Tuesday, December 5, 2017

cottage industry 2


COTTAGE INDUSTRY 2
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note: an article on the economic considerations behind Lincoln's War Of Aggression and why he is one of America's biggest douchebags click here
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So, the avoidance of retail where all your profits go to the banking whores is a no-brainer.  And you don’t necessarily want to have a business that is reliant on a middle class demographic that is shrinking all the time ( if the numbers aren’t exactly shrinking, you can be sure other monopoly businesses have already got their sticky paws on those peoples wallets and are extracting more all the time, so no matter what you are seeing that customer base with shrinking disposable income ).  You want a business that sells something that makes people money or saves people money.

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Not vanity items, luxury items, and certainly I would be leery of entertainment items ( stupid levels of saturated market.  Try writing an e-book novel and see if it makes you any money.  The market is already sequel heavy relying on a small residual income base.  Perhaps being an author was never meant to earn much of a living, the blockbuster novel being a historic aberration, but it is still a tough row to hoe under the best of times, which these ain’t ).  Good gravy, I’m surprised I’m making money here.  I mean, I’m good.  But it certainly is a mystery to me J

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If you already have a business that violates the above guidelines, at least always move forward with the thought that your customers will be able to spend less as time goes on.  Make their indulgent spending as near necessary as you can.  They say that in the last Depression folks wanted escapism, and that is certainly true.  But escapism was still strictly budgeted and the entertainers had to keep costs down to get even the limited sales available.  I would argue that Kindle Unlimited and Netflix are the equivalent of pulp fiction or Saturday matinee films back then, but the issue on the provider end is that their low cost is artificial.  Net Neutrality is keeping the streaming channels artificially cheap and just like YouTube, you have to wonder how many content providers will stop contributing if the payday remains illusive.

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But, enough about what to offer.  You know better than I, having an intimate grasp on your market I’ve probably not even heard of.  Let’s talk about competition.  You are competing against Chinese factories.  Which is no competition.  You are economically defeated before the race ever starts.  And all this hoopla over Fabricators.  What is that about that I’m missing?  How can plastic doodads ever take over the economy?  At most, on the design side, sure.  But on the manufacturing side?  I’m not seeing it.  It seems like a pipedream for lost American factories coming home.  The reality will most likely be business as usual with China offering economics of scale you can’t come close to.

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So you need to go back to the quality side of things.  China offers quality, and you can easily get it from the Big Box industry ( for instance, they offer very decent computers at decent prices.  Then we shove an American made POS operating system in there and completely gay it up.  I’m talking to you Bill Gates, you asswhore ).  So, your niche product is safe.  The Chinese won’t offer quality in small quantities as their entire infrastructure is economics of scale.  It won’t be hard to beat American sellers of Chinese crap.  You can’t beat Japanese sellers of quality, but you also don’t have to worry about them in most markets.

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Plus, they are overseas.  That WAS a good business model but it cannot last long.  When the global oil production of conventional oil ( as opposed to Fake Fuel-fracking oil and tar sands and ultra deep wells under the ocean ) is dropping six to eight percent a year, it is inevitable overseas manufacturing eventually becomes non-viable.  To say nothing of the coming petro-dollar collapse which almost kills the import market due to lack of a viable currency.  You just need to survive until then.  I think we are already at a point where quality in mass produced items is so poor, overall, due to constricting resource supplies and the banker/debt model collapsing, that customer demand for quality is assured, regardless of decreasing income.

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A sixty five dollar shirt is a hideously expensive investment.  But it will literally last a lifetime whereas the $15 shirt at Wal-Mart will literally fall apart being washed once a week after about six months, if that.  In two years, the expensive shirt pays for itself.  And there are already plenty of name brands you know you can count on to sell these types of quality ( shoes seem to be a little different.  Outside a $300 pair, you don’t know which brand is okay and which WAS okay but is now cheapening quality.  I’m mostly just wearing shoes for a bike ride and going shopping [ which is once or twice a month-the freezer is so full I can’t buy $10 worth of meat all that often ] and wearing wool socks and soccer slides the rest of the time.  For me, the shoe industry priced me out of their market for all other footwear ).

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Not to say you can compete with quality clothing companies.  Just the sizes and colors inventory is quite capital intensive.  And there are alternatives, such as a lot of military surplus over at Sportsman’s Guide.  But everywhere you look, there seems to be craftsmen offering quality.  There is a market for it, and that won’t change.  If anything, it will grow larger as people can no longer afford disposable items ( a minion reports dwindling quality for the Bic lighter, another reports high end German manufactures cutting quality on expensive industry grade items, a bellweather to me as now debt and economics of scale are backfiring.

