As a maker, what you do is a hell of a lot of work. And not everyone understands.
We get it. We want to help.
We get it. We know how it is. Making and selling stuff - whether food, art, clothing, housewares - is not easy. Running a manufacturing company - no matter how small, is hard.
The passion that drove you to create the business still drives it forward, but making the stuff may be losing its luster, and selling it can be a real grind. Plus there’s all the equipment you need to sell at the markets. And then there’s all the other “business” stuff you know you need to be doing, but don’t. If you’re working what seems like all the time, when are you going to get all that organized and set up? But you have to. But when can you possibly do it? You just have no time.
It’s a tough position to be in. Your friends tell you how much they love that you’re “doing your own thing” but few realize how much work it is.
We’re here for you.
Here’s what we can offer - and we can do more, let us know what else you want:
We’re still getting this set up, but sign up here for the newsletter, and let us know what else you’d like us to offer. Looking to get it up and running before the outdoor markets start in 2014.
Staffing services - if you have a wedding to go to, and can’t sell at a market, you lose real money. You don’t have a salary and don’t get a day off. How do you find someone you trust to work it? We can help there - we have a team of trained market vendors who know the routine, how to set up a tent, and when to engage and when to stand back. Hey - no one can do it as well as you, but they’re close. (Have the time and want to sell on the weekends? Let us know and we'll be in touch.)
Supplies - So where do you get a tent and bins that won’t break and a hand truck? What types? What’s everyone else using? What if for some sweet bins there’s a minimum order of 6 and you only need 2? And what do you do if you don’t have a large lobby or doorman - how do you get this stuff delivered? Order from us and we’ll deliver it to your market location when you’re out there to sell. Or feel free to use our recommendations and find the product elsewhere.
Carpool services - if you’re a regular vendor, let us know where you’re selling and when, and what neighborhood you’re leaving from, and we’ll send you a list of folks who could be good for sharing a ride. Car services are expensive. Or if they have their own car and it's only half full, you could throw them a few bucks and everyone’s happy.
Basic business practices - do you know how to calculate gross margin? One of the most important ratios out there that should always be top of mind. Is your business profitable? Do you know? If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. What’s the value proposition of your product? To strategize is to differentiate. You probably didn't go to business school, and believe me, you don’t need to and likely not your tribe (wasn't really mine...), but some of that stuff is handy.
Spreadsheets - you need to know a little Excel. It will save you precious precious time. We do (fun) classes to teach you how to use spreadsheets. With beers and snacks. Spreadsheets are incredibly powerful tools, but too often people say defiantly and proudly that they don’t use Excel. And don’t want to. Wrong answer. Do not be afraid. Spreadsheets do nothing but save you time. Pete Raho used to work Christie’s teaching Excel classes to art world professionals who were not fans of Excel, but they were converted, and he’s doing it again here. We’re not using it as a tool to amortize your mortgage, it’s a tool to organize your business.
Bookkeeping, “financial stuff”, etc - so how are all of your records looking? Probably could be better? What accounting software are you using? Oh, you still need to set it up? When’s that going to be? Oh, when you’re not busy. Right. We know what’s out there and can get you set up, and then either keep doing it for you or hand it over, but we can at least get you on the right track, and discuss what you need to do going forward. Picking a credit card services provider, online store, all that stuff - we can get you set.
Spreadsheet tools - have a need for something that Quickbooks doesn't do, but you need it? Wish you could just put in certain numbers relevant to your business and have it use a certain formula? We can create that for you. It’s not a “custom app” or anything like that, it’s a quick and dirty way to get the job done using tools you already have so you can get back to work. Talk to us about some examples and think big.
Business practices - so you’re working seemingly all the time, but you’re still not making any money. Why not? What do you need to do to change that? What are your margins? What’s your cost of sales? What’s your marketing to sales ratio? How, exactly, are you driving that wedge between price and cost. How do you grow? How do you scale? What’s working and what’s not? What’s your plan? Hope is not a strategy. You need a plan. Let’s get a beer...
Pete Raho (owner of Gowanus Furniture Co, with an MBA from NYU Stern specializing in Strategy) is looking to create a business that provides the suite of services he knows his business could have used.
The plan for this is to offer a centralized suite of services that can be helpful and cost-effective for nearly anyone selling handmade products at any of the New York City markets. The goal is to make money by helping you make even more money.
Right now we just want to get the word out and see what people think about it. What do you need? What can we do?
Gowanus Furniture Co. is still out selling every weekend at all Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg locations (come by and say hello!) - so we’re still deep in it and facing these same issues and know them all too well. This is an offshoot that we think will dovetail with that business.
We hope to work with you shortly.