note: many thanks J.W. for the PayPal donation. You da bombdiggity!
note: have you heard of the Trunk Monkey commercials? Friggin hilarious! click here
When will cottage industry goods become viable again? It is clear that retailers all across the land are in trouble, and most corporations are stupid high in debt. Most Internet companies make no actual profit, relying on increasing stock valuations to cash out for a big payday. Wal-Mart hasn’t been The Low Cost Leader for many years, after its uber-growth strategy hit the shoals of the 2008 Greater Depression. They stay in business by cutting hours, cutting quality, charging more than most other places but disguising it well and by lobbying DC to pick up their medical insurance costs and by adding to the Food Stamp rolls ( to goose grocery sales ).
I’m not assuming that small mom and pops will once again fill the void left by big box stores as they go tits up. Almost all Big Box’ers were little more than excess capacity ( especially clothing ). And all that excess capacity, which started in the last cheap oil years of the 90’s, was initially about economics of scale. Pile in deep and sell it cheap. Now, who does that? The inventory has shrunk dramatically and the prices have gone to nose bleed levels. Which should be all the incentive that Mom & Pop businesses need to move back in. Alas, that won’t happen due to real estate.
The bankers cleaned up on real estate during the bubble. Granted, they made more in derivatives ( the draining of the entire Greek economy was due to the singular attentions from the vampire squid Goldman Sachs ) than interest on mortgages, and then there were the bail-outs which might have been completely engineered or in fact could have been entirely necessary to “keep this sucker from going down”, but who the heck knows and really who cares as the bankers control the government and they’ll do as they please. But SINCE then they are even crazier on that profit squeeze. They have TWICE if not more exposure to derivatives now and insane levels of leverage with real estate.
It is possible that this is the only profit center left and it doesn’t matter if it is risky or not. Regardless if that is the case or the whole thing is just a Long Con, the banks took all those foreclosed homes and either allowed them to rot or they sold the management rights to others to rent them out. Home rentals are scary high prices as well as apartments ( less homeowners mean more renters mean apartments jack up their rents. In most cases it is cheaper to leave units vacant and keep the others at higher rents than it is to drop rents for everything ).
You would think that failing retailers mean that rents decrease, but evidently the retail sector is mirroring the artificial shortage price increases of residential units. Rents are simply too damn high. Mom and pop cannot stay in business with those prices. They can’t buy at the same price level, since the Big Box Boys buy by the container ship rather by the carton, and they can’t sell high enough to pay the rent. Unemployment increases all the time, as do mandatory medical insurance costs ( the banking sector is also the insurance sector, and no amount of taxpayer money is enough for these whores ), and customers are always having less and less to buy with.
But people always need tools and even if toys and trinkets aren’t selling well any more, you can always find a market for tools as long as you avoid commodities or retail. This has been true for twenty-five years, except retail is recent. It used to be, you left the cheap bikes ( commodities ) to Wal-Mart and sold quality bikes and brand name bikes and bike repairs and bike accessories at a small store. You weren’t competing with the Big Box. You were safe, offering quality rather than quantity. But since the ‘08 crash ( well, even before that to some extent ), real estate prices are far too insane. Retail is a suckers game now.
So rather than concentrate on being a merchant, you need to concentrate on being an inventor or a craftsman. Not pretty foo-foo crafts crap like hand woven pillow coverings or tapestries or crafted beer steins. There could be a market for that, although I’d avoid anything that smacked on middle class extra disposable income status seeking displays. In other words, does it have a market during a depression? I’m thinking more along the lines of tools that either make people money or save people money. That is your sweet spot. Like the guys that offer made in America cross-cut saws ( the Japanese saws that compete with crosscut types are great, perhaps better, but rely on overseas trade and the dollar primacy, so I would place my wager on long term survival with the domestic folks ).
