is exotics and we don't deal in exotics.  So he ended up not a threat at all.

In January on aisle C, about 10 booths down from our jerky booth that my son ran for us, another vendor switched her product to jerky.  This time it was the same jerky that we sold. We identified her a threat. She tried to undercut us slightly which didn't work.  She never hurt our sales on that aisle or on any other aisle.  In February we closed our booth on C, not because of her but because we had bought a booth on the busiest aisle and my son, who had been running that booth had begun baseball practice and wasn't available to run that booth anymore.  In March, the other vendor on C had opened another booth on aisle F and by May she closed down her booth on C.  Currently, we have a vendor on aisle F who sells our product. He buys wholesale from us and he out sells this lady every day.  When we found out our number one  product had been discontinued, we cried and then decided to go with the flow and continue on.  We had other things in the works anyway.  This lady found a stash of this discontinued product and ordered 58 cases. She was going to wait for all us to run out of product and raise her prices and get our customers.  Two weeks ago we found her in another market during the week and she was unloading her product for less than what she paid for it.  Last weekend I walked by her booth on F and she had some jerky still on her table but she was also selling personalized, cartoons that you print off the computer.  She adds your name and prints it out and sticks it in a $2 frame for you.  She was never a threat and still isn't.  Again we did nothing but keep on doing what we were doing.

There was a guy who had been selling jerky in the market on aisle D for a long while prior to our arrival.  He had a whole store of all different jerkies, both exotics and beef.  He never sold our brand, however, he did have a relationship with the "honey" guy on the busiest aisle.  This honey guy has a booth just 4 booths down from us.  The honey guy would give the jerky guy on D some honey to sell in his booth.  Once we arrived on the busiest aisle the honey guy began selling our same jerky on his booth.  We approached the market since there was supposed to be a "5 booth" rule (can't sell the same product within 5 booths of the next person). However, the market chose to bend this rule since the guy had a double booth and the jerky was displayed on the far end of the booth from us.  Basically, the market chose not to deal with it. We labeled this honey guy a threat. However, he hardly ever sells any jerky that we have seen and he has never hurt our sales.  Again, not a threat in the end.

Lesson learned?

In business, most people are not your friends.

In business, you have to keep your mouth shut as to your own business plans because others will try to swoop in and do what you had planned first.

In business, label your threats and watch them. Most of the time they don't hurt your business at all if you are sticking with your plan and adjust accordingly. Be prepared to use the system in place to protect your brand (like we did with the honey guy).  But be prepared for the system not to work in your favor.

In business, those who swoop, rush, or try to take over a product that you are planning to bring in, will likely  fail in the process because they rushed to beat you.

In business, stick with your plan and time frame. With careful thought and planned actions you will succeed.

In business, often no response to those who act looking for a response from you will anger them more than any response you could have given them. Chad was looking for a response when he came over to tell us he was selling jerky in his booth.  We didn't give him one.  He was looking for a response when he began selling bakery items.  We didn't give him one.  The lady on aisle C was looking for a response when she began selling our product but we didn't give her one.  We still aren't sure why the honey guy is selling jerky. We believe the other jerky guy who is in business with the honey guy was looking for a response, but we didn't give him one either.  What we did do was just acknowledge that we knew what they were doing and selling.  That was all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Did I ever tell you about.... the buzzards???

Once upon a time in a land not so far way.  Actually a neighborhood that was pretty exclusive and gated and had million dollar homes in it.....

There was a neighbor who didn't live there all the time but when he was there he was a bit strange.  First he decided to buy a smallish bulldozer and dig holes and ditches in his backyard of his million dollar house.  Then he made sure, very sure that the trees were growing healthy and well when trees were planted between his house and his neighbor's house.  The trees grew healthy and began to make a natural barrier.  Then there were large birds that landed on his roof.  He was away a lot so his neighbors thought something had died in his backyard and the buzzards had found it.  No real concern.  Then there was a smell, a stink that the neighbors could smell and it seemed to be coming from his backyard.  Again, no big concern but just weirdness.  Then the birds came more frequently. Then the neighbors heard he was going to fix up his house and move back in. There was some roof work done, but no other real signs of work.  Sometimes he would fire up the bulldozer and ride it around in his backyard making more ditches and holes.

