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Our New Business Model

By Aislyn Bryan November 27, 2018 108 Views No comments

There's been some concern about how things will be when we come back from the holidays and re-open under our new business model. Judging by some of the notes and our current order volume, it looks like people are thinking they won't be able to order from us anymore, once our business model is switched over. That isn't really true. I mean, technically, yes, but in practice, not so much. For almost everyone, maybe 95% of our current customers, it just means you'll have to login before you can see the website content. You already have to login to place an order, so it's not that much different; you'll just have to login when you arrive on the site, instead of just before placing the order.

There will be some few customers who won't see content when they login. Most are casual or one time customers who haven't ordered lately, but any are welcome to appeal our decision. We believe we can get the workload reduction we need primarily by not taking on new beginner customers. Our current crop of beginners will mature into experienced maillers and there won't be a new crop of beginners after that, so the entire workload associated with teaching beginners falls away.

So that's not so bad, right? Being behind closed doors and not accepting new customers will become, over time, a *great* competitive advantage to our customers. Just something to think about. Hope you're enjoying the beautiful holiday season. -- Aislyn

P. S. If you don't know what I'm on about, have a look at the post that explains it all ==> Changes for the New Year

November 2018

By Aislyn Bryan November 18, 2018 279 Views No comments


December 2018

By Aislyn Bryan November 18, 2018 256 Views No comments


January 2019

By Aislyn Bryan November 18, 2018 247 Views No comments


Our Summer Schedule

By Aislyn Bryan May 21, 2018 994 Views No comments

Here in the mountains, it's not quite summer yet but we're working on it. The aspens are leafing out in their lovely, lettucey shade of spring green and at least a bazillion chipmunks are in a perpetual state of joyful scurry in the forest around our house. At this altitude, flowers generally wait until June to make an appearance, but we know spring has arrived when we see a chipmunk.

This year, we're taking off the first week of June, the first week of July, and all of August... for merrymaking and whatnot. It's the best summer schedule ever, in our lazy, summer-loving opinions, but it does entail a little extra planning on your part, so here are the calendars showing our plans for every single summer day. For each and every day, you can glance at the schedule and instantly know 1) whether the website will be available for ordering, and 2) whether Gary and I will be at work in the shop, and make your plans accordingly. We're hoping this will make our time off somewhat less inconvenient.

Happy Summer!

-- Aislyn

A Little the Worse for Wear, But We're Back....

By Aislyn Bryan March 26, 2018 1075 Views 1 comment

Gary's parents are together again. That's the one good thing that goes with saying goodbye to his mom, so we're clinging to it. My eyes well up every time I look at this photo, which hangs in our living room, but I know they're happy now, and knowing that helps.

Two weeks after her surgery, Fiona is doing great. She has the strongest will of anyone I've ever known. She couldn't walk and she weighs almost 150 pounds, so we had to load her on a stretcher and carry her down the stairs and out to the truck, all while she was doing her best to get off the stretcher. It was, uh... challenging. All three of us are pretty well recovered from the ordeal now, though. Fiona's got her bandages off now and is just wearing socks. She can walk with a lift harness and she's getting stronger every day.

Thanks so much for all the good wishes, kindness and patience with the delays. It means more than there are words to describe in times like these.

-- Aislyn

Changes for the New Year

By Aislyn Bryan January 14, 2018 1672 Views 1 comment

Fifteen years ago, when we sold our very first rings, it was just Gary and me. We worked all the hours of the day, and a good many of the night ones, too, but we were having so much fun, it didn't feel like work. When our business grew so that there weren't enough hours to get it all done, we hired some nice people to come and help us everyday. That was great fun, too; busy and crowded, but so much laughter, so many good times. When the economy tanked and our business with it, one by one, we had to let all our nice people go. It was an awful time for us, we were so sad.

It took a good while, but over time we adjusted to the quiet and began enjoying our 'just us' days, like we did at the beginning. Now that the economy is bustling and our business with it, we're once again in the position of having more work than we can do. We've talked about looking for some nice people to help us, as we did before, but that conversation just made us both realize how much we like the way we work now... just us. So we've decided to go the other way. Instead of adding people to handle more business, we're going to squeeze our business down to what just the two of us can handle comfortably.

The first change is that we're going to focus all of our time and energy on what we actually do -- which is making rings -- and phase out everything that our customers can get elsewhere. That means that we won't be restocking anything but rings. As we sell off our stock of clasps, tools, etc., the items will just disappear from the website. Click CloseOut in the left menu to see everything that's going. When it's gone, it's really gone. (But we'll list resources so you'll know where to go look for it.)

Another change is that we've taken all the bronze and copper rings off our menu. Sales of those are so infrequent that our wire supplier doesn't want to make the wire for them anymore, and we can't make a case for why they should... so they're gone. We still have some wire so if you have a copper or bronze emergency, write and tell us what you need. We can probably still make it. Copper and bronze wire is still available in our store, as are copper and bronze clasps. None of those items will be restocked.

The biggest change won't happen til this time next year, but at the beginning of 2019, we plan to switch to a different business model -- business-to-business -- and stop accepting new customers, at least for awhile. The idea is that, since we can't accept all possible orders, since we have to disappoint some customers, better to disappoint casual customers who shop with us occasionally, rather than our business customers who are selling designs based on our ring sizes and who order from us all the time. If we have to prioritize, it must be in favor of those most loyal to us. So this is what we're going to do....

At the end of this year, we're going to sort our customers by their 2018 order totals. (The person who spends the most with us this year will be #1, the one who spends the next most will be #2, etc.) When the website changes to B2B in January of 2019, we'll keep open the accounts of as many of our customers as we think we can reasonably handle, beginning with #1. When we have as much as we believe we can do, we'll make a cut off point and close all the accounts after that point.

There isn't a way to keep from disappointing some people when we have to cut back our workload; disappointment is inevitable. What we can do, though, is make sure the process favors those who depend on us the most, so it's fair. Totals begin accumulating when our website reopens in January, and will be complete when we close the website for Christmas 2018.

Just think... this is our last year as the retail business we've always been... maybe our last year ever having new customers! Amazing.

It's going to be a whole new phase of the adventure. Happy New Year.

-- Aislyn

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