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Thursday, July 26, 2012

July Group Custom drawings!

We will be holding drawings for July Group Customs this coming Saturday evening (7/28)!  The entry thread will go up on facebook sometime between 8 and 9pm EST, and will stay up for 5 minutes only.

Please make sure to read last month's blog post (here) for complete Group Custom instructions and policies.

Let us know if you have any questions, and thanks so much!  Can't wait to draw some more groups! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

About tomorrow's stocking on Big Cartel

As I’ve mentioned previously here on the blog and on facebook, tomorrow’s stocking will be on Big Cartel.  Here is what to expect:

- Diapers will go live at or very shortly before 8pm EST at http://twinkietush.bigcartel.com. Listings on BC must be put up manually, as there is no clock like there is on HC.  Wool will go live one listing at a time starting at 8:15pm EST. 

- Once the site is out of maintenance mode and goes live, you will need to navigate using the sidebar links on the right to see individual diaper and/or wool listings.

- You will then need to scroll to find the diaper or wool you would like to purchase and click on the specific listing.  (Alternatively, you can choose to save the exact URL for the diaper you would like to purchase tonight while the diapers and wool are in preview mode.)

- Once in the listing, click the “Add to Cart” button at the bottom of the item description.

- Once in your cart, please choose your country for shipping (either United States or Canada) and click “Checkout”. Clicking “Update Order” is not necessary as shipping will be automatically added in PayPal. Clicking “Update Order” will slow your transaction potentially allowing another shopper to secure the diaper so you need only click “Checkout” once your country is selected.

- This will bring you to the paypal portal where you will enter your paypal username and password to process payment. Once you've reached the paypal portal your diaper is secure for 30 minutes.

- Once in paypal, please complete all payment steps to receive an order confirmation that completes your transaction.

Please note that the diaper is not secure until you have clicked the “Checkout” button and are taken to the paypal portal for payment. Once at the paypal portal, you have 30 minutes to complete payment before the diaper automatically relists itself.

A few things to remember about Big Cartel stockings:

- We are not able to manually "dump" carts. We wish we were! 30 minutes is a very long time. On HC the carts dump at 10 minutes, for reference. If you cart a diaper you do not wish to purchase, we ask that you please remove it from your cart so that another shopper can cart it.

- We are not able to see who has what in their cart like we are on HC. Therefore until payment is completed we will not know the fate of any given diaper and will not be able to assist with cart issues.

- In terms of longer term consideration, something to note about BC is that we cannot save listings, even on the seller side.  So you would not be able to refer back to listings as you have been on HC.

- If you live in the United States, only First Class shipping without insurance can be purchased on BC. Those who want Priority Mail and/or insurance are asked to email us within 30 minutes of checkout so that we can invoice you for the additional cost. Insurance is not required but is always recommended. We are very sorry that we cannot offer this option at stocking - we certainly would like to be able to.

- If you live outside of the United States: International packages including Canadian shipments can only be shipped via first class mail, no insurance. International customers outside of Canada should simply select Canada and then email us to finalize costs. This is identical to our HC process.

- Drawings are not available on BC and will still be done on HC. Keep an eye on the facebook page - I will remind you when drawings are up!

- Please remember that this is a new experience for us as well! We have only stocked on BC once before now. There may be moments of frustration tomorrow for all of us, but we feel that overall BC is a wonderful temporary solution for us as we continue to build twinkietush.com and we do not anticipate crashes with BC, which is a beautiful thing!

Please let me know if you have questions, either here, via email, or on facebook.  Thank you as always for your support!  See you tomorrow for stocking! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Updates on our stocking system and progress towards our own cart

As many of you know, today’s stocking on Hyena Cart was incredibly problematic and frustrating for everyone.  We have dealt with crashes on HC before but this was our worst by a mile.  After so many months of various issues with HC we have decided that we can’t risk another stocking like this.  We have utmost respect for Karen and her site and we have loved being there, but we need to ensure that this doesn’t happen to our customers again.

As I mentioned on facebook earlier today, we have been working behind the scenes for some time now on building our own cart system.  I want to give you more information about our progress there.  In March of this year we selected and began working with a web development company, after many months of meeting with other web developers who were unable to address and solve our specific problem.  We had very high hopes that this company would build us a site that would meet our needs and in fact we planned to launch the new site this month.  In early June we received notice from the company that their programmer was unable to complete the project, and we were left back at square one, frustrated and disappointed. 

We are currently in the final stages of selecting a new web development company and hope to have that selection finalized this week.  We hope and anticipate that the new site will be ready to launch sometime this fall.  Why is it so hard for us to find the right developer?  From what we can tell it is down to the specific needs of our company.  We have a fairly unique problem that requires a unique solution.  While our day to day traffic on the store site is fairly low, our stocking-time traffic is incredibly high and the extremely high refresh rates at time of stocking are taxing on a server.  We need a server that can accommodate that concentrated traffic combined with a cart system that will not allow oversells.  Additionally we need a cart system that will allow us to stock multiple diapers simultaneously in order to give more people a chance to purchase one (instead of stocking one print at a time, giving the person with fastest internet the chance to cart every diaper.)  This isn’t something most programmers have encountered before and requires a highly customized solution.

Since we are looking at a few more months before twinkietush.com is ready to launch, we have decided to go back to Big Cartel in the meantime.  There are some drawbacks to BC, but we feel that it is our best option at this time and we believe it will be a great temporary solution.  Please check out this blog post from the last time we stocked on Big Cartel – some of the information doesn’t apply (like it being a trial, for example) but there is a lot of important and relevant info about BC to look over.  Barring a major stocking problem or other unanticipated circumstance we plan to stick with BC until we can move to twinkietush.com.

We are also working very diligently on a significant production increase.  I will have more to say on that subject in the coming weeks but for now I will just share our excitement at the rapidly approaching changes and improvements we are working on!  As always I am so thankful for the amazing extended twinkie tush family – you and your beautiful little ones – who make all of this possible and who inspire us to be our very best selves and the very best company we can be.