My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #378: Odds and Ends

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-22-2011 12:19 PM 3886 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 377: Wood Shopping Hangover Part 378 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 379: Working and More Class Planning »

Boy, I got a lot of little stuff out of the way yesterday. You know those days – where there are a ton of small things to do and it seems like they just get in the way of moving ahead. I like days like that because when all is said and done, it feels like you accomplished quite a bit. I even thought through the next project that I am going to be working on today.

I got a newsletter out. It was the second one that I sent in June, but it seemed that there was enough new stuff and people were asking when the new patterns would be ready so I thought it was warranted. I am getting a little better on using the software to make the newsletter. It was a bit tricky at first and one of the issues that I have with it is that I only usually write a newsletter once a month. This month was the first time there were two. With things that way, I don’t really work on it until I need the next one and find myself kind of forgetting how to do stuff. But we have been on the new software since November and I am finally feeling more comfortable with using it and getting it to look like I want it to. It really gives the notices a nice and professional look too, so it is well worth it. I love technology.

Speaking of technology and stuff like that, Canada Post is still on strike. That is turning to the point of stupidity I think. They started off at the beginning of the month with a “rolling strike” which hit one area at a time and last week it turned into a full fledged strike where mail is stopped all over Canada.

I understand that they are making a point and I refuse to get into the politics here and discuss it, as you know I don’t talk about stuff like that, but it just makes me very grateful for the internet and that most of my business is done via email.

From a business point of view, it must be devastating for many industries. Coming from the United States, I can feel pretty sure that things wouldn’t have gotten this far. I can’t imagine the entire USA mail system being shut down for two weeks. The funny thing is when I am reading about it, they are saying that workers may be back at work by next week (may!) and even though people aren’t getting paychecks that are normally mailed, all their bills are still due on time. (OK)

Maybe for someone like me that would work fine, as companies are encouraging people to do online banking and pay things that way, but for many elderly people who don’t have the knowledge or access to the internet or can even get out to the banks, it has to be incredibly stressful. I imagine that they feel frustrated and helpless and I think that they are the ones that are hurt the most by this.

Fortunately, for myself and my company, I have alternatives. I have had a couple of orders that requested “hard copies” to be sent in the mail, and I notified the customers and sent them the files electronically so that they didn’t have to wait that long. When things are up and running, I will send out the patterns. I think though that this will further encourage people to buy electronic patterns from me and not depend on the mail as a means of delivery.

In reading about it, this strike has caused a huge rise in people signing up for electronic statements and banking and I think that the long term effects on the post office will be quite apparent. I can’t help but think that they are kind of shooting themselves in the foot in regards to this, as they are losing customers not only over the period of the work stoppage, but perhaps for good.

I am very happy that I had the foresight to send my skating pond figures through Purolator last week and I find that when I need reliable postal service, I tend to go to private carriers more and more. Many times they are cheaper than Canada Post too, which is just icing on the cake. It is quite sad.

But for the sake of the others, I hope that things get back to normal soon and things get settled. I am sure there will be concessions on both sides and no one will come out of this completely happy, but there are people who depend on the mail system to survive and it is those who my sympathies are with.

As is mentioned earlier, I have the next project mapped out in my mind. I already began drawing and should be ready to start cutting it out today. It is a Halloween design (of all things!) and it will be pretty cool when I am done I think. I have a couple of weeks until the deadline for the catalog that comes out in early September and I wanted to be sure to have some Halloween designs represented in it. There seem to be so many people who love the season and I am among them. There are so many fun decorations and projects you can make and they are all good sellers.

So much to do! :)

I hope you all have a fine mid-week day. It looks like we are going to have a bright and sunny one here. That is great because it will be a good day to work on the deck.

Happy Wednesday to you all!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

5 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3704 days

#1 posted 06-22-2011 01:14 PM

Interesting. I had not heard about Canada post on strike, but then the US news degraded to a reality soap opera, not much news on them anymore. If people knew what is going on here, they would revolt!

Electronic is great, as long as the Internet is working and no virus are attacking ;-)) My biz credit card bank quit accepting electronic payments from other institutions, so that was teh end of that. Easier to just go to a teller at a local branch when I’m in the area than fool around with it ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Jim Barry's profile

Jim Barry

25 posts in 3541 days

#2 posted 06-22-2011 01:30 PM

Hi Sheila,

I feel your pain regarding CanadaPost. Since we sell mostly paper plans, our shipping (and sales) have virtually ceased from our Nova Scotia warehouse. As you said, the “rolling strike” was a concern but at least we could still get mail out. Since June 15th, there’s been no mail coming or going. And now the gov says it could be next week. Well, its unacceptable in my opinion. Mail should be considered an essential service and could not be held captive. Not only CanadaPost lose millions a day, what about the millions lost in business revenue by affected companies? Expand on that further, with millions lost in business revenue, that means 10-20% of that is lost tax revenue collected by the government. So the gov will have to make that up somewhere and that means a loss to all taxpayers. So, the next time someone says “the postal strike doesn’t affect me”, better thing twice about that.

