Apologies to everyone. There was a delay to all the chapters since I was feeling a little under the weather. As you’ve all seen, a new translator just joined us, so please give a warm welcome to Selisun. He’ll mainly be working on Chinese novel, though (My Beautiful Teacher in particular)
T/N: 1 El = 150 yen (Just so you wouldn’t get confused by the unit conversion)
Translated by: Rinkage & Mana
Edited by: The Blacksmith & Anonymous_Neko
Chapter 52 – The smell of cotton from the street stalls
“Hello. I’m Jirou, and I’m starting a store here from today on. Please take care of me.” [Jirou]
Early in the morning, I greeted both of my neighbouring shopkeepers who were preparing their own stores for the day, and opened my first store in the other world (not that I ever had a store in Japan either).
Right now it was still only my first store, but I had an endless stock of things to sell, so I thought of opening a second or third store depending on the circumstances. Well, there was a limit to the profit that could be made from a street stall, so if I really wanted to make money, I shouldn’t be wasting my time on this (since wholesale stores were definitely more profitable), but there was something alluring about having my own store.
It was a bit of an exaggeration to call it a store, as it was really just a simple stall in the corner of the market, with products lined up on a tablecloth-covered table. The table and things were prepared by Rebecca-san, who was here keeping me company again today because she was worried about me.
Having a shop assistant in a stall was such a rare experience that it made my heart dance in excitement. It felt like I was at a festival, or rather managing a festival…
If I were to compare it to a school festival, would it be something like a class stall? At any rate, I was just reselling what I bought in Japan.
The products that were lined up in the market were purchased from Japan just yesterday. The goods placed in the online auctions had also been steadily receiving bids, which made me dare to stock up a little more.
I only bought more low profit items, rather than the highly profitable wool that sold at the flea market.
–Since my current funds were very low, I thought perhaps it would have been better to bring something that would reap a huge profit at once, even if it would be a little risky.
However, that would probably stood out too much – in a bad way. Even the amateur knife I made earned me ten gold coins, so if I had brought something worth serious money from Japan, 1000 gold coins in a month wouldn’t be impossible. But continuously bringing products from Japan that might reap such huge profits would have been dangerous, and perhaps put me at a high risk of catching people’s eyes.
It would be an unusual sight to other people if they were to see a young man selling never before seen items at a bargain, with an elf in tow. In the first place, just having an elf companion made me stand out from the crowd. (However, it was a relief that no one realised Diana was a slave due to the tattoo covering the slave mark.) I didn’t want to catch any more weird attention than I was already receiving.
That was the reason why those kinds of huge dealings should only be done after I get acquainted with some trustworthily rich people.
There was absolutely no need to rush down the path to wealth, as I already have more than half of what I wanted anyway.
So that’s why, for the market, I focused only on merchandise that would bring a decent amount of profit without bringing needlessly unwanted negative attention.
If you are reading this on any other place than rinkagetranslation.com, this chapter has been stolen and is neither the most recent or complete chapter.
The story goes back to yesterday.
In high spirits about opening a stall at the flea market, I was arranging the yarn that I had bought in bulk at the 100 yen shop a couple of days ago. As they were sold out in an instant the last time, and it was easy to lie about the origins of these kind of materials, I had stocked up on them while thinking, “This seem to be a product that would sell easily.”
Although I use the general term “yarn,” they actually come in different kinds, from 100 percent wool to acrylic, and even types that technically couldn’t be called yarn. That was why I had thought of opening a stall that dealt in all kinds of yarns in the market. Even so, I had only purchased 100 percent wool yarn from the 100 yen shop this time.
I decided to price the yarn at 30 El (approximately 4500 yen) for one ball. The acrylic ones had been sold for 10 El each the last time, so I was a little bold this time. If all 50 balls were to be sold, that would equal 225,000 yen. It would be considered an exceptional profit if I could earn that much in just one day (not to mention, I was also selling it in a market).
At that moment, I wondered what would happen once I began operating my stall in the market. The yield might be so lucrative that it would be frightening.
Nevertheless, once I started selling them, I realized that the result wasn’t what I had initially expected. The yarn didn’t seem to sell that easily.
