If you are anything like me you are eagerly awaiting the release of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. When I saw the first GOTG I wasn't sure about it. I went into it a little skeptical because it wasn't one of the comics I was familiar with and the "talking raccoon" threw me in the previews. My husband, who had read the comics assured me it wasn't as incredibly weird as I thought it was going to be.So I sat down with my popcorn and coke, next to the hubby and the first minutes of the film was...not impressing me much to say the least. And the "UP" style sad ass beginning didn't help. Hard to eat popcorn when you want to cry for the kid. But I squirmed a little and after a few more minutes I found myself being carried away with the story and by the end I was in love with the odd mix of "heroes."
Baby Groot at the end of course...well that was just the cutest damn thing ever. You cannot keep from smiling when you see him dancing in his little flower pot. I mean come on, you have no soul if that didn't make you want to grin at the very least.
So I've been looking forward to this new film and it seems so are my customers! My top seller is the Cute Baby Groot tee that I added in January to the site and to my Etsy store. He is sort of exaggerated like a bobble head or a Funko Pop doll with big Anime eyes. Go take a look...and buy him! Come on, look at those eyes! You gotta have him!
The offical storyline that the movie company published for the new film simply says:
"The team struggles to keep its newfound family together as it tires to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage in the outer reaches of the galaxy."
So that will be a fun theme to follow in the film plus there is to be a nod in the soundtrack to Star Wars as well...with David Hasselhoff? Er...okay? Curious.
I just realized that I haven't posted on my blog since October...not that anyone else noticed either. (I swear there is an echo.)
But I thought I should probably post something. We have some new products coming soon to the site. A lot of Harry Potter licensed tees along with several other new licensed and/or exclusive South of Memphis designs.
One thing you may have noticed is that we no longer offer certain styles of t-shirts we used to offer. The reason was because our supplier couldn't keep them in stock, didn't update inventory with us easily and started charging an exhorbant fee per month even if all you sold of their products was 1 a month. It cost you more than the cost of 5 shirts just to sell the 1 shirt and that just wasn't worth sticking with them. I loved their designs and color choices but I just can't justify the costs.
So, we have a few hundred less tees on the site now but we still offer quite a few products that I think customers will enjoy.
It should surprise me but I've become accustomed to the economic slow down shortly before Presidential election day. In several of my jobs over the years in retail especially I've noticed how the economy slows in the last weeks before election day and for a few weeks after. It becomes a time of uncertainty for buyers though should it be? It isn't as if the new President even takes office until January after all.
It isn't a revolution it is just basically a changing of the guard. Well, maybe this year could be revolutionary depending on who wins either way it will be different for America. The first female President in history or the first non-poliitician to win the Presidency in even my parents lifetimes. Either way, this doesn't mean the economy or life should stop and hold its breath. America will continue as always no matter who wins. So why the sudden slow down? Human nature I suppose. We all fear change even minor ones to some degree.
I talk about this because I am not only owner of South of Memphis but also work with a couple of other businesses and also have friends who are business owners. We have all experienced a slow down this month in orders and new projects if we mostly sell within the US. Now the business my husband works for has a global sales presence and it is overwhelmed with orders at the moment but not as many domestic as foreign. So they are doing great and that tells me that the U.S. election cycle is what is truly affecting the downturn in the smaller and local businesses I know.
Hopefully with the Christmas season coming up this will change in November but October is looking to be a slim month for many small US businesses.
Just keep plugging at it though, it'll swing back around. It always does.
Studies by Forbes, Robert Half Agency and others have stated that a good sense of humor is good for business.
Think about the best TV commercials that you remember. It is the funny ones you remember isn’t it?
Humor or rather laughter is one of the best human emotions and releases tension. Laughter truly is the best medicine. I know from experience.
One of the most terrifying and scary times of my life was when I had my son. He was a premie and I was very sick and almost died. It was scary and sad and painful but those fears and thoughts are not what I remember most. I certainly don’t remember much of the pain either but I was on the good drugs. However, I do remember my father making me laugh. I had a c-section so laughing was painful but I couldn’t help myself. There I was, clutching a pillow across my stomach and trying not to laugh too hard and begging him, “Stop, it hurts to laugh,” yet I couldn’t stop myself from it. And even now, I’m laughing a little as I think back on it. He hadn’t even meant to make me laugh but it was cathartic after all that fear from several days in the hospital and after a scary pre-mature birth.
