Friday, October 19, 2012

Suggested time on your invites?

You have spent a lot of time planning your event, scheduling the DJ, the caterer, working with the venue, the flowers, make up and hair - what start time do you put on your invitations?

You've scheduled your ceremony for 4:30pm and you put 4pm on your invitations.  You know Aunt Kathy will show up at 4:45 and miss the start of the celebration, Uncle Mike will be on time as he hates to be late but will not be happy if he has to wait half hour, Cousin Mary gets lost in a blink of an eye and will be calling everyone to find out where the celebration is and Grandma has lost time and has no idea how long its taking to start.  How do you please everyone?

Well, you can't and you shouldn't make yourself too crazy about it.  Delays happen, alternate plans are considered and people have to learn how to deal with it as its YOUR day.

We still suggest putting a start time before your actual start time, even if its 15 minutes.  Why?  Because of the late arrivals, people get lost and because delays happen!  There are some planners and venues that have given brides and families a hard time for not starting at the scheduled time.  Recently at a ceremony a few key guests were not there yet and the bride and groom wanted to wait. Thats OK we started about 10 minutes later, everyone was OK with that. Even starting 10 minutes past the start time there were still late arrivals. At another ceremony the planners were harassing everyone that it was a minute past the start time and it was unacceptable! How dare they... this is YOUR day, dont let anyone bully you.

Things to consider:
Look into having a pre-ceremony cocktail hour or half hour.  This is a great idea since it gives people a chance to arrive, mingle and grab a bite.  It also gives everyone a cushion in the event that there is a delay that can not be helped.  Ex: The officiant is lost, its snowing, roads are closed, accidents on highways,...etc.

Consider having your cocktail hour BEFORE your ceremony start time. Then have your ceremony and then onto dinner and dancing.

We have seen some invitations written with 'promptly' starting at the desired time. Does it work? Yes and No.   If you not having a 'pre' event then go for it, its YOUR day.

Keep in mind a lot of this is not easily done in a place of worship.  We are making suggestions for ceremonies at venues other than places of worship.

You may irritate some people by not starting at the time indicated on your invitation and you may keep others happy that you didnt start on time since they were late.

YOU know YOUR families. Dont let anyone push into something you dont want. Look for all kinds of ideas and settle for what makes you comfortable.

Its YOUR day!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

So frustrated

Having a store front is crazy expensive - no one tells you about these things you just find out for yourself.

There isnt just rent or lease payments - there is electric, gas, telephone & internet. Sometimes you have get those bundle packages. We were able to get telephone, internet and television for a lower price because we got all three. The electric/gas company is insane!  They want deposits before they hook you up and after a year they ask for more based on your usage.  Imagine my surprise when the electric bill increased our deposit by $65 it may not sound like a lot but it is.  Their reasoning is that they require double your average monthly bill. Our deposit has increased to well over $200 now.  Why do they ask for it? Because business owners are more risky they residential customers.  How crazy is that?

In order to wave the increase they want EFT which I refuse to do, a surety bond from my insurance company or a Revocable letter of credit from my bank. Seriously?  WTF?

Having a store means many people coming thru your door. Not shoppers but sales people and everyone asking for you to donate something to this fundraiser or tricky tray. You name it!  Every week some magazine, newspaper, website representative comes here telling me why I should advertise with them. Dont forget sales people wanting you to purchase their products, and the phone calls to buy my product! Argh! Its so frustrating, I wish we had that many people coming in to shop!

Im starting to think this town was not the best town to try and start a store front. It amazes me how all 8 hair salons within the two traffic lights stay open.

Talk about frustrating.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fulfillment by Amazon part 3

I am completely frustrated with the FBA program.

It seems that everyone loves Amazon Prime - the ability to purchase what you want, get it quickly, and return it just as fast.  Of all the items I submitted to Amazon for fulfillment almost all of them were returned. Just got an email today about a refund issued for a buyer for an item they purchased using Amazon prime of course and it was FBA.  They of course get all the money back, Amazon just deducts it from your account, no warning.  Look further into it, you only have half your fees back which is crazy. So this person got to try out my item at my expense.  At this point I am unsure if an Amazon Prime member pays for return shipping but Im guessing they dont.

Majority of buyers dont return things unless they really have too since who wants to spend the money on a return? If they get free returns as a member everything is risk free.  But who loses out? The seller.

I dont have many items within the FBA program since I was just testing the waters but I am sure I have lost more then I have made.  At one point I was seriously considering sending everything to Amazon, let them do all the work right?  Just sit back and make money.  Its an expense to send all the items to them, another expense monthly, more fees per item sold and if the buyer returns  the item in not exactly the same condition Amazon marks it damaged and will toss it unless you request a return. Which you have to pay for.

Is it worth the risk? Maybe if your spending a lot on overhead. Me, Im just one person doing it all and its not worth it to me.

I really dont want to ask for the rest of the items to be returned. I think I will let them sit there until they are sold and not fulfill them again. Its a tough choice but the expenses related to FBA are just not worth it to an individual.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Do you write reviews?

You can write a review for just about anything... a restaurant, hotel, park, resort, a product, a person... etc...

