Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Feast or Famine

I know, I know, the title could reflect my ability to write these blog posts as well.  I hear from many people, either I write 10 in one week, or none for a month.  Yep, that would be me.

Well, things have really picked up in the last few days.  Things were going slow, slow enough that I was (and still am) planning on doing another sale, but in the last few days, had lots of inquiries about chinchillas. 

Been keeping busy around here.  We had the Darien expo a bit ago, sold a decent amount of stuff (very nice amount for Darien), and made $8.50 in donations.  Nothing to write home about, but better than the $3 (over two days) we made at Celebration of Wildlife last year.  Well anyway, few good days, then I went off to work in Ohio and came back and immediately landed myself in the ER because of asthma complications.  So, things ground to a halt for a day or two, I called up people and rescheduled appointments, but for the most part, things are back on track.  Still don't feel well, the pills they have me on for my cold (which is what triggered the asthma flare-up to start with) are making me not feel so great, but I am plowing along and trying to keep things going, cause this is the busy season!

Unfortunately, we missed the Lake County Pet Expo, which was super disappointing for us, as that's the only expo that gives back to the rescues, and every year, each rescue in attendance gets a share of the profits, which is usually something like $200.  As rescues never have anywhere near enough money, that would have been awesome to get, and would have helped out tremendously, but we'll do fine without it.  That was literally the day after the ER visit, and I could not risk my health to spend all day there (and not at home resting).

This weekend, though, is going to be Celebration of Wildlife.  This will be our second year, and we're hoping people come out and see us, it's at Sunset Hill Farm in Valpo from 10-5 on Sunday..... last year, over two days we had no sales, it was too hot to bring the chins, and $3 in donations... so this year is sort of going to be the test year... if it's that bad again this year, we likely may not go next year.  But we shall see.  In the meantime, all the supplies and everything are still loaded in the blazer, and on my to-do list today is to add in a few more items (things we sold out of at the last expo), and then that'll all be packed and ready for this weekend.

But been keeping busy just around here as well.  Chins have been getting adopted.  We had one lady and her family who moved out of the house due to an abusive husband... the thing they really wanted was a chinchilla with everything and wanted to do it for under $200.  And it is do-able, and we made it work.  The key is, they didn't get a baby, they got Chinchy, a 5-6 year old grey male who is super sweet and would do great with their family with kids, plus my handpicking of supplies and cage and shelves and such.  But it is do-able to do it cheaper...(just not with the opinion that you're going home with a baby chin). 

So he went home.  Lee also went home.  Lee actually went home with a buddy!  We had a white extreme mosaic male here who we'd had to spray with blu-kote because he got injured in a tussle with some other chins, and Lee's new family wanted Lee to have a buddy (if at all possible), and so we got the two of them together, and they went home yesterday.

This morning, we had a little violet girl go home.  Had someone email saying they wanted to come by and get supplies and wanted to get a little chin, came by, picked out their girl, and we got them set up with a nice cage and everything they'd need.

Have several other people scheduled to come later on this week, and the one person I was talking to had asked about cages, so I sent her pics and prices.  And she asked if I could go any lower on the cages, and I told her, unfortunately, I couldn't.  I'm sure I've gone over this a million times, but let me one more time.... the large cage which we sell for $120 (without shelves).  I have bought three of them this year and paid $299.91 for those (combined -- the price fluctuates).  That means for three cages, I have made $60.09.  Don't get me wrong, $60 isn't nothing.  But often people look at it and say, "oh the cage is $120, shes making $120."  No, most I'm making might be $20-ish.  If I can't get the cage on sale from the place I get it, the cage may go up to $110 for the cage.  Well, then, add in tax and we're at $117.70 and and all of a sudden I'm making $2.30 for selling the cage.  Thing is, the exact amount doesn't matter too much, the point is, I want to have those two different cage options here for sale so that when people want to get a cage, they have good cage options at reasonable prices.  But it's not like you spend $120 and I make $120.  It's like you spend $120 and I make $20, if that. 

Same goes for the toys.  I dunno how I managed to do it, but I already blew through my last order of loofah.  Yep, cut it all up, dyed it all, and now need more.  And when I order from the place I order, I literally clear them out.  Like I will type in a quantity until it says "only x in stock, reduce amount for checkout" and then I will order the exact amount they have.  Right now, it's somewhere in the 50's.  Anyway, point being.  I made like four halloween loofah toys today, I have more dyed loofah that I need to use to make zany loofah toys.. but I still need to order more, because now I'm fresh out of loofah.  And because I have to ship this stuff, it's not economical to get just a few pieces, so I just put in an order for like $175 worth of loofah.  Now, I can't easily quantify how many toys and loofah bags and whatever that will make, because what I will be using it for will depend on what sells.  I do cut up and dye a lot of loofah at a time, but typically it's to make a certain toy, or bagged loofah, or whatever.  But I get a lot of people who give off the impression that the prices of my toys (and everything else) are solely profit... not so much.  The loofah itself... or wood itself... or whatever itself... it all adds up.  I realized I'm getting low on the 2" x 3" wood blocks I use in all my toys, so I emailed the guy who cuts those for me (I don't have a wood planer, and don't plan to get one).  Well, the last time I got blocks, it was like $150-200.  Sure, the toys go for more money than the parts they're made of, but it's not all free (though that would be nice!!).

So I looked at my list of the things we sold at the last expo, and packed up those items for the Celebration of Wildlife.  Started putting more grommets and hooks on the new hammocks and got some pics of those on my phone, so I can start listing those.

Received an email from Celebration saying to not forget our raffle basket, so I made that up, so that's all ready to go now.  Yay.

Realized that some of the hammocks and cuddle buddies that are on the webstore... aren't here anymore.  Whoops.  Deleted those items. 

So then today I cleaned the critter nation that's set to go home soon, and then that same person wants to look at this one used wheel that we have, so I washed the wheel and the washers and wingnuts are drying right now. 

Cleaned another of the cages that I need to fix up to sell, and started spray painting it... until I ran out of paint.  Guess that will wait for another day.


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