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!