As it’s become tradition, we like to take a few moments at the end of every year to reflect on where we were at the beginning compared to where we stand today as a business. Oddly enough, it’s ending much like it began…
2018 started off really rocky for us. We had just moved back to Pittsburgh in October of 2017, and didn’t even have time to unpack our personal belonging before we had to gear up for the holiday rush. We were as prepared as possible given the move, but we were crushed with orders. We worked through the holidays to get orders out in a timely fashion as not to disappoint customers and their gift recipients. Things stayed incredibly busy and steady like that through February.
We vowed to be more prepared this year… We changed relationships with vendors to get ingredients quicker. We improved our production schedules and increased the amounts of ingredients and packaging we held in stock to get orders handmade and shipped more quickly. And I’m happy to say that we were able to ship 95% of orders this year in 7 business days or less. The remaining within our posted 7-10 business day schedule.
We were ready for this holiday season! We made major investments in storage and organization for our workshop and packing room. Stocked more than enough packaging materials to get us through the end of the year. Samples made… Coupons printed… Customer bags assembled…
We got through the madness of Black Friday… Small Business Saturday was a blast… Cyber Monday, we’ve never seen so many orders… Giving Tuesday allowed us to raise money for our selected charities… Tremendous sales for our annual 12 Days of Christmas Deals… By the time our holiday cut off of December 10th hit, we had already started shipping orders that came in the week prior. Then Etsy closed our shop down… [Read more about our Etsy closure]
Since then, we’ve been literally working 16-20 hours a day to fulfill all our pending orders… We’ve managed to ship nearly 200 orders out over the past week, with the remaining delayed orders to ship December 26th and 27th.
There will be no Christmas for us this year, as has been the case for the past few years. There will be no exchanging of gifts, because all funds are tied up in shipping pending orders, and we’re still waiting for Etsy to release our account (which may take as much as 180 days). We’ll be working Christmas Day to prepare orders for shipment on the 26th we are the handful of holiday orders that didn’t ship prior to Christmas...
We don’t say this to garner pity from anyone reading this. It’s said only to convey the level of service we strive to give our loyal customers. Growing up poor, I can relate to the feeling of not getting something on Christmas morning. I understand the disappointment some customers may have experienced when their gifts don’t arrive on time as they expected. So trust me when I say, we always have our best intentions in mind when it comes to our customers.
Over the past week we’ve personally emailed nearly 3,000 customers! To say that everyone has been more than understanding would be an understatement. The messages of support we’ve received during this rough patch have been incredibly heartwarming. We can’t say thank you enough!
Etsy’s closure won’t be our downfall… If anything, it’s the proverbial kick in the ass that we needed to refocus our growth in other areas, namely our website. These are just a handful of the new and exciting things coming to OverSoyed.com in the upcoming weeks and months:
- We’re so proud of our website! Unlike Etsy, where shopping for a specific product can be somewhat overwhelming among the millions of products, our website has all products and fragrances neatly organized for you. New features such as Shop by Fragrance will be available by the end of the year, which will have all of your favorite scents easily searchable and shoppable, including our new fragrance gift sets and collections.
- We also look forward to providing more information about our products and ingredients that can benefit you as a consumer. We also plan on collaborating with industry professionals to provide beauty tips and expert advice on current trends.
What we are most excited about is the release of our Pittsburgh Heritage Collection. This collection will be available in various series and will highlight the sights and smells of the Pittsburgh area and celebrate the strong and diverse culture of Western Pennsylvania:
- Series #1 emphasizes the cultural phenomenon of the Pittsburgh Cookie Table. If you’ve ever attended a fire hall wedding in Pennsylvania, or nuptials in Ohio for that matter, you are no doubt aware of the enormous tasty spread of yummy cookies, baked goods, and sweet treats that you’ll encounter at any celebration. We’ve been working on this collection for the past 3 months and are super excited to launch it in January.
- This first series in the line features 12 delectable candle fragrances in our hand poured soy tumblers in scents so good you’ll want to take a bite! From Anise Pizzelle, to Italian Almond Cookie and Peanut Butter Blossoms, we’re sure you’ll find a fragrance you’ll fall in love with!
This line is very personal to us. Cookie making was always a huge part of our family growing up. Sadly, since my mother passed away 2 years ago, we haven’t been doing much baking around here. In moving back to the city, we wanted a way to share a small piece of her memory while giving the world a taste of what is so important to many families all around our region. So in each handcrafted candle, we’ll also be including a copy of one of my mother’s cookie recipes from her own cookbook.
We will also be releasing a signature scent of Series #2, Babushka’s Pierogies… This unique fragrance features the scent of creamy garlic mashed potatoes, grated cheddar cheese, and hand rolled dough… This is a fragrance you won’t find anywhere else and is a must-have for any fan of the delicious dumpling!
Lastly, if the Etsy closure taught us anything, it’s to not rely on just one venue for sales. So in addition to our website, be on the lookout for our new weekly Facebook Live Events. We’ll use this platform to spotlight new fragrances and product offers, as well as notify customers of current and upcoming sales and special offers. Follow us on social media and our blog for upcoming schedules.
We’ll also be reaching out to more independent retailers to allow customers more opportunities for same day local purchasing. Do you own a small business and would like to carry our products? Let us know! We also want to hear from you if you know of a local business that would benefit from carrying our product lines.
In summary, 2018 was a decent year full of many bumps… but we’re still here! We look forward to more growth in 2019 and serving our great customers for many years to come!
Wishing Everyone a Very Safe and Prosperous New Year!
Tristan & David
OverSoyed Fine Organic Products