Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Moving on...

I decided to start a new post. The other, while completely true, was too depressing.

I received an email from a fellow cacher who wondered if I could make a fake fir cone cache using the same technique as the acorn. I hadn't thought of this before, but I'm going to give it a try. She agreed to send me a cone to work with. If it has not opened, I think it might be doable.

If it has opened already, I don't think it will be possible to create the mold. If I was able to mold it, I'd never get it out in one piece. If I didn't destroy the mold taking the original cone out of it, I'd definitely ruin it trying to get a plastic duplicate out.

I've tried unsuccessfully to make pine cone caches before. I tried to drill them out, but they fell apart. A few people have cut cones apart abd put them back together around a micro container. I don't think that I would be able to get a realistic looking cone using this technique. It would probably be damaged easily also.

If I can successfully mold cones, I'll only have to work out how to paint them to be somewhat convincing. Trial and error should solve this problem.

Incidently, the acorns turned out great. I was worried that the paint wouldn't hold up well so I put it to a test. I've had one riding around in my Jeep's console for a couple of weeks. It is in a cupholder that is partially full of change. Everytime I rummage around in there for exact change, I'm sure that it's paint job takes a beating. So far it has taken no damage.

I haven't done anything else regarding my online store. I don't know when I'll get that done. In the meantime, my stuff keeps selling through ebay. Also, people keep emailing me for multiple item purchases. The rocks continue to sell well, the acorns are getting alot of attention, and the golf balls are moving. Sales of the nano caches have slowed recently. Someone has started to sell similar items at a lower price. People apparently don't notice that his shipping charge is quite a bit higher and he doesn't have as good of a multi-item discount. I took the bison tubes off of ebay. Many other people were selling these. There was such a market glut that sales became erratic.

In order to keep selling geocaching stuff on ebay, it will be important to continually come up with things that other sellers don't offer. I'll have to keep an eye on my prices and keep my service quality high. I also will continue to not expect my Shipping charges to be a cost center. Generally, I price shipping charges at actual (average) shipping charges plus the cost of the box or padded envelope. I then round up slightly to cover the cost of incidental items such tape, labels, packing materials, and a small amount to cover 'service quality' expenses. SQ expenses are those unforseen expenses related to service excellence such as reshipping, partial refunds, comped items, etc that are important to maintaining prefect customer satisfaction. I also won't hesitate to copy someone else's product if I can do it with better quality and sell it at a cheaper price. (maybe I did get something out of my MBA)


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