Organic Clothing, Technology and Owning a Small Business (or Why Doesn’t Your Website Work?)

If you had an issue ordering from us in the last month or two, we’ve fixed a bunch of stuff, so please come back and try again. (This line was at the bottom of this post, but I’m told not a lot of people read past the first paragraph and it took me a long time to get to the point. So that’s the point. Now without further ado, I present the Great Ramble…)

Being a small business owner rocks!!

  • I meet amazing people and hear lovely stories.
  • I haven’t used an alarm clock to wake up for work in 5 years. (Although, I do have a 4-legged, furry alarm who makes sure I don’t sleep in too late.)
  • I have the freedom to make my own hours.
  • I don’t have to worry about mean bosses or annoying co-workers.
  • On a daily basis I have the freedom to work on whatever strikes my fancy or not to work at all.
My Alarm Clock

Being a small business owner sucks!!

  • Technology drives more of my business decisions than fashion or ethics.
  • Even when I’m “off” I’m thinking about business.
  • It gets lonely working on my own from home all the time.
  • There is enormous financial stress that comes with working for yourself.
  • Taking vacations together with my partner is such a challenge that we rarely bother.
Earth Creation’s Madeira Top

By now you may be wondering, what is she talking about?? Good question. (Brevity has never been one of my strong suits.)

In March we had a lot of frustrated customers calling us with odd errors we’d never seen or heard of before. The most common one was not being able to choose a size because the dropdown menu wouldn’t drop down. We had our worst sales month in 8 years… And nothing had changed on the website!

After much pulling of hair, I discovered that our PHP version (the software backbone that the code runs on top of, if you will), had been automatically upgraded by our hosting company. Our “old” code wasn’t completely compatible with our “new” software version.

I’m very happy to say that we now have the main issues fixed. We also have Paypal back up as a payment option. But if you’re still having problems, please let us know including what browser and operating system you’re using so we can trouble shoot.

Of course, what this actually means is:

  • A bunch of money went into paying developers instead of buying organic clothing.
  • A bunch of time went into fixing bugs instead of adding features.
  • A bunch of mental energy went into understanding technology instead of writing coherent, interesting blog posts… And here we are.

Since you made it all the way down here, I’m going to give you two treats.

1. A discount code. We usually only share our discount codes with newsletter subscribers, but this month all of our blog readers get it too.  Take 15% off on all Earth Creations clothing. Use code: ECforEarthDay – expires on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2018.

2. A “hint.” Every year we have a big Anniversary Sale in July. This is the ONLY time all year that our organic bras go on sale. This year, Glen and I are going on vacation. For REALSIES! In order to go together, we are CLOSING for two weeks from Friday, June 22 – Sunday, July 8, 2018 (no shipments, no e-mail, no phone.) So we’ll be having a big combined Vacation – Anniversary sale from June 22-July 8 as a thank you for being patient with shipping. So mark your calendars!  And in the meantime, pick up a new Earth Creation’s top – they’re on sale right now!

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Yes, Organic Bra Prices are Affected by the Global Economy

Yvonne Wireless Padded Bra

Organic Cotton bras are the most popular selling item on FaeriesDance.com, and for good reason.  We carry the largest selection of organic cotton, natural fiber and eco-friendly bras in the USA!  We do it by sourcing most of our bras from Europe.  Amazing companies like Swegmark of Sweden, Peau-Ethique and Do You Green from France and our newest addition Comazo|Earth (maker of the Yvonne Bra shown left) in Germany are making natural, organic, fair trade bras far superior to anything we can get in the USA.  And even our best-selling USA-made brand, Blue Canoe, gets their GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric from overseas.  Like our in-house brand, Green Tree Organic, Blue Canoe designs, patterns, cuts and sews in the USA from imported fabric.

What that means, is that your modest organic cotton bra price is affected by global economics.  Unfortunately, while the stock market may be skyrocketing, the dollar is not.  The dollar just reached a 3-year low against the Euro.

The Price of the Euro Rose Steadily Throughout 2017.
Blue Canoe’s Cami Bra

As a rule, we try to price European goods at a 2-year running average so the price of the bras don’t change for our customers every single time we restock.  But the cost has just kept going up and up.  Since customs fees are paid on the converted price of goods, higher Euro prices also mean higher customs fees.

The bottom line is that many of our bra prices will be going up soon.  As a courtesy, we’re going to keep prices steady until Valentine’s Day since most styles and sizes will be restocked before then.  That means right now, you can get Blue Canoe bras at 15-20% off their website prices!  For example, the Blue Canoe Cami Bra (shown right) currently retails for $47.  It will be available for the bargain price of just $40 on FaeriesDance.com until February 14, 2018.  Come February 15th, the Cami Bra will be $42 and most other bras will be going up $1-4 per bra.  So definitely stock up now if you can.

Thank you for your continued support.  Wishing you a Safe, Health and very Happy New Year!

