It serves as my own reminder and as a lesson for future reference.
Dear Diary…For my illustrated greetings cards, a high street retailer offered the envelopes I needed at 2.5 pence each, sold in packs of 40. The dimensions were slightly off by a few millimeters but it was the cheaper option. I bought a few hundred envelopes months ago but ran out. Upon returning to the store to buy more I discovered they have discontinued this line of stock.
What HappenedPhone calls, research and quotes led me to realise the only sound supplier was a specialist envelope company I first discovered in 2007 but dismissed because of high costs. This online supplier offered the option to buy the envelopes required in batches of 1000 to get each envelope at 4 pence. A batch of 5000 gets each envelope at 3 pence. If I ever produce tens of thousands of greetings cards I know my best price per envelope is 3 pence.
What Could Have HappenedIf I had bought what I needed from the more specialist supplier in 2007, I would have had the perfect dimensioned envelope for my greetings cards and would have been them selling faster and much sooner. Because of the delay it took me a long time to get into my niche and start selling.
As for the high street retailer selling the envelope packs of 40 at 2.5pence – though not a perfect product I could have bought what I needed in bulk as soon as I realised they had it, saving money. But this retailer has a reputation for constantly rebranding themselves and thus changing their stock lines. I did not act in time once again.
Why I Missed the OpportunityI assumed the high street retailer would always have their stock line and that I would be able to buy what I needed as and when necessary. I was wrong.
I believed the specialist envelope supplier were asking too much per envelope, and that for a large scale run those costs would multiply and add up significantly, eating into profits. I was right.
But if I’d gone with this supplier in the first place, I would have had everything needed, hit the markets I wanted to target in time and offset costs with the profits generated. Because of my highly targeted niche, I could have put the prices up a little more to cover those costs.
What I LearnedThe phrase “penny wise, pound foolish” rears its head and not for the first time. If you want “cheap” that is what you get. Sometimes the hard road becomes the easy road and easy road becomes the hard road.
It is better to pay more for a better supplier offering what you need, rather than to split hairs over costs only to discover you’re dealing with an unstable supply chain anyway. I have carried this lesson forward into my other art ventures and I pay more for good quality art canvases rather than buying poorer quality canvases from my local discount store.