You had said ”... I tend to go to private carriers more and more. Many times they are cheaper than Canada Post too,...” I’d like to know who those are because I don’t know of one single courier company that can ship for less than CanadaPost. Regular first class mail usually runs a couple bucks, XpressPost can run $10 to $15 within Canada, and $23 for US addresses. Couriers charge more than that. I’d love to be able to switch all business to a courier but the lowest price I’ve even gotten was $14.00. Since most people don’t want $14 to ship a $5-$10 plan, its not feasible. Downloads are the best method but most designers we work with do not want to go that route.

Jim Barry

-- Woodwork Safely, Jim Barry, Nova Scotia, CANADA

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2948 days

#3 posted 06-22-2011 01:46 PM

Hi, Jim:
I use Purolator more and more for my shipping packages. I rarely use Canada Post anymore. I did need to send a package to England though and they were less expensive and it did get there – albeit in about five weeks.

Once you surpass the “base cost” of about $18, I find that Purolator is quicker and cheaper and you can track and see where the package is as no additional cost. I fill things out online in the morning and print out the shipping slip and they come to the house here to pick it up by around noon. I can track it the minute the truck pulls away. The average cost of me shipping a medium sized box is about $25 to $30 and it usually gets to the midwest US from Nova Scotia in about five days. It gets to the East coast in about four. These “average” boxes of mine are about 18” or so by 12” and weigh under 8 lbs. Something like that through Canada Post cost me much more and I have to buy tracking and once it is out of the country, tracking no longer works.(so what is the point?)

This may not be as practical if you are shipping paper, but I used to ship my patterns this way too when my wholesalers bought the paper copies from me (now they print them in house) For me it works better that way.

In the two years I have been here in Meteghan, I have had several orders lost when sending through Canada Post. I ship most of my pattern orders through them, as they are cheaper than the base cost of Purolator to do so, but it is a gamble and I am never surprised if the customer doesn’t receive it. I try to encourage electronic patterns and many times send electronic files anyway to tide the customers over because it can take up to two weeks or more for them to get their orders even if I mail them the same day they order. Many times they then reorder only electronic files which is better for all of us.

I know what you mean about businesses suffering. As I said, I don’t like to use my blog as a place for my political opinions, but I don’t understand why someone hasn’t stepped in and ended this immediately. They act like it is something that can wait and many businesses – small and large – are suffering terrible damage in an already precarious economy. What are they thinking???


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Jim Barry's profile

Jim Barry

25 posts in 3541 days

#4 posted 06-22-2011 02:06 PM

Yes, we ship mostly paper. For all the boxed items, its far far cheaper to ship form our US warehouses since most of our customers are Americans.

Lost orders occur, yes they do. It used to be CanadaPost was pretty good to us and it was USPS was the crap shoot. Now I find CP is just as bad, especially in British Columbia for some strange reason.

Some of our plan designers offer paper and PDF. And when the postal system is slow, we can offset the wait game with a PDF. And like you said, the customer returns to purchase PDFs.

Also, we too print in-house for some of our designers. It doesn’t make sense to place inventory for paper orders and have to wait for plans to come up from the US when with have full color tabloid size (11×17) printers here as well our wide format 36” printer. So now we print on demand for customers, means less inventory overhead.


-- Woodwork Safely, Jim Barry, Nova Scotia, CANADA

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2948 days

#5 posted 06-22-2011 02:12 PM

Yes, Jim:
For the individual orders, CP is that way to go. It still gets expensive though and I am ashamed at having to charge the customers the prices I have to. But what is the choice. I also do everything on 8.5×11” paper so that anyone can print stuff at home on a normal printer. I realize that you have many larger plans and that isn’t possible. It makes it tough for you at times like this.

I also have a couple of sources in the States that can print for me and ship from there, but I only use that as an emergency so far. About 98 per cent of my customers want electronic, so I am very lucky with that. They get their orders usually within a couple of minutes and everyone is happy. No stock for me or running out to mail things. This is especially nice in the winter.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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