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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Expansion details!

Over the past few weeks you’ve probably seen me mention an expansion for twinkie tush.  Today I’m ready to give you details! :)

Let me begin by reflecting on the growth of the company thus far, specifically over the past year.

As you may know, twinkie tush launched in December of 2010.  We stocked 30 or so diapers on Hyena Cart every 2 weeks.  In those early days I did everything myself, and I quickly learned that I could not meet the demand alone.  Over a short period of time we grew to add a few part-time team members who cut fabric and operated our snap presses out of their own homes as well as ours.  Mike took on a larger role and while twinkie tush remained a WAHM-owned company (and still is today), he became a General Manager and CFO. :)  We joke that he works for me but the truth is that our business partnership has deepened and strengthened our marriage and I am so grateful to have him by my side as we grow twinkie tush.

Last August I wrote a blog post which indicated what we hoped to accomplish in the near future. I am very happy to be able to say that we have made huge progress on all goals and exceeded most of them.  In the past year we have increased production as we set out to, introduced stretch fleece in knits and longer wings in woven diapers, introduced the twinkie tush night-night and twinkie tush little tush, and we’re on the verge of rolling out the twinkie tush teenie tush, our newborn line!  Additionally, we are incredibly close to launching our own website, www.twinkietush.com.

Now we find we are at a jumping off place.  We have grown too large for our house in terms of storage and production needs, and we have increased production all we can with part-time team members and me working at home.  A few months ago Mike and I had a very serious discussion about the next steps for twinkie tush.  We both feel passionately about the company’s continued growth and we decided to follow our instincts and begin to research expansion costs and logistics.   We secured our first investors and a production space, and we began looking for a full-time team of employees.  I am thrilled to report that we are on schedule for the expansion – our space is being prepared for a mid September move-in.  Our team will begin training mid September and you should begin to see the promised production increase sometime in October!  We want to move efficiently through the next few months but first and foremost we want to be meticulous in ensuring the quality you have come to expect from twinkie tush.  For that reason, stockings in September may be lighter and we may even need to take another week or two off so that I can devote myself to getting the new production space up and running.

As you can probably imagine, this expansion has a substantial impact on our operating costs.  From offering a fair living wage to our employees to the expense of leasing and maintaining a production space, we are looking at a huge change in overhead.  The only way we can maintain this increased level of production is by adjusting our pricing structure.  Mike and I talked at length about the best way to handle this and we both felt strongly that it was important to offer multiple price points rather than to increase prices across the board.  It has always been extremely important to me that we be open and honest about pricing and that we only adjust prices as needed.  Currently, things like Euro knits and exceptionally expensive prints are priced higher.  We have only ever adjusted prices like that based on what we pay for the prints themselves.  While our pricing changes now are based on increased production costs, it is in that same spirit that we will change pricing as follows:

One size and little tush prints

At stockings there will be 4 price points for one size and little tush prints (there are currently 3). 

Level One: $35. 
Less expensive (level one) prints will be priced at $35, so that we can continue to offer multiple prints each week at that price point.  Some examples of prints in that price point are Johnny Blue Eyes, Botany, Amelie, and Landslide (among many others).

Level Two: $42. 
Next level (level two) prints will be priced at $42.  Most of these will be imports, some domestic, that cost much more for us to buy than the level one prints.  Examples of prints in that price point are Invasion, Boardwalk, Aphrodite, and Strong-Arm (again, among many others). 

Level Three: $45. 
We will continue to offer Euro knits and other more expensive imports, and those will be our level three prints.  Examples include Two by Two, Travels with Friends, Tell No Tales, and Duchess.  These prints will be priced at $45. 

Level Four: $48. 
And finally, there will still be offered, on rare occasions, diapers made with extremely expensive prints.  These diapers, most of which were previously offered at our highest ever price point of $45, will now be $48.  Examples are Any Colour You Like, Mutiny, Round Table, and Seeker.  These prints are extremely hard to find and extremely expensive, which dictates this highest price point.

twinkie tush teenie tush

We will follow a similar structure with the twinkie tush teenie tush, offering price points of $27, $29, $32, and $35.

twinkie tush night-nights

twinkie tush night-nights will now be priced at $43, with a diaper from the Wildest Dreams series occasionally popping up at a stocking and priced at $48.