Let me tell you about the first time I officially wrote a review.

A few years back we were on a business trip in Ocean City, MD during November. It was our first time there and well I didn't research as much as I should have. Turns out this is a 'beach' town and during November more then half the town is closed. I think we stayed two nights, I dont remember, I actually still get updates from that hotel, lol.

It was about a 5 hour drive from NY so maybe we did stay two nights... any who.. we went to the Convention Center for an expo.  I was not crazy about the show, but what we do is attend the first day and take everything back. Then research and make decisions and return to the expo the following day.  I remember that night we struggled to locate a place to eat and thinking back now I should have asked the hotel clerk they may know.  We drove up and down the main drag and found only one place. It was a buffet type of place. We saw flashing signs outside that showed the price and it scrolled so fast all we saw was the price. So we went it and since it was empty we were seated right away.

The food was not impressive for the price posted outside but it was the only place open. When we were ready to leave they gave us the bill I almost died! It was more then the posted price outside. When I inquired I was told that price outside was for Thanksgiving and what we were charged was the going rate! The price posted outside said $18.95 PP while apparently the going rate was $29.95 PP.  Man I wanted to throw up! I tried to argue that its false advertising and all but they stood their ground and I was forced to pay, so disgusted I left and they chased me out to the parking lot!  I didnt sign the credit card slip and they said they would call the police if I didnt. Im not a confrontational person but this was horrible treatment and it was the first time I created an account on trip advisor and wrote my review.

Since then I have been writing reviews every time we go out.  Any hotel, restaurant or park I visit I write something even if its just a few lines. I am a top contributor on that site.  I have never given such a bad review since that one but this past week I had such a horrible experience I left a diner crying.  I have been contemplating writing a review for this place. Looking them up they have already accumulated quite a bit of bad reviews whats one more?

A friend of mine said I should be careful. Can they really find out who I am and try to stop me from going there? I honestly dont think I would show up there ever again anyway so what do I care?  Ill be writing a review shortly lol.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Requirements of USPS.

We have been using the USPS for sending out our packages for years now. Why? Because it does have the better rates out there. Considering majority of our packages are well under a pound it makes sense to stick with them.  Every so often I get the feeling I should just move to UPS or FedEx or something, especially when something happens. I cant tell you how many packages have gone lost!  Or lost in transit, or mis delivered.  And the USPS has this 'oh well' attitude about it. No one cares and you cant get a refund of the postage you paid or on the product unless you get insurance.  Well if we got insurance on our packages the prices would go up by a lot and for that we should just use UPS or FedEx!  So I grit my teeth and keep using the USPS.

Today I got a letter from them thanking me for using their click and ship program but... my packages are not meeting the requirements! Ok first of all I am not using the click and ship program Im using the interfaces with Amazon and eBay - is it the same thing? Maybe I don't know, and don't care. But what requirements?  Turns out, in order for my packages to be allowed to use delivery confirmation the packages need to be at least 3/4 of an inch thick! If not then I have to use Priority mail - my customers could wind up paying the difference upon arrival, there could be a delay or even the package returned to me! Believe this nonsense?

eBay says I have to use Delivery Confirmation for my packages or I could loose my discounts, USPS says my packages have to be thicker or I cant use Delivery Confirmation and/or my customers would pay the difference?!!?

Many of my products are very light, flat and small. Barely an ounce so I have doing my best already to make them thick, any thicker I would be heavier and the shipping costs would go up. I used to send a lot of these in envelopes but thats not allowed anymore.  I had someone complain about shipping costs - they paid $1.75 and said it was too much, I paid $1.64 for that and if I went in person to the post office it would cost me even more. Im thinking of just going back to envelopes and screwing the discount.

How does one continue to deal with these requirements?

Has anyone even noticed that the labels say 'USPS tracking' on them now?  But is it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Trouble reading RSVP cards.

We’ve all dealt with horrible handwriting! Its even more of a struggle when your collecting all your RSVPs for your event and you cant read them!  One common tip that we have heard of is writing a tiny number on the back of your RSVP cards so when they return you can look at that number and check them off your official list. 

How does it work?

The common RSVP card contains the letter ‘M’ and a line where the person receiving the invite would write their name. Upon receipt of the RSVP you can understand the handwriting and great you go to your guest list and check them off as attending. The next one you get is written so horribly you cant figure out who it is. You have two options, 1: Guess 2: Wait until you are done receiving all the replies and by process of elimination you can then figure out who it was replying.  

A better choice - write your guest list and write a number beside the name! Then write that number on the back at the bottom of the RSVP card - the receiver would never notice and in the event you cant read what they write then you can turn the card over and match up the numbers to your guest list!

An even better idea?  

As creators of custom invitations have the ability to write your guests name right on the RSVP card!  How great would it be to receive that!  We think anyone getting that in the mail would be excited, and all they have to do is check the ‘attending’ or ‘not attending’ and put it back in the mail! 

This is a free service we offer our clients. Since we obtain mailing lists for addressing envelopes for our clients we already have the details, so we can also place those names directly on the RSVP cards. 

Come by and see what we are all about.