Monday, 24 February 2014

Where I've Been

That's a month's worth of printing. Or about five audiobooks (one of which was thirty six hours long). Phew!

Lots of time for thinking about which prints are too time-consuming to be worth it, and what I can do to speed things up, and what things I need to spend time on preparing before I start printing. I generally print to order, but after the Christmas season I really had no extra stock on hand, and very little in the way of raw materials, so this order was completely made from scratch.

Printing to order is great because I don't waste time and money making things that take months or even years to sell - everything sells eventually, but it's obviously better to turn products into cash sooner rather than later. Printing to order means that I don't have to make decisions based on guesses about what will sell. But it does leave me at the mercy of orders. It's fine for selling directly, but a nightmare of logistics for wholesale. And since I'm trying to do more wholesale, I need to reconsider things.

There are a few prints that are constant sellers, so obviously building up stock of those is a good idea. Then there are things like labels and pre-cut fabric, and stock components like cushion backs and purse linings, that I can do in advance, so that when orders come in I can just grab and print.

But there are also smart things that seem to take time, yet actually save time. The things that, when I'm busy, I don't have time to do, but if I'd already done them, would mean I wasn't so busy. Does that make sense? For instance, in the middle of this printing frenzy, I took a day off to finish some bigger printing blocks. They'd been waiting for 'time' for months, I simply hadn't gotten around to them. Finishing them enabled me to print those particular prints in half the time (at least).

Time time time... Time to start working smarter. I know I can work very hard, but there's a point, a sort of terminal velocity, when working harder simply isn't possible.

Now I'm off for a week to teach a printing course! (Gulp.) I'm sure it will be hard work, but I won't actually be printing. I'll sit around telling other people what to do, and they can worry about dropping blocks in the middle of the fabric, or running out of time or ink. Bliss.


Susan Scott said...

Your printing students are quite lucky to have you!

Ruby in the Dust said...

wow, you have been super busy! enjoy the course, and hopefully you have time in just over a month for us to catch up over a cup of something :)