How business changed in 2014 - more pie charts, and what we're working on!

How business changed in 2014 - more pie charts, and what we're working on!

Last year, many Deadlies seemed to enjoy the pie charts as much, if not more, as stuff about girdles,  so here's an update!

I'd totally forgotten what I used to make them with last year, so this year I used what appears to be a website that the US government maintains in order to help children with maths, I think? Seems about right for me, anyways :)

So as you recall, what I showed you last time was that overall our turnover (the number of £ coming into the business every year) was increasing, but that also it was switching from having been mostly selling to businesses (lingerie or fashion stores) to having more than 50% of the income coming in from selling direct to you, the people who actually wear the pants.

So this was 2013:

This is 2014:

So, consistent with previous years, the percentage of sales direct to you increased.

But, as you will have noticed, because 2014's pie is about 1/4 smaller than 2013's... it's a bit more complicated than that!  

Before, even when the percentage of total sales to businesses has been less, the actual value has been more, each year, than the previous year - so say we made 40% of our sales in one year to businesses and 30% the next, the latter would still be a bigger number, because the business had grown overall. Sales to businesses haven't historically grown as fast as sales to customers, but they have steadily grown.

And then we hit 2014. This year, we lost 9% off the sales to customers, but 45% off the sales to businesses. It's been a bit epic.

That means we've spent most of the year working on what that's about rather than being able to get stuff into production, before I talked to so many people that I eventually concluded that it seems to be challenging quite a few of us - even larger brands. Also, someone told me we'd do better if I made things in beige. BEIGE, PEOPLE. I think this might possibly be the most offensive suggestion anyone has ever made to me, and I get some really exotic emails.

The most persistent request retailers make is that we focus on continuity styles, because they view these as low risk, financially speaking. However, they are both the most annoying styles to make, and we have 8 years of evidence that the sales of repeat styles stagnate steadily and eventually just stop. So that's clearly not a long term solution for us. Sorry retailers, our needs don't always align with yours. It sucks, I know.

Anyway, there's stuff that we can control - getting on top of our supply chain and factory planning issues being the key thing, and keeping what we spend on acquiring wholesale down to a minimum. The really great news is that the main problem we've faced is the high MOQ's the last few years, and this year we have agreed lower ones. This is VERY exciting for me. I basically floated home last night and had a little sing to myself when I found out. MOAR NEW THINGS. Because of lead times this won't start to make changes until May, but still, hurrah :)

There's also stuff we can't control. I can't make shops go to trade shows or buy in KMD. I can't make the banks give us a credit facility to offer retailers (believe me, I tried). So, this year we'll be looking for new and different ways of funding some of the things that are currently being sampled. So, assuming all the sampling goes smoothly, here's what we're currently working on financing for this year!