Yeah, there are some real duds

March 10, 2009 |  Category:   the biz


Hard to believe both the business and the blog is nearly a year old. While we’ve celebrated many milestones and press mentions over the past months, there have also been real duds. Not everything is rosy in Whimsy land and last Sunday at the Flea was definitely one of those days. Markets tend to be unpredictable, but we’ve always done quite well at the Flea, with some days and months much better than others. The summer tended to be slow as people were less interested in baked good in the heat, but we’ve always managed to come home with a nice stash of cash. For whatever reason though, last Sunday was a dud among duds and the slowest market day we’ve had yet. Maybe Dumbo isn’t the right crowd for us, who knows, but we’re going to sit the rest of the indoor market out and wait for the Flea to reopen outdoors in Fort Greene.

We’ve had so many blog readers congratulate us on our progress throughout the year (thank you! each and every one!) and there have been handful of times when something seemingly huge happens that sets off a barrage of comments like “duuude, you’ve got it MADE now”. The reality, however, is that aside from a nice upswing in site traffic and a windfall of sales, press mentions are blips (yes, sometimes really big blips) in the timeline of your business. Eventually the hype dies down and you’re left scratching your head wondering what to do to catch the next ride. Online sales have been fairly steady, but there are slow days that make you obsessive about checking your email and site traffic every 2 minutes. Why am I telling you all this? We started this blog to document the business from the very beginning, for good or bad, failures and successes, and I’ve always tried to be open about it all. Even with our Dean & Deluca deal (which hasn’t proven to be more or less business than any of our other wholesale accounts, despite initial impressions), our very brief television debut (which did not give us any boost in sales – but don’t fret. I’ve since talked to a few other companies who shared similar experiences. We may not be the Rachael Ray audience), and the good fortune we’ve had of attracting press (with some that have yielded big, and others that have not), we still have to fight for every sale. Nothing wrong with hard work. At least we can laugh when Mark comes home from a day at the Flea and brings home a whopping double digit profit. A first. Yup, that was a real dud.

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  • Gabriel March 10, 2009 at 11:03 am

    went to the flea when it opened last sunday so i have no idea how crowded it got the rest of the day. did people opt to go to parks instead because the weather was so warm finally? that waterfront park in dumbo is nice but not sure if it’s a bigger draw than others.

    (i wonder why the garage flea in the city doesn’t have food vendors? there is so much trafffic there. there’s a woman selling tamales outside though…)

    or maybe the poor sales are also combined with people spending less? i totally avoided looking at anything so i wouldn’t have to bring home another piece of vintage clothing that i would hardly wear. (and i find most of the clothes/stuff at the brooklyn flea is way overpriced.) i made a beeline for the w&s booth to get my cookies and got out. i was in sugar heaven for a few hours afterwards…

  • Tumus March 10, 2009 at 11:04 am

    I think the duds are what keep us humble and still creative. I’ve had hit or misses in my shops. It’s usually the things i’m not overly thrilled with that end up selling the best which in turn forces me to make them better 😆

    Ah well. At least the weather is starting to turn a bit more lovely. I hope the change in seasons helps us all feel better 🙂

  • adele March 10, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m a new business owner and am certainly going through a slow time that set me off guard. My sales were going really well during Jan/early Feb.

    Just gotta keep at it like you said and fight for those sales. Thanks for the reminder.

  • rifferaff March 10, 2009 at 11:17 am

    i always enjoy hearing your honest assesment of all facets of your business (ups and downs). thanks for sharing.

  • Stella March 10, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for your honesty on this. Here’s to far more successes to outweigh the inevitable duds.

  • jennifer March 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Sorry for the dud day, I can definitely relate:) It’s a roller coaster ride. It’s also hard to measure successes with your own business because everything is a new and varied experience. I like what tumus is on to with the duds keeping us humble and creative.

  • Sandy March 10, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Hang in there! The economy is so bad right now. It’ll pick up. You guys have a great product and brand. You’ll go far, I’m sure.

  • The Six Six Sick Girls March 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I was at the flea on Saturday, if I had known you were going to be there on Sunday I would have come looking for your goodies. Is your stuff already at Dean and Deluca?


  • Jenna March 10, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    hey guys, thanks for the comments. Maybe the point of the post was a bit lost, but I wanted to write it to say that being in business comes with some dud days along with the good things. Sometimes, we tend to post only about the good things because we want to celebrate those moments, but I wanted to share some of the duddy moments because we all have these. But as Tumus puts it so eloquently, it keeps us humble and creative. I like that. It is all good. It keeps us on our toes and we learn from each and every experience. We were not down on the Flea day at all. Like I said, we had a good laugh. We were probably due a dud day anyway at some point.

  • Jenna March 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Tiffany, all of our shortbreads are at D&D Soho now, though I just got an email from them saying that are low. We’re working with a new buyer and so we will be giving some samples of other cookies.

  • Buena March 10, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks for this post – it gives perspective and I can appreciate that business has down days. I’m new to blogging as I have taken a hiatus from a career in research to stay home with my baby girl. I ran across your website online this past Sunday and ordered some as part of a birthday gift set for my buddy. My husband thought it sounded great and we are awaiting her verdict 🙂 – will ping back for people to see your site. Good Luck!

  • Alicia March 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Jenna, thanks for always posting the ups and the downs and being, as you aknowledge, open about your business. One of my pet peeves about small business bloggers and owners is that they are very secretive, which I try not to be and I don’t like to see, so thank you. =)
    I can’t wait for the flea to reopen!

  • laura March 10, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Oh what a bummer! I am going to be in New York next week and we are planning a trip to the Flea. So sad you won’t be there. 🙁

  • Pam March 11, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Completely besides the point, but I love the cute little tea set. Source information, please, if you have it.

    I would try to be on point, but I think others have said it all already and better than I could.

  • Jenna March 13, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Pam, teaset -IKEA!