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Stock up on Green Tree Organic Panties Before Year End

Organic Cotton Panties
Green Tree Organic’s Trista Cami and Eat Organic Panty

Green Tree Organic Clothing has been in business for 2 years now and we’ve put out a total of 8 designs.  Our goal was to offer inexpensive organic cotton panties and intimates that are made in the USA.  If you followed along with us that first year, you’ll know the process was much more trying than I had ever imagined.  Fortunately, our process is now fairly stable and our small line is doing quite well.

 

Unfortunately, rising prices of everything from fabric to elastic to sewing has kept us from expanding into more colors, more designs and men’s items. We have been reluctant to raise prices because we really wanted to offer an economical, Made in the USA option. If you look at the PACT model, they started off sewing exclusively in the USA.  Prices continued to rise until most of their panties were in the high $20 to low $30 range.  Eventually, they gave up on manufacturing in the USA and started manufacturing in India.  It brought their costs way down and their panty prices are now all under $15. On the flip side, Blue Canoe has continued to manufacture in the USA and their price is now $34 for a single panty (though we sell Blue Canoe panties at a small discount everyday for $30 each).

Organic Cotton Boy Short
PACT’s Boy Short

 

So what’s a small business to do?  Here’s our plan.

•   We will continue to manufacture in the USA and keep as much of our processes local.

•   We will be raising prices in January both to reflect our higher cost and to offer wholesale so we can get USA-made panties in brick and mortar stores.

•   We will expand the line of PACT underwear that we carry to offer a less expensive organic cotton panty alternative for those who really want organic and just can’t afford the Made in USA prices.

 

Green Tree Organic panty prices will go up between $3 – $5 each starting in the new year.  This is early warning for you to stock up now.  There are a few sizes/colors currently sold out, but our seamstress is working on them and we should have everything back in stock before Christmas with at least a couple of weeks left at the old pricing.

What are your thoughts on this?  Manufacturing in the USA has certainly been in the news a lot lately.  Is price more important than local jobs?

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Why don’t your organic bras and panties ever seem to go on sale?

We just completed an overhaul of our FAQ.  In addition to updating previous answers with new products, links and more detailed information, we’ve also added some new questions that we’ve received quite a lot recently.  The question that’s come up most often is Why don’t bras and panties ever seem to go on sale?”  So, here’s why.

We have a very hard time keeping bras and panties in stock. Bra and panty manufacturers seem to go out of business on us every few months. Because of that, we end up taking bigger risks with intimates, buying and stocking more than we normally would on other items and then having to warehouse them.

We put twice as much time and effort into getting the bras and panties in and keeping them stocked than anything else in the store. In addition, most Europeans are used to paying a lot more for bras than we are here in the US. So an $80 or $90 bra is common as is a $30 or $40 pair of underwear. (We’ve tried a few of those, but they just don’t really sell here). So to keep prices reasonable everyday, we take a smaller profit on bras and panties. This is even true of the panties we manufacture in-house. We wanted to keep the price range to $12-$14 per pair regardless of the cost of production.

Please take a look at some of the other US companies selling organic cotton panties – like Blue Canoe or PACT. You’ll find we’re the only company that has a very large selection of organic panties for less than $20 each. And the few brands we carry that are more readily available in the USA are offered at 10% off every single day. (For example, all of our Blue Canoe products are at least 10% off every day without a sale.)

If you’ve made it this far, we can tell you that our Anniversary is in July. We premiered our webstore July 22, 2005. Each July we do a one-week sale that includes every single item in the store – including bras, panties and clearance items – as a celebration of our anniversary. So this is the one time of year to stock up and save. 

Be sure you are signed up for our newsletter so you don’t miss the announcement.  It’s mailed only once per month, so it’s not an overwhelming amount of e-mail.

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Ecoland Prices Going Up – Stock Up In March

We pride ourselves on offering our items below Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price (MSRP).  While it means a little less profit on our part, we believe offering organic and eco-friendly clothing as inexpensively as possible will open the market up to a wider audience.  In the past, we have specifically not worked with manufacturers who do not allow us to price items accordingly.

We’ve just heard from Ecoland that they are getting complaints from other companies that our prices are too low and they cannot compete with us.  (Isn’t that what competition is about, really?)  We briefly considered dropping Ecoland from our line, but so many of our customers absolutely love the Wireless Soft Cup Bra (a top 10 best seller for almost 2 years now), that seemed an excessive response.  The Ecoland team was also very nice and somewhat apologetic in their request that we charge MSRP.  Obviously they are getting pressure from their customers, and like us, are just trying to keep their regular customers happy.  I’d truly hate to see them go out of business!  So, we have decided to go along with their request and change our prices on all Ecoland items to MSRP, which is about 10% more than we currently charge.

However, in the interest of keeping our own customers happy, we’re holding prices steady through March 31.  So now is definitely the time to stock up on all your Ecoland favorites as all prices will be going up on April 1.  We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

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