Chapter 2-16 : New Products Ⅱ
「The main problem is there are not many jobs in this village where the villagers can get cash.」(Sarasa)
「In the first place, the ones who have cash in this village are the Collectors. Unless the villagers sell something to the Collectors, it’s difficult for them to make money.」(Lorea)
「Selling something to the Collectors, huh…? It seems to be difficult for the villagers. Collectors normally buy food and rent lodgings in Diral-san’s inn and buy things they need in Daruna-san’s general store. If someone opens another inn or general store…」(Sarasa)
「Then my dad’s general store would probably go bankrupt!」(Lorea)
Lorea-chan flusteredly waved her hands.
「Yeah, that’s possible. There’s no point in opening a new store if the total number of buyers remains the same.」(Sarasa)
It would be possible if only the number of Collectors increased to the point that Diral-san’s inn couldn’t accommodate all of them and Daruna-san’s general store couldn’t meet their demands for goods anymore.
Even if that happened, it would be better if Diral-san and Daruna-san expanded their inn and store and hired the villagers instead of asking other villagers to open a new inn and store.
Besides, it would be difficult for the villagers, who were mostly farmers, to start a store all of a sudden.
「Store Owner-dono, why don’t you make some jobs to hire the villagers for?」(Iris)
I tilted my head and looked at Iris-san who pointed out her idea.
「Look. Who is the person who has the most money in this village now?」(Iris)
「Well… I believe it’s… me?」(Sarasa)
It doesn’t matter if I have money that I can use freely or not, I think the one who has the most cash in this village is me, thanks to the villagers and Collectors who always buy my products.
I can’t believe how poor I was back then…
My hard work to graduate from the Alchemist School and get the Alchemist License was not in vain!
「Of course we’re not talking about assets like land and buildings, and considering that I still have to pay my debt to you, I think you’re indeed the one who has the most money in this village.」(Iris)
「Iris, you’re getting off track. We’re not talking about our debt now…」(Kate)
「Woops, you’re right. Anyway, Store Owner-dono, with the money you have, I think you can create jobs for the villagers, just like when you hired Lorea.」(Iris)
I got Iris-san’s point.
I’ve been using my money to pay Lorea-chan’s salary, order furniture from Geberg-san, order metal plates from Jizdo-san, and buy meat from Ells-san.
Although it’s not that much, I’m indeed supplying cash to the villagers.
「But, creating jobs for the villagers, huh… I don’t need more employees to take care of my store. Lorea-chan alone is more than enough after all… Are there really jobs I can create for the villagers…?」(Sarasa)
I can’t just hire people if I don’t need them, right? It’s no different from charity.
I wonder if there’s something the villagers can do for me…
Maybe I can ask them to weed my backyard and take care of my herb field?
No… taking care of herb fields is too difficult for amateurs…
「Oh, right! Sarasa-san, you asked Geberg oji-san to make the main frame for your refrigerator, right? Is it possible if you ask the other villagers to help you make the part of the artifacts you want to make just like Geberg oji-san?」(Lorea)
Lorea-chan clapped her hands as she said that.
「Oh! That might be a good idea. I’m now selling the Cooling Hats, so maybe I can ask them to make the hats for me.」(Sarasa)
Making hats can be done even if you’re not an alchemist. It’s simple yet troublesome work.
If the villagers make the hats for me, all I have to do is just turn them into artifacts.
The problem is among the artifacts that I can sell in this village, I can only ask the villagers to help me with the Cooling Hats.
I was thinking of asking them to help me make the cloth for the Environment Adjusting Clothes, but unfortunately no one in this village wanted to buy this artifact.
「But… I think everyone will stop buying the Cooling Hats soon… They don’t need many of them after all.」(Sarasa)
According to the information I got from the “Neighborhood-Women Network”, most of the farmers who need the Cooling Hats have already bought them.
If that’s really the case, the only customers left who might want to buy the Cooling Hats are the Collectors.
「Store Owner-san, why don’t you sell the hats elsewhere?」(Kate)
「You mean selling the Cooling Hats to another village or town? Hmm…」(Sarasa)
I tilted my head, thinking about Kate-san’s suggestion for a moment.
「Your hats are cheaper than the market price, right? I think they will sell well even in other places. You can ask Daruna-san to transport them. I think it will be way more profitable for him than just selling dried meat.」(Kate)
「I see… Un. That’s not a bad idea.」(Sarasa)
Fortunately, the artifacts are hats, so they are light and don’t take up much space.
Moreover, because people can feel the effect of the hat immediately after they wear it, Daruna-san can sell the hats without being suspected of the hats being fake.