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You obviously can’t charge “prototype” prices.  You must be ballpark competitive ( going back to the crossbow company, his $300 bow compared to a Chinese $100 seems to not compete.  Except that the Ornamental bow has a fiberglass prod.  NOT a quality item by its nature.  If I would consider the more expensive bow a bargain, the world’s cheapest bastard, you can bet most other people see the value in the quality item ).  The difference is that to buy quality, you need to accept the lack of quantity ( cough, cough, bolt actions verses semi-auto’s ).  We have been living with the expectation of quantity for too long.  At least thirty-five years.  Both customers and especially manufactures and merchants.  And that paradigm is changing.

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You should be able to profit from this change.  Most advice on starting a second business to weather the economic contraction is off in that is assumes plenty of income flush customers.  Focus on quality that is must have ( makes or saves money ) and you’ll be fine until the bitter end.  Then, you’ll still have inventory for post-apocalypse.

END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2k94ojQ )
 
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25 comments:

  1. Hmmm.... I am starting to think I will pursue the chimney sweep thing, or at least look more seriously into it. Become a HVAC tech for now, Firewood sales and chimney sweep as the collapse accelerates, possibly linked up with something else for the summer and deep winter time. Time to do a little research...

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    1. A quick check on Amazon shows me that for $89 you can clean your own chimney. $66 for the rods and brush, $23 for a rope harness. Will most people WANT to clean it? No. Will they HAVE to do so once underemployed? What choice will they have? No one has to face real decisions like these, yet. The question becomes one of timing, between your need for a business and their need to save money. The trend NOW is to not invest in saving money. That will change soon enough. Out of necessity. Just trying to look at it as the glass is half empty.

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    2. PS-thanks for the article idea!

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    3. Your after-the-collapse firewood gathering will all be from burned, dead trees, which are REALLY hard on saw blades. They'll be dead for a while and hardened. You won't be able to get to the trees right after they burn because it'll be a while before the population is reduced enough to safely saw in the burned woods. (Cannibals, looters, and long sighting distances after the understory vegetation is all cleared out).
      Peace out

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    4. Here the focus on a still functioning economy. But, to your comment, do you see a work-around? Is there a longer term tool than a saw? Is an ax any better longevity wise? I'm not just asking rhetorically. I have little idea myself.

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    5. I know a guy (solo operator) who right now makes his living cutting firewood. He cuts dead trees that died during the drought from two years ago. He has to frequently sharpen his chainsaw blades and keeps several extra on hand while he's out in the woods in case one breaks, or to keep sawing without having to stop and sharpen.

      For long-term workarounds, my understanding is an axe is more calorie intensive to use than a handsaw. The axe also has a louder sound signature, alerting people at a further distance as to your activities. However, the axe is quickly user serviceable as far as sharpening and is probably more functional while dull than a saw is while dull. If you look on the Silky website, you'll notice that only a certain portion of their product line is designed to be sharpened. They sell a "feather" file so you can sharpen it. Potentially a person could screw up the sharpening process and ruin the set of the teeth? Otherwise, you run the saw until it's dull enough to buy a new blade (or replace from your on-hand stock). I believe that if you need what is traditionally thought of as firewood to survive the winter, you won't make it past your existing firewood stores. Every effort should be made to insulate a structure (any structure) so you can survive with warm clothing and no fire inside. Long term, I'm planning on the All American Sun Oven, a parabolic solar cooker (instant stove-top heat once aligned with the sun), and a rocket stove. I have a rocket stove that I built out of fire bricks, and another out of stainless steel square tubing that's compact and portable. I'm looking at this one for long-term heavy use...

      http://www.shtfandgo.com/store/en/stoves-and-fire/370-bullet-proof-50-bmg-rocket-stovetent-heater-gravity-feed.html

      Basically, if I need to cut a tree, unless it's for building a structure, it'll probably be a dead and/or fallen one, and I'll use a Silky saw with user-sharpenable blades to cut it into rounds so I can baton or chop it into pieces small enough to feed the rocket stove. (Lately I've been using the Schrade Froe SCHF64 to baton my rounds down to kindling size and it works great). The rocket stove will only be used for bad weather, night, cloudy days, or a special occasion where only a fire will do.
      Peace out

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    6. My area having sage brush rather than trees is actually less problematic since even a shovel or maddock or even iron bar leveled will get those little buggers ready for the rocket stove. The only issue is the proximity to town and others using the same fuel. Plus, easy underground building AND lots of sun all year long. Yep, insulation first, solar second, wood cutting distant third.

