Category Archives: Ideas and Plans
Alright. Here’s The New Plan.
1) I’m cutting back on my product line-up. I originally had such a broad product line in an effort to provide full-service diapering and babywearing options for the local community. Since I opened, however, a lot has changed locally. First, because of our thriving Des Moines Babywearing and Cloth Diapering group, many many more people are able to see diapers and try carriers out in person to get a feel for what they want, and this makes them more confident online shoppers. This is a GOOD thing, but it also means that more people are choosing to shop online vs buying from a local store that they have to make an appointment with. (totally understandable.) Also, in the last few years, Little Padded Seats has opened a brick-and-mortar store in Valley Junction, providing locals with the ability to see things in person before purchasing, as well as much easier local purchasing than Wallypop where, again, you must make an appointment. These are both incredibly positive things for the community, but they do mean that I can probably safely stop offering such a broad assortment of products without fear of depriving locals of their options. With a few exceptions (I need to drop Basic Covers over regulatory concerns), everything I remove from the inventoried product line-up will still be available via Made to Order.
2. I’m raising prices. I’ve been reluctant to raise prices in recent years as the economy’s been tough. However, my expenses keep going up, both in terms of actual materials cost, as well as in the cost of my time. When I only had one kid and we had lots of free time, I didn’t place quite as high a value on my time as I do now, with three kids and markedly less extra time. I also can’t underemphasize how expensive cotton, hemp, and polyester have gotten recently. Wallypop items will still be comparable with the more affordable options out there – we’re certainly not going to start charging $25 a diaper like some of the major name brands (which are, notably, made much more inexpensively). I’ve also been surprised by the willingness of the cloth diapering and babywearing community in general (of course with exceptions) to continue to spend extremely large amounts of money on luxury baby items. Again, in comparison to many of the best-selling options out there, Wallypop products will continue to be very competitive, while remaining comparable or superior in quality.
3. I’m not going to sell wholesale. Removing the wholesale option cuts out a good number of sales, but it gives me more flexibility with my own pricing. It also will remove the pressure of receiving orders for hundreds of items in one fell swoop.
4. I am going to permanently remove my diaper repair and conversion options. It is so time-consuming to repair and convert diapers. I cannot pay myself fairly because it would be cheaper for customers to just buy new diapers. I will continue obviously to provide support for my OWN products, but I’ve only ever repaired ONE set of Wallypop diapers in almost 9 years in business.
5. Made to orders will continue to run as they have, but I’m not realistically going to be able to go back to my former schedule of competing three orders every three weeks. This means wait times will probably be longer, more like what they’ve been since the beginning of the year.
6. Restocking. Restocking should hopefully be easier and faster because I won’t have as many things to restock. I’m also going to try to expand my network of local mamas (and nonmamas) willing to do sewing for me to enable restocking to be faster, easier, and less stressful all around.
7. Inventory. If it’s not physically here and ready to ship, it’s not available for sale. Historically, when I run out of things like wipes, I have continued to allow them to be purchased, and I just make them as they are ordered, because they’re fairly quick to put together. No more. This change will allow other people (aka the husband and my 8 year old) to help me pack up orders (which neither have ever done before, ever).
8. Fitteds. I’m going to change the way I sell fitteds. At the present time, I allow made to order fitteds to be ordered along with inventory items, and I make them as they’re ordered. This stresses me out so much, because then I need to sew sometimes 2-3 dozen fitted diapers to be ready to mail in a week or so. I’m going to be inventorying more already-made and ready-to-ship fitteds, and if you want customization or options not available on the inventoried diapers, they will be orderable via MTO like other products.
9. Shipping. Shipping once a week, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
10. Goal to work 10 hours a week, not 40 or 50. Wallypop currently really requires 40-50 hours a week. I don’t have that kind of time. I hope these changes allow me to cut back my time to 10-15 hours a week. We’ll see how that works out!
