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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A new group custom process coming in September!

As I mentioned previously, we are going to be re-vamping our group custom process a bit.  We will be trying out a new process in September! J  Here are the details:

I will announce at least one day in advance that a group custom slot will be available.  You will know the specific day on which to expect the slot to open, but I will not give the specific time.  This is out of consideration to those who have been planning and preparing well in advance and who carefully follow the blog and facebook for updates – I want to make sure those efforts are given consideration.  When I do announce the group custom, I will do so on facebook rather than the blog.  I will create a post on the facebook page that reads “Group custom drawing thread!”  At that point you will have 10 minutes to enter your group.  You enter by commenting on the thread in the following format:

“Group name: member first name, member first name, member first name, etc.” 

An example would be:
“The flying whizbees: Kate, Megan B., Amanda, Karen, Jessica, Sarah, Melissa, Henrietta, Pamela, Megan Z.”

Each team may enter ONE time only.  Any multiple entries will be deleted (leaving only the first entry).  And each person may only enter on behalf of ONE team. (In other words Gretchen Gilpin cannot enter for both the flying whizbees and the green lanterns.)

Another important stipulation: if we see an identical member list for more than one group, the second entry will be disqualified.  For example:

“The flying whizbees: Kate, Megan B., Amanda, Karen, Jessica, Sarah, Melissa, Henrietta, Pamela, Megan Z.”
“The green lanterns: Melissa, Henrietta, Pamela, Megan Z., Kate, Megan B., Amanda, Karen, Jessica, Sarah”

The green lanterns are clearly the flying whizbees under a different name. ;)  This is not at all in the spirit of the drawing and we can't allow anything as blatant as that.

Also within the 10 minutes you will need to send an email to twinkietush@gmail.com.  The email subject must read something like “Group Custom Entry: Team Name (eg The flying whizbees)”.  Your team name MUST be included in the subject line of the email.  All group members must be cc'ed on this email.

The email must contain a link to a google spreadsheet or an attached Excel spreadsheet (please do not C&P in the body of the email) containing the following information for each group member:

1 - Full member name
2 - Member name as it appears in paypal account
3 - Member contact email
4 - Member paypal email
5 - serged or T&T preference.

If *any* of those elements are missing (no team name in subject, any info missing from the spreadsheet, missing team member cc's, etc.) your group will not be eligible to obtain the slot.

After the 10 minutes are over, we will post an official “close” within the thread on facebook, and we will take 30 minutes or so to confirm that all entered groups have also included all necessary info in their emails.  Once we cross-reference we will announce the official list of entrants.  We will then head to random.org to type each group name into the list randomizer.  After we run the names through random.org we will post a screenshot to announce the winning group, which will be whatever group random.org lists as #1.

If your group is selected you will then receive a confirmation email in response to the email you sent in.  That email will contain a link to your group custom slot, which will be available for purchase at the store.  You will have exactly 24 hours to purchase the slot.  If a group fails to purchase the slot in time a new drawing will take place using the same list and a second winner will be drawn.

That should cover all of the new changes we are making to the group custom process.  The following are more group custom details that each group must be aware of:

*Anyone from the group can email me, as long as they are willing and able to serve as group rep (the person who collects payments from other group members and communicates with me about velour preferences, etc.)  The group rep is also responsible for forwarding information from me to the group as needed and assuring that the group is aware of payment deadlines, etc.  Please do not email on behalf of your group unless you are willing to take on the group rep responsibility.

*All members of the group must be copied on the initial email so that I can reach individual members if needed.

*Once the spot is purchased it is reserved and you can send your fabric to me as quickly or slowly as you like!  The listing will include the cost of the diapers but not the cost of shipping to each individual group member.

*After the group rep pays for the group listing, each individual group member will need to pay individually for their shipping cost.  This is not something that needs to be done to reserve your spot but it will need to be done in order for me to ship you your diapers ;)  This system is just to facilitate an easier and smoother shipping process on our end which means you getting your diapers more quickly :)  Approximately a week prior to projected ship date I will send an email to the group or group rep with a link to a store listing where you can pay for shipping individually.

