Monday, January 3, 2011

The Difference Between Stash and Inventory

Okay, I know some of you out there have way more yarn than I do. I have seen the pictures that you have posted on your blogs and on Ravelry. The difference between your bundle of yarn and mine may be that yours is a "stash" while mine is an "inventory".

What are the differences?
Stash is for fun. Inventory is for work. You can never have too much stash, but you can have plenty too much inventory.

Stash is beautiful, inspiring material that you can pet in your spare time. Inventory is crap beautiful, inspiring material that you thought you would make up into something to sell this year, but you didn't.

The more stash you have, the more potential for projects to last into your golden years, the more secure you feel. The more inventory you have, the more you have to count at the end of the year, the more cranky you feel.

You can put stash all over the place. Some of that stuff might not surface again for years. Who cares? It will be a surprise when you find it again. On the other hand, you must be able to locate your inventory. Especially at year end when you start cranking out the numbers for Uncle Sam.

Why buy so much inventory if it is such an annoyance to count it?
That is a very good question. It is typical for a new owner of a creative business to invest too much money in inventory and not think of the carrying costs or the disadvantage of a slow inventory turnover. I know this. I taught this stuff to college students. So why do I do it myself?

Part of the problem is that I see yarn that will make a sensational hat, or scarf, or cowl. In my mind's eye it is already made up in a gorgeous design. So I buy the stuff. Never mind that I already have a ton of work in progress for my shop and that I have a ton of raw materials on hand.

I was better this year than last at using up some inventory, but not good enough. So here is my goal: to use current  materials on hands to make over 50% of my goods in 2011 or to use up 50% of my current inventory. Either one would make me happy.

If you hear me complaining again next year about counting inventory, remind me of this post.

Can't too much stash also be bad?
Ah, glad you asked. Let me refer you to a very funny post on this very topic by Eskimimi Knits who writes a seriously cool blog about knitting. Check her out.


Brenda said...

Brilliant post, Sharon! I'm sharing this with several of my teams and groups! Thank you!

Sharon said...

Excellent! Isn't counting inventory a pain!