Business FAIL!

It’s been a little over six months since I’ve launched my Etsy shop. Since then, I’ve definitely run into my fair amount of snafus. Remember these cross stitch bags? While I was really proud of this design (and it’s pretty obvious how far I’ve come in terms of design even in just a few short months) It was far too small to work with such a large bag.

I ended up reaching out to the printing company and sent pictures. They were very understanding and issued a nearly full refund. These are now given away when you buy a “Less Bitchin’ More Stitchin'” shirt on my Etsy shop because I didn’t feel right charging for them. While everyone has been thrilled to receive these bags as a freebie, I couldn’t bring myself to charge for them.

I was really impressed with the printing company’s response. They were quick and understanding and resolved the issue. I actually used this same company to create my nursing journals that are available (now on sale) on my Etsy shop. This was exactly what I had envisioned and they were VERY responsive and helpful with tweaking the art work. These make GREAT gifts for graduating nursing students. If you’re interested, check it out here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/976164238/first-aid-journal-for-the-every-day?ref=shop_home_active_15

I’ve still had this itch to create a product beyond just t-shirts. I have been working with some super cute designs I purchased from another artist on creative market and I was so excited to print and sell a stationary kit.

Up until this point, I’ve been very satisfied with this printing company. Even when the cross stitch bags didn’t work out, they were very responsive and addressed my complaints right away and issued a refund. When I began looking for somewhere to print my stationary, I decided to give them another try.

One issue I’m really running into when printing products (stationary, tumblers) is there is SUCH a high minimum quantity order. When I buy an order of t shirts, my screen printer is SO fabulous and there isn’t a minimum order. I’ve been so thankful for our working relationship.

Say I want to print a design on a product. Usual minimum quantity is 72. I don’t even buy that many shirts on my first run and with no guarantee of success and considering I don’t have a ton of investment money (I’ve yet to actually KEEP any money I’ve made in my small biz, I’ve only been reinvesting it) it’s risky.

The smaller the quantity of the order, the more expensive it is. There are setup costs and shipping fees. In turn, I have to pay more for the smaller order and would have to pass that expense on to the customer. I just can’t bring myself to charge $25 for a water bottle with my design on it!

This is all just the fun and challenge of owning a product based business but also, one of the reasons I chose to print with this company. They will print even the smallest of orders without extra charges.

I was so excited to roll out stationary with my next big launch coming up in November – I’m talking SEVERAL new shirts and designs. It’s something I’ve been gearing up for.

I wanted to create cards and notepads for people to purchase with a quilting theme. I found some AWESOME artwork, bought it, and got to work. I’ve been anxiously awaiting my order since the 11th.

To say I’m disappointed is an UNDERSTATEMENT. These notepads, 4″x6″ are entirely off center and asymmetrical.

These cards (just to send a quick note or include in a package) are similarly botched. The folded note cards are the *closest* to decent looking but still, printed over the score. This stationary order, with shipping was well over $300.

I will not be sharing the name of the company I used. I’m confident we will reach some sort of agreement or refund. They’ve been gracious and kind in the past and I expect they will be very understanding of this based on my experience with them.

This post is NOT to bash them. I’m not sure exactly what happened. I want to share this for several reasons.

  1. Entrepreneurship and owning a small business is often glamorized. It is more often LESS glamorous, let me tell you! Things DON’T work out more often than they do work out. It is a constant challenge which is so fun but also, well, challenging. I aim to show you the REAL side of what it’s like to struggle through your first year of business.
  2. Please appreciate and support small businesses. When you see a product for sale, consider the HOURS it took to decide on that product, decide on the quantity, decide on the price, and search for HOURS through WRONG products and designs to find the RIGHT one.
  3. Also, what products are you looking for? Would you buy a coffee mug or a tumbler with a quilting design on it? How much would you pay for it? When you go to buy a gift for your quilting friend (or any friend) what is your price range? Clue me in, tell me what you’re looking for!
  4. Also, just advice to other first year small business owners, please start prepping for the holidays BEFORE OCTOBER! Come on Kalissa….

That’s all I’ve got for today, I’ll let you know when this is resolved. If they don’t accept my order back, maybe you’ll be getting some freebie off centered and poorly designed stationary with your T-shirt order! HA!

Thanks for reading guys!

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The Pink Shoelaces is a blog about raising boys, life as a nurse, and everything in between! (buymeacoffee.com)

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4 Comments

  1. Susan the Farm Quilter
    October 27, 2021 / 9:14 pm

    The one thing I look for when buying gifts for other quilters is MY cost of mailing said gift to them. I have a quilting buddy in England that I exchange Christmas gifts with and the weight of whatever I send is always a consideration! It sucks to spend less than $100 on gifts and then have to pay $70 to mail it to her. So I am looking at smaller, lighter items to mail and I am looking for things she cannot get in England. I want them to be cool and unique! I wish I knew what size shirt she wears!

  2. Amber Futrell
    November 7, 2021 / 12:01 am

    For me quilting isn’t super my thing, but I get that’s your market! Also that stationary is super cute, great design. It’s almost got the “Aztec” feel to it, love that! Bummer it was botched. My price range is usually $25-$30 when buying for a friend/gift exchange. I personally like making like gift bundles. So if I spend $25 on one item, like a mug or tumbler, I’m going to add in a drink mix, maybe a candle or bath bomb, ya know just some small gift items.

    • thepinkshoelaces
      Author
      November 9, 2021 / 7:53 am

      They actually offered a reprint so we will see how it goes! I do love the patterns, even if I’m not a quilter!

  3. Bonnie Lippincott
    November 13, 2021 / 8:56 pm

    I really like the note cards, even the ones that are sort of misprinted. Maybe your mom would license one/some of her quilts for note cards. That would be awesome. I would buy multiples of those as gifts for quilting friends.

    Keep on doing what you are doing!

    Bonnie

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