Saturday, September 25, 2010

IWAKO Erasers Have Arrived!

I believe we are now the only store in North Kitsap to offer IWAKO erasers. These environmentally friendly, non-toxic, collectible erasers are made in Japan and are popular around the world. We have a large assortment of penguins, pandas, cupcakes and other adorable IWAKOs available both in the store and online. We're adding more items for kids, since they seem to love the store but often can't find anything to fit their budget. IWAKO erasers are safe, recyclable, inexpensive, and cute - and we are finding that adults love them as well!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Great New Inventory This Week

This week we're excited to get more kisii stone (also known as soapstone) carvings from Kenya. We're also getting Kenyan necklaces and bracelets to add to our diverse ethnic jewelry collection. We are very much looking forward to our first shipment of IWAKO erasers. These Japanese pencil erasers are wildly popular with kids, and adults can appreciate the fact that they are recyclable and non-toxic.

Last week was a monster week in terms of new inventory, so we're bursting with African baskets, Nepalese clothing, Indian copper and silver jewelry, and much more. We're getting it up on our website as quickly as we can, but keeping up with processing new inventory is something we haven't fully mastered.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

African Bolga Basket Giveaway

The Kitsap Daily, a blog covering communities, businesses, and events in the Kitsap area, is sponsoring a giveaway of one of our small market Bolga baskets. Just go to their website for the details (it's super easy to enter.)

Speaking of African baskets, we just got in two big shipments of Bolga baskets this week, so we're at peak inventory. If you've been thinking about buying one, now is a great time because our selection is so large. And a reminder....we offer free shipping anywhere in the U.S. on orders over $100.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Journey Of A Small Business Owner #6 - Financing

For a long while, the television refused to let anyone ignore that banks were not making loans and small business were in dire needs for those loans. We kept hearing that some businesses couldn't make their payroll because they couldn't get short term loans from the banks, and I thought, "well, if you have to borrow from the bank to make a payroll, your business isn't run right."

I still believe that. But our own experience with the banks did validate that claim. As individuals, we had a spotless credit history, but as a new business, Tango Zulu Imports had no credit history. Even though I could have purchased an automobile on my personal credit card, the same bank would not issue me a credit card for the business with enough credit to buy a tricycle.
So was it the case that after careless lending that led most banks to the brink of collapse and some over the edge, banks were now overly cautious? Clearly not all of them. Another bank that I have not done any business for several years has a standing offer of a large line of credit at rock bottom rate. Even the bank that made such as fuss about approving a lousy $500 credit card line, when we showed little interest, mysteriously approved a business credit card with credit line 40 times more than we cared for.

There are many hurdles along the path of starting a new business. Dealing with banks and its strange responses was the smallest of them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Spirit Of Port Gamble

Many say that Port Gamble is a haunted town, after owning a business in that town for over four months, I can't say I saw any ghosts, but tonight, I certainly witnessed the spirit of this community.

Our business, Tango Zulu Imports, had the honor of hosting the monthly Kingston Chamber of Commerce (KCC) after hours event. Around 5pm when traffic around this town usually slows down, local business owners started showing up at Tango Zulu Imports, and their presence brightened up an otherwise gloomy early fall day. Quickly, the rooms filled up, where people drank wine, dined on delicious BBQ generously donated by Mike's Four Star BBQ and enjoyed a fabulous coffee concoction by Gamble Bay Coffee.

Other local businesses such as Best Friends Antiques, the General Store, Olympic Resource Group, The Salon & Spa on Gamble Bay and Tango Zulu Imports all contributed door prizes. Linda Fyfe, the executive director of KCC, picked the first winner of our door prize drawing, then each successive winner picked the next winner. As if by design, the manly prize of cup and saucer went to John, owner of Olympic Outdoor Center, who quickly discovered the proper use of the trophy as a beer cup. The masculine prize of hair care went to Jack Harrington, who, I'm glad to say, did not find immediate application for his winnings.

Everyone had a lot of fun and it is always wonderful to connect with the local community. We are thankful for everyone who came to the event, and all the local businesses who contributed to make this event such a great success!