Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

Sometimes I'm unsure who my audience is with this blog. Is it my friends and family that I might call and divulge all this to prior to writing a blogpost? yes. Other crafters & designers, who relate when I complain? Maybe. Is it customers, who perhaps find it interesting? Hopefully. In any case, I hope you'll forgive the following rant, but I thought it might be interesting to hear about some of the complications involved in doing what we do at Red Prairie Press.
So, for the third time now, a style that I carefully chose from Alternative Apparel to be part of my new collection has been CANCELLED. Discontinued, not even a full year after it was first offered! It is the above shirt this time, but in the past, a plum colored tunic, & the pocket dress from last season.
I can certainly understand that if a company is not selling something in as high volumes as they'd hoped, they need to consider making something else, that might sell better. I do that myself! But the problem is the timing. When I introduce a new shirt to my line, I choose carefully, and order about 50 to start with. I design an image based on that style (or multiple styles) and I print those shirts, wrangle models, photographers, lights... set up a photoshoot, edit those photos, work for a full month on a catalogue, as well as spending time to get the photos web ready, write descriptions of the new shirts and get them on both Etsy, and Red Prairie Press. Next, I work on advertising - both print & web based. I pay for those, and I pay for printing my catalogue, as well as shipping it to the 100 shops I ship it to each season. In the end, when you calculate, over a month of work, and hundreds if not thousands goes into just getting all of this done each season. I ordered these shirts for the first time in mid-march, and was ready to order more, in a larger quantity yesterday, when I realized to my horror, there were no more. I will have to start over.
I've called the company, and spoken with 3 different people about this, who seem sympathetic, and make promises that they'll be doing better with this problem in the future. But I wonder what the best solution IS, and if any of you have one?
I was so livid yesterday that I actually wept on the phone (which got mixed results from the people I spoke with). I want to work with this company, but how can I chance doing this time and time again? I think the best bet is to just order a HUGE quantity to begin with, but as a small company that's a big risk to take when I don't know how something will do. (In this way, I suppose I can best relate with Alternative- who also does a lot of guessing, and testing on what will do well and what won't)...

Anyone else have this problem, or a similar one?
Also- if you want one of these tees, get em now!! I'll be switching to a new color as soon as they're gone.
Ain't no use to sit & wonder why, babe...

1 comment:

2 hawks 2 fishes said...

Lame. I'm so sorry to hear about that Rachel. I can see how you would be upset.

Off topic, that is the first song I learned on guitar.