Blessings in disguise February 18 2014
As I've said before, when I first set out on this journey my vision of success included selling The Quick Split in big box retail. So when it came to making decisions about the packaging, I thought my only choice was blister packaging that would show off my product and allow it to hang on a store peg. I designed the blister packaging, and the first two manufacturing orders I placed were shipped to me with inventory in that packaging.
A short seven months into selling The Quick Split, I learned through an amazon customer that I had major problems with my stainless steel blades. The problems included bad scratches on the surface and roughness along the edge. Because the inventory came to me already packaged, I could only see one side of the blade and had shipped product to amazon that was defective. Not only did I have to get all of my amazon product shipped back to me, but I also had to inspect every item that I had here in inventory. In order to do this, I ripped apart over 1000 blister packages and inspected each blade individually – front and back.
I realized quickly during this agonizing process that not only did I need a new stainless steel vendor, but it was time to revamp my packaging – I needed to be able to more closely inspect my product. Plus, in those first seven months I had learned so much about getting into big box retail that I didn't even necessarily want to go that route anymore. So many of the big guys (Walmart, Target, Babies R Us, etc.) charge crazy big slotting fees ($10,000-$50,000) just to give you shelf space, plus they want rock bottom pricing and sometimes even require you to repackage just for them. Often times if they order and don't sell through all of the product they ordered, they will require you to buy it back and pay them additional fees. And on top of that, some of them don't pay you until they get paid which could be months.
So if I wasn't going to sell in big box and I wanted the ability to inspect my inventory better, I needed new packaging. I learned a couple of key things during this time also : 1) my product was being purchased frequently as a gift, and 2) my amazon sales were rapidly increasing. Well guess what? A simple little poly bag is the perfect packaging for amazon, and it would save me $.61 per unit in comparison to the blister packaging cost. Also, a cute little organza drawstring bag makes my product look way more appealing as a gift, and it would save me $.25 per unit. Bye bye blister packaging!
A terrible one star review on amazon seemed like major chaos and the end of the world when it happened, but that angry customer tipped me off to a problem with my blades which in turn allowed me to fine tune my packaging while also saving me money. I expressed my gratitude to him for bringing this problem to my attention, and he actually removed his review because he appreciated my honesty and customer service.
It's not easy, but I'm trying to be more open to the chaos in my life when it hits me like a ton of bricks. You just never know when that chaos is actually going to be a blessing in disguise.