It isn’t just crazy ass survivalist dudes who want old timey saws. We hate relying on gasoline and spare parts due to logistics. Others just want a manual tool that is much cheaper to run in the long term. Some crazy bastards that hug Gaia by relying on bicycles for transportation might be going back to all manual tools on principle. Off-Gridders just want something they don’t need to have to worry about going into town for parts or fuel, if they are socked in during the winter. But regardless, manual saws are a quality tool rather than a quantity tool. And even if they suck compared to a power tool, you can’t argue with the cost savings.
Cost Savings? What a concept! It kind of fits right in there with Saving and Lack Of Debt during an economic contraction. I would guess that this small little mail order/Internet company should be a safely steady business for many years to come ( here we discount the long term death of shipping due to energy contraction, concentrating on a limping but functioning economy phase ). You would think that the guy selling individually crafted crossbows would be a disposable income reliant business, but I would wager that even if sales to Society Of Creative Anachronism members dried up there would still be plenty of gun free zone sales ( at least enough to keep him in business ). Weapons are tools after all.
END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2k9wNqc )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
Sportsman’s Guide had a free shipping promo, so I ordered one of those Swiss Army blankets for $20. It’s said to weigh over 4lbs so it must be some thick material.ReplyDelete
I also saw that they had the Italian military wool blankets as well. I’ve heard good things about those blankets, and they’re said to be thicker than the others. The main problem is that they’re a little on the small side for me.
Dave Canterbury mentions that the ideal size is a Queen, because you can wrap yourself in 3 layers using his method.
Worth noting is that the both the Swiss and Italian surplus blankets being sold either at the sportsman’s guide, or elsewhere, are mostly now knock offs, so I can’t say how they compare to the originals.
I ordered a smidge under 2k rimfire from Sportsman's because of the shipping. Six cents each, I couldn't control myself. I'd say you got a good deal with the Swiss blanket. Most are crap with too little % of wool and starting at just 2.5 lbs. It is one of those "spend twice as much get five times the value" items.Delete
This one is advertised as a “Swiss style” army blanket, so I’m sure it’s one of the knock offs. Still, it’s said to weigh over 4lbs. It seems that most of these military blankets now are imported from some 3rd world country by a company called Rothco. I’ve heard that the authentic Italian military wool blankets are awesome if you can find one, but most are either gone now, or are moth bitten old stock. But I’d be willing to take a chance on one of the Rothco versions. The Italian blankets are said to weigh 5.5lbs, but are only 5’x7’. You might be able to sew two together with good results though.Delete
I’ve actually considered learning to knit so that I could have a decent wool blanket. Seriously, but please don’t anyone call me a fag! (Note to UK commonwealth readers. Here in the U.S. that’s not a cigarette or a bundle of sticks all tied up together 😀 ).
I've considered learning to knit, myself. I have lots of wool gloves I need to patch holes in. I'm sure the fellow survivors won't question our masculinity if we make it through the die-off :) Just don't wear a hockey mask.Delete
It was actually crochet that I wanted to learn, which uses one hook instead of two needles. I looked into it before and it seemed like crochet would be much easier to learn. I also looked at wool yarn, and most of it was expensive for large projects. The really cheap yarn was acrylic. A while back I got a cheap crochet kit from Amazon that came with some crochet hooks and some acrylic yarn. I haven’t tried it yet though.Delete
Crochet, knitting, I always get the two mixed up. Like Medicare and Medicaid.Delete
By the wool yarn being expensive, I mean that if you need enough to make a blanket the size that I’m talking about it really adds up, but not for what you plan on doing with it. But for the amount that I was talking about for a blanket, you could buy a blanket for nearly the same price. But it probably wouldn’t be as thick as the homemade one.Delete
This prompted me to look into spinning your own wool yarn from raw wool. To my surprise, it didn’t look as hard to do as I was anticipating, but of course you need the spinning machine, which isn’t unreasonably priced if I recall. Our neighbor has a sheep and he would probably give me the wool. This could work for the limited budget survivalist if you know someone that has a pet sheep or alpaca. If you have many of these animals in your area, this could work out well for your post collapse clothing cottage industry.