Selling artifacts with immediate effects is much easier than selling potions that can’t be used immediately.
「I agree with Kate-san’s idea! It will surely help my dad and the villagers financially! Sarasa-san, let’s do it!」(Lorea)
Seeing Lorea-chan saying that with a bright face, I immediately nodded.
How can I say no to this girl?
「Alright, I will try.」(Sarasa)
After I answered like that, Iris-san shrugged her shoulders and smiled at me.
「If you really want to sell the hats outside the village, I think you should think about the design of the hats, not only the effects. The ones you sell right now are for farmers and collectors, right?」(Iris)
「Yeah, I made them while prioritizing usability, so they look somewhat dull…」(Sarasa)
To save time and effort I made the Cooling Hats without thinking about the design.
If I spent time and effort to make the hats look fancy, I would have had to sell them at a higher price, and I didn’t want that since I wanted to sell them cheaply to the villagers.
「I don’t think the hats will be popular in towns if you don’t make them look fancy. Well, you don’t need to think about it if you want to sell them to another rural area like this village.」(Iris)
「So… Should I ask the villagers to make fancy hats?」(Sarasa)
「Umm, Sarasa-san, I think it will be difficult. The adult women in this village know nothing about fashion…」(Lorea)
Ah, come to think of it, Lorea-chan immediately called me “city girl” when we first met even though I didn’t wear fashionable clothes.
Looks like this village has poor fashion sense.
「I see… Anyway, let’s try to make something that can be used as a reference. Drawing an illustration of a fancy hat may be a good start. Do you guys have any ideas for fancy hat designs?」(Sarasa)
「Uu… I don’t really understand fashion.」(Iris)
「Iris doesn’t have an interest in fashion after all. Moreover, she’s not good at drawing.」(Kate)
「Kate, you don’t need to say that! Certainly I’m not very interested in fashion, but Store Owner-dono, I can tell whether a design is good or bad!」(Iris)
Iris-san flusteredly made an excuse. Perhaps because she told me that the dull Cooling Hats that I sell for farmers and Collectors right now wouldn’t be popular in towns.
「Don’t worry, I’ll help you with the design. I’m not particularly good at drawing, but I’ll do my best.」(Kate)
「Thank you, Kate-san.」(Sarasa)
I can ask Master for help if we find difficulties with the design, but for now, I should leave it to Kate-san.
Although I once lived in the royal capital, I didn’t go out much, so I’m not familiar with fashion.
「Alright then, I’ll go see the village mayor to talk about this.」(Sarasa)
I always act on my ideas as soon as I think of them, so I decided to meet the village mayor and talk to him about giving the villagers work right away.
◇ ◇ ◇
The village mayor let me enter his house as soon as I arrived. Looks like he was free.
「ーーI see… Giving the villagers work, huh? In other words, you want to ask the villagers for help, right?」(village mayor)
After I explained briefly, the village mayor nodded.
「Yes. What do you think?」(Sarasa)
「I think it’s a great idea. It can help the villagers financially. We often rely on Dudley and Daruna when our village runs out of cash to pay taxes…」(village mayor)
The village mayor let out a big sigh while saying that.
「Anyway, it’s not a bad idea, but the women in this village can only make straw hats, you know? They can sew, but they don’t know how to make hats.」(village mayor)
「I’m planning to provide them with an illustration that may help them. They need to figure out how to make it, but we can give them some guidance if necessary.」(Sarasa)
「I see… They might be able to make it if they see the design. So, how many hats do you need and how much will you pay for them?」(village mayor)
「Ah, about that, I’m planning to use a consignment method.」(Sarasa)
I started to explain to the village mayor who tilted his head and looked at me with a confused expression.
First of all, the villagers will make hats at their own expense and set the price as they like.
After I turn the hats they made into Cooling Hats, I will add the price given by the villagers into the production cost, and then sell the finished products.
I will pay the villagers when the Cooling Hats are sold.
「The fancy Cooling Hats cost more time and effort than the regular ones, so they cannot be at the same price. Therefore, I want to leave the fancy ones to the villagers.」(Sarasa)
「I see.」(village mayor)
「The cost of making a Cooling Hat is about 5,000 reas. If the villagers set the price at about 500 reas for each hat they made, then the cost of goods sold will be 5,500 reas each.」(Sarasa)
「Fumu… But if they don’t sell, the villagers will not get their money, right? Wouldn’t that be a loss for the villagers?」(village mayor)
「Ah, about thatー」(Sarasa)
「ーThat’s not true, Dad!」(?)
When I tried to explain, the sharp voice of someone was heard from the room in the back.