The birds kept coming.  Finally one of his neighbors moved out, not because of him but because they were moving.  The new neighbors moved in and the very first weekend saw the birds and smelled the stink and got curious. More curious than other neighbors.  They peered over the back fence that separated his yard from theirs and saw a few dead deer.  A few.  They called the police and the police called the animal control and the game warden.  They finally got in touch with the man who owned the house that had the dead deer in the backyard and the buzzards that landed on his roof.  He calmly explained that he was trying to create a buzzard sanctuary for the large birds and took great pleasure in watching them pull at the dead carcasses and eat the dead deer.  He was hunting the deer somewhere else and bringing them to his house and putting them in the ditches he dug and then watched the buzzards swoop in and eat the deer.

The police left, the game warden left, and the animal control guy left.  You know why??? Because the neighborhood was private property owned by the homeowners association and the man had broken no laws.

Yes this story is true.  It was my parents' neighbor. (my parents are the ones that thankfully moved) I had snapped this photo just before they moved. from their back porch.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Awesome Stuffed Peppers

I am not a pepper person.  I just want to make that clear.  We had ground beef and red peppers in the house and it is just my husband and I so I thought I would try something different for dinner tonight.

I thought I would share my recipe.  I scanned the internet and took some basic ideas from the several recipes I saw and then ad libbed the rest.

Stuffed Red Peppers

1 lb ground beef
1 cup cooked rice (brown or white)
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red pepper
6 oz crushed tomatoes
2 tbs bread crumbs
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt (or less to taste)
4 red peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the rice.
Cut peppers about a third of the way down the pepper.  Scoop out any white veins and rinse out any seeds. Dice up the tops of the peppers for the meat stuffing.
In a skillet brown the ground beef, onions and diced red peppers.
In a large pot boil some water to par boil the pepper bottoms. Just a few minutes until they are just soft. Take them out of the water and set aside to cool slightly.
Once the meat, onions and peppers are cooked drain off any extra fluid then add rice, tomatoes, black pepper and salt.
Stuff the pepper bottoms with the meat stuffing and set in an oven safe dish.  Pour water in the bottom of the dish until it is about 1/8 inch from the bottom. Top the peppers with bread crumbs and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Was Going to Complain

I started a post on the 10 things I hate living in a trailer, but I was interrupted and walked away from it in the middle.  I actually only got to 4 and had to really think hard to get a 5th thing I hated.  When I returned to finish it, I wasn't in that same mood anymore.  So no more complaining....

Well, I could complain about the smallness of my world right now, the fact that it is hot and muggy outside but in reality I am pretty content.

I love that we are ONLY paying $385 a month for our rent.  I love that we can pick up and move if we want. I love that it only takes me a few minutes to clean the entire place. I love that I don't have to worry about extra household bills.  I love that we have a pool that we can take a dip in when we want and not have any pool maintenance to go along with it.

I love that we are so close to the beach.  I love that our expenses are pretty small right now. I love that this lifestyle allows us to experiment with different ways of making money and that failing isn't so horrible that we lose our house.

Am I missing our old house? any house? space? Yes. But I am fine for now.  FOR NOW!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Camp

We just got back from a shopping trip for summer camp. It is a week long sleep away camp that is run by our diocese.  The kids are excited and can't wait to get packed and ready to go.  They leave this Sunday.

Whew. I am tired of shopping.  It is amazing the stuff kids need nowdays to go to camp.  My kids are going to a church camp. On the list for our camp is the normal stuff, toiletries, shirts, shorts, etc. Our camp, being a church camp, asks the kids to bring their Bible (all ours are in storage right now), a one piece bathing suit (my girls wear the tankinis that go all the way down to the bottoms showing no belly), and two twin sheets and a blanket.

Since we are still living in our trailer right now and all our stuff is packed away in storage 5 states away from us, we had to go shopping for the basics.

Do your summer camps require specific things for the kids to bring/not bring? What odd things did you need to get? Anyone know where I can get three Bibles for cheap?