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    7. My part of Dingoland is hot & humid. However there are people that still have chimneys & that involves chimneys being swept. The guy that does it has been doing it for decades. So it is a viable business. But like most things, there's more to it than meets the eye

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    8. I would imagine the stoves are used less often? If that is the case, the homeowner has less incentive to DIY, so it would be a viable business. If you need to do it every year, your own tools and the PITA to learn doing it would be worth it. I mean, we can't be the only ones struggling through learning new skills and then think the general public won't do the same, helping us retain our new business, right?

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    9. Earth sheltered beats all, but it also comes with a lot complications, and is not an easy shelter to construct. Lucky individuals that do not need to get up in the middle of the night to urinate, should get a low temperature rating sleeping bag. Get synthetic, not down. Sportsman’s Guide even sells one with sleeves for hunters, that provides a little more freedom to move around, which would be ideal for when it’s cold in your shelter, but you're yet ready to retire for the evening.

      https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/hq-issue-tactical-sleeping-bag-with-arms?a=1518495

      You could construct a mini shelter within the main shelter, that will primarily rely on body heat. The shelter would only be big enough to sit up in, sleep in (and for me at least, also contain a port-potti). Perhaps a 3’ wide, 4’ tall, and 8’ long cubicle. It will be well insulated if you make it from old foam pads or mattress material. Picture something shaped sort of like a bathtub, that you flip over yourself while you lie on your floor with an insulated pad beneath you. Be sure to add vent holes as well.

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    10. I still say wool and a comforter over a sleeping bag, but that, and insisting on underground, are just nitpicking. Insulation, no matter how ( some of the old normal looking homes here were actually double walls with dirt in the middle ), and insulation for sleeping and then the three meals a day heat the place nicely.

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    11. I’m one of those unfortunate individuals that has to get up about 5 times a night to urinate. When I get up on a cold night, by the time I lay back down my bed is cold, and has to be reheated all over again. For me, the micro shelter within the primary shelter would probably be the best bet, but I will do everything possible to set up an earth sheltered abode, even if it ends up being a smaller shelter than I desire. Otherwise, yes, I would agree. Just go with a really cold weather rated sleeping bag, and call it an evening. The newer synthetic bags are not expensive.

      Did you look at that link from sportsman’s guide that I provided above? That probably would have been absolutely perfect for you for when you lived off grid. For what it costs now, it might be something to consider on the off chance that you ever have to do so again.

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    12. Have you been reading for a few years? I covered this some time ago. When I started peeing two or three times a night I got pretty freaked out thinking it was a prostate issue. I was just dehydrated, the typical American liquid diet of coffee and soda, with barely any water. Baring another issue with you, this worked wonders for me. I can't quite force myself to drink the recommended 100 ounces a day ( one ounce per two pounds body weight ) but I manage to force down 80. I might get up to pee once but it is full force, regular volume, no pain. You pee a lot during the day but I'll take that over pissing needles in the middle of the night.

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    13. Yes, I’m a long time follower, and recall your mentioning this. I can’t drink anywhere near the recommended volume of daily water that’s suggested, or I’d never be able to leave the bathroom. No major issues, and I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. I went to a urologist a few years back. Some old dego that looked like he should have retired 50 years prior. I was really hoping that he could help me, but aside from giving me the most violent prostate exam that I’ve ever had, he didn’t do shit for me. So I left the office a poorer man, and with a sore ass, that would soon become even more sore (figuratively speaking) when I received a surprise $300 bill for lab work, which was not covered by my insurance. And this was before Obongo care! I do take the 3 daily doses of beta-Sitosterol, and it seems to help a little. But for me to sleep a full 8 hours uninterrupted, is a dream that I will never see.

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    14. Sorry I couldn't be of any help, and sorry about the gene pool lottery :) Too bad more gals aren't proctologists. It wouldn't hurt as much, but I could see she'd have to put up with too many jokes if she ever divorced.

