Today I find myself looking for some interesting things to post about. Once again I find myself in the ‘writing phase’ of designing and I fear that there is not much exciting news to tell. There are many exciting thoughts floating around in my head though, so I am still enthusiastic and excited, but I don’t think there is much that I have to show you at this point.
I was thrilled at the positive response that I had from yesterday’s post. So many of you liked the new baskets that I have been working on! I have many other ideas for baskets – some focusing on scroll work and others focused on painting. I think that baskets and boxes are always popular because they are also functional items. It seems that everyone really likes that.
I am taking my time and thinking through the possibility of offering kits for the character baskets (such as the marshmallow bunny basket that I showed yesterday.) My one issue with that is the horrific cost of shipping. It is astounding how much the cost of postage has risen in just the past few years and it is certainly a consideration when shipping actual products.
Fortunately for us, about 95% of our sales are from patterns that we offer in PDF format. I think everyone likes the thought of that, as not only do the customers not incur shipping fees, but they receive their patterns almost instantaneously. It is certainly wonderful considering that we have customers all over the world. Many mornings I wake up to orders from Australia or Europe or other countries and I am happy that I am able to email their orders to them immediately. So are they and I believe that it really helps our business.
But offering wood pieces is another story altogether. We need to be ever so careful when pricing these pieces so that we cover ourselves with the shipping fees. That isn’t always easy to do, as they seem to be continually changing and rising. Since our site has over 500 products, it would be very confusing and difficult for us to try to have two different pricing structures (one for paper patterns and the other for wood pieces and kits) so we try to build some of the shipping cost into the price of the wood items that we sell. While this may initially look like we are charging a bit more for the pieces, it insures us that we are covered when the general shipping fees are applied.
It isn’t a perfect science though, and sometimes we don’t quite make up the differences. It takes practice and ‘tweaking’ and we find that as we do this more and more, we are getting closer to being spot on with things. The bottom line is that we always try to be fair to our customers. We don’t make any money from shipping costs and that is the way we want to keep it.
My friend used to tease me about the “handling” part of the “shipping and handling” fees that I charge. He used to insist that “handling” fees were a farce and a way to make an extra buck or two on an order. But when I came to Canada nearly ten years ago, he generously offered to ship my USA orders for me, as it was easier for him to do so than for me to do so from here, as I wasn’t really settled. It didn’t take him long to realize that those “handling” fees didn’t nearly cover the cost of things like envelopes and packaging, tape and fuel to drive to post the items. Not to mention the time involved to do all of this. It added up much quicker than one realizes, and many times it didn’t even begin to cover the actual costs.
One of the basic building blocks of running your own business is figuring out what to charge for things. The bottom line is that if you lose money on something, you can’t do it and expect your business to be successful. However, you still need to be fair in your charges and (for me anyway) I prefer to make money on my designs, not on my shipping charges. That is just the way I am.
It’s a fine line we walk with figuring out shipping. As I offer more items as kits, it is becoming a larger part of our business. I am and will be trying my best to make it fair and accurate for everyone though, as I realize that no everyone has the ability to cut their own wood. In looking at other wood suppliers that many painters use, we are still offering our pieces at a fair price, including the shipping.
So many things to consider . . .
Today, as I stated, I will be writing instructions. Keith also has a few new patterns that he will be introducing for the next update. We hope to update the site and get the new patterns there by Thursday, and we will be sending a newsletter out to announce the new products as well. (If you haven’t already done so and wish to join our mailing list, you can do so here: Mailing List )
As soon as things are updated, I will be moving ahead to new designs. I had a hint of what is to come in yesterday’s photo. I promise it will be fun.
It is sometimes difficult to be patient with myself. The new thoughts just come too quickly. When these ideas are screaming to be implemented, it is at times hard for me to complete what I have already begun. But it is my responsibility to do so, even though I may interrupt the flow. So in the mean time, I keep a note pad by my side so that the new ideas won’t get lost in the shuffle of time and today I write and document instructions, so that others my enjoy them as well.
“Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait . . . there is nothing stronger than these two: patience and time, they will do it all.” ― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
I hope you all have a great day today. We had some sun this morning, but it is already clouding over. We certainly have had our share of snow this year. Part of the experience of winter in Nova Scotia. I wouldn’t expect any different.
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"