Moving Forward in 2020

January 07, 2020

We have been slipping. And we want to own up to it.

 

In the last few weeks, there have been several issues that have come to our attention. A few we were aware of, but many we were not. In 2019, our online sales took off in a big way. We attribute that growth to you, and we appreciate it more than you know. With growth comes growing pains, and unfortunately you may have felt them too. We want to be completely transparent here, so if you're interested, the details of how we plan to fix this are below.

In the last week, we have made some changes that we hope will result in a better customer experience. In this process, we found an error that was keeping some parts from shipping. Many of these parts were on hand. And we apologize. Every single item that we have on hand at the moment is being shipped. Many orders will receive more than one shipment. We are reaching out to those affected as we pack their orders.

We are closing our retail space and moving our warehouse to a  location that is no longer open to the public.

We are not closing, but we are reallocating our resources. With any business that is open to the public comes the added expense of "making things pretty". Things like public restrooms, signage, cash registers, display units. Those expenses add up. By moving into a private warehouse, we can reallocate those expenses. We are investing in more inventory, better tracking systems, and faster shipping.

As we make this transition, we are taking the opportunity to do a 100% inventory. That means a few hundred thousand items need to touched. By hand. By a human (two adults, a preschooler, and a toddler in fact). This is going to take some time, but it is an important task.

To serve our customers best, we have decided to take our entire inventory stock to zero. We are adding items back in stock as we have accounted for them.

Each product is being inventoried in order of demand. Parts that are not on hand will no longer have the option to buy. Instead, we are implementing a lead time system. Enter your email on any item and a few things will happen: first, it will alert us that you need a part we don't have on hand. We can then check our stock to make sure we really don’t have the item. If we don’t, we can check our supply status to see if we have one on order and when it should arrive. We will contact you with that information as quickly as possible.

We are no longer using Facebook Messenger for customer service. In fact, we are disabling it completely.

We wish that we had a professional, executive sounding statement about this decision. But this is real life. We're a business run by two people and we have toddlers. Do you have any idea how easy it is for a toddler to respond to a message on Facebook? Or to rip the phone out of your hand and delete a message? Turns out, pretty easy.

From here on out, we will be restricting our communications to email only. We know not everyone is happy with this decision. We wish that we could have a real time chat with every single one of you. On the phone, face to face, or via chat. But the reality is that every one is busy living life. Email makes for faster and more accurate communications than a phone conversation. No scheduling phone calls. No waiting for business hours to have a conversation. No dealing with interruptions on either end of the line. (Again, have you ever tried to have a phone call with a toddler? Or an employee with questions?)

Thank you so much for your patience and support.

When we sat down to write this statement, we imagined a short, to the point apology. But the more we wrote, the more we thought about what you deserve to know. We want to be transparent with you so that you know how we're addressing these issues. But what we should be saying the most is Thank You. Because we wouldn't even be facing these issues if we didn't have a huge community of support. If you've read this far, we appreciate you more than you know. We apologize if you've experienced any inconvenience with your order. And we're working hard to do better. We hope you stick around to see how we adapt to growth in 2020.