Tuesday, December 07, 2010

My god, what have we done?

It has now been a few weeks since taking over an online Montessori Materials business (Montessori123.com) and as we have become more familiar with what we have purchased, the amount of potential work that we could do becomes absolutely mind boggling. And with less than a month before we depart for Colombia (where they are having record rainfall) we have a lot to do.
Just yesterday as we decided to try to inventory all the preprinted and precut inventory that we inherited in the purchase I pulled the classic "walk around in circles, unable to get anything done under the weight of so much to do" for which the only cure for me is to go for a run. This helped to calm me, but after returning to our cluttered condo, with stacks of materials and replicas strewn all about the place, I fell back into the craziness again.
Fortunately, while I was away Megan came up with a plan on how to deal with craziness. This involves putting most of what we have back into boxes and dealing with it later. I like this plan.

Allow me to explain a bit of what we got ourselves into.

When we purchased Montessori 123, we mostly purchased a) an existing website with a good strong history b) a bunch of satisfied customers that we can (and will) begin to communicate with and create a relationship and c) (most importantly) over 350 digital files of Montessori materials.
Sounds simple enough, but the complexity begins to come when you realize that these materials are from the brain of a very creative person but that only that brain actually knows what they all are. She did a good job of organizing them to the best she could, but there still is 5 years of a messy hard drive (think about your own hard drive) with different iterations of various projects. On top of this, these projects are on the website for people to buy but various naming and pricing schemes, all of which I'm sure make sense to the original creator. However, as of yet, they don't make a lot of sense to us.
Then there are the bonus materials. Some 25 boxes of preprinted, laminated, and/or cut materials. Many of these are unlabeled.
So yesterday we started going through these boxes and attempted to inventory what we have. When you have over 300 materials of which you aren't too familiar with, all boxed up in various stages of being finished and you are supposed to catalog and inventory them all, the most tempting thing in the world is just to take them to the dump and start all over again.
"What is this material with the top card being a picture of a fox and some matching cards that start with kite?" How are we supposed to inventory something like that? However, this "thing" is worth around 30 dollars at retail so it sort of worth figuring out what it is and then figuring out how to connect it with a consumer. This leaves me walking in circles around the room... and then going for a run.

In 4 days we begin a 10 day intensive First Aid course (WFR) which means we won't be able to work at all, that brings us to Dec 20. Then there is the xmas craziness, which leaves a week before we leave on Jan 2. Whoooaaa. The good news is that we have to get it all done... and we will.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that we have to have around 600 sets of materials printed, laminated, cut, and boxed in order to send to Chicago for the March montessori conference?