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Party Panic ...

Posted by Dave Bull on April 13, 2019 [Permalink]

Our Asakusa shop is now well into its fifth year of operation, having opened in the autumn of 2014. Over that time, we have enjoyed a nice steady growth in the number of people who come to the shop. There certainly weren't many visitors in the early months, but these days the story is very different ...

Here are a couple of screenshots from our Management System - the page that shows reservations made for our Print Parties. These are for March and April this spring (as of this afternoon). The red numbers are the reservations for each time slot:

Starting around the middle of March and extending right through next week or so, we are basically booked solid.

And even as I write this - on the 14th - we are booked almost totally solid for the next week, with more reservations coming in every day. It seems as though we have reached 'Peak Party'.

So what next? Where do we go from here? Well, this is the spring tourist season, so it should begin to taper off in a few weeks. But even so, the trend is clear - demand for our Print Parties has pretty much reached the limit of our abilities to provide the service.

The only way forward is to get more staff members into the rotation, and open up more slots (8:30am, 16:00pm, 18:00pm), but just where such people will come from is not so clear. Previously, I have always instantly refused work requests from foreigners living here in Japan (their husband is here working for a bank for a couple of years, etc. etc.) because it just didn't seem worthwhile to spend all the time training them, just to have them disappear after a relatively short time. In desperation though, a few weeks back, I relented on this policy, and we now have a couple of these people on board to help out. I think we can perhaps explore this a bit further, by taking the time to set up an actual training plan (perhaps to take place on our nominal closing day of Tuesdays), where some of our experienced staffers can train these people, who would then be available to fit into the rotation a couple of days each week. If we can build up a 'pool' of such new members, then it wouldn't be particularly crippling each time one of them left.

And I guess that means we have to create a training manual, set up a kind of curriculum, and organize regular practice sessions, all to teach people how to teach people how to make prints!




Added by: Marc Kahn on April 13, 2019, 9:48 pm

How do you suppose that everybody is finding out about your print parties? Word of mouth? Inclusion in some new guide books? Your video outreaches?

Added by: Dave on April 13, 2019, 10:04 pm

All of the above, Marc. Lonely Planet is a steady source of visitors, and everybody who has ever done this has told their friends 'You gotta do this!'. And of course many of the people who have seen the videos put us on their 'to do' list while in Japan ...


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