Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rake hay while the sun shines…

And so it is with seed companies too. Most seed companies are very seasonal, depending on only a few months in the year to make their profits. For the Harris Seeds Company, sales begin to trickle in during the fall months, but not nearly enough to make our company profitable.

The sales season really spikes right after the Christmas holidays. Orders from home gardeners and professional growers start to pour in at that time. The order pattern stays peaked right through April and then it will slow down. By the time May arrives, home garden orders have virtually disappeared but we do a fair amount of professional grower business that month. Starting in June, we begin to lose money, and right on through the fall. Most of our overhead expenses remain, and during this time, we have virtually no revenue.

During the summer months, we are very busy in the marketing department. Catalog production begins in May and continues right through the fall, with our home garden catalog being the last one to get published in December.

Summer and early fall months are also filled with flower and vegetable trial evaluations. Countless hours of observations are made on potential new flower and vegetable varieties. It has always been our practice to first observe flower and vegetable varieties in the greenhouse and in the field before we consider them for inclusion in our product line. If they do not perform and live up to our expectations, they do not make it into our catalogs. Participating in the variety selection process is probably the most interesting and rewarding part of the seed business for me.

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