Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The financial reality of market going

Most needlepoint shops are really small businesses.  By that I mean, REALLY small businesses.  If you pay attention to these things, most studies consider something under 10 million dollars in revenue to be a small business.  EXCUSE ME--we're talking needlepoint shops.  So, we're really small potatoes. Understand that since our industry is small potatoes  we can't dictate which convention centers we want or which hotels we want, because let's face it, we're an industry primarily of women who aren't big drinkers (at least in public) or big spenders on food, so who in the travel/housing industry really wants us as customers?

A case in point--at the recent cash-and-carry at St Charles, the hotel ran out of romaine lettuce on Saturday evening.  They ran out of the Boston bibb as well at Sunday lunch.  Things were becoming desperate on the salad menu by Sunday night.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you have a hotel full of women (rather than men, duh!), you are going to sell more salads than usual.  No one in the kitchen figured that out.  I'm not upset about it because as a result, I received my Sunday night room service dinner free because they didn't have most of the ingredients.  It was still tasty and made tastier by the cost.  But how stupid from a marketing point of view.

I loved the St Charles show, primarily because I have been a Hilton Honors member for what seems like centuries.  I had enough points to pay for 2 of my nights in the hotel and the reservation clerk was nice enough to make the night I paid for the cheapest of the 3 of the market.  Then, courtesy of Capital One points, I paid for my plane ticket.  So my actual cost was one night in a hotel, meals for 3 days, transport to and from the hotel, and shuttles to and from the airport to my home.  Just a little less than $500 and that's being a skinflint on a budget. But to pay that $500 I have to sell at least $1500 worth of merchandise--$500 to pay for the market expenses, $500 to pay for the merchandise sold and $500 to pay toward replacement merchandise.

That August market was a cash-and-carry which TNNA has said they are going to discontinue in 2015.  The major markets are usually twice a year (January and June) in major convention centers.  That will also change in 2015 when TNNA plans to add a cash-and-carry element to the convention center shows.  Interesting. Can't wait to see how that shakes out.

I've been looking at going to the January San Diego show.  I love San Diego.  There are so many great restaurants on 5th avenue.  There are at least five used book stores about 20 blocks from the convention center where I always have a wonderful time (as a former librarian, I love bookstores).  Not to mention the zoo and the museums in Balboa Park.  Also, the people at the convention center are really good at dealing with convention-goers (they make restaurant reservations, they give directions to wherever, they are there when you need them).  BUT, the hotels are a minimum of $190. a night (no points!), the plane ticket will still be free thanks to Capital One, and I have to pay for my meals.  The market is 3 days plus at least 1 day for classes if you take one, so you fly in one day, 3 days for market and fly out the 5th day (or take the red-eye and arrive home really wasted) for a total of at least 4 or more nights for a cost of $760 plus food plus cabs to and from hotel and restaurants plus shuttle to and from home.  So we're talking at least $1400.

That means I have to sell at least $4200 worth of merchandise to pay for my market.  That's $1400 for the canvases, $1400 for the market stay and $1400 for new merchandise.  Now let me think about whether I need to go to that market when I could check on lots of things on line.  Yes, I like to do a meet and greet and catch up on the latest with everyone--but can Needle Nicely afford it?  Hmmm.  Tune in to find out what I decide.


  1. A real eye-opener, when you break it all down that way, Mary Agnes. Think I'll stay home.

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