One of the things Helen and I have been worrying about recently is the future of our store, Hey Teach. With the economy in the toilet, sales have been going downhill steadily and teachers are just not spending a lot of money in their classrooms. Helen has gone back to work full time which is wonderful for the company she now works for because she is slowly but surely whipping their butts into shape and trying desperately to pull them from the brink of bankruptcy. But it’s not so great for Hey Teach because the only time we have to devote to it now comes at night after working all day, and on weekends, between other familial obligations.

We have been discussing where we want to take the company. Do we continue with teaching supplies which, the further removed I am from the classroom, the more they lose their appeal to me, or do we go in a different direction? When considering new merchandise, the three criteria we consider essential are a) the product has to be something we love and are interested in, otherwise we lose focus quickly; b) it must be easy to pack (I have to tell you, trying to pack bulletin board displays which measure 18″x 24″ between two sheets of cardboard, so they don’t bend, and then trying to wrestle the whole thing into an envelope without ripping said envelope gets very aggravating very quickly the more tired you are); and c) it has to have a good profit margin. Do you have any idea how many $1.99 packs of stickers and $.40 pencils you have to sell to make the rent?

Our goal right now is to clear out the teaching supplies and educational toys and restructure the store around PLUSH (stuffed animals). Since we wouldn’t be geared towards classrooms anymore, we wouldn’t go under the name of Hey Teach, which is a little hard to wrap my mind around since that’s been our identity for the past 6 years. But new beginnings and new merchandise needs a new name. We’re thinking Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals.
Stuffed animals are great because their price ranges can go from low cost ($7.99) to quite expensive (several hundred $$) and, regardless of the economy, people continue to buy them. We have to be very strict with ourselves not to buy one of everything we carry because we are both aficionados of anything furry. They’re fast and easy to pack, and for the most part, they’re rather svelte so postage prices stay down. Is there a better feeling than opening a package and seeing a fuzzy face peering up at you?
With that in mind, Helen and I spent a day at the Toy Fair in the Javitts Center in NYC a few weeks ago. We were focused only on stuffed animals and we saw some really great manufacturers. I mean, who wouldn’t want one of these Pi-Rats? Seriously! He’s got a peg leg and everything!

And yes, he would be an example of the higher end animals but he’s worth it, don’t you think?

We’re not ready to make the leap yet, but that’s the way our minds are going. It’s an exciting proposition for us but before we can do anything with the new store, we have to wrap up loose ends at Hey Teach. First step is putting together a concise inventory list which we will be sending to schools who might want to buy our inventory at cost (basically, 1/2 price) plus shipping. If you know any teachers or schools who would be interested, let us know. We’ve got lots of good stuff:)


2 Responses to “A NEW DIRECTION”

  1. Linda G. Says:

    MB, I meant to get back to you on this post. I really can’t advise you and Helen on your business, but I wanted to say that my one little purchase from you was a box of cards and two stuffed animals:) I loved them all!

  2. painted maypole Says:

    Pi-Rat. ha ha ha

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