Kinsey's Candles Newsletter August 2023
Hi, it's Deborah... We wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who has purchased our candles either through the website or through one of our retail partners! Thank you for helping to keep our small business strong. It's been a long time since we posted an update, so here goes...
PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESCRIPTIONS
Just a few things going on this month! First, we are finally retaking all of the photography on the website and rewriting the copy. Some will be retaken even more than once! This was long overdue as even the labels on the candles were outdated. There was a lot to be learned about photography as we are doing it in-house. Once that process is completed, there is a possibility that the website will be turned over to a web designer for a complete overhaul making it better speed and appearance wise. If the budget doesn't allow, we will at least be changing the look through a new template. We're looking for a professional photographer to do some lifestyle/home decor type photos. Just the photography is a major project, so HURRAY, it's getting done! This is the first year we have been able to get really focused on marketing. All the previous years were spent on sampling thousands of fragrances and deciding what products to develop and beginning to develop them. We are not finished with development, just taking a short break to work on the website.
There's a saying in the business world, "Let that @#$%^&!!! go!" Sorry guys, but if it's not a really good seller, we've got to eliminate the more sluggish fragrances, even though they are really great. This is out of necessity, so we are definitely sorry and it's hard for us too. If we're going to succeed, we have to let go of our "darlings" that are costing money, but not producing any revenue.
GOAL TO GO FULL TIME
That brings up a major goal. I intend to work exclusively on this business by the end of the year. I'm saying that with conviction. Let it be so! It has been beyond challenging to work full-time in healthcare and also try to grow our business, so any support, encouragement, recommendations you can give us are so appreciated. I'm starting to get tired, having worked without normal days off for four years. There is so much more that needs to be done, and I don't want to let anyone down. This is one reason for some of the bugs and delays.
The number one thing you could do to help is if you like the candles, please give us a REVIEW. Please, please, please. People ask, how do we support small business? This is how. A review on Facebook, a review on each product under the description, a review on Google would all be invaluable and we would be eternally thankful. It's challenging to sell online (customers can't smell the candles), but yet that is what we need to do to stay in business. Your reviews help give potential customers the confidence they need to make a good buying decision. This is such an awesome little "tip" to give us for our work. Thank you so much to everyone who has done so!
The cost of the supplies has risen several times, more times than I have kept track of. We have been in a holding pattern for almost two years with our prices. As long as we can stay within normal limits, we will not raise the prices, however, it really depends on the cost of goods. Alternatively, if the cost of goods were to go down, we could reduce prices, we would love to be even more competitive in the marketplace.
Bundles are just now being created on the website. This gives the customer a built-in discount all the time. It also helps with providing suggestions for pairings. Substitutions will not be allowed on the bundles to avoid confusion, but we will try to provide many options.
REMINDER ABOUT VIP MEMBERSHIP AND REWARDS
We just wanted to remind our loyal customers, please don't forget to sign up for the rewards program and check your e-mails for exclusive VIP sales. I apologize for the delay since the last offer sent out to VIP subscribers (you just have to join the e-mail list to be a VIP - we rarely email you). A "Blue Moon" special was just sent out to everyone who has subscribed.
The Rewards Program is a completely different perk, just look for the little black tab and the bottom right of our homepage and click on it to sign up. This is a fun points program to offer repeat website customers additional savings. But remember, the reward doesn't happen automatically, you have to generate the code from the "Rewards" section and enter it at checkout. Once you sign up, you are earning money off without even thinking about it. You just do have to think about it at checkout. The VIP and Rewards perks can be used at the same time.
There are a few changes with our retail partners. We appreciate so much each and every one of them. If you are a retail partner and would like us to feature you in our marketing please reach out about a collaboration.
We offer an affiliate program now. Details can be found on the website.
ONLINE ORDERING VS. IN PERSON ORDERING
We currently prefer online ordering just due to the simplicity for us during this busy time. Everything is taken care of when you order online, the taxes, the accounting, the process is all spelled out. There have been a few incidents that have made us consider only taking online orders. However, we have no problem at all taking in person orders, just try and remember the completion time we need is spelled out on the website, the price of the candles is posted on the website, and payment is due in advance. Why do the candles need to be paid in advance? Sadly, because people have ordered a larger amount and then changed their order at the last minute before pickup. It wouldn't matter at all if it weren't for the solopreneur situation I'm in where literally every minute counts in trying to do everything on days when not working, we could just use them another time. For the time being, it works much better if I'm not working on things that aren't needed or necessary so that I can meet deadlines. Thanks for your understanding and help on this. If you have to do it, (change your order) you have to do it. Sometimes things change and we've all been there, but this just helps to avoid that situation from happening as frequently.
The free shipping minimum amount has been reduced to $50, Continental US orders only. That's only four candles, or three candles + a sample. This seems to be a lower threshold than many of our competitors, so YAY!
FREE DOOR STEP DELIVERY
Please don't forget there is a minimum purchase of five candles required for free doorstep delivery. For now, we will honor the free delivery if they are on sale. This is up to 25 miles or less from our 32082 zip code.
The development of luxury products and a larger candle got off to a good start. Where we ran into a problem is the exorbitant cost of some of the larger vessels and materials. Nevertheless, this is an exciting new direction to go in and we cant wait to start working on it again once what is already up and running is tightened up. For now, there are several simply amazing luxury products available.
TURN AROUND TIME ON ORDERS
We've reduced the turn around time on the website to 2-4 business days because honestly, we can fulfill that most of the time, and was doing so all along. It was set up to 8 days previously, but of course customers don't want to wait that long, so just seeing that in our banner probably sent them running. I had set it at 8 days in an overabundance of caution, just in case with everything going on, and all the many fragrances we carry, I might forget to order one. That would sometimes be enough time to get the fragrance in. Also, now that online orders come with a box and all the labels that go with that, they take longer to pack. So, we're going to reach for the stars here and get these orders out in 2-4 business days. If I happen to be working a 12-hr shift, that day is a wash, so I will attempt to work healthcare mostly on weekends, which is not a business day obviously, and we'll see how it goes. If there is a problem, we will of course make it right.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY DISCOUNT
It's a set percentage that does not fluctuate. If you are a friend or family member, I'll let you know what it is when you tell me you want to order. Please do ask! We love you guys and are happy to be able to take a little off the price.
We're trying to decide whether or not to put expansion into new stores on hold till we get up to speed again. To be determined.
After going back and forth (I originally was going to forgo QR codes on wholesale orders), QR codes are going on every candle that leaves our shop. We need the exposure and it provides protection in that all customers have access to the care and safety instructions, as well as removes all doubts about the fragrance notes and the types of materials used to make the candle.
It's probably going to take at least the rest of the year to learn to make the perfect product. This is so fun and exciting there is so much creative expression in making beautiful, skin-loving pure soap.
PRODUCT MADE IN ADVANCE
This is my dream! Yes, there is some pre-made inventory, but oh how I wish for the days when we have ample candles pre-made and ready to go. It's hard for outsiders to understand why they are not. It's because of the lack of storage space and time. Since we do have very brisk wholesale sales, inventory doesn't last long. This will be fixed easily once we are able to increase online sales through finally marketing and work full-time on the business as well as afford the proper facility to store larger amounts of product. See? Money really does fix most problems. We're going to get there. Thanks for hanging on with us in the early years!
That's it for now! Thanks for stopping by and we are looking forward to the wonderful fragrances of autumn and Christmas! XOXO love and appreciate EVERYONE.