Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What a Year

By Tracy Zhu, Owner

A few months ago we had no employees. I worked nearly seven days a week at the store, just getting the occasional day off when Drew filled in for me (he still has his day job and likely will for awhile.)  Both of us put in extra hours at night from home, working on the website, ordering inventory, catching up with e-mail, and so forth.

Well, none of that really has changed, other than the employee part! We're still putting in huge numbers of hours, but now have three exceptional part-time employees. Kristi Anna, Sarah, and Patricia are all tremendous assets whom we are lucky to have on board. Our growth month over month this year has been tremendous, something we were unprepared for. Not a bad problem to have, but by mid-year I was falling behind on daily tasks, and not able to take advantage of opportunities. We saw our internet sales level off, partly because of algorithm changes Google made, but I also believe largely because of neglect on my part as I tended to our brick and mortar store in Port Gamble, WA. I wasn't adding new items and updating descriptions; and some of the content grew stale. Now that we are staffed up I am turning my attention back the e-commerce side of things, while organizing next month's buying trip to South Africa, Lesotho, and Dubai. We'll return from that and go straight into the holiday season. The next three months will be nuts!

A few of the hit fair trade items we added this year (I'll save the misses for another post):

Zulu telephone wire baskets from South Africa
Fair trade chocolate from Congo and Colombia
Pure unrefined shea butter from Ghana
Binga baskets from Zimbabwe
Felt peacocks and other ornaments from Kyrgyzstan
Soapstone hippos from Kenya

I leave you with a beautiful image of Port Gamble, taken from the dahlia garden by the Post Office and looking toward the Port Gamble General Store.  Photo courtesy of Kitsap Tours, dahlias courtesy of the Kitsap County Dahlia Society.

Photo courtesy of Kitsap Tours.

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