11. LemonDrops. I’m still going to stock and open LemonDrops. I don’t anticipate it being a really high-traffic business, lol.
Sound good? We’ll see how it goes. Give me a few weeks. I want to get past the start of school (we start the first full week in August so we have lots of cushion time for hospital stays), Teddy has surgery on the 10th, and I need to decide which products to axe and which to keep, then make the associated changes on the website.
From a personal standpoint, let me say that this was and was not a difficult decision. In a way, I’ve made this decision at least two dozen times in the last year, but every time I’ve pulled myself back from the edge. Last week, I just reached the end of my rope. I can’t ease into changes at this point, I just have to jump into them. At the same time, I love Wallypop like it’s one of my kids. I’ve certainly spent more time with it than my kids. (um, it’s also older than my kids.) I don’t want it to just go away. It’s been almost 9 years of hard work and countless hours, and I’m extremely proud of what I’ve built from nothing. I didn’t just buy a business… I started one. From absolutely nothing. Quite an accomplishment, and one I hate to just throw away.
So… look for some sort of grand re-opening in September and see what the changes look like.
A few important notes in the meantime – I am NOT going to republish the shopping pages right now, because people will, not reading the notes, go ahead and order. It happens all the time. But I do want to honor gift certificates! If you have a gift certificate that you wish to redeem online or in person, PLEASE contact me!
I had some time a few days ago to sit and work at my computer but not do WORK, so I ended up going through blog posts in my blog reader that I had “starred” with the intention of going back later to do something with the post. Bookmark it, look at a linked website, blog about it, whatever.
I was struck by the sheer number of craft-related posts I’d starred, apparently thinking at the time that the featured craft would be so awesome to make, that I am now looking at and wondering what on earth I was thinking.
A felt tic tac toe board, for example. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that craft. It’s awesome. It’s cute. It uses scraps. Just… In MY life, when am I going to decide that THAT is a good way to spend my time? I have to schedule in time to make myself things, and I usually rush through it so that I can get back to inventory and orders. And when will I ever remember to pack it on road trips? And how long will we still have all the pieces? 5 minutes? My kids travel with notebooks, if they want to play tic tac toe, they’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way.
Mini Cherry Pies? Looks yummy! After a second look, I decided I’ll stick to regular size pies. Just a good, half the time.
I think what happens when I read the craft blogs is that I get sucked into the world that they’ve created. A world where people have time to make these things and live lives where they’d actually be used. You know, the world that Amanda Soule lives in. I don’t live in that world.
This little adorable dress, though. I’m bookmarking that one for next summer.
Patterns are all in my Ravelry queue, if I have a pattern chosen. (link is to the right, under Sarah’s Links.) I own the yarn for all except the puppets.
These are all projects I need to finish up by Christmas.
Jack Skellington hat and/or stuffed doll for Wally for Christmas
Puppets for Genna for Christmas
Dollies from scrap yarn for Genna for Christmas, and for new baby
Winter hat for Genna (no pattern)
Longies for new baby
One more sweater for new baby
Socks for midwife thank you gift
Before you read this, keep in mind that, though I am a planner, I also strongly believe that when we make plans, God laughs. And then to keep Himself further amused, he changes our plans for us.
Currently, I plan to work on Made to Order items next week.
Week of May 29 will be pocket diapers and snack bags.
Week of June 5 will be All in Ones, though I don’t anticipate finishing them up that week.
Week of June 12 is MTOs again, and hopefully finishing All in Ones.
Week of June 19 will hopefully be recycled wool items.
Week of July 3 is MTOs.
July 31 Produce bags
August 7 Basic Covers
August 14 MTO.
I can’t plan beyond that, because my corkboard only goes that far, lol.
Christmas Crafting Update. If you have reason to think you might be getting a Christmas present from me (so, if we’re related) don’t read this.
Alright. Here’s where I’m at. (no pictures in this post, the relevant pictures have already been separately posted)
Ballet skirts and legwarmers for two nieces: Done.