I love wool garments, especially flannel shirts. Unfortunately they’re mostly out of my price range with today’s prices, though Ebay sometimes has some good deals. Wool sweaters are much cheaper for some reason. Wool pants can be picked up cheaply at thrift stores, as well as wool flannel shirts on the rare occasion that you can find them. But if you have to purchase wool shirts new, they want a king’s ransom for them now.
I remember my mom making her own "wool". I seem to recall there was even dog hair in there. The spinning machine was a dowel with a wood base, almost looked like a rapier. I think that would be more fluffy than dense and thick. I can't remember details, my only point being you should be able to go really low tech and low cost.Delete
Think it is called a drop spindle, White ReaperDelete
“I think that would be more fluffy than dense and thick.”Delete
That would also be the same result with the crocheted blanket that I’m talking about. The end result would be a looser weave, with good loft, but susceptible to wind penetration, so you would need a windbreaker over it. In order to get a really tight wind resistant weave you need to go with knitting needles, and even then I don’t think you can get it tight as with a machine produced blanket.
I’m halfway tempted to just get two of those knock off Italian blankets, and sew them together to make a 10’x7’. That’s 11 pounds of wool!
While it is fun and games talking about DIY wool, I think we would be crazy to NOT buy wool blankets made industrially. Kind of like not buying rimfire, or primers, while we could. Or glass, or insulation, or solar panels or...Go with your instinct.Delete
Hmm... Weapons as tools. Maybe. I think it is better to sell services that items. Items can be repaired and husband along or done without (why get a saw when I can just use my hands/body weight to break the branches? why get a new saw when this one still mostly works if I just use the end here? etc.)ReplyDelete
Services that have required tools that most people don't have seem to me to be more promising - bicycle repair, horse shoeing, sheep shearing, butchering and tanning, Chimney sweeping, etc. Simple things that have existed for a long time, cant be easily outsourced, and are likely to come back in an economic contraction.
If the Internet is still up, come economic contraction people will learn how to do it themselves. They have no choice if they can't afford a pro. But they will need to buy the tools from you. If you don't have the grinder and welder, you buy the crossbow. And who would even think of buying their own saw? If you have a house to heat, are you going to be content with snapping off branches?Delete
My point was to sell the wood and keep the saw for yourself - because people could just break the branches but aren't likely to if you have a saw - but if you sell the saw they might well cut down all the trees when your back is turned. Just like chimney sweep - sure people CAN do it themselves but most aren't very willing, need tools, and skills vastly improve the end results.Delete
I wasn't thinking of a local business after the collapse but a national/international one prior to. After, there is no market, just tribal duties. More Commune than Capitalist. As it should be, resource contraction wise. Culture is a better motivator than The Invisable Hand.Delete
Off topic a little but just wanted to get this info to you. A long article but discusses wheat/grain usage among other things.ReplyDelete
Thanks, I'll check it out.Delete
Are you referring to the Silky saws? They get really good reviews as a chainsaw replacement. Especially the Katana Boy 500mm, 650mm, and the new 1000mm.ReplyDelete
I've been looking at black powder firearms, flintlock and percussion. I'm not really sure if I'll get one, but one merchant stated to expect a single flint to last around 20 strikes. If you compare the least expensive flints (at 20 strikes per flint) to the most expensive percussion caps, the percussion caps are still significantly cheaper. The flintlocks are also more likely to have ignition problems. If someone thought they would choose the flintlock for long-term sustainability, they would have to be near a source of flint or agate AND have knapping skills. Any thoughts?
Yes, the Silky saws. No experience, I'm just going by what the Canadian Prepper says. I have idea on flints, di-it-yourself flints or cost. I know you would do much better with caps if possible as far as shooting in weather-again, just what I've read. I do know you can buy the tool that makes caps from aluminum cans, and the chemicals, from the 22 reloader guys, and that the chemical is a cent per for the rimfire ( not sure how much you'd need for the cap to ignite ). It seems quite easy to stockpile tens of thousands of caps in chemical form and who can't find a bunch of aluminum cans to stock? Hell, most of us probably replentish the cans at least every weekend :)Delete
Sweet Jesus, I can't type. Should read NO idea on flints. And DO it yourself, not DI it yourself.Delete