Here are a number of seemingly unrelated issues and ideas regarding our direction for the next few months/years, which are being consolidated as I put thoughts on record.....
September may not seem like a logical time for a Company New Year, but it is the end of the tourist 'high season', and the town suddenly has more time for the 'serious' visitor. It also marks the slowing down of house guests, handfastings and customers who keep us over-busy all summer.
Apart from the perennial issue of survival during the quieter period (especially more acute during recession), it is now that we start to look at how to improve the shops. The recession has meant that we no longer have any paid staff, so we have to make very effective use of our time in the shops. Liz can often be spotted in the Magick Box writing or preparing English lessons or course materials for all her students.
Our theme for 2012 has been a continued moving back to our Pagan roots, and of increasing self-reliance, through expansion of our own ranges of hand-made goods and artwork. We are also gradually accommodating more and more books at Cat & Cauldron, as we have found the serious Esoteric Book market still holds up well, and is not being served by any other shop in town.
Given that we need to make 'dual use' of our shop time, we need to rationalize the space to incorporate Arts & Crafts benches, etc, whilst not losing too much retail space - never an easy compromise, especially with so many dusty herbs! We also desperately need to make more effective use of the upstairs area for shop stock and art materials etc, and generally TIDY UP.....
In brief, considerable floorplan and storage unit changes are coming in the Cat & Cauldron over the next few weeks, which will also have the effect of freeing up TWO complete rooms at home - which are currently over-run with stock, scrap and storage.
This process would have been started ages ago were it not for our continued lack of 'big transport', since the old Jeep had to come off the road last year. Our old stock room and the candle kitchen are in complete disarray, and we have consequently been unable to reclaim various areas of the shop and storage space in the Cat & Cauldron either.....
However, with the recent addition of a Land Rover Discovery to the vehicular pack, we can now shift storage units and boxes again, but there is so much STUFF it is difficult to know where to begin. What is needed now is a clear picture of what needs to go where, and then a few days of shifting to get the storage infrastructure in place, all of which will reveal much saleable stock, and make our lives easier, and hopefully increase the retail area by about 20%. It should also increase productivity considerably as more things will be in the 'right' place and easier to access.
All this is a moving feast, however, in more than one sense here of course, as we can rarely predict what will be popular with customers.
In the words of the Irishman who when asked the question -
'How do I get to Kilbeggan?'
'If I was you I wouldn't start from here'.....