Ballet skirt and bun cover for another niece: Half done. (skirt done, bun cover out with a friend)
Camera cozy and assorted fabric pouches for mother in law: done.
Camera strap cover for father in law: done.
(MIL and FIL are also getting a bowl from StellaJames and a picture of my adorable family.)
Slippers for sister in law: done
Tote bag for other sister in law: done. (this sister in law is also getting the gift of our presence at her wedding in March in Arizona. don’t laugh, it’s going to cost us over $1000.)
Slippers for nephews: done
Slippers for niece: done
Hat for soon to be brother in law: not even started.
Project for sister: not started, needed equipment is malfunctioning.
Twirly skirt for niece and sweater skirt for niece: done.
Two brothers-in-law are getting gift cert’s for massage. They could both use one.
That takes care of extended family. So I’m largely done there.
Wally: knit sweater, knit sock monkey. Neither started. New pants (hemp french terry, dyed). Sewn, not dyed.
Genna: knit jacket/cardigan, knit longies. Not started.
Randy: knit fingerless gloves to match his hat. Christmas ornament from Wally. Not started. (though the ornament needs to wait until the 24th, because the child cannot keep anything to himself.) I’m also going to get him a gift card to Itunes for his new Ipod Touch.
And I’ll be doing some crafting for friends and others, too. One of those projects is finished, one is started.
I need to figure out what to do for our postal carrier.
I’m enjoying browsing through the last few weeks of postings over at Sew Mama Sew – they’re in the middle of their Handmade for the Holidays series. But sometimes I look at those projects and wonder who has family members who would appreciate the items shown. I mean, they’re lovely, but I guess maybe I wasn’t blessed with the appropriate gift recipients for many of them. I’m glad that others have been, though!!
Goodness, we’re coming up on Christmas, aren’t we?
Well, OK, the answer is NO. But it’s getting to be time to start planning for what I’m going to make for Christmas presents. And this year, I have, well, pretty much no ideas.
I’m thinking maybe knitted, felted slippers. For the kids? For the grownups? Hm.
I think it would be awesome to figure out how to use my screenprint kit and use it for Christmas gifts, but unless I want everyone to have the same design, um, that’s a different screen for every person. Not really practical. So maybe some upscale, modern freezer paper stencil designs for adult Tshirts? I don’t really see the men in the family wearing those, though. I know Randy would, but my brothers in law and my father in law aren’t really the, um, Design-On-Tshirt type.
Hm. I’m never too impressed with my ideas for the guys, you know?
A total copy from MamaP
The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me. I will try to make these tailored to those five people. The restrictions and limitations:
*I will make no guarantees that you will like what I make.
*What I create will be just for you.
*You will have no clue what it will be
*The catch is that you have to post this as well, if you expect me to do something for you.
*I have to be able to afford the postage, if you live out of country.
* I (you) have until 2009 is up to complete
Please link to your blog, if I don’t know you, in case we are new friends.
I had posted at Facebook that I probably wasn’t going to give up anything for Lent this year – a first for me. (I’m not Catholic. I just observe Lent in my own ways.) Fasting isn’t really an option, what with the nursing newborn and all. I have traditionally given up something bad for me physically and something bad for me spiritually. (doughnuts and gossip, for example.) But, I’m so perfect this year, I have nothing to give up.
are you chuckling?
OK, I just can’t think of anything.
And then one of my awesome Facebook friends suggested using Lent as a season of giving.
I started out by looking at the links posted at Amanda Soule’s Mama to Mama page. I have it narrowed down to either Little Dresses for Africa or The Dulaan Project. I’m not sure if it’s possible to just simply sew dresses and send them off to the Little Dresses people or if they have more requirements than that… I’m waiting to hear back from them.
Anyone local want to join in? Have thoughts on which project you’d like to do?
PS, regarding Lent, or really any traditional observance, “One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord, and he that regards not the day, to the Lord does he not regard it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives God thanks.” -Romans 14:5,6