*After purchasing the slot, the group will send me (at the group's cost) adequate yardage (usually 3-5 yards) of the chosen print fabric and all diapers will be cut from that yardage. All other materials will of course be provided by me :)  All velour and snaps will be uniform.  I will work with the group on velour choice (contingent on availability) and snap colors will be chosen by me.  Extra print fabric will be shipped back to a group member or members or donated for use by twinkie tush as decided by the group.  Please note that the cost of mailing extra fabric will be added to shipping cost(s) and that will need to be determined before the shipping listings can be set up.

* Group size can range from 5-10 people.  Each group member will choose between a serged or turned and topstitched diaper.  I do not recommend serging with woven fabrics.  The price for this SYOF order will be $33 + shipping per each diaper.

*All diapers will ship out to the group members 4-6 weeks after I receive the fabric (pending shipping payments of course).

*It is up to each team to decide if team members must be "exclusive" to that group.  This is not something we can dictate on our end.

Please make sure to let me know here or via email (twinkietush@gmail.com) or FB if you have any questions about this, and stay tuned!  We are going to be doing our best to offer at least one group custom every month!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Changes on the way! :)

I've mentioned that some big changes are on the way and it's time for us to let you know about them!  Here is what is happening at twinkie tush:

First off, to address a question that so many of you have been asking - are we moving off of Hyena Cart and onto our own website?  The answer is yes and no ;)  After watching our stocking traffic increase each week to the point of not just excessive error codes but in fact crashing the entire HC site momentarily last week, we are now in the early stages of establishing our own website and cart system.  This will not mean an immediate move to our own site, and overall we really love working with HC!  It's just that our customer base has grown beyond what can be well supported in that forum and we are ready to take the next natural step in the progression of our business.  We will of course keep you updated as things develop and let you know well ahead of time when we are ready to begin stocking independently, but we have no set timeline at this point as we have just begun the process.

For now, stockings will remain at the store on Hyena Cart, every Wednesday.  Stocking times will continue to alternate weekly from 2pm to 8pm eastern.  twinkie tush wool will continue to stock once a month, on the last Wednesday of the month, and Hello Charlotte James headbands and hair clips will now stock routinely on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.  twinkie tush night-nights will begin stocking next week alongside prints.

I mentioned a price increase would be on the way.  The price structure going forward will be as follows:

- All stocked diapers and customs which utilize in stock fabrics will be $35.  This includes both turned and topstitched and serged diapers.  The only exceptions will be imported and HTF/expensive prints which will be priced in direct proportion to the cost of said fabrics.  (For example, the Euro knits that to this point have been priced at $35 will now be priced at $38.)

- SYOF customs will be $33.  (This includes group customs.)

- Night-nights will be $40.

We want to let you know why this change is necessary at this point.  The answer is two-fold and reflects an overall substantial increase in our production costs.  First of all, and this is something I am personally very excited about, we have addressed a concern that I have had about the lack of stretch in the wings of our diapers over time.  Because we use so much organic bamboo fleece (obf) in our diapers, which gives them the incredible absorbency for which twinkie tush has become well-known, over time they become less stretchy as the fleece firms up with months of heavy laundering.  So after much experimentation and testing, we have begun swapping out a layer of our standard organic bamboo fleece which is contained within the body of our diapers for a layer of stretch obf!  I feel strongly that this change will add value to what we already feel are truly high quality diapers, making for an even better fit for growing little ones!

The decision to begin using stretch fleece in our diaper recipe means a higher overall price tag on our materials, as stretch fleece is considerably more expensive than regular obf.  In almost unison with that change, we have seen our other fabric costs rise with the market - regular obf (which will still be a part of each diaper and makes up 6 layers of our 9 layer soaker system) and bamboo and cotton velours are all more expensive now than they were when last we set prices.  The rising cost of materials is the primary reason for which we must raise our own prices.

