Break down of work carried out in March 2022 - Arroz Merchandise and Store
Arroz t-shirts are now in production, during this time we came up with another cost saving idea of printing on the front or back of the t-shirts and keeping to one acetate design printing only and no extra cost of printing on two sides, which can substantially increase the cost per unit. . We came across one other obstacle, which is related to the current global issue of increased costs in textile manufacturing, in particular the price of cotton. The t-shirt at the time of confirming designs was at a set cost price and then raised at the time of ordering the t-shirt by 0.45 cents per unit. However, we were still able to cover these additional costs with already existing funds on this particular occasion, so we managed to use some of our existing budget to cater for this. Overall we are very happy with our manufacturer and have built a good relationship with a local supplier.
After our first initial trial with the first staff member, we decided that we needed more commitment to the opening hours and scheduled timetable per month. Unfortunately, we had to come to a mutual agreement with the first shop member to terminate the contract due to their other work commitments, which was a shame, however at times Laura and myself were needed to cover and volunteer for shifts for free to avoid missing out on important event openings at the studios. However, we have kept a positive relationship and encouraged the recently left member of staff to find opportunities to continue to integrate with the Arroz community through other projects more suitable for them.
Since this we have managed to find a new shop member this week and the schedule requirements are much better suited. This has been a great decision as we have already had a couple of successful shifts with the new staff member already (who was already an existing member of arroz) and noticed that as the footfall at the events increased with the warmer weather along with sales also. At particularly busy events we are both helping at shop opening times with the initial staff member to make sure they are covered if it gets too busy and gain feedback on what else the shop needs in these initial stages.
During the staff set up process we have also been producing helpful instructions and documents to cover any queries or problems they have while working in the shop, such as who is the artist on each members product as well as stock counting and cash handling at the start of every shift and training on payment procedures through NEAR and mb way when required. However we are encouraging NEAR payments as much as possible as this is useful to avoid mistakes being made in handling cash along with avoidance of fees charges via mb way options. This is a good encouragement of the NEAR community and the new shop staff is also already experienced and involved in many crypto platforms with her own art practice, so has knowledge and a personal interest in this.
Due to staff changes and timings, we are still in the gradual process of uploading our items onto the mintbase store and looking to train the shop staff to frequently assist with this and regularly updating and checking for sales once they have settled into the new role. We have also managed to get other Arroz members NEAR wallets in particular for when their items are sold via NEAR payment process.
Regular catch ups with our social media coordinator have been carried out to promote each event and shop opening times. Preparation is also being made for the next photoshoot once new t-shirts arrive along with more members’ products.
We have started to build on new ways of selling prints within the store by thinking of packaging ideas and asking members to think of ways to package their products as this is more appealing and attention grabbing as an item in the store. One member has found a cost effective way of protecting his photography prints, which we will incorporate within other items in the store. However we are trying to be environmentally conscious, although this has its challenges when faced with achieving a profitable product.
We have been producing signage on a low cost level and making this ourselves with physical recycled materials to see what works best to entice footfall to the store before producing a more permanent signage. We have been putting signs by tv screens at the bar and warehouse as well at the outside entrance to the studios for passersby. This has worked well and has encouraged customers’ interest at the front entrance to the store as well as at the bar.
We have been experiencing more community involvement in the store with ideas for displays and window designs being drawn by resident artists at Arroz. Furniture and fixture donations are also being received by members to figure out best solutions for display items.
We have managed to start coming up with ideas and feedback on other Arroz merchandise items. We have started drawing and producing artwork for the next range of potential tote bags, socks and maybe even cigarette lighters, which seem very much in demand!