Somebody Asked…. about adding a product

Every month, I receive at least three – sometimes more – emails with new product ideas. I love it!!

Seriously. I love getting these emails, because it helps me understand what you – my customers and potential customers – are looking for. Also, they’re very encouraging on a personal level, because there’s an inherent “I want to buy more from you” tone to these types of emails.

But I also want to be clear about something – I won’t be able to start offering all of these wonderful product ideas. It’s simply not that simple.

The main factor in whether I can add a new product is whether I can handle the additional workload. I need to keep a basic stock level of any product I offer. Unlike many stores, which merely purchase and resell items made in factories, Wallypop items are 100% mama made. (We do have a few resale items like Proraps, Wrapsody wraps, and Prefolds) And I’m the mama. I have a few hired sewists who help out with certain products, but most of the items are made by me.

Inventory is a continual struggle, as anyone who’s tried to buy All in Ones from me knows.

Beyond that, there’s also the legal side of things. Not just CPSIA, though that is a major obstacle. But there were regulations before that, as well – particularly on clothing items, which is why I’ve hesitated to offer anything beyond just the basic, basic clothing. What CPSIA did was enact incredibly expensive regulations on toys and child care articles, including bibs and anything involved in sleeping. Out went a product I had all ready to add to my inventory. Frustrating!! These regulations literally have priced me out of the market for these types of items.

But, Sarah! There are small sellers on Etsy and all over the internet selling these items. How can they afford it and you can’t? you might ask. Chances are, they are not in compliance with the law. I don’t know for sure, but there are plenty of small businesses who either do not take their business seriously enough to research applicable laws, or who figure that they’re small enough that they don’t need to comply.

I’m not like that. I’m sorry.

Other products (like clothes) I can likely afford to comply, but I need time (and undivided attention) to become familiar with the regulations, so I can’t offer any products in those categories until I’ve had that time. Genna makes this somewhat of a challenge, lol!

So, please keep the new product ideas coming!! But also please understand that it’s just not that simple to add to my product line. The wheels here at Wallypop turn slowly…

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About sarahtar

Our Family lives in central Iowa. We are Christians, conservatives, and crunchy granola heads. We love the outdoors, photography, and lindy hop. Turn ons are people who are polite, honesty, and really good root beer. Turn offs are mean people and people who make my life more difficult.

Posted on January 13, 2010, in Somebody Asked.... Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Sarah, I totally share your concerns about the CPSIA’s chilling effect on creativity and innovation, especially for small batch manufacturers.

    I urge you to join us at the Handmade Toy Alliance, where we’re working together to fix the CPSIA and learn from each other to survive it. We represent not only toymakers, but small batch manufacturers of all kinds. See http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org.

    Thanks,
    Dan Marshall
    HTA

    • Really? I haven’t looked into the Toy Alliance for a while, but I know when CPSIA first came out – and for about the first year at least – the toy alliance was really focused on the toy industry’s concerns (and rightly so!) to the exclusion of anyone else. The sample letter to Congress, for example, focused only on toys (again, and rightly so, since it was your letter) and ignored any other industries. That’s completely OK… but are you now saying that you’ve changed your focus?

  2. What item did you pull. I look at your site often and have bought in the past. I couldn’t find the one that was missing.

  3. What item did you pull?

  4. I had to stop selling doll diapers and doll slings, if you’re asking about products I had already offered that I had to pull. I had one product through testing and ready to announce during my grand reopening last year (after my maternity) that I ended up needing to pull because of CPSIA. Fortunately, I had not begun to stock it very heavily. And I canceled another product that was ready to begin testing, and one that was still in pattern development. What a total waste of time, money, and materials.

    (PS, though I use the fancypants names of big industry, I’m the one doing pattern development, etc. I also do in-house testing (meaning, I try out the products) and then I also send items out to others to test for me and provide extensive feedback.)

  5. And I’m not trying to be dodgy, but I’m still trying to figure out if there’s any way I can offer the product I nearly introduced… I haven’t seen anyone else with a similar product and I think it would be a good seller, and so I’m not really going to go into much detail about what exactly it is…

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