Now to cover the secondary reason we are seeing an increase in our own costs:  In direct response to the increased traffic and growing customer base, we have sought to amp up production.  I've already told you about Sara W, the amazing mama who cuts our fabric.  We are now welcoming another member to the twinkie tush family - the wonderful Jackie H!  Jackie has been working with us for about a month now and our plan is for her to gradually take over the substantial snapping portion of the diaper-making process.  This will free me to devote even more time to sewing, thereby increasing production.  Our goal is to increase production by 40% by the end of October.  If all goes well you should see that begin to happen in the next few weeks, both in stockings and in custom opportunities! :)  (Group customs will be revamped a bit starting next month and I will devote another blog post to that in the next few days.)

At this point I will still be doing all of the sewing myself, but we hope that twinkie tush will continue to grow and as it does we may make the decision to add team members as necessary to try to meet the demand! :)  It is so overwhelmingly humbling to me - what started out as me cutting, pinning, sewing, snapping, photographing, inventorying, and otherwise maintaining my little diaper company virtually on my own has evolved to include huge partnering from Mike, and now a growing team, including Sara and Jackie.  twinkie tush has already grown beyond what I had ever imagined it could, and now we look to the future with excitement!  We can't thank you enough for everything you do to help our company grow and thrive - we hope to always exceed your expectations, providing you the best of ourselves both in quality of diapers and in open, clear communication.

Thank you so much, and have a wonderful night! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Upcoming changes!

We have some big changes coming in the next few weeks, and we're working like crazy behind the scenes right now to bring these changes about! :)  For that reason we have a couple of stocking/custom schedule changes.  We will not be stocking on August 24th.  We will stock as usual on Wednesday 8/17 and after a one week break we'll be back on 8/31, at which point these changes should be ready to launch! :)  Additionally, we will not be offering any custom slots at next week's stocking, nor will we be having custom slot contests on the facebook page until September (with the exception of the photo contest of course!)  There will not be a group custom slot offering in August, but you can expect to see one the first week of September :)  twinkie tush night-nights will also begin stocking in September!

I will write a thorough blog post before the end of the month, detailing the changes we're making!  I want to give you a heads up right away that there will be a slight price increase, based both on our internal changes and on the continually rising cost of materials, most specifically bamboo and cotton.  I have always promised to be open about pricing decisions, and you can rest assured that any price increases are a direct response to a rising cost in materials and/or an increase in production cost and are not executed in order to increase our profit margin.  We only increase prices when we can't absorb those additional costs on our end and sustain the business.

Much more info will of course be forthcoming by the end of the month :)  We are really excited about the changes we're making and the direction we're heading in and we can't thank you enough for your amazing support!  I am grateful every single day for the opportunity to do what I do and I'm looking forward to making more and more twinkie tush diapers for you and your adorable little ones! :)

Happy weekend!  See you all next Tuesday for previews, and don't forget to enter the photo contest if you haven't already!! :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

previews are up on facebook! :)

stocking is tomorrow at 2pm ET!

here's what's coming this week:

we'll have the listings up in a few minutes :)  thanks so much!

Monday, August 1, 2011

2,000 fan facebook fun!

As we are rapidly approaching two thousand fans on facebook, we want to offer something really fun and exciting!  If we reach 2,000 fans by 10pm eastern time on Sunday 8/28, we will open an entry for 24 hours, at the end of which we will draw 12 winners.  The first two winners will each receive a free custom diaper! (with normal 4-6 week turnaround time).  The next 10 names will be put on a mini customs list, securing them a regularly priced custom slot within 3 months.  In other words, I will reach out to each person on the mini customs list within 3 months to take their custom order.  The 10 winners will be spread out over the 3 month period and will be contacted in the order they appear on the list.

Let me know if you have any questions about this!  I hope we get to 2,000 by the 28th - I'd love to give away some diapers and custom slots! :)