Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why I hate the Post Office, and other greivances...

So today I went to the post office to mail 2 letters (actually sample sets), and 1 small package. While I was there, I also decided to purchase more stamps, as I am getting low on my $.65 cent stamps that I use for sample orders. The total was a jaw-dropping $29.00. I looked over my receipt when I got home and compared it to all of February's other postal receipts and found out that I have been losing money. It's not a matter of "not making money," or "losing a few cents here or there," but actually hemorrhaging money on shipping costs since the increase a couple weeks ago.

For those not aware (and I know I have many, many, wonderful international clients), the united states postal service raised their rates at the beginning of the month. I knew vaguely that they had increased their international rates, and I knew that domestic letters went up a penny for first class mail, but I thought I would simply absorb the costs of the increase, as I had done in the past. Unfortunately, after reviewing my receipts, I realized I cannot absorb this increase. The total sale of the items I took to mail today was $32.30, and the shipping alone cost me $16.65. Looking through my other receipts, I realized that a couple other international orders cost more to ship than the total dollar amount I collected for the sale and shipping combined. I am deeply sorry for this abrupt change, but I feel I have been put into a difficult position, so as of today (02/13/2013), I have adjusted the shipping rates for domestic and international shipping.

I want you all to understand that I tried to keep the new shipping prices as fair as possible. The biggest change is the international shipping on the sample sets. International shipping on a set of 10 is now $7.00, where it used to be $1.20. This is in direct review of my receipts, all of which for the month of February charged me $6.55 for international postage on a rigid letter, instead of $1.30 like I had expected. The remaining $.45 cents I charge helps cover the cost of the shipping box, tissue, labels, ink, paper, etc. The sample sets of 7 are still $1.00 for now, as I'm basing this price off the ability to send the samples first class without a customs form/tracking and the total thickness being less than 1/4 inch. If I find I am unable to maintain these standards for the 7 sample sets, I will have to adjust the shipping or possibly scale back to a smaller set of samples, we'll see how it pans out.

To help offset the change in shipping cost for sets larger than 7 samples, I'm now upgrading every order of more than 10 samples to a padded mailer, which will help keep samples safe in transit and provide ample space for customs forms and tracking numbers.

The other really noticeable change in shipping cost occurs in the "ship with another item" section of Etsy. I increased this cost for domestic and international customers to more accurately calculate the actual shipping cost. For domestic customers, this was something I had been meaning to adjust for months because I kept noticing that the totals were always much lower than they should have been (I was simply absorbing the extra shipping costs). These should work out a little better, but please note that I will continue to refund excess shipping charges, as that is only fair.

Lastly (because it is late, and I am drunk on excellent beer), I feel really guilty about increasing shipping costs without opening a dialogue first with my beloved customers, so as a peace offering, I have put the entire shop on sale until Sunday, February 17th at midnight. You can score a 15% discount on anything in the shop until then, no coupon code required.

So in summary: Shipping costs went up, international shipping costs went up drastically. I am very, VERY sorry about the increase. Please take advantage of my feelings of guilt and get really good stuff on sale. I absolutely love you all, and i hope you all have a brilliant and beautiful Valentine's Day and a wonderful weekend, and thank you all for your continued support and understanding. <3