Actually, the yarn did sell, but they weren’t exactly selling like hotcakes. Occasionally, there would be wealthy-looking ladies buying three or four of them while commenting that the yarns were cheap, but that was just about it.
Seeing as there were customers that commented that the yarn was cheap, I knew they weren’t priced too high. I wasn’t sure where the problem lay. The previous time, all the yarns were purchased by the first lady that came…
Ah, I see. I soon realized the root of the problem. It was simply because there wasn’t a high demand for this item. Yarns are not a daily necessity, and even if the price is cheap, the item would be of no use to my customers if they could not knit. But for those who do knit, cheap yarn definitely interest them. That’s all there is to it.
Nevertheless, the result was as planned since I had still made a profit. The customers who bought the yarn were mainly wealthy-looking ladies, so if I retain them as customers, they should purchase from me regularly.
If I was able to nurture my relationship with my customers, earning their loyalty, I would say that the start of my business in Erishe was on the right track.
Loyal customers could be considered “fans” in a good way, or to put it harshly, “devotees.”
They would keep coming back for more on a regular basis and recommending us to other people in the area. It is highly unlikely that they would change to another supplier.
To reach that point, customers would usually go through these stages:
Possible Customer → Customer → Repeat Customer → Loyal Customer
Once you retain people as loyal customers, it will not only help maintain stable sales, but also give other potential customers a favourable impression of the stall, too.
It’s my goal to achieve 1000 customers with Japanese-style customer service!
At around midday, I tried enquiring the woman who bought eight balls of yarn about the actual demands for this item.
Apparently, the skill of knitting itself is fundamentally taught orally by mothers to their children. The number of people who possess this skill is also lesser than in the past (Though the number of people with the knowledge is scarce, it appears there are still people who know how to do so due to the selected few who acquire this as vocation). Additionally, it seems that the price of knitting materials such as yarn had increased.
Even though she was happy that my yarn was cheap, I was told by the woman, albeit politely, that the quality was slightly inferior. It seemed that they would be fine for everyday usage, but wouldn’t be suitable to be presented as a gift to someone.
…I didn’t know that they were cheap in that sense. Even though they were purchased from 100 yen shop, I hadn’t expected that the quality would be that bad. In other words, they were “cheap” in terms of quality…
Rather, if I could even sell this quality of yarn at 4500 yen each, how much would the high-quality yarn in this world sell at?
When I asked the woman, I was told that it would be around 150 El each.
22,500 Yen! For just one ball of yarn!
One might need at least four balls of yarn just to knit a muffler. That is to say, just a single muffler would cost a little less than 100,000 yen. That sudden jump in price is no small amount!
Hmm. I guess there is a need to improvise the plan if there is a high supply of high-end yarn…
Frankly, I wanted to rake in the cash as soon as I could, but I didn’t want to attract attention by being too profitable.
Would it be safe to gain the profit this way? I suppose the scenario was likened to a young foreigner selling vicuña’s wool that he had acquired from somewhere on the roadside in Japan.(2)
That wouldn’t do.
I don’t want to stand out too much, if possible. Even selling the balls of yarn at 4500 yen each was already unreasonable, so I didn’t want to go overboard…
For example, if I were to bring high quality yarn over from Japan and sell all 50 of them at 100 El each here, I would be earning a total of 5 gold coins. That would be equivalent to earning 750,000 yen in just a single day. If that were to be the case, it wouldn’t be strange even if I were to end up being mugged. At the moment, I don’t have the means to defend myself against robbers. It would be different if I were in an area where military police were around, but it would be bad if I were attacked on my way back to the mansion.
I had previously decided not to sell papers, so as to avoid drawing too much attention to myself since they were so profitable, if I sell other items that would yield similar amounts of profit instead, it would have contradicted my initial aim.
—So, after encountering such circumstances yesterday, I decided to open up a “sewing supplies and accessories” stall in the market, selling relatively cheap sewing and embroidery threads, cotton and linen yarn, and buttons. I displayed a few handicraft items, too.
After I had done the research on the prices of each item, I priced all of them at 70% of the market price, except for the wool yarn. The price I chose on the yarn was only slightly cheaper than the market price, and I displayed only a few of them at a time, so as to appear that I was carrying only a limited quantity of the yarn. However, the yarn was of high quality this time. This was so I could identify and sell them to only potentially good customers.
