Another year…and 2012 will be our 5th year in business. What was that about businesses having a better statistic of surviving every year that it stays in business? Let’s hope so. I was reading the year end tally of businesses that have closed around our neighborhood, mostly restaurants which I guess is not surprising, and it was a depressingly long list. The majority of business owners stated that they simply couldn’t afford the rent increase. Any way you spin it, it’s sad to think about people losing something they worked hard to build. Likewise, a few more of my friends – not brick and mortar stores – decided to close up their businesses last year as well. Makes you think about your own current affairs and why we decide to push on.
Maybe you’ve noticed (or maybe you haven’t since we did it quietly), but we increased the prices of our products when we restocked after the holidays. It’s a modest 50 cent increase on most packages and the first price increase since we started in 2008. After 4 years we decided it was time (any maybe overdue). The price of ingredients, particularly butter, have increased each year, yet we just absorbed it rather than passing it on to our customers. Our kitchen rent last year has impacted our numbers as well in a big way. When I really look at the books, it’s a bit disheartening to see how much we actually get to keep as small business owners, after our expenses are paid off. Food businesses have it the worst, I think, and it just seems to get tougher. It makes me think that our goal of having the business support us in full is harder to achieve than I thought unless we make some big moves. It makes it that much hard to quit designing, not when the earning potential and the lack of any real expenses make it so much more profitable. That reality is settling in, but our method of operation has always been slow and steady and while it isn’t really taking us anywhere extraordinary, we are still here…and profitable.
2 other bits of news: There’s a new store in South Williamsburg at 110 Broadway called Gourmet Guild that is carrying our products. The store focuses on local and regional products and has a different arrangement with their vendors than normal wholesale. As a result, we are able to sell some products in the store that aren’t available in other retail outlets such as our Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies (fresh delivery made today!), our calendars, prints and tea towels. We may also be bringing in the Classic Sampler Gift Boxes which many people have asked about in stores, so go check it out and support our local businesses and purveyors.
Also for this weekend, Mark is joining a bunch of other local small businesses in an Artisan Market hosted by Williams Sonoma Columbus Circle from 12-4 this Saturday, January 7th (yeah yeah, I realize the irony in posting this right in the same post about supporting the small guy. SIGH)