Monday, March 16, 2015

Random thoughts: My experience as a flea stall owner

Sales is terrible.

I already treat the cost price of materials as donation to charity, and was hoping to just break even. Nonetheless, it was a great experience, although hectic experience, trying to be a teacher giving supplementary in the morning, a administrator handling department work and a stall owner in the afternoon.

This is what I learn:

1) Revenue can be deceiving

My cost of materials is about $200, I am selling for stuff for 100-250% profits, because I know for sure, it will not be a sold out. Surprisingly, the blank DIY kites do move, there are customers buying them for their kids to decorate the kites. SO I reduce the price of the decorated kites. Still no takers.
Last hour, everything go at below cost price, since I want to move the cost money into cash as much as possible to contribute as much as possible to charity. The day revenue is $85, I have more than half the goods left, which can be used during the school's carnival, but it pretty quite sums up the risk of looking at revenue growth only especially when profits is negative. It is not a sign of  turnaround, since it could be due to  clearing of inventories.

2) Luck play a part

The Chinese Painting Kites are beautiful, I do not mind keeping a few of them as decoration for my cubicle. In the last 30 minutes, I am already packing and keeping them when a lady came, asked about the Chinese Painting and asked to see all the paintings. She even ask for number in case she need more. Too bad, every thing is going at below cost price then. She took 3 decorated kites and 2 blank DIY kites. I could have earned 200% more if she was earlier by 1 hour.

3) Cost is important

Remember my colleague collect used stuff toys from pupils to sell. They bundle up the items for sale. They had the highest sale because the items are really dirt dirt cheap because they are free of cost anymore. It reminded me that when Lee metals is still a stockist, it used to buy scrap and sell them back as steel, although this supposedly low margin model is detest by investors, I see it in a different light now. Too bad, the poor steel market makes the merchandising arm of lee metals dying off.

4) Market analysis

Demand is always more important than cost management. Those who brought kites are parents who wanted something for their kids to do. However, many who walked past the flea market include many tourists and young couples who have no need for my product. Of course, my price is not attractive too. Ability to navigate the market is important.

How I feel:

Kids are really adorable! I was wondering if they will get bored or lazy. Nope, their energy level just keep going up as the day draw nearer to a close. My girl also went to a nearby cafe to tout which I quickly put a stop to and explaining why we cannot do that. However, A* for effort. Although her intention is fun more than advertising, she did try to use the small open area to fly the kite. LOL

I have a boy who has homework problem. He however is the one to keep doing the rounds, approaching strangers to buy the kites. The best part is they do not seem to be affected by rejections at all. The quiet girl however, really is still a quiet girl, but serve as a very responsible and reliable stall owner to take care of the cash box. 天生我才必有用,千金散尽还复来

So, although it is a long and tiring day, if you ask me to do it again next year, hell yes! But no kites


  1. SI : Seems like a cool experience there! The best part is doing wiht your kiddos. Keep it up

    1. Yup yup,

      Actually, I can felt my batt going low, it is the holiday and I am still working my guts out...
      Its the children that power my going... I know I am burning out when it doesn't recharges as per normal

  2. sillyinvestor,

    Its nice to see your students beyond the grades ;)

    1) The boy with homework problem (reminds me of me) could be a potential super star salesperson ;)

    2) The quiet girl could grow up to be a fantastic treasurer ;)

    Stay young at heart.


    1. SMOL,

      we all have full of hopes for kids.

      I however is a little more pessimistic.

      The thoughts that went through my mind as I read your comments are:

      When will you that girl and the homework book start becoming more aware of social norms and start to feel embrassed with rejections or become more reserved of failures?

      That quiet girl, well, I think our societal forces do not really penalised her...

      Hope they all move beyond hope and really find their niche...

    2. btw...

      Looking beyond grades mean looking at grades first and foremost but also look beyond...

    3. Sillyinvestor,

      Hence the "stay young at heart" ;)

      When hungry eat; when bored play!

      I'm happy I had a good childhood. Lousy grades; but still good childhood nevertheless :)

    4. oh.. ok... you already have a disclaimer at the bottom...

      I am young at heart but old at body....

  3. Excellent post! It reminds us all not to fall prey to septic focus :) I think as parents and educators, we need to see beyond academics to look hard at the talents that is in a person. Too often, we associate lack of academic results to be stupid or talentless.

    1. LP,

      I think youth is the biggest asset. We think we can take on the world, we are energetic yet sufficiently innocent and pure to move and look beyond certain social norms.

      We are all depreciating assets...

      I mean I am...

      I just want to be a happy asset