Monday, March 27, 2006

Erica, solarveils, organizing, packaging (ugh)

This is Erica, our new employee. She's usually pretty cheerful, but not this silly. She was helping Shelly check the lighting for the photo shoot last week.

Erica's title is "Office Assistant", but her main duties are inventory and shipping. She enters the orders into Quickbooks, prints receipts, picks the slings, and ships them every weekday. She also coordinates with the quality control people, who take our slings off-site to check them. And she counts inventory and updates quantities on the website and in Quickbooks. She also gets the fun task of ironing the returns that are in new condition but rumpled.

It seems like it would be easy to keep track of how many slings we have, but it can be challenging. Wholesale and phone orders do not deduct slings from the website, so we have to do it manually. Dozens, even hundreds of slings go in and out our door each week, and keeping track of them can be difficult. We maintain two databases - Quickbooks and the website - and keeping them in sync takes a lot of time. I'm sure there's an easier way, but we haven't figured it out yet.

Erica's having trouble with the printer. No surprise. It thinks we're out of cyan toner, even though we're not. After some massaging, it seems like it's going to make it one more day.

I checked the first 20 solarveils on Friday, and only found one bad one, which is pretty good, especially for a new contractor. In general, the stitching was very straight, which can be hard on solarveil. The bad one did not have any shoulder stitching. Just not there.

I am always amazed at the mistakes sewing contractors make. I've seen missing labels, missing pockets, crooked sewing. This is why we check every single sling. Even the best sewing contractors make mistakes sometimes. Sewn products are made by human hands, and humans make mistakes. So we have multiple checkpoints to make sure those mistakes don't go out to customers.

We lowered the pricing on several of our pouches. Black cotton is $39.99. Posie Pique and Sapphire are $47.99.

My desk is a mess. I swear I am going to straighten it up today. I am. Really. I used to be so organized....

Packaging. It is part of the problem. Packaging samples are all over my desk. I don't love any of them. I figured out that the reason I haven't done packaging yet, and the reason it vexes me so, is that I don't like doing things poorly. I'd rather not do it at all than do it badly. It took us a long time to do printed wearing instructions, because I wanted them to be great. Same with the DVD. I want to be as proud of the packaging as I am of the product, the website and the wearing instructions.


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