There really is no easy way to say this...
After almost 5 years of selling the best scrapbook supplies, we are closing our doors.
Typically, these announcements begin with 'I'm sad to announce...' or 'I wish I had happy news to report....' but not this announcement.
The past 5 years have been fantastic to say the least but with a changing atmosphere in the crafting world and some personal changes - we have decided to close the store. I am happy about this change since we are going out on top.
We are not struggling financially. In fact, its quite the opposite.
Sadly, there are some important factors that led me to this decision. Its been in the back of my mind since earlier this year but I decided to try and make it on my own. What do I mean by this?
First, the business has grown over the past 18-24 months. Its grown so much that I can't handle it on my own. I have been able to hand off some important duties to Alyssa McGrew who has handled everything with ease. She is on the other side of the US though and sometimes I need a partner who is right beside me.
There have been a few assistants and order packers but none of them have lasted. No one is as committed to this as I am. I recently decided, after the departure of my last packer, to go it alone. Of course, I had help (a lot of help) from my fantastic husband. He knows more about this industry than any other man out there. While working a full time job and helping me raise a wild 4 year old, we've been running this business together. While business is great, its not enough for him to leave the safety of a 'real' job. This leaves me wearing all of the hats a business owner can possibly wear.
It means that there is always a part of my life that suffers. If I take a day off to rest or spend with my family, the business suffers. If I take time away from family to work on orders, the blog, product etc - then my family suffers. Up until the last 6 months, I've been able to balance everything.
With a 4 year old demanding more of my time and energy, getting into sports, school activities etc - this leaves less time to focus on the business. I spent more time with him this summer than ever before and I loved it! I realized the business was keeping me from the best part of my life. I'm trying to create memories to scrapbook but I barely have time to make the memories let alone scrap them.
My husband and I took some time out last month to sit down and talk about it. We weighed the options and then listed the business for sale. I have slowly adjusted to life as it will be.
As of today, November 1st, we will begin shutting down the store. There will be no more new product in stock. No more pre-orders. We will handle the current pre-orders as we expected to have the product in before making this announcement. See below for more information. The store will officially close and no more orders will be accepted as of December 31st. Anything not purchased at that point will be donated.
What does this mean?
It means that we would love to keep this going but its virtually impossible. I never intended to become the biggest store out there. I wanted to maintain the small store feel. I never wanted to overcharge or ruin a shopping experience with shipping fees. I was a shopper before I opened and I based my little store on how I liked to shop. I know we have many satisfied customers and we will miss every one of you. The growth was expected and at the right time, I added employees to help with the growth. Unfortunately, they were not dedicated enough. This is not an easy job - I never expected it to be.
So, here are the basics.
As stated above, all current pre-orders WILL ship. We will handle all orders for the new lines as we get the lines in. I had expected to have everything in by now but there were a few product issues that held up orders. Product availability has been a harsh reality for us this time around.
We will keep everyone updated here on the blog and on Facebook when lines come in.
We will not be doing any special orders or re-orders at this time. My goal is to sell off as much of the product - of course. We have a discount schedule in mind and will stick to it until everything is sold off.
Shipping. We are keeping the minimum shipping for Free shipping but the minimum will go up slightly. Flat rate shipping for all orders less than the minimum will remain. International shipping fees will change. You will be able to view the new fees on the shipping table.
Coupons - There will be no coupon codes from this point on. This includes the Birthday Club and any coupon codes we have. ALL Stash Cash codes are valid until 12/31/11. At that time, all balances will revert to $0.00. We will not be issuing any Stash Cash from this point on.
Order Fulfillment - as stated above, there have been some personal changes. We typically fill orders within 3-4 days (unless we have a big sale). We will try as hard as we can to stick to this timeframe but orders may take longer to go out. If you have a rush order, please let us know. We will do our best to make sure the order gets to you as quickly as possible.
Returns/Exchanges - in almost 5 years I think I've handled 2 returns. At this point, all sales are final. Just had to put that in writing.
Contests/Challenges - we still have a box full of giveaway prizes so expect to see some contests over the next month. We currently have two running now. Feel free to join in and win some free product.
Everything else will run as usual through November. The Stash Girls will still work with a kit this month and will continue to post inspiration on the blog. Beginning December 1st, the only updates you'll see here will be product updates.
While I am sad to make the announcement, I am also happy. I have loved every minute (okay almost every minute) of running this store and I wish I could keep it going. But like I said - something always suffers. An email isn't responded to fast enough. An order doesn't get out when it should. I put the time frames in place to help give me a window to respond but if emails aren't answered within hours, we get a second email or even a phone call. I understand that every one of you is important and we wouldn't be where we are today without you but I can't keep up the pace I have been.
I know I'll be asked what led me to this decision. Here are some of the major points:
1. My son. He means the world to me but he's high maintenance. He needs the personal attention and since my husband works long and odd hours - that attention falls to me.
2. Product Availability - there have been increasing issues with product availability. I used to be able to order a line and then reorder anything I ran out of. Not now. I'm lucky to get my original order from the manufacturer. They run out of an item and don't reorder. Product is so exclusive. Larger stores get priority.
3. Product Issues - We've seen more and more product not ship due to production issues. Either the item couldn't be produced on time or it arrived in a state that was not suitable for sale. This usually happens with the popular items - such as the Mini Smash.
4. Employees - as the business stands at the moment, we need employees to run this. Seeing that they are in short supply these days, things can't run smoothly here. Same as managing personal vs business life. If I spend too much time filling orders, emails don't get answered. Something suffers.
I am in no way complaining. Please do not take this as one big complaint. There is frustration on my part but only because my store can't be what it needs to be with some of the issues I face. When a manufacturer tells me my entire order is shipping only for it to arrive partially filled - that upsets the delicate balance of this once well oiled machine.
I have cried over this decision. I have had a love/hate relationship with it lately. In the end, this was the best decision for everyone.
Starting today, 11/1/11, you will find items marked down in the shop. There are lines that are very low in stock. I do not know what kind of order volume we will encounter. We will keep inventory as updated as possible. We will continue to mark product down until it is gone. My hope is to sell every last bit but whatever is left over on 12/31/11 will be donated. As stated, our hours of operation will not be what they currently are. I will not be putting in anymore 18 hour days. :)
And because we LOVE a challenge, we will be out of the office for a personal reason from 11/4 - 11/11. We will return on 11/12 and pick up where we left off.
I believe I have answered every question I can think of at this point. If you have any questions, please email us through the Contact Us link or admin (at) yourscrapbookstash.com. You may also leave a comment on this post.
I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for making this little store what it is. I have enjoyed getting to know some of you personally over the last 5 years. I want to thank the Stash Girls - past and present. They have been the face of this family for 5 years.