Here it is January 4, 2017…
Cold today in San Antonio and I am the first person cold on the planet so this 50 degree day is not for me so I am in the shop with the heat full blast. We did have about 75 degrees yesterday and will be 70 tomorrow. However, anytime it goes below 80 degrees, I start to bundle up. The good news is that here in my town, not matter the temp, we still get about 360 days of perfect sunshine each year.
I took some photos of the tools and machines we use here in the Sandal Maker Shop and hope you find them interesting. You know, we (my son and I) have been making these sandals since 1971. He was two years old when we started. It has been a wonderful run for these forty-six years in a row. I guess like all businesses, the only down side is when we cannot seem to find the profit. Still smiling, still eating, still breathing so I guess we find enough of it.
I am going to head out to Florida in the next few days for a show and actually will have four shows in that state between mid Jan. and the first weekend of March. I do not do Florida shows most years because it is not as profitable as the shows used to be before they kind of put an art show on every corner in the winter and over saturated the whole market. However, we do make some grocery money. I usually only get in to the second tier Florida shows and am rejected by the real big time shows in that state. I get in so many great shows in other states but I guess the big smart shows have decided that sandals in a beach town are a bad idea. Go figure.
We are taking the day off today just because. We have a lot of sandals ready and are very proud of our production since the sandal slowed down by October. We love what we do everyday but a day off is a pretty good idea every now and then.
When you see this, our totally rebuilt web site will be up and running. We decided to hire an Austin genius to really update our site and make buying on the site easier. Our web site went up in 1993 when the web was given to the public so we have had this web presence since the start of cyber shopping. At this point about 40% of our sales are on the web. All over the world but, of course, mostly in America. With me being 71 years old at this point and believe that I will simply get older every year, we are hoping to make our cyber sales 80% of our business. We still do not sell to store so our stuff can only be bought from us a pair at a time. There really is not a sandal on the web that can keep up with us. They seem to charge more for less. We also have great success by dealing with our customers directly on the web or at arts festivals. Personal touch is a pretty popular concept.
The family is doing very well. Mom is now 97 and has lived here at my house the last 13 years. Penelope is now 12 and in middle school. Sixth grade is the craziest year in anyone’s life but she is doing great. One B each report card and the rest A’s. Her B is always in math. She finds math too boring. As I taught her years ago… just hire a CPA.
Mark from the neighborhood that has worked with us for years has a grand daughter brand new… his first grand child. Very proud of the great work Mark does every day here in the shop. He has taken some time off this winter to help his daughter and the baby.
Casey has now worked with us since March has been such a joy to watch her master sandal making skills faster than anyone ever has. Her two dogs Luna and Kittra come to work with her everyday and we love her and those dogs big time.
Pretty happy spot we seem to have carved out for our little company here in the world. I know it was just my good old “dumb luck” that made us produce a product that has been around for many thousand years so I believe that we can keep this going forever.
Dave Piper & Family