That laughter did more to heal my soul than any of the drugs they had given me.
Laughter is important and not taking yourself too seriously means you are open to laughing at your own mistakes. None of us are perfect beings but finding the humor in even the direst of situations can really help get you through.
So some of my favorite products we carry are our humor tees and character mashup tees which are two characters blended together. Like a Minion dressed as Deadpool or Mickey Mouse wearing Darth Vader’s mask or a tee that says something sarcastic or ironic.
Humor is universal, it is a language understood by all no matter your culture or language. A smile or even an eye roll at a very bad pun is understood by all.
So, don’t be afraid to lighten up a little bit. It is good for your body because laughter releases good chemicals in your brain that helps to relax you and provides an overall sense of wellbeing. It is good for your mind because it takes your mind off your troubles if only for a little while. It is good for your heart because it causes blood to flow better throughout your body by opening your blood vessels more with the ramp up of those good chemicals.
Have you ever just felt exhausted after laughing really hard? Like the tears running down your face, stomach aches from laughing so hard? That laughter reduces your stress levels and relaxes you. So remember to keep your sense of humor about things. Life is tough enough to get through, don’t deny yourself laughter. Even on your worst days there can always be something to laugh about.
I remember a dear friend’s funeral back in 1992, I had known him since kindergarten and he treated me like a little sister. He was my cousin’s best friend growing up and he and my cousin were several years older, but they tolerated me hanging around. This dear friend was home on military leave and died on July 4, 1992 in a freak motorcycle accident caused by a horrible thunderstorm.
When my husband and I attended his funeral we were toward the back of the crowd. My cousins were nearby and three singers got up to sing a song before the preacher was to deliver the eulogy. We were outside under a large tent to keep the July sun off of us. One of the singers was blind. When they came back to their seats, one of the women singers led and blind man directly into a pole that held up the tent. It made his horrible ringing sound when his head connected smack into it. We found ourselves trying not to laugh. I mean, it is bad form to laugh during a funeral but sheesh what can you do? And then my cousin just could not hold it in anymore and cackles a laugh out which caused us to bite our lips to try not to laugh. Then she said softly to us, “Pelham would have laughed his ass off at that.” That caused the rest of us on those last several rows to start to giggle and then really laugh. Then the entire crowd was laughing including the poor blind man. That blind singer didn’t take himself too seriously and had laughed right along with the rest of us. He got it, we weren’t laughing at him we were laughing at the situation.
So instead of everyone being so sad and heartbroken at the life of a young Marine home on leave, taken so young in a freak accident, we were celebrating the life of a man who had touched our hearts. Although Pelham was young, he had been an important part of a lot of people’s lives. It was a tragedy to lose someone so dear with so much life ahead of him but we knew somewhere, Pelham was laughing too.
Not taking yourself or life too seriously is a good thing.
Trying to offer everything you can to your customers is costly and hard to do but if a customer has a good experience with you, they might come back. Customer retention in this fast paced world is hard to achieve, especially when competing against Amazon for example.
The thing is, every little “extra” costs something. $5 a month here, $15 a month there, $20 a month for this great app. These add up on top of your hosting charges and maintenance contracts and advertising.
The reason I use Shopify is because it is so user friendly and has these add on apps that make you look just as good if not better than the big dogs like Amazon. You might add a related product app that helps you customize your related products rather than the computer try to guess based on tags and keywords. This is one I'm hoping to add once we start generating more regular orders. Along with several other apps that will make both customer's lives easier and my own.
An al la carte shipping app is another on the wish list. One that lets you charge different rates for different things based on product not just weight. I have some custom made handbags that weigh about the same as some larger size sweatshirts but the problem is the handbags need a little more packaging. This costs a little more. Thus I need to buffer the weight or…have a separate options for their shipping alone.
So, we small business owners get nickel and dimed to death but…it is worth it in the long run to have these additional options. It can help customers find what they want and can help us manage orders easier and avoid losing money on shipping that isn't quite perfectly figured.
My goal is to make South of Memphis the place to come to for gifts for friends and family but also gifts for yourself. A fun t-shirt that gets laughs and attention any time you wear it or a key ring featuring your favorite super hero. Something a little special to YOU, that doesn't break the bank and makes your life a little more fun.
Life can be difficult enough, having fun with life is the important part.