Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Medium Junglie Gorilla Wants to be YOUR Valentine

Ever since we used Jellycat’s Medium Junglie Gorilla for our Valentine’s card,

we’re having a hard time keeping him in stock. I guess there are a lot of people who agree that he makes the perfect valentine!

We are so in love with him, we stocked some of his big brother too!

So, go get your valentine on!

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SHIPPING COSTS HOW MUCH?



When you order something online, at the bottom of your bill will be your shipping (sometimes called shipping and handling) fees. What exactly are those? Obviously, the cost of postage to ship the package to you is a part of this amount but most times, there are extra charges in there as well.

In the case of Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals, some of the costs you might not be aware of are:  the price of the envelope or box your purchase is shipped in; the salary for the person who packs the item; transaction fees to the websites (Amazon, eBay, etc.) hosting our store; and transportation costs to get the package to the post office.

One of the eye-openers we encountered when we first started our online store was how many fees are involved. There is a fee to list the item, one when the item sells, and one for Paypal (or whatever site is handling your credit card sales). Every shipping and handling fee only covers a small portion of the above mentioned costs, otherwise our shipping charges would be exorbitant.

Accidents Happen

In our store, Helen and I are it. There are no minions, not even a lackey. So when accidents happen, we are to blame. Last week, our printer went on the fritz in the middle of printing our shipping labels. Clearing paper jams are not my favorite thing to do, but when sticky labels are involved, usually stuck to tiny little cogs deep in the heart of the machine, there may be some blasphemy involved. And some kicking.

On this particular occasion, the printer jammed half-way through a label. When we finally gave in and agreed that we had cleared our last paper jam, I sent all the labels to my work computer to print there and we arranged to buy a new printer the following night. Somehow, the label that caused all the problems did not get sent with the others and therefore did not get printed.  So when we brought the labels home at lunch to put on the packages, we had an envelope with no shipping information. A quick check let us know who the poor package belonged to and I arranged to print that one label in the afternoon.

We did get the label printed, tucked it on the package and we dropped everything off at the post office. A few days later, we got an email from one of our customers thanking us not only for the items he/she had bought, but for two extra ones they weren’t expecting. There was an invoice in the second package addressed to someone completely different. I had printed the wrong label and sent the problem package to the wrong address.

After apologizing for the mistake, we asked them to send the package back and we’d refund them the cost of the postage. But they suggested that they just send it directly to the address it was originally supposed to go, saving us the hassle of waiting for it to get to us before we could send it out again. How cool is that?

Much as I would like to think of myself as a superwoman, capable of not only doing everything but doing it with a smile, darn it, I am human and make mistakes. It’s how you fix the mistakes that matters. And if you’re lucky enough to have amazing customers the way we do, it makes the fixing part that much easier.

DISCONTINUED

“I’m sorry but that item has been discontinued” is something a retailer never wants to hear from their manufacturers. They only say it about items that are selling well because  you don’t ask about things that sit around for any length of time. Those, you just pray someone will finally buy.

There are reasons a supplier stops carrying certain items. If it’s a licensed character and they lose the license, by law they can not make them anymore.

Some manufacturers decide to stop making items because they like to rotate their stock, never keeping one thing for very long.

One of our vendors told us that their company was trying to raise their average price point (how much they charge for each item) by getting rid of all the smaller items in their arsenal.

Whatever the reason, inventory items come and go. As a retailer, you can throw a hissy fit – which we have been tempted to do on more than one occasion –

but it doesn’t do any good. They never change their minds (trust me, I know this) and all you do is look like a fool. Or you can stoically push your feelings aside and wait to see what is coming because most of the time, they are clearing their product line for new items.

And, once in a very great while, a license gets renewed or the manufacturer has a change of heart and old items come back again. And on those days, you do the happy dance!

Today is one of those days! We just found out that one of our favorite items will be re-released and we can’t be happier about it. As soon as we find out more about release dates, we’ll let you know who it is. Until then, want to hazard a guess?