Friday, June 14, 2013

Good News & Bad News

Ok, friends...
I have news that affects each one of you who use Wunder Budder.

As you may or may not know, I'm not a business person. I mean, yes, I'm learning, but it's been something I've only been learning for a couple of years.

I'm a maker of things.

I've always made things, and I've always wanted to create a business out of making things.

I started as a kid with lemonade stands at the bottom of my driveway. I moved onto making patchwork hats and beaded dread wraps as a teenager, selling them to a shop in Faneuil Hall. In my early 20's I made jewelry and sold it on the streets, spread out on a blanket, of a city I lived in. Mixed in were lots of trades: my work for someone else's.

After studying herbalism and essential oils, my path was clear. Even though I still make other things, my business was formed around my obsession: plants and things made from plants.

I started Wunder Budder many years ago, but it was just a hobby-business for a long time. I had no idea what I was doing, business-wise. In early 2010, I decided to just go for it, and try making Wunder Budder into a full time business.

Most of the time, I still don't know what I'm doing, but I am finally starting to learn from my mistakes.

One of the mistakes I've made, and continued to make for the last three and a half years, was to underprice Wunder Budder.

I like cheap stuff. I shop second hand. Most of the furniture in my apartment (and in my studio) was first owned by someone in my family. In fact, I'm guessing about 90% of my stuff has either been owned by someone else first, or it's something I've made.

One big reason is that I just like things with history. But, the other big reason is that I went from a full-time adult student to a full-time bootstrapping business owner. Which means I haven't had a full-time paycheck in eight or nine years. I've had to live as frugally as possible, and I have a bad habit of thinking other people are like me. Not that anyone is swimming in money, but if it weren't for my husband, I'd be living in my studio, hiding from my landlady, and eating nothing but Ramen noodles.

I've been out of touch. I've been trying to keep Wunder Budder "cheap".

Well, I'm learning that, like most things, Wunder Budder can't be cheap and high quality. It just can't. I tried. And I'm failing. I'm heading towards low-pricing myself out of business.

Another thing I'm learning, is that as the demand for natural products grows, so do the prices of natural ingredients. The price of jojoba oil has nearly doubled in the last two years. Nothing else has gone up quite that much, but every single ingredient is more expensive now than it was two years ago. Increasing demand is just one reason.

Natural ingredients are completely dependent on Mother Nature. If there is a drought, a flooding, a heat wave, an early frost, or any other major weather event, crops are effected. Which means things like apricot kernel oil and lavender essential oil, for example, are affected. In a good season, prices will fluctuate slightly, but loss of crop in addition to increasing demand, means major increase in price. I haven't kept up.

After a few months of cost analysis and market research on similar products, I've realized that not only have I been nearly pricing myself out of business, but Wunder Budder prices were far lower than similar products, even products that are not handmade.

Realistically, what I should have done is started with much higher prices, and then increased them slowly and steadily as prices for ingredients rose. But, I was caught up in trying to remain a lower-priced item, and to not offend all of you with constant price-raises.

It backfired. And if things went on as they had been going, I'd be at risk of total business collapse.

So, prices had to go up today. Some by a little, some by a lot.

I know this will affect people. I know some people will be mad and I'll lose some of you. But my hope is that you'll understand that I had only two choices: raise prices or close shop and lose Wunder Budder forever.

I chose Wunder Budder.

I hope you will too.



Mike Cagg said...

Well said Lisa.

Jennifer Young said...

Beautifully written... you said it all. I think you are doing the right thing and I wish you much success!! xo Jen

Wunder Budder said...

Thank you for the support!