Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sourcing Supplies - The Many Hats of Small Business Owners

Now, as much as I would like to say that this is a frustration unique to artists (who don't have hired help), I'm sure many small business owners fall into the same category - the all-in-one worker bee. When I talk to people not familiar with the odd lifestyle that is the working artist, they often have images of all my days spent painting and creating in a beautiful sky-lit studio with an easel, a palette and paint brushes my only tools. Like any other small business, however, it requires the completion of many other little (and big) tasks every week. Especially when you are dealing with a control freak (such as myself).

One of my least favorite duties of the small business owner (me) is the sourcing of new supplies. I can spend hours, days, and weeks, looking for the right product, the right company, and the right price. My latest agonizing turn at this task was during a search for quality eco-friendly paper in an 80 lb cover weight in the proper size (or easily trimmable with little waste to the proper size) for printing my art cards. I found it impossible to find a pre-cut and scored size A6 card that was both 80 lb AND eco-friendly and finally decided I'll have to cut and score my own (once I do, I will also sell the blank card material separately as a supply to others with this quandary who don't have the volume to switch to cases of larger size paper). Although I'm not at the point where I can buy a pallet load (as was the minimum order from some suppliers), I can buy cases of paper. Another part of the problem was my indecision of how big the paper could be for me to easily manage. Would I print them first (on a new printer - another sourcing nightmare I'm currently working on) and then trim them, or would I trim the paper and then print on my current (smaller) printer. It seemed everyone had 65 lb. I don't like 65 lb. It feels like a cheap Walmart card at that weight. I wanted 80 lb. I wanted FSC 100% recycled. I wanted an environmentally responsible company. I wanted product made in the USA. I found some great papers, but in the end the company that I came back to was one I have used many times in the past - Neenah Paper. Their ENVIRONMENT PAPERS are a great collection of eco-friendly products and I've never had a problem with their paper products in the past. I hope to be cutting open my new case of paper soon and begin using their paper (and envelopes) for all my art cards and card sets!

NOW - back to printer sourcing!


Amanda Makepeace said...

Great post and very informative, I've featured it in the EBSQ Friday Five.


Jennifer Lommers said...

Thanks Amanda!

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