Last hired, first fired

About a year ago, I brought in the HaldeBalm line. A selection of hand lotion, lip balm, and massage lotion, in a variety of fragrances and flavors that match my soaps (and sometimes my yarns).

If you follow me on Facebook or Google +, you probably already know that I'm now choosing to phase those items out. I will not be marking them down or putting them on sale, just not making any more once they sell out. For a time, I will continue to make small quantities of hand lotion and lip balm as occasional swag in the yarn club, and also for live events such as GLAM or any other craft show at which I might be vending. However, as large companies say when they’re doing a round of layoffs, “last hired, first fired.” I brought in these three lines about a year ago, and while part of me is sad to see them go, I’m not so sad that I won’t go ahead and kill my darlings. Thank you for your understanding and support. 

Y'all are the best!

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If you care to delve more into the "why" of this -- 

In the last year, I've been getting busier and busier, and am endlessly trying to tweak my work schedule to keep my turnaround times (on custom orders and restocks) down, still bringing in new things in all my categories, and keeping on top of things like filing and supply orders and customer service (not to mention doing things like spending time with my husband, walking the dog, and visiting friends). More and more I find that I work seven days a week, and while I absolutely love what I do with all my heart, working seven days a week because you need to doesn't allow for a lot of catch-up time if you need to take a day, or even half a day, off. 

This was especially brought home to me in late February and March when we had family visiting, and also went away for a couple of weeks. I did a lot of thinking while with them, especially when we were away from home and I couldn't get to my work, about just how much time I spend doing work... and I started to question to myself why I wanted to do that. Why on earth I wanted to work seven days a week and not allow myself any catch-up time. That's crazy!

I've spent the last six months changing my work schedule around, maybe three times, and each time I'm surprised when it doesn't work ("if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten"). Why doesn't changing my work schedule... work? Clearly changing the structure of my work week was not working. I kept adding time to what I was doing, but turnaround times were stretching from 3 weeks to 6 weeks, and - especially with restocks - if I wound up not having time in the designated week, that meant that something like soap, or yarn, would be out of stock for 12 weeks. Three months? I don't want to be out of stock on something for three months. That does not make me a happy maker, or a happy business owner.  

Maybe I should evaluate the work that I'm doing, I started to think. Not the time it takes to do all that work. Maybe what I'm doing needs to change, not how I'm doing it.

I decided I had two choices. Take off a little of everything, or take out one full line of something. I know me, and the first option would not have worked, ultimately. I've tried to do this already, a few months ago, and a few months before that, and twice found myself right back where I started. So I know that in about three months I would be right here, back to not having enough time, back to feeling like I'm failing you. That means the second choice, and in the spirit of "last hired, first fired," the things I've brought in most recently are what are going to have to go. Ceramics is my first best love, yarn my second. Soap I've been making for almost 20 years, and have no desire to stop making that. Which means that HaldeBalm, and I'm sorry, I love you, but you have to go. It's not you; it's me.

I absolutely can’t stress enough that the phasing out of a few things are really for good reasons, in spite of how whiny this post seems, involving being very busy and having to evaluate what I can reasonably do, and also some upcoming events that I need time to prepare for. I'm super super excited about an event I'm going to try to get into in September, and another in March of next year, but those events are going to take a lot of time to make stock for.

And yes, partly it's personal; I don't like seeing myself dropping the ball on quite a number of things. I don’t like how it makes me feel personally, and don’t like how it makes me look professionally. I would rather let something completely go than get farther and farther behind in doing everything, which is stressful and makes me feel unreliable. To have to answer an email a good friend who had a work question for me with "that's a great question, but I don't have time to answer it right now" and then not being able to get back to her for three days...? That breaks my heart. It hurts me because she is a friend, and it crushes me as a business owner. I wouldn't want to order something from someone that unreliable. I don't want to be that person who doesn't answer emails, or phone calls, or who never updates her site with new products.

So instead, I'm choosing to be that person who evaluates her company as impartially as she can. 

Again, I thank everyone for their support, both past and continued. I couldn't do this if you weren't there!


1 comment

  • Good for you. You need a life, and you need a manageable schedule. Lip balm and lotion are just more of the flotsam weighing down your life, and if jettisoning those makes your life better, do it and don’t look back.

    Becca

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