Monday, February 6, 2012

Charts, Changes and Customs!

I know you guys love them. So let's take a look at the last two years of sales.  How much and of what?

Here's 2011. We shipped out 1,791 items in 1,216 individual orders, which shakes out to be about 5 orders a day, every day, weekends and holidays included.  You lovlies keep me very, very busy (especially once you remember that this isn't my full-time job. I already have one of those, so this is on top of that, a garden, the cats, and a marriage!)

One thing I thought was interesting (and somewhat saddening, was that herbal products, lumping together salves, oils, and herbal blends) was almost 75% of my sales.

Let's look at the year before with a total of 945 orders.  Herbal products totaled about 65%, I listed almost twice as many solo and pairs of sticks, and custom orders were double the percentage of my orders than they were in 2011.

That's where we are.  So where do we want to be?  I'd like to strike a better balance of herbal products to hair toys. I think a 50/50 ratio would be ideal.

The next questions, then, are where are we going and how are we going to get there?

We've already started to implement a few changes for 2012.  These include:
  • USPS Delivery Confirmation for all domestic orders
  • Custom Order Revamp
USPS Deliver Confirmation
All domestic orders are now going to have a tracking number.  This is a good thing for you, since now when you get a shipping notice you'll have a number to reference, and good for me because I think I was taken for a ride or two with people who claimed to have lost orders and really didn't. At the moment I haven't raised shipping prices to include this benefit, and unless postage prices go up, I don't think I'll have to.

Custom Order Revamp
My custom order wait is my biggest failing in 2011.  At its worst it was 4 MONTHS.  Which is unacceptable.  What I would try to do is make enough things to list in the store so I'd have one per day.  Then I'd also try to do custom orders above and beyond that.  The rationale being that I need to have some hairsticks in stock, because who's going to come back to a store that doesn't have anything ever in stock?

But life happens.  Often I'd get through the stock items and I'd simply run out of time to do more than one custom.  Or I'd set time aside for it and something would crop up.

So in 2012 we're going to try something new.  You may have already noticed that there's been a lot more custom orders in the store lately, that's me bailing out my list.  In about three weeks I've cut it down to half its former size. Since what I've been trying seems to be panning out, I felt ready to announce what we're doing to everyone.  Here's the general game plan:
  • Phase 1 Digging Out- I'll continue to work on hammering away on the Custom Order List until it's manageable again.  I'd like to have no more than 10 people waiting on the list at any given time.  During this time you'll probably see 4-5 custom orders go up on Saturday night/the wee hours of Sunday morning.  You'll also see another 4-5 normal listings of sticks listed during that week.  There will be fewer pins and other smaller accessories listed during this time.  The hope is that this phase will last another 2-3 weeks.
  • Phase 2 Achieving Balance I usually receive about 2-3 requests for custom items per week. At this phase I'd be looking to list 2-3 custom items, 5-6 listings of sticks, and then 5-6 listings of smaller hair accessories (pins, combs, etc.)
  • Phase 3 Expanding (Maybe)- In the very unlikely even that this method works efficiently enough that I find there's room to do more than Phase 2 (or I find a time machine somewhere or finally work up the guts to quit my real job and do this full time) there could be room for things like: Making true customer-designed custom orders again, offering both Summer and Winter salve year-round, or something else that's just completely impossible at the moment.


We're making these changes for you!  To make you happy!  To keep you coming back!   Please please let me know what you think of these changes and suggest others.


  1. I think that they are all wonderful and thought-out ideas. :)

  2. Why are you disappointed that the majority of the sales are in herbs/salves? I understand if it is a financial issue, but I would be willing to pay a bit more for the Panacea. It is truly a miracle product for my hair, and I'm kicking myself for not buying a large tub of the Summer (Vegan) blend before the season changed. I'm counting down the days until I can purchase more, having used the last of mine on my suddenly-thirsty hair. I've tried the other blends, and my hair doesn't slurp them up the way it does the Summer blend.

    I think your sticks and other pieces are absolutely stunning.