When I started this small business 12 years ago from my dining room table, I never dreamed that it would create this much magic for so many families. Each year the business would grow as customers from around the world miraculously found my shop through a simple Google search: Train Conductor Costumes. Talk about the perfect online website name! Then, 2020 arrived and it was the first year that, out of caution, I didn't purchase a lot of inventory. That decision proved to be wise as sales were pretty much non-existent. The year 2021 was a bit cheerier, as folks were tired of being cooped up and things started to open up again. Halloween was back as well as The Polar Express train rides, but my sales were not that much higher than the previous year. So, last December when I closed up the workshop for the season, I made the decision to keep the business going for one more year and if it doesn't rebound, I will fold it up for good at the end of 2022 and start something new. What I didn't count on was that the cost of everything it takes to produce these costumes would go up. Everything. Dramatically. I have spent the better part of two weeks crunching the numbers and have no choice but to raise my prices on everything. I've been reminding myself that so many other business owners have been forced to do the same. In the meantime, my workshop remains cheerful with the sound of soft jazz in background and the aroma of a warm cinnamon coffee cake wafting in the air.
So this is where I am at right now. It is "Christmas in July" with the workshop super busy with prepping product, hand-crafting the vintage paper bags, ordering more inventory and supplies and hoping for an incredible Halloween and Christmas season. My family helps out when they can but mostly it's just me, running the business in between household chores, dropping off/picking up my teenager from school, meal prep and etc. Somehow, I manage to do it all and that's part of the "magic" of running this business.