We won’t be able to offer a discount for customs any longer as they actually require more in terms of time and production than stocked diapers do.  Customs, whether individual, mini group, or large group, both in stock and SYOF, will be priced at $36 for one size and little tush and $28 for teenie tush.  SYOF twinkie tush night-nights (offered via Group Customs) will be priced at $40.

Shipping and Handling

In addition to these price adjustments, the cost of shipping and handling will go up $0.25 across the board.

Wool and HCJ 

Wool and HCJ prices will not change with this expansion.

While we know we need to make these pricing adjustments in order to facilitate our expansion, we are very happy to be offering 60-65% of our diapers, including in stock and customs, at the $35-$36 price points and we hope that this new structure works well for everyone.

We plan to introduce a few changes and new product lines over the next several months:

1 – First and foremost, you can expect to see a significant increase in production over the next 2-4 months!  We will focus first on offering more ready to ship diapers at stockings, which is what the majority of you told us you prioritized most when asked on the facebook page.  We are so excited to know that that will make stockings more pleasurable for all!  Once we have established increased availability at stockings we will work on increasing opportunities for large groups and mini groups! We are looking at a very large total production increase which will mean more and more opportunities to purchase twinkie tush diapers of all kinds!

2 – We will be launching www.twinkietush.com within the next couple of months, further improving the stocking experience and making all aspects of the brand more accessible and user-friendly!

3 – We hope to decrease turn-around time on large and mini group customs over the next few months.  We are currently at 4-6 weeks and hope to cut that down if at all possible.  More information on that will be forthcoming!

4 – In order to increase efficiency with what is anticipated to be a much larger number of group customs, we will no longer be able to return extra fabric for large and mini group orders.  All fabric sent in for groups, large or small, will become property of twinkie tush.  We will provide specific information via the blog by September’s Group Custom drawings so that you can tell exactly how much fabric you will need to send in for your group, based on width and directionality.

5 – By popular request, replacement soakers will be offered in the very near future!  They will be priced at $17.

6 – We will introduce the “twinkie tush simplify” line of cotton velour solids within the next 3-6 months!  These diapers will be $35.

7 – We plan to offer accessories like wipes, wet bags and blankets over the next year as well. :)

Amid all of these changes, there are many things about our company that will not change with this expansion.  Our open communication and accessibility will not change.  Our attention to quality and record of exceptional customer service will not change.  We will continue to do things like the twinkie tush wish list, photo contests and random.org drawings, and will explore the possibility of future theme stockings and fan page trivia.  We hope to extend our charitable contributions further in the next year, finding more ways to make a difference for families and organizations that we feel we can help. 

Over the next few months you will hear more about the expansion, and I will share more about the production space and twinkie tush team!  To say I am excited about this move wouldn’t begin to describe it.  I find myself choked up thinking of the growth of what began as a small WAHM company, named in honor of our then 16 month old twins.  I found that the work I put forth was loved and appreciated and it made me want to do more, and better.  From the very beginning the twinkie tush brand has included a community of the most amazing customer families I ever could have imagined, and that community continues to grow and inspire and support and challenge me.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your part in the growth of twinkie tush.  For holding me accountable for a beautiful, quality product, and for your support, your warmth, your creativity, your positivity and humor.  It is you who makes all of this possible, and I don’t have the words to adequately thank you for it.

With gratitude and respect,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August Group Custom info!

We will be holding drawings for August Group Customs this coming Sunday evening (8/26)!  The entry thread will go up on facebook sometime between 8:15 and 9:15pm EST, and will stay up for 5 minutes only.

Please make sure to read this blog post (click here) for complete Group Custom instructions and policies.

This will have to be a lighter month for groups as we are in the midst of our company expansion (yay!) and need to scale back a bit temporarily.  However we are very hopeful that by next month’s drawings we will be able to start increasing the number of groups we draw each month!

