Thank you to everyone for last week. From emails to DMs, you all helped lift our family through a challenging time. I have some good news and better news today!
Warehouse debacle update:
If you read the email from last week, you know that we had a business park neighbor who had started harassing us upon move in. It seemed to be racially motivated by his statements and past actions against other black business tenants and a manager in the business park.
Thank you for all of the advice and recommendations! After digesting them all, talking to a housing lawyer, consulting with our landlord, and having a family discussion; we decided to handle it in-house--or rather in-business park. Our landlord has assured us that he will safeguard us from the complaints and be our buffer for the neighbor's nonsense. Our landlord was also able to submit all of the proper documentation to ensure that we receive the proper business permits needed without delay.
Additionally, we decided not to blast them on social media or in the general media because the boys don't want the additional attention. We are already have a backlog of orders and they feel as though people would want to support us by placing more orders--creating a bigger backlog--and they did not want it to be a larger public matter. We decided to delete our Twitter account because of a few racist trolls--and we really don't monitor the account anyway--and we, as a family, don't want to deal with more racist trolls as a result of this.
BOTTOMLINE: Things are getting better. With the help of the landlord, we can continue business as usual. The support from all of you was beyond amazing.
We will do a meet and greet with our neighbors AFTER we get our backlog completed and transfer orders to a fulfillment center.
PLUS, we have a customer service rep now! You will be getting emails answered, packages, researched, and urgent emails are sent to me directly. It is getting better!
Although we can make hundreds of products daily, we just can’t pack hundreds of orders a day—so we have made the decision to completely move fulfillment to a logistics company so you all can get your orders much faster than we can ship them—and we have had too much transition with support staff right now due to COVID-19. Adding daily virtual school for all 3 boys to the mix makes it even more challenging to fulfill orders. There are total of 6 people filling orders--5 of them have the last name Gill. :)
We are trying a 3-pronged approach. From 7/18-7/25, we received close to 700 orders--which are the majority of our 1000 plus orders in queue. If you have received a shipping confirmation from those dates, we are currently packing your order. We are also packing orders post 7/25 and August orders to decrease shipping time in the meantime as we manufacture products to ship to the fulfillment center. Please, please, please be patient with us and the delivery of your orders as we navigate from in-house fulfillment to our new fulfillment partner. Because of this, we will be closed to processing new orders until October 11th beginning on TOMORROW, 9/15. After that date, the fulfillment center will be able to process orders in 2-5 business days. We will only be doing manufacturing and marketing. You all REALLY supported us during a precarious time this summer--it was make it or break it--and you all made sure that we made it. It is time to get out of our own way and improve our processes for growth!
We also combed through orders from mid-June to now to see if orders that were marked "confirmed" were still marked "pre-shipment." We worked with the post office to track what we could down, re-ship others, and reprint labels who could not be scanned but were being held. We also had to complete a few package intercepts because packages were sorted into the wrong regional bins. We shipped, tracked down, or re-shipped close to 300 orders this weekend to this morning. We made sure every package was scanned at drop-off. Please give the USPS 24-48 hours to update your tracking information.
From reading some of our customer emails, I truly thought that we were one of the most egregious in shipping and customer service. I had truly isolated myself and immersed myself into shipping orders. When I lifted my head up to breathe last week to pop into biz groups on social media, I saw that we were not the only ones--but in a sea of small businesses who are dealing with disgruntled customers, shipping delays, and staffing problems. Our worst email did not even pale in comparison to some of the emails that I saw posted (yes--small businesses will post really insulting customer emails for other small biz owners--we don't do it--so your email won't end up on anyone's social media post).
And one thing that most of you do is apologize if you feel like you wrote something out of hand in an email due to frustration, disappointment or delay. Although we are in state of flux right now, we still have some of the best customers in the world. Your support is unwavering and unmatchable.
Stay safe and take care of yourselves,
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