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    15. No prob, thanks for trying. I actually lucked out gene pool wise overall, but not in that dept. I know that you’re supposed to avoid substances such as caffeine and citrus, if you have over active bladder, but that’s a major component in my life to have to give up. I’m on Medi-Cal now (unemployed minion) so maybe I’ll brave another visit to the urologist someday. Or maybe I’ll just look for some over the counter med that might help me. I’ve also heard good things about pumpkin seed oil extract.

      But yeah, the old doc just didn’t care, with the way that he violently finger fucked me. After all, why should he? It wasn’t his anus 😀

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    16. About fifteen years ago I had a bad experience with a Habeeb dentist. Last time I ever got a cleaning. If I had your experience I think I'd forever more avoid a urologist. Some things aren't worth going through since I believe a lot of modern medicine is barely above the practice of bleeding ( knowledge of diet ) and it some ways worse than the worst butchery they ever concocted ( chemotherapy ). I don't know if they can top lobotomies, but they sure try such as feeding carbs to diabetics.

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    17. I’ve been real leery ever since, and as it was, I already avoided going to the doctors before this incident. I try to avoid them at all cost, unless I have no choice. I’ll go for the necessary shots if I need to, but I hope that I never need to be hospitalized. My dad had cancer. The chemo and radiation not only didn’t help him at all, it killed him far faster then he would have died on his own. You could literally see the effects on a dramatic level in a very short period of time.

      Yeah, now a days when you go to a hospital it’s practically all foreign staff. The urologist above was Italian, but most of them are from the 3rd world. And you really have to wonder as to the standards that this dude that can’t even speak great English, was exposed to in medical school.

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    18. There was of course a big ta-do about how fuzzy foreigners had to jump through all the bells and whistles to become recertified to be doctors here, which may or may not be true, but even if one last government regulatory agency is still actually doing its job I imagine the swarm of brown medical staff is a response to lowering pay, higher insurance and higher med school tuition.

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  2. I picked up a few talents over the years(59 years), not necessarily to have trade post schumer but mainly because I like working with my hands. To list a few: mechanic (I've worked on everything but airplanes), carpenter, welder/fabricator, blacksmithing, I've built my own home so I've done my own plumbing, wiring, design, and carpentry, even installed the solar power system and a windcharger to supplement. I've taken courses in first aid, herbology, animal health ( we raise our own beef and chickens), gardening(large garden). The moral of the story is; if I can do it, anyone can. None of it is rocket science, and I'm not a mental giant. Being able to accomplish things with your own hands is rewarding and satisfying.
    By the way, you need a haircut...

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    1. I only reluctantly started DIY'ing. I was more of a minimalist that a materialist, from both a investment budget and repair reluctance standpoint. Really, if it wasn't for the fear of freezing to death post-grid and the high bike repair cost, I never would have started. Glad I did, though, and I can guarantee you that I'm far worse with the aptitude to learn hands on that you were. Living in your head leaves little room for coordination or concentration out in meatspace.

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  3. About 80% of my business, since 1986, is gov't required. Building and zoning agency's in most places require construction drawings for all buildings no matter how small, yes, even garden sheds. In my hometown of Cape Coral, FL where most of my business comes from even though I don't live there, they require building permits even on replacing windows and doors in existing homes. If the project involves penetrations of the building envelope which are subject to hurricane force winds then a building permit is required and construction drawings. The other 20% of my biz is from the better off folks that want to build a custom home with all the whistles. Those are becoming rare as I only designed 4 custom homes in 2017. In 2005 I did over 100, as a comparison.

    But I have over $100k in tools and experience in 50 or more trades and I'm not afraid to swap my time for any coin at all, so I stay busy most of the time. People that have spent most of their life sitting in front of the toob or other wasteful habits are going to have a very rough road ahead. Those people are commonly referred to as fodder and will be in the first group that is culled. Whats that saying? waste not want not?

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    1. No, the saying is Last One Into The Stewpot Wins. :)

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  4. Off topic

    I wrote earlier about battery powered motion sensor lights. I use them in the loo (for night visits) and outside the doors to the house as a security light as well as inside my garage. I got them from my work that is supposed to provide (but don't) them with the safes we sell. Up to speed?

    So the latest lights are different.

    Long story short

    * it has one dull light Vs the original 8 bright lights
    * it doesn't come with any batteries Vs came with batteries
    * it requires 4 batteries Vs 3 batteries

    So crappier quality. Thankfully there's plenty of the old stock for me to acquire

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    1. Doesn't it almost feel like we are already in post-apoc salvaging mode? Scouring the land to find the last working material/tool. Practice in disappointment, I suppose.

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