Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Mail & More

Greetings everyone! 11 days to Christmas and counting! I don't know about you but I am rushing around trying to get my Christmas shopping done (I just started). With that being said, I know the holidays can be a stressful time and the last thing you want to worry about is late deliveries, missing deliveries etc.

So I want to take a moment and share some information (both specific to Southern Alchemy orders and in general concerning USPS) - I will continue to answer convos and emails as well but since I will not be online as much this week I wanted to answer some general questions here :)

-The last of our holiday orders are shipping tomorrow (12/15)

-Unless prior arrangements were made we ship all domestic (US orders) via Priority Mail or in some cases where maybe a small item like 1 soap or salve was ordered then we will ship First Class. Neither of these options have guaranteed delivery times but in *most* cases Priority takes 2-3 days and First Class 2-7. We use Paypal's Mass shipping program and usually you will receive a email from Paypal with your shipping info. Please keep in mind that USPS does not really offer true tracking- it is more like delivery conformation- so many times you will not be able to see real time tracking and during the holidays the postal service tends to not scan the package until it reaches it's destination.

-If however it has been 1 week ( 7 days) since you received shipping notification and you still have not recived your order please let us know and we will gladly look into it.

***We want you to rest assured in knowing that we never hold customers responsible for lost packages- we know mistakes can happen in the mail and we take full responsibility for any lost/damaged packages either in the form of: sending a new package, offering a refund or store credit. ***

-International orders: ship either USPS Priority or First Class depending on the size of order - in most cases even if we only charged you the First Class shipping rates we upgraded you to Priority to try and make sure that all orders would be received before Christmas. Please keep in mind that unless you purchase registered mail or Express Mail USPS does not offer true tracking on international orders (verified this in person with my postal clerk)- sometimes the number on the customs form may be used - but this does not always work. Typically USPS quotes 6-10 days delivery for International Orders however that is tranist time frame and does not include any possible delays in customs. In reality International orders can take anywhere from 6 days-6 weeks - you just never know! If however, after a reasonable amount of time you have not received your order , please let us know.

Please remember that I am human, and bound to make mistakes sometimes (and with the amount of orders we have shipped the last month I am sure I have made some). But rest assured we always stand by our customers and fix whatever mistakes may have been made, so if you have any questions or concerns with your order please do not hesitate to contact me.

After we finish the rest of our holiday shipping tomorrow I have some projects I have to help out with at my kid's school , then we have our last 2 shows this weekend beginning on Friday (one is a 1 day show and the other is a 3 day show) , so even though our shop is in vacation mode , it will still be a busy week for us! I will not be in front of my pc as much this week but I will try my best to answer any emails/convos within 24 hours.

Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

This month seems to be flying by so fast! I finally got our tree up yesterday and hopefully will be able to start my Christmas shopping the latter part of this week!

I know I seemed a *bit* stressed these last 2 weeks and I apologize to anyone that picked up on that energy. To explain a little...I guess the economy has made this a strange year for all of us (and therefore an unpredicatable one as well). My online sales were slower than normal over the summer - then wham! I got slammed in October- which kind of took me by surprise lol, then November came and started off real slow and then by mid month wham! I got slammed again, this time the business was coming in from all sides (etsy, my site, wholesale customers and the plethora of events and markets we had committed to). Now don't get me wrong I feel blessed and am extremly grateful for the business, but I was not prepared for it. Because we offer so many scents and attend weekly markets it made it kind of hard to make sure we always had everything in stock (what might be in stock one day may be gone the next, and then add to that the fact that many of my suppliers are dealing with their own dealys in getting supply orders out). Anyhow, the week of Thanksgiving was difficult because I had several wholesale orders that had just been placed that were wanted in time for Black Friday, I had a shortened week due to the USPS closing early Weds & Friday and being closed Thanksgiving, I had kids home from school, family in town, a huge event that Friday & Saturday and a black friday sale I was running online (in hindsight probably not the best of planning on my end lol).

By the time last Monday came I realized I had close to 500 candles (and other bath/body products to make) and yes , I freaked out a bit. I decided to shut down the shop temporarily so I could get caught up. For many that have wondered or asked, I do not have an assistant or any permanent help. Just me ! My husband helps when & where he can (labels and wicking etc), but he also has his own business to run. I need to hire help, I know, but I need to have a level of consistency in sales before I can commit to that financially.

I am very happy & excited that as of todays shipments I am caught up on all Etsy orders (yay!) , I have a few that have came thru from local clients on my website that I still need to complete but other than that I am up to date! This makes me feel very good as it really bothers me anytime I have to extend past my typical 3-4 days ship time. My customers have shown great patience and understanding and I can not tell you how much I appreciate it!

Now, for the news. I have come to the realization that as my business is growing I will have to make some changes this year in order to keep up with it. Some of these changes will take place at the first of the year, others will be implemented throughout the year. New packaging, scaled back products and scents, new products replacing some of our existing ones. I am excited by these changes and I hope that as I share them with you over the next couple of weeks you will be too!

Last, will we reopen before Christmas? The only reason I closed is I did not feel it was fair to continue accepting new orders until I had shipped the ones I had already received. I did not want to end up in a situation where I took on more than I could handle. After today I want to take a few days off for myself and my family, but by weeks end I will be reopening shop. However I will only be listing items & quantities of what we currently have made and ready to ship. This means that I will not be accepting custom orders or wholesale orders until Jan. 1, also it means that our shop stock will probably fluctuate on a daily basis. The shop may look a bit bare compared to usual but this is the only way I feel comfortable reopening for the holidays, so hopefully everyone understands!

We love our customers & fans and appreciate the business! Please know that any changes we made are only in anticipation of being able to better serve you!