Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Your emails

Yes I have received them, I promise, and I've read all of them. I will get back to them one by one when I can. Most of the questions are coming from other Mompreneurs who are steps behind in the process and looking for some direction. I will give it, I promise, and if you are in the Toronto area, I may be able to offer you more in terms of sourcing raw materials for your products. I truly do have a list of the 'good people', and to this day I stand by them and vice versa. I can't say this enough - don't just find the cheap people - they will let you down. Find a balance between relationship and price. The relationship will see you through things like last minute orders, rush orders, and priority shipping. The cheap alternatives are generally never able to respond that way, their businesses just don't allow for it. And please trust me on this one, if you have a product that you KNOW is going to appeal to the market, it is darned near impossible to switch horses midstream. The only jump you want to ponder is years down the road, when your quantities switch from 1000 to 100 000. The most frantic emails I receive are from those who went with the lowest price and have been let down by either quality or delivery. If you've already started, and you've paid the money, you are stuck this time. But before Run number 2, do your research. Eat the extra cost, and forget about being profitable in your first run. I can't find a single company that was. So accept delivery when it happens, but don't make this mistake again, ok? This is too costly a mistake. Here's why:
You have a group of samples made and you shop them out to retailers. Wahoo, retailers say yes!!! When can I have them? Now based on your people, you tell them when you expect delivery. They write it down. Delivery day comes and goes. Nothing. A week later, still no delivery. You call frantically, they'll get to it, larger order than you came in and they must attend to it first, order from more established customer came in and they must attend to it first, and so on and so forth. You go into being a month late on delivery. Your retailers barely remember you, and if they do remember you, they will immediately wonder how reliable you will be do to do business with. And if you recall my list of retailer questions, one of the important ones was "How will you service the store?" Meaning, how long will it take you to fulfill a reorder? So you may have found the 'cheaper' option, but it's one that gets you nowhere.
The 'good people' have the same rules for everyone. They adhere to the delivery dates they gave you as best as they can, and they perform their own quality control (though you must too, v. important that you touch, feel, and inspect every single thing you send into stores as a small manufacturer). You need to stand behind the quality of your work, and that includes standing behind the quality of the materials you purchased.
In my case, so far so good, but I micromanage the quality of each Smicko as it's made, and I am also the person who properly folds, ties, packs (inspects packaging), and tags each and every Smicko. How? You find the time. Always always always, stay part of the process.
And I'll answer your individual emails as soon as the show is over!

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