4/20/09

Land of Nod Update



So here's the skinny on the Land of Nod (a division of Crate and Barrel) negotiations. They're done! And they're dead. :(

While Land of Nod really liked the designs I submitted (and one in particular that they chose for me to make a prototype), it ultimately came down to pricing. Ya know how most furniture is made in China or Taiwan or basically, somewhere other than the US? There's a good reason for that. It's really expensive to mass manufacture furniture here in the states and make a profit. But, you probably already knew that.

In working through the possibilities, it donned on me that if I had to handle the order load that Land of Nod would likely bring in, I'd collapse into a big heap of mush on the garage floor. There's no way I alone could handle that kind of volume. I researched having the design made in a wood shop in Kentucky so they would still be handmade by craftsmen (as opposed to manufactured overseas)and Land of Nod was excited knowing that the volume wouldn't be an issue. Turns out, they can only pay "X" amount wholesale per box and the very reasonable production/material costs alone (not to mention all the testing fees) surpassed "X" by quite a lot. I offered to sell the design to one of their other furniture manufacturers with whom they contract, but those manufacturers are based overseas so they turned me down because they ultimately want to jump on the eco-friendly, made-in-the-USA bandwagon. And I think they're smart in doing so. Land of Nod wants eco-friendly, USA-made furniture but also has to keep the retail price within a range that is attractive to its customers. The toy box would've been the highest-priced toy box in their catalog but it wouldn't have been priced as high as what my current lines retails for on the designer furniture sites.

As disappointed as I was when it all collapsed, I was honestly a bit relieved, too. It's something I'm sure every small business struggles with from time to time. You want to grow the business but growing the business means killing yourself...or it's so damn complicated you just throw your hands up and head for the gin and tonic.

I won't be throwing my hands up (cuz that would spill my gin and tonic), but I will be thinking of other ways to maybe someday get a little more out of my company than I put in. Last night, I was polyurethaning (and crying) at midnight while watching a Tivo'd Hallmark special about a woman who saved thousands of Jewish children during WWII. Maybe, if I play my cards right, next time I'll just be sitting there crying while watching a Hallmark special WITHOUT a paint brush in my hands. See? That's the kind of progress I'm talking about. Baby steps, I guess. :)

5 comments:

Rebecca said...

I worked while watching that Hallmark movie and cried like a baby! That was a tough one!

I'm sorry about the Land Of Nod decision, but it sounds like it ultimately worked out for you.

Kiersten said...

Seriously, that was such a sob-inducing story, wasn't it? Thanks for your comment, Rebecca. And congrats on your Townsend Seafood!! That's so great!

Mike said...

I've had friends with small businesses tell me that the worst part of growing is that they end up farming out the part of the business they enjoy the most, such as building furniture, and spending all their time signing invoices and doing spreadsheets.

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