Let us know if you have any questions, and thanks so much! :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Impromptu photo contest of sorts

As we are getting further along into building twinkietush.com I am in the process of choosing an image for the new site's landing page.  We have a ton of amazing past photo contest entries that we are considering for the site, but I'd love a new, slightly different kind of shot for the landing page.  To that end, I wanted to share a quick impromptu photo submission request.  This won't be a formal contest with multiple prizes, but the winner's photo will be featured prominently on twinkietush.com and the winner will receive an Ultimate Dibs Pass (a Dibs Pass that entitles you to a FREE diaper on preview day!  More info below.)

We'll accept photos from now through August 15th, sent to twinkietush@gmail.com with "photo submission" in the subject line - that means just under 2 weeks to get your photo(s) in.  Then we'll share our top few picks on facebook and ask for community feedback.  We will not necessarily choose the photo with the most likes but we do want opinions to help us make the choice!  The winning photo will be the first thing you see when you go to twinkietush.com once the site is up and running! :)

Now, as for what kind of photo we are looking for: normally with photo contests we encourage entrants to play up the theme of their diaper, which results in some seriously awesome photos.  While we aren't discouraging you from that this time, we want the focus to shift a bit for this specific submission.  We would love to see photos focused on twinkie tush branding, nature, connection, peace, fun, or family.  I highly recommend taking your camera and your little diaper model(s) outside for this one, or using natural light inside. :)  Also, keep an eye on the diaper and make sure it is well featured since that will be something we're really looking for!

*Edited Monday 8/6 to add: the twinkie tush label does not need to be visible in your photo.  It is only important that the diaper is featured well in terms of branding.  A wide shot which includes more image space around the diaper model(s) (nature, a building, etc.) is totally fine!  We would likely lean towards choosing a landscape oriented image for the landing page of the site, rather than a portrait.*

For this contest there is basically no limit on the number of submissions per family (again very different from the usual!)  We are allowing this because we recognize that you may get several beautiful shots and won't be sure which one to send in.  So let's say no more than 10 per family. ;)

Please let me know if you have any questions about this - I know it's very different than our normal photo contest format and you may want clarification on some things.  I am reachable via email or facebook with any questions! :)

Thanks so much in advance for participating!  I am so excited to see what you send in! :)

Please note that we retain the option to use multiple photos throughout the site, both from these new submissions and from past photo contests.  The only photo that will receive the ultimate dibs pass is the one we choose for the landing page.  Over time we may rearrange photos.  Should your photo eventually be shown on the landing page that will not mean that you secure an ultimate dibs pass.  We will only award one (1) Ultimate Dibs Pass as part of this impromptu contest.

About the Ultimate Dibs Pass:

This is like a regular Dibs Pass, but entitles the winner not just to claim a diaper for purchase, but to take it home for free. You can use your Ultimate Dibs Pass for any stocked diaper within the next 3 calendar months including the current month (August, September, October). Further instructions will be provided to the winner. 

How do you use your Dibs Pass? A Dibs Pass is a way to bypass the stocking itself – you need only comment on a preview photo on facebook by 10pm EST on preview day with something to the effect of “I am going to use my dibs pass for one of these diapers”, and then follow up with an email to twinkietush@gmail.com so that we can show you specific cuts and velour options. You will then check out with a private link. (Certain prints may not be claim-able via Dibs Pass or Ultimate Dibs Pass and that will be stated during previews. Additionally with certain prints only one Dibs Pass may be used, on a first come first served basis. Again that will be stated along with the preview photos. )

Dibs passes are non-transferable and hold no monetary value.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The twinkie tush Wish List will be re-opening tomorrow!

I am incredibly excited to say that we are about to re-open the twinkie tush Wish List!  This will happen tomorrow - keep an eye on facebook for the announcement! :)

Our last Wish List diaper was sent to a mama who wished for a beautiful girly print featuring a coral color.  This was the closest print we had to her wish - and we are calling it Coralie, after her daughter!

