Following up on my January post, New Years Resolutions – Task Management, my goal for 2015 is organization: both daily/weekly/monthly task organization and inventory management. A month after adopting Wunderlist as my task management app of choice, I am still going strong.
As for the inventory part of my resolution, I think the Valentine rush I experience the past couple weeks would have crippled me if I had not started to keep (and stay serious about updating) Excel spreadsheets.
I will admit that I was never the strongest Microsoft Excel user. And, it has been over five years since I’ve had a job where using Excel was anything I did on a regular basis. Determined to better manage the merchandise and supplies I have on hand, and the greeting cards I have on consignment in various shops, I created two workbooks that I am certain will make it easier for me to keep accurate inventory this year.
While my consignment inventory workbook will always be something I manually update each month when sales checks and each store’s inventory come in the mail, I am working on integrating my on-hand workbook with my Etsy and Square sales. I have not yet had the time to invest in truly testing out a trial of Stitch Labs or Quick Books to integrate my two sales channels.
Nevertheless, my product inventory and supply spreadsheets proved priceless to me in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. One of my card designs was featured on the Huffington Post, and I suddenly had over 100 orders to fill in a 48 hour period, which was three days before I was doing a Valentine-themed market. Each time I thought I had my stock back up to what I needed for the market, another sale or two came through. Not only was it imperative I knew which greeting cards I had in stock, tracking my supplies allowed me to realize that I needed to order new board mailers ASAP, or else I wasn’t shipping anything, and I needed to order more poly bags, or else my cards we not going to be protected at the market. Seeing these low supply levels on my computer screen was much better than reaching into a box only to find it nearly empty.
As my business continues to grow, and I become better versed in Excel, I am sure I will streamline my inventory management further. Do you have a favorite method or app to track your inventory?
Jessica Schaefer is a graduate of Edinboro University with a degree in graphic design. She rekindled her love for design by creating, printing, and binding her wedding save-the-dates, invitations, and programs. She is a member of Pittsburgh Center for the Arts where she continues to study paper making and printmaking. Jessica started her Etsy business with designs from her own wedding before expanding to new ideas. This year her business, theBird+theBeard, also began selling cards in independent shops in several states. When not working on new ideas for theBird+theBeard, she enjoys camping and spending time with her husband and stepson. You can review her work at thebirdandthebeard.com.