Well, it's almost June and a lot of things are afoot! Namely, we'll shortly be starting our yearly Pride month fundraiser! Whoo! We love to spend time raising money in June to donate to some awesome non-profits that benefit the LGBTQ+ community! But with the fun comes a bit of a bummer. To nobody's surprise, our material costs have gone up and that means change is afoot. I'm going to go through what our shop is doing to deal with the increased material costs and I hope it won't be as bad as y'all are expecting.
Whoof! Yeah, y'all probably saw this coming. This is a thing that's effecting all businesses, big and small, right now. The whole world is dealing with supply chain issues, material shortages, increased gas prices, WAR, the pandemic, and...well, you get the idea. Everything is expensive and hard to get. We've noticed the increases mostly in the cost of silicone and the cost of shipping materials. Wow, boxes have gotten a lot more expensive!
Thankfully, our silicone prices haven't gotten too wild just yet. We use a fairly common type of silicone (Smooth-On's Ecoflex series) to make our toys, and the prices haven't increased painfully for us. We don't use specialty silicones like Near Clear, which have seen a steeper increase in cost. Our molding silicones are a bit more pricey, but we're doing our best to be efficient with our molds.
So what does this mean for prices? Well, we did some price adjusting not too long ago (sometime last year) and I'm still quite happy with our prices. I feel like our models are affordable for customers while still letting us operate with comfortable margins. The price of things are going up everywhere and I'd really like folks to still be able to get their hands on quality toys made from safe materials for affordable prices. I'm also hoping that this increase will eventually ease up and prices will stabilize again this year. This may be a pipe dream, but I can still hope. So I don't really want to implement a drastic change. I'm looking for a flexible solution to this issue.
So instead of increasing prices on individual items I'm going to try adding a small handling fee to all orders. Right now all orders have a $1.00 handling fee applied. This has been the case since we opened our shop, it's nothing new. We charge an extra dollar on every order to cover the cost of shipping materials (the box, paper, packing slip, plastic bag the toy comes in, etc.). I'm going to try increasing this to $2.50 for every order and see if that helps ease some of the stress of material increases. This is less awesome for folks placing small orders, but harder to notice for folks placing medium to larger sized orders. My thinking is that rather than increasing toy prices by about $3-5 a toy, having a little extra applied to the whole order will be a bit easier on the wallet.
The other nice thing about this handling increase is that if prices of materials go back down, it's easy to just adjust that handling cost back down as well. I feel it gives me a bit more flexibility than increasing everything in the shop.
The other thing we'll be changing is the free domestic shipping price threshold. Right now you get free domestic shipping for orders of $120 or more. I'm going to have to bump that threshold up to $160 or more. I'd rather bump it up temporarily than do away with it all together.
So, to summarize, in order to deal with the increase of material costs we will be increasing our handling fee per order from $1 to $2.50 and we will be raising the threshold for free domestic shipping up to $160. I'd like to adjust these factors back down if and when material prices stabilize.
These changes will go into effect on June 1st, 2022!
Okay, now that the bad news is out of the way I'm just going to touch briefly on our upcoming Pride month fundraising! Every year we pick some non-profits to raise money for and we're excited to do it again this year! Things are hard across the board and there are so many worthy causes to donate to. For the past several years we've chosen both the Kind Clinic here in Austin that provides free services like STI testing and treatment, HIV testing and treatment, and gender affirming care as well as Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas to donate funds to. Now more than ever we're in need of places that will offer gender affirming care as well as family planning care and health screenings. So we'll be donating to those two organizations again, of course.
Last year we chose the Transgender Law Center as our 3rd non-profit to support, and I'll probably go with them again this year too. Because things have only gotten harder for trans folks with so many new and terrible laws being drafted and passed. So it feels right to put money in the hands of a legal organization run by trans folks to help them fight the good fight!
Last year we raised $6520 for our causes and I'm not sure we'll beat that this year with the state our economy is in, but lordy we're gonna try! I've got some ideas for ways to raise extra money that I hope y'all will enjoy :) I'm considering setting a higher goal and seeing if we can even raise a little extra money to send to some Texas abortion funds. We'll see!
I'll make a proper blog post with all this info later, but for now just know that we typically will donate $5 from the sale of every silicone item we sell during the duration of the month of June. All that money gets added to a big pool and split between our non-profits. I'll also have some grab bags and hopefully one other big surprise to help boost that number.
Oh! I forgot to mention! It's Summer time, so we'll be introducing our next seasonal model to the shop with our first Pride drop on June 3rd! Qarl is his name and he will be available all summer long! But once we hit the end of August he'll be all worn out from partying and will go back to sleep until next summer ;D
You can expect more details about Qarl before our first drop with him! Keep an eye on our Twitter for more details!