Following the crazy, crazy three days of the Harrogate Show in November, time ran out pretty quickly to Christmas, and then it was the new year! Time has been flying by to say the least.
Let’s start in the middle of February and a little peak into my personal life. I post very little about my personal life anywhere, but I would love to share with you the great news that my amazing Natalja and I were married on 16th February.
We had a great time with the family and then a weekend break in London before getting back to work on the Monday. We’re going away again in May which we’re both looking forward to.
And for those on Facebook who asked about the pen – Yes, I did make it. It’s a Tayors Mirfield Omega dressed in Walnut and finished with Hampshire Sheen.
Now, back to business – and there’s a lot to catch you up on!
Hampshire Sheen Gold
Last April 1st, I put out a gold wax stick as a joke, but beneath that humour was a serious foreshadowing of a product I was planning on – a gold embellishing wax. And it’s here now!
Working like the Ti-Wax and C-Wax products, the gold as a bit of glam to open grained, textured or coloured woods. Secret testing from October(?) onwards has provided great feedback for the product and it is super to be releasing it this month. Click here to order.
It is available from 23rd March from Yandles and from me when I get my own stock sorted – see below!
Time Kept Getting Shorter
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve not posted a video for what seems likes months. Hang on….it is months. In the majority of videos over the last year, I’ve commented on not having much time to turn as the wax side of the business has been taking over. This might sound as a complaint, but it couldn’t be further from the truth! I’m grateful beyond belief that Hampshire Sheen is getting as successful as it is, and I’ll continue to push it as much as I can.
But! I need to turn. The passion I have for turning has just been getting greater and greater with every day I don’t turn! Teaching is a brilliant way to release some of that passion and pass it on to newbies who come to learn some of my techniques.
Those who have come for lessons in 2018 have been treated to me at my enthusiastic best – gushing over the creative possibilities and building up their confidence. I love it.
There is one big drain on my time, and one big thing that I’ve been really conscious of – and both of them have had to change….
Amazon Kills Two Birds with One Stone
The two (main) things that have been on my mind are:
- Shipping costs for my customers: This has been a source of consternation for me and also customers who don’t like to pay the sums I need to charge in order to post their orders to them. I don’t blame them, but because of the nature of the goods, my hands have been tied. As my products are ‘hazardous’ carriers don’t like to carry only dangerous goods from one customer. Long story, but that is the barrier I have come up against time and again. DPD, Hermes, Yodel, Royal Mail and others, all said NO. FedEx said Yes and gave me a good discount on their published rates. As it is, I was losing money on shipping on every order because I couldn’t justify in my own head charging nearly £8.00 per order.
- The amount of time I spend on day-to-day orders: Having orders most days of the week is a great thing. They take time to process though. The packing slip needs to be printed, then the order packed properly, and then all the details need to be entered into FedEx’s system before it can be labelled and collected.
Bringing people in to help with the day-to-day orders didn’t work-out. There wasn’t enough to keep them occupied for their hours and both people who came in had to be let go. So there needed to be another option, somewhere, of giving me an income from the website and the time I really need to turn.
And then I discovered ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ – a program offered by them that allows me to send them my stock for picking and packing when an order is placed through this website.
This is a great way for me not to have to worry about staff (when the business isn’t quite turning over enough to pay for two people, yet), save time on day-to-day orders, save customers money on shipping costs AND send out orders quicker than I can, most of the time.
I started the process on 12th December, and because my items are hazardous, I’ve had to jump through numerous hoops and deal with a chaotic support system. It is now all in place with just a couple of niggles that will either be sorted out or worked around. The entire story is one for, perhaps, a presentation on triumph over adversity! Honestly, it’s been a nightmare. It’s done now, though.
Please note that it is taking me some time to get my stock sent over to Amazon. Although the site is live now, the stock levels of products are taken directly from Amazon – so if there is zero stock showing, then Amazon don’t have any, but it is on the way. Take advantage of the Wait List function on the site here to be notified when it becomes available. You can also check out the new Amazon shop Here.
AND! The Minimum Order for Free Shipping (where applicable) Has Dropped Back Down to £50.00!
A Note to Non-EU Customers
Shipping costs are still high for you, so I am stopping the supply of Hampshire Sheen products overseas to individual customers in favour of finding distributors who can supply your marketplace. If you know of any business who would be interested, I encourage you to contact me with their details and also point them in the direction of the Hampshire Sheen website www.hampshiresheen.com. The Intrinsic Colour Collection can still be shipped to you at the current rates, which are reasonable for the size and weight of the products.
A Note to EU Customers
Amazon are in the process of categorising and sorting both the Hampshire Sheen and Intrinsic Colours for shipping to the EU. You can order them via the Amazon.co.uk website.
Time – Reclaimed
With this major change in place, my only worry is to fulfil bulk orders placed by the Hampshire Sheen retailers and to restock Amazon. I make the products in bulk anyway, so I will just need to keep stock of boxes and distribute them as required.
With this day-to-day time reclaimed, it will allow me to get back to turning on a more regular basis and get back into making more regular videos to entertain and hopefully inspire you, too.
For the most part, I’m happy with the website and what it can for you as a customer. There has been a considerable investment in functionality in the last couple of years. There are some things I’ve not been overly happy since the redesign a few months ago. With the site being down recently for the connection to Amazon, I’ve tweaked a few things:
- Larger font size for easier reading;
- Less clutter on the important pages and product pages;
- Cleaner, brighter product images;
- Rewritten pages and product information;
- New shipping rates;
- Consolidated Tuition Bookings – All the group courses on one page – easier to find dates and make bookings.
- Individual Intrinsic Colour bottle available on one page.
- Discounts for Reviews – Log in, leave a review and you’ll receive a discount on your next purchased (within 30 days)
Various paid-for functionality here on the site is now under review. Anything that is not performing as expected will be discontinued later in the year.
I’ve Missed Turning
Folium Ex Fago represents the entirety of my turning in 2018, so it’s no wonder I’ve missed turning as much as I have.
All the other turning I’ve done has been in lessons or demonstrations, so I’ve kept my tools sharp and in use.
A few followers have been in touch to ask if I’m alright, have I given up turning, am I not making videos any more and other messages of curiosity over my absence. I’m moved to receive such concern and have replied wherever possible. I’ll be back soon . . . and thank you so much for your continued support.
There’s a list of stuff I want to turn, a list of videos to make. A book to turn for and write, not to mention a heap of wood to get the gouges into.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all again. It’s been too long. Sorry.