The reason why I changed the main product to fabric was because wool yarn was unexpectedly expensive— There were other items as well, but in any case, fabric was the stall’s main product, at least for now.
Also, yesterday, there were about 20 balls of wool yarn that remained unsold at the end of the day. In spite of that, I had still earned about 900 El after selling 30 of them for 30 El each. That would be equivalent to 135,000 yen once I converted it, so it was overall fine in the end.
I had also informed the customer of where my stall would be located today, in hopes that she would be a repeat customer.
A brief digression. Hemp is an item that is cheap here but expensive in Japan. Whenever I heard that item mentioned, I associated it with coffee filters, so I was under the impression that it was a cheap material. (1)However, if you actually tried purchasing an item made of hemp from a craft store, you would be surprised by how expensive it was. Cotton is seriously much cheaper in comparison.
Because it was actually expensive, I wondered if I should stock up on products made of hemp, as it might have appeared strange if I had none for sale at all. In the end, I decided to add the hemp products to my display. It wouldn’t even matter if I couldn’t sell them off, since they were mostly there as ‘camouflage’.
On the first day I opened my stall in the market, the goods I displayed seemed to be selling well. As expected, there were not many people who wished to purchase yarn. Fabrics, on the other hand, seemed to be high in demand. I wasn’t sure if there would always be a constant demand for fabrics, but I soon realized that half of the customers were actually queuing up for that item.
I wondered if I should have a promotion to celebrate my grand opening, something like, “Customers who make any purchase today will receive a free needle set!”
…Just kidding. Back to the topic. I knew the real reason why there was such a high demand for my fabrics.
The local fabrics were all handwoven from handspun thread, while the ones I was selling were machine-woven fabrics, made of machine-spun thread. In terms of the fine details, softness, and elasticity, my products were far superior.
In terms of net value, that is, if you were to ask which fabric is worth more in Japan, nothing compares to how expensive handwoven fabrics can be. The ‘organic cotton’ that you hear about lately is probably part of that movement.
Handwoven fabrics have an uneven spacing between threads, and the texture itself is thick and coarse. But if you put it in another way, it could be said to ‘have personality’, which is highly valued amongst certain eccentrics.
There were also customers who asked me questions, such as “How is it possible to sell such a great item for such a cheap price?” or “Hey, where is this from?” but I gave all of them the same reply: “Just between you and me, this is a special product only from the Elf’s village… I got my own connections, so I was able to sign a special contract with them…”
I explained the same thing to them, each time in a whisper.
Diana seemed to be against it, though, as she looked as if she wanted to make a remark about it. However, her presence made it easier for me to convince the customers, so I’d like her to forgive me, her master, for being such an eloquent speaker.
Even though the items were discounted, 80% of them were sold by 2 pm, so we decided to close for the day. We purchased some ingredients and went back to the mansion to partake in the maid’s home cooking.
Quite a few stalls in the market were already closed, so packing up by 2 pm was definitely not too early.
If I could have constant sales like this, it might be better for me to just open my stall in the morning. That way, I could make use of the spare time in the afternoon to hunt for items in the net auction, put other goods for sale, or spend some time with Diana and Marina. I would like to practice horse riding and improve my swordsmanship, too.
The total sales on the first day was 1680 El.
That would be equivalent to… 252,000 yen.
Halfway through, I noticed that I was making a little too much profit, so I suggested to the customers an alternative.
“We accept trade-ins, such as second-hand clothing that are still in good condition, fabrics, or even yarn.” [Jirou]
In doing so, I might be able to acquire other high-quality goods from another world.
Either way, I will be stocking up on used clothes and fabrics from here, so now is as good a time as any. In terms of efficiency, it might be better to earn a huge sum of money to acquire new clothes or fabrics. However, it didn’t seem as if there would be any difference to the amount of bids I would receive, even if I were to auction new or old ones. For example: “Woven Cotton Fabric, brand new” or “Antique Cotton Fabric, used item in mint condition (or dead stock)”, both descriptions might get me the same amount of bids.
