Thursday, April 10, 2014

First Quarter 2014 Recap

by Tracy Zhu, Owner

It's a sign of spring when we can wet Bolga baskets to shape them and allow them to dry on our back deck.

Our first quarter of the year is always marked by slow sales and lots of projects. This year our brick and mortar store in Port Gamble was presented with some challenges beyond the normal anemic sales. Several businesses in town closed temporarily for reasons ranging from expansions to vacations to getting hit by a semi, which affected business town-wide. We also had unusually bad weather, and the Seattle Seahawks  made their run to the Super Bowl, which thrilled us but killed our Sunday sales. Richard Sherman should buy a market basket to make up for it. Despite it all, brick and mortar sales were up 12% over the same period last year, and internet sales were up 39%.

People who have never managed a small business understandably think that slow sales periods = lots of free time for the owner/manager. Not so, at least for me. Here is a partial list of my first quarter 2014 tasks:

Closing down the pop-up store and absorbing fixtures and merchandise into the main store
Deep cleaning and reorganizing the store
Here's a fun one: removing the winter mold from all our white railing.
Revamping the website (huge project, lots still to do but I don't doubt that my work so far helped produce those big internet sales numbers)
Doing inventory - a massive and tedious job
Scouting dozens of locations in six different cities for a possible second store - this has been frustrating but fun
Designing new labels and hangtags for several products
Ordering summer merchandise (and by the end of the quarter, ordering some of our fall merchandise.)
State L&I tax return
State unemployment tax return
State B&O and sales tax return
State use tax return
Kitsap County personal property tax
944 return
940/941 return
AJEs and other ground work to prepare to close the books and file our federal income tax return
W-2s

And of course all the daily HR, accounting, marketing, administrative, operational and janitorial tasks that are too numerous to mention.

All in all, I'm happy with both sales and projects for the quarter. Spring seems to finally be taking hold and I have much to look forward to in the coming months.

Photo: At Tango Zulu, we know it's spring when Jesse the UPS driver starts rocking shorts. Although he is still wearing a hat and long sleeves, so we may not be out of the woods yet.
It's another sign of spring when Jesse the UPS drive driver breaks out the shorts. Hmmm, he's still rocking a winter hat, though.