Well, I'm whipped tonight. Spent all day with Priscilla, a female sales rep, looking at photographs of needlepoint canvases. They are to be painted and shipped to me the first of February. Ordering them now gives the artists a chance to have the complete order ready for shipment. But decision-making is exhausting and stressful. If I pick the wrong canvases, no one will buy them and they'll glare at me forever. I'll still have to pay for them, I just will have to scramble for the money. Definitely an easier job when you buy "winners" that all your customers are delighted to see.
Reps have the photographs for each artist divided into "new" and the rest of the line. I like to go through all of them because sometimes that old workhorse canvas is just what you're looking for and you may have forgotten all about it. It is also helpful to remind yourself of the available canvases just in case a customer asks for one you haven't purchased. But it contributes to massive information overload. There are also artists whose lines don't fit the vision I have for Needle Nicely's inventory. I try to make myself look through at least 2 of my previous rejects just to ensure that they haven't altered their lines. And some I have bought in the past haven't been liked or bought by my customers. I often give them a second look to try to understand why my customers didn't like them. And some lines I treat myself and order several canvases each year because I like their look, even though I know my customers won't buy them. And, sometimes they surprise me!
This year the January market was changed to the first week in February. My season starts ramping up the middle of January and so February is not the time for me to be gone for 5 days. The timing also doesn't allow the artists any time to paint for delivery which means anything I order at the market will arrive at the earliest in April. Last year the season ended early because Easter was early. I can't afford to pay for canvases that arrive after my customers have gone back North. Nor do I want to look at all those canvases all summer during the hurricane season.
I placed some time-delayed orders when I went to Baltimore the first of September. I also had one day with
Ron, my other rep, in October. Now I'll supplement all those orders through reading blogs of artists and other shops discussing designs. The internet is a big help in this process. Last January I called an artist to order some canvases. She knew I hadn't been at market and remarked that one of the designs wasn't on her website yet, how had I found out about it? I told her whose market blog mentioned it.