Either way, I have to keep my trade-in service going (I have experience offering trade-in service for suits at a men’s clothing store, so this was something similar.) In truth, there weren’t that many customers who would come rushing in for this type of service. Even when there were, in the case of those who offered low quality goods as trade-ins, I could just offer a small discount. I would just feel grateful if I happened to acquire any possible good items from the trade-in.
All the goods this time were from a large local craft store, so none of the items were from the 100 yen shop. Naturally, the total cost of all these items was much higher compared to the amount I would have spent if I were to purchase from a 100 yen shop. For instance, the price for a 100% plain white fabric with 100cm in width and 10cm in length is 60 yen. So if 1 meter long costs 600 yen, then 10 meters will be 6000 yen. This surprisingly made me realize how pricey fabrics could be.
However, I still procured them despite the expense, as I could still sell them for a profit in the market. In Erishe, the colours that were associated with Le Baraka, red, blue, white and green, were popular, so I got 30 meters (one-tenth hectare) of each.
In reality, I had wanted to procure velvet fabrics because I was under the impression that they were in quite high demand in the other world. I decided against it, simply because, at over 2000 yen per meter, they were expensive. Additionally, they couldn’t be purchased in large quantities. If I were to sell such a product, I would have to deal with extremely wealthy customers as well, so it would be better to do so after observing the condition of the flea market a little more.
Since fabrics are sold by the meter, I thought of bringing mother’s scissors from home to divide the fabrics, but it seemed impossible for a complete amateur to cut a 110 cm wide fabric perfectly straight.
Even when I gave it my best, my effort still wound up in disgrace when my cutting gradually slanted to one side. I couldn’t cut a straight line at all.
After practicing with everyone, I realized that Marina was surprisingly the one among us who was most adept at cutting the fabric, so I entrusted her with that duty initially. Nonetheless, I was surprised to receive negative feedback from my customers. Many said, “I don’t want those Turks to touch my fabric.”
In the end, after practicing numerous times, and wasting so much fabric, I somehow learned to cut a straight edge.
The price for the fabric was fixed at 10 El per meter.
Since I acquired them at 600 yen per meter, selling them at 1500 yen per meter was probably reasonable. Actually, considering the amount of profit earned from the yarn, the price for the fabric was really fair.
Well, you know how the saying goes, “You win some, you lose some.” At least I hadn’t exactly lost anything.
However, my customers might have gotten a different impression. Since the price set was at 70% of the market price, they might have thought that I wasn’t making much of a profit.
Well, anyway, there were various complications along the way, but I sold off 80% of the fabrics. The fact that white and red were popular while green was unpopular somehow made me relate it to reality.
In any event, if the booming sales were to continue at this rate, there was no doubt that my inventory in Japan would soon be depleted, so I had to replenish the merchandise through the net auction.
Once I save up enough money here, I could purchase items such as small statues made of pure gold, or other gold accessories, as it would be easier to convert them into cash in Japan. (They might fetch a pretty decent amount of money if I were to sell them at a gold purchase centre.) It might be a better idea to work hard to earn money here until I reach that amount rather than just focussing on profiting through the net auction.
If you are reading this on any other place than rinkagetranslation.com, this chapter has been stolen and is neither the most recent or complete chapter.
The moment I returned to the mansion, I was welcomed by Aurica.
“Welcome back, Danna-sama!” [Aurica]
…What was that? Didn’t men dream of being welcomed home by a maid?
Though, just that wasn’t enough. I had properly prepared the most crucial thing!
I calmly handed the maid’s clothing to Aurica.
Though it wasn’t new, it was classic maid’s clothing; it was a dark blue long dress with a white apron attached. The headdress was not included when I purchased it, so I bought it separately.
Once she changed into this outfit, the place transformed into Shangri-la .
An elf, a dark elf, and even a maid were in the mansion living and eating together with me…
What should I do? What on earth should I do?
I didn’t know what to do with the excitement bubbling up inside of me.
…So, I decided to snap pictures for the time being. (TL & ED: …)
(1) Hemp is a type of material used to make coffee filter. More about it here.
(2) A Vicuña is a wild relative of the llama and is believed to be an ancestor of the alpaca. Vicuña’s wool is one of the most expensive wool in the world. More about it here under “Vicuña”.