Today was spent filling out forms, paying fees, and otherwise transforming Everything Tiny from a fly-by-night sole proprietorship to a legitimate LLC. I’ve waited until this long for a couple reasons…. for one I’m moving to New Jersey on Sunday, and it seemed stupid to set everything up in New York just to have to move it all in a few months. Secondly I wasn’t really sure if the whole thing was going to work, and didn’t want to fork over a ton of time/energy just to have to cancel it all next month. But after processing another wholesale order I figured it was time.
Here’s what I did:
Up until now I’ve been printing my own packaging. When your packaging design changes every week, it just doesn’t make sense to have hundreds professionally printed. But I’ve finally got something I plan on sticking with for a while, so I went and ordered some nice glossy pre-cut matchbook covers (for the basic Tinysaurs) from overnightprints.com. I’ve heard mixed reviews for them – it sounds like if you use them long enough they’re bound to screw up irreparably – but I’m chancing it for now.
Federal Employee ID Number
I don’t have any employees now, but if things keep going they way they have been (fingers crossed) I’m going to need at least a part-time employee soon. So I went and got myself a FEIN. It took all of 5 minutes on the IRS website.
New Jersey LLC Registration
I’m now an official LLC, and can get a business checking account! The LLC forms were a little more in-depth than the IRS forms, and a little harder to fill out. I think the hardest part was figuring out what industry I’m in. Manufacturing? Arts and entertainment? Retail? Since my plan for this year is to do mostly wholesale and not retail, I went with manufacturing. There were some sub-codes for independent artisans, so I went with that.
I plan on selling my stuff at some medium-sized retailers, some of whom use barcode scanners with their checkout. To get my stuff to work with their systems I need UPC barcodes on all my stuff, and each one has to be unique per product. I did a whole bunch of research… it’s expensive! You can register with GS1, but it ends up being abour $1000 to start, and then an extra few hundred dollars a year. I’m sure to a major manufacturer that’s nothing, but to me it’s pretty steep, so I decided to purchase barcodes for a reseller for the time being.
There are some drawbacks to purchasing from a reseller. First off, they’re not really your barcodes. They’re someone else’s barcodes, with someone else’s prefix, and they’ve been sold to you. For smaller retailers this isn’t a big deal. If you’re planning to sell your stuff to Wal-Mart or Target, this may cause problems. You also have to do research on your reseller – there was a change in GS1’s policies and only companies who registered with GS1 before August 2002 can resell UPCs. It’s really hard to find objective information because of course all the people providing it want you to buy from them.
So far business cards have been sort of an afterthought. Usually the night before a show I’ll think “Oh shoot, business cards!” and run some off on my home printer. I finally got my act together and had some printed up not only for me but also for my sales rep, Katherine (that’s right, I have a sales rep. You’re jealous).
Overall it was a busy day. I gave my business debit card quite a workout, and my books probably will look a little sadder this month than I thought, but most of it is one-time expenses I won’t have to worry about ever again. I rewarded myself with a bike ride through Liberty State Park with Chris, and we found that the Liberty Science Center is only a 5 minute bike ride away from home! This means we can go see films in IMAX and planetarium shows whenever we want. Now Chris is cooking dinner, I’d say it was a pretty good day.