Thursday, January 20, 2011

Big changes in 2011!



Over the years, Rob and I have often referred to Bit of Whimsy Dolls as a “pattern company that happens to sell dolls” and up until now, I think that accurately described my focus.  I LOVE DESIGNING DOLLS! Moreover, I've always been the type of person to let my business grow organically and let things grow as they will. Bit of Whimsy Dolls had been doing great on Etsy with over 8,000 sales and on my old website that Rob created more as a pet project than anything else.  After a ton of thought last summer about the direction of my business (and frankly in response to feedback by many of you) Rob and I came to the realization that what we are doing is much more than a hobby gone wild and to realize new opportunities would require some change – for the record… I don’t like change. *sigh* My first big decision came down to this: Should I stay on Etsy and just do my thing mainly there or blaze a new trail with my own ‘real’ website and take Bit of Whimsy Dolls to the next level. Believe it or not, this decision is not as easy as it sounds! Nonetheless, I decided to move forward and, with Rob's help, I can tell you that we mapped out specific things we felt we needed to do if we really wanted to grow the business.

The first and most significant change (until today) was our new branding and new website that launched in October 2010. We were very lucky to find a team of designers who understood our branding ideas right off the bat and we are still working with them on another huge project. I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that I will be able to share what this next project is in the next few months! With the new website, we decided to move all finished products off of Etsy. Whew… that was a difficult decision! You have no idea how hard it was for me to move everything over to one site! I was a nervous wreck! Etsy has been a crutch for me for a long time! lol I am sooooo glad that I made the move! As I said earlier, I had my own website for a few years and while it always did well for me it was not branded and did not really fit my look and Etsy was my main source of income. This changed almost overnight when the new website went live and we were absolutely blown away by the overwhelmingly positive response we received! 

The new website also brought us the ability to offer more discounts than we would ever have been able to offer on Etsy since it costs significantly less to operate our own website than it does to have a shop on Etsy. I was amazed when I looked at the numbers from my accountant! Yikes! Since we are able to save money, we decided to pass on those savings to you in the form of the DIY discounts… even on dolls!

Okay… so let's get back to the first big announcement of this year! Remember what I said about us being a 'pattern company that happens to sell dolls'? That will be changing today. In 2010, we came to realize that we were kinda wrong with this description. We are both: we are still a pattern company with many great ideas for the future AND a doll company! There is room for growth in both areas! The stories shared during our 12-days of Christmas give away, the pictures shared on our Facebook fan page, the emails and messages requesting a certain type of doll, and the number of finished dolls sold during the run up to Christmas on the new bitofwhimsydolls.com website all reminded us that we are not just a pattern company. What we heard last year is that you LOVE seeing finished dolls.  What we heard was that many of you are non-sewers who want to buy an Original Bit of Whimsy Dolls doll for your child, loved one, or friend. What we realized is that you want more choice of finished dolls on my site. In 2011 we will be taking major steps to meet your expectations AND to make all of our finished dolls more affordable. Let's face it… this economy hasn't been kind to a lot of people! I am so passionate about what I do and I want everyone to be able to afford to buy handmade. Many things have lined up for us in the last 6 months that now allow me to sell my high quality Bit of Whimsy Dolls at a lower price.

<<deep breath>> Effective January 20th at 9pm Eastern, every finished doll listed on bitofwhimsydolls.com will have its 2010 pricing reduced. Obviously this is not because I think the dolls are not worth the higher price, but because we see an opportunity in the way the business is structured to lower our price and make an Original Bit of Whimsy Dolls doll fit in more people’s budget.

So, how much are we talking about for price reductions?  A dollar, maybe two?  For some of the less expensive finished dolls, the answer is yes. On the higher end dolls such as Jane, Mae, or Beth the reductions are much more significant.  Using the Mae design as an example, in 2010 finished Mae dolls listed for $42.00 US and occasionally went on sale.  In 2011, finished Mae’s will list for $35.00 US. This is just one example and it gets better!

Don’t forget about the Do It Yourself – DIY10, DIY15, and DIY20 discount codes!  That $35.00 US finished Mae qualifies for the DIY10 discount of 10% further reducing the price to only $31.50 +shipping!  How great is that! 

Keeping with the Mae example, if you should purchase multiple items in a single transaction to qualify for the DIY20 discount code, it’s possible to buy that finished Mae doll for only $28.00 +shipping!  Yes!!!  Only twenty-eight bucks US plus shipping!

*Everyone who purchased a doll in 2011 at the old prices will receive a refund for the difference (check your email) as we had hoped to have this first big announcement in place during the first days of the year…which obviously didn’t happen.

As for shipping, it’s been almost three years since I’ve made any pricing changes and as many of you know, postage rates have increased significantly over this time, but I don’t want high shipping prices to be a deal killer for anyone thinking about buying a finished doll or clothing and accessories.  Effective Thursday, I will be moving to a flat rate of $5.00 US for shipping regardless of the number of items or shipping destination!  Domestic U.S. and International shipping is five bucks for all purchases from bitofwhimsydolls.com!  One price for all, anywhere in the world you live!

How great is this?!?!  Needless to say, I’m very exciting about the opportunity to make Original Bit of Whimsy Dolls more affordable and hope that you agree that this is a great first announcement!

12 comments:

  1. This is awesome news, Sarah! I know you love making dolls, and honestly I love seeing them. I am very happy for your success and I hope it continues to grow!

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  2. Wow! It's so great to see a company focused on the customers. I am a BOW fan for the patterns, but am just so impressed that everyone who has bought a doll this year will get a little back! And I've always been impressed with your generous attitude towards letting home sewers use your patterns to sell items. Keep up the great work!
    ~Jenny~

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  3. Awesome news Sara! You should be so proud.

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  4. AWESOME AWESOME news!!! I really applaud you for lowering the price on your finished dolls. I can't think of any companies in this day and age that are reducing prices. Reducing costs? Yes--but passing along any kind of savings to the consumer is unheard of. CONGRATS on being able to do this!!!

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  5. That is an amazing thing for you and the customers that love you so much. It certainly shows that you care more about the people than the bottom line. You are an inspiration to all.

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  6. So excited about your company's growth!! Congratulations!!! A year and a half later, my little pumpkin's BOW doll is still one of her faves...and still looks as good as the day I bought it for her! Thanks for making such great {and adorable} dolls!

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  7. So many changes! So will your dolls still be handmade by you? Or commercially produced? I prefer to buy handmade for my daughter.

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  8. Thank you! I am really excited to keep making big steps forward!

    @Ruby- My dolls will not be commercially produced. I believe in handmade too! I also believe that I cannot be the only one doing all of the work. As we grow, we will be hiring sewers and admin staff to help with the workload!

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  9. Awesome!

    By the way I gave your blog an award on my blog Sarah!

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  10. Yay! What good news. I purchased your Jane pattern years ago and sadly have yet to make one, but two weeks ago I purchased the MerMae pattern determined to make one for my daughter for her birthday...I did it!

    http://sascharomeo.blogspot.com/2011/01/bit-of-whimsy-mermae-doll.html

    Glad you will be selling ready made dolls because even though I sew, I'm not against buying something finished especially for gifts when I know I won't have the time. Good business move.

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