As Kris and I venture into this wide wonderful world of trading cards, we are discovering that the road is bumpy along the way, and that the rewards we receive sometimes come with a little learning experience attached. Nothing that prevents us from continuing on our journey or makes us want to search for seemingly smoother avenues, but we are still challenged by the ever present learning curve, and having to learn how to navigate our way around it.
When we first embarked on this journey, we had the excitement and anticipation of a long awaited dream coming true, as the seemingly unreachable was now coming into reach. Nothing has discouraged this excitement, however we are becoming aware that there were some unanticipated detours along the way…(kind of like getting tube socks at Christmas, something useful, but not exactly what you were looking forward to).
Some of the things that we have discovered (without giving away any of our trade secrets!) are that card manufacturers are very proud of their product, and some require seemingly unattainable goals for an upstart company such as ourselves to even begin to peddle their product. Other companies make it so hard to even get in touch with them that we can’t even find out what their requirements are to become a “valued” dealer…so, as a result, we have had to temporarily seek other sources for our inventory and merchandise…which has been successful, but not as fulfilling or happening at quite the speed or volume that we had initially anticipated.
Another pitfall we have encountered is the shipping of products when they are purchased online. Although Shakespeare penned that “To be or not to be” was the question…I think the more appropriate question for us has been “To insure or not insure”. With the online community being such a large and diverse one, it would make sense to insure our shipments so that all parties have the security of knowing that they are receiving what they are buying. The dilemma then becomes the cost! In order to be competitive in the market we have tried to keep our shipping costs as minimal as possible, as we all hate the experience of purchasing a $1 card and paying $5 shipping and handling that other websites seem to offer. However…the insurance game is one of gambling, as the old saying goes, insurance is a waste of money….until you need it! (not sure if that is an old saying…but I’ve heard it before, and it is true). After much debate, consideration, and research, we inevitably will be adjusting our shipping rates in order to not only protect the customer, but protect our business as well.
Last, but certainly not least…one of the biggest challenges that we have come up against is the amount of time it takes to not only get a business up off the ground, but to grow it, nurture it, feed it, and then hopefully begin to reap some fruit from it. We are all allotted the same amount of time in a day, and the same number of days in a week, but it is a challenge to coordinate the time to fit in all the tasks that we have on a daily basis, much less the additional tasks that are necessary for Aardvark Trading Co. to stay current, and ever growing.
The adventure that Kris and I have started, is still exciting, thrilling, and most important of all….FUN! We are learning, adapting, and changing direction as necessary as each challenge comes our way, but we are committed to making Aardvark Trading Co. a trustworthy source for quality cards, fair trades, and a fun place for fellow collectors to share stories, experiences, and want lists.
Thanks for coming along for the ride