We are so excited to open the list again and draw another winner!  Please read over the information below carefully for instructions, and check out the original Wish List post for info about how all of this came to be! :)

When we open the wish list, you may send an email to twinkietush@gmail.com with "WISH LIST - (your name)" in the subject.  That part is essential.  In your email you must include the following info, using something similar to the format below:

Full name (again)
Current shipping address
Your wish!  This is where you tell us about your dream twinkie tush diaper!  It can be as specific or unspecific as you like. Please see the examples below for more info.

After we close the wish list (opening and closing times will be announced on facebook and the wish list will always be open for at least 24 hours), we will draw a name at random.  This may happen immediately or a few days or weeks after the wish list is closed, depending on our workload.  We will open that person's email and read about their wish.  If it is something we can do, we will make them their dream twinkie tush diaper!  We will cover all costs, including shipping, and we will not notify the winner that their diaper is on the way.  It will just show up at the winner's door! :)  We will always send a wished for diaper within 3 months of the wish.  Please make sure your submitted address is accurate and usable for up to 3 months after sending your email.  If you have a sudden change of address please email us with "WISH LIST - address change - (your name)" in the subject line.

Bear in mind that the less specific your dream twinkie tush diaper wish is, the more likely we will be to have the necessary supplies on hand! ;)  If you only say "Mutiny with black cv, serged", for example, we might have to draw another winner as we don't have that print on hand at present.  But if you say "Mutiny with black cv would be my ultimate dream twinkie tush diaper but I love anything with skulls!" we could defiintely work with that! :)  Here are some examples of wish list emails:

Name: Henrietta McSquire
Shipping address: 123 Smith Street, Walton, NY 16590
Dream twinkie tush diaper: Mollie with dark purple cv serged!  In addition to that I love all knit girly stripes and am especially fond of purple.

Name: Bilbo Baggins
Shipping address: 456 Smythe Street, Weston, CA 90782
Dream twinkie tush diaper: Any turned twinkie tush night-night

Name: Sven Svenson
Shipping address: 132 W 144th St. Apt. 3F, New York, NY 10030
We will be moving in March and our new address will be 120 W 146th St. Apt. 1A, New York, NY 10039.
Dream twinkie tush diaper: I like funny prints like Impossible Love and How I Roll.  I like serged.

You may only send ONE entry each time the wish list is opened.  If you enter multiple times you will be disqualified.  If you choose, you may use your entry on another's behalf, as in the example below:

Name: Betty Brown
I am nominating Melissa Shank for the twinkie tush wish list.
Melissa's shipping address: 698 Border Way, Lansing, MI 48901
Melissa's dream twinkie tush diaper: She has wanted Crush for so long now!  She prefers cv and turned.  If you don't have Crush I know she also loves Daydream, Spring Awakening, Honeysuckle Breeze, and Sweet Potato.

Please note - we will NOT be opening and reading any emails that come in for the wish list until we do the drawing.  Therefore we will not see what you write unless you win.  Please do not include anything in your email that requires a response, or that you need us to see at all. ;)  Please ensure that "WISH LIST - your name" is your email subject.  If an email is submitted for the wish list without that subject line it will be deleted.  (Wish List does not have to be in all caps for your email to be accepted.)

Please do not send wish list emails outside of the open time periods.  Any emails that come in outside of the time the list is open will be deleted.

We ask that only ONE entry per household is submitted each time the wish list opens.

You must be a fan of twinkie tush on facebook by "liking" our page in order to win.  This rule is in place only because, as I said, this is a thank you to our fans, both long time fans and newcomers! :)

You may enter every time the wish list is opened until you win! :)  Once you win you may not win again.

While it is not a requirement of entry, we hope that winners will share pictures of their dream twinkie tush diapers on the main fan page and/or fan discussion page!  We will not announce winners ourselves.

Please let us know if you have any questions about this and please do not send wish list emails yet! :)  We will open the wish list for the third time tomorrow!  Stay tuned to facebook for that announcement!

Thank you so much!