Purple Hearts A $1500 Remembrance

I have been an Etsy seller since October 2009 and read a great deal in tutorials from Etsy, Handmadeology, EverythingEtsy and other helpful home biz blogs about how to price my product based on both materials and labor. I thought I was pretty well informed but I forgot to expect the unexpected! 

The memorable lessons are the most expensive!

On Tuesday afternoon I excitedly announced to my husband as he returned from lunching with a friend, “I just received a magnificent order for 300 purple hearts!” He was very complimentary until I told him the selling price and details of the offer I had agreed upon. That’s when he said in his most business-like voice, “So you over promised what you could deliver. In other words, you under-estimated the cost, the labor and the time of delivery, but it’s still a helluva sale!”

Little Hearts, Magnificent Message

“But I wanted to make everything special for the grief keepsake because of the circumstances,” I retorted. “I understand,” he responded in his oh so patronizing way, “but what you need to understand is that you have created a wonderfully ‘value added’ Hide A Heart product without actually charging for the value.” “But a deals a deal and she’s already paid for the order,” I whimpered and that’s when I realised just how expensive a lesson I was about to learn…a $1500.00 lesson!

Never in my wildest dreams was I prepared to receive such a large order so I was not at all prepared. The order would completely wipe out my inventory of purple hearts, story cards, ribbon, and packaging supplies NOT to mention I’d never given any thought to how long it would take to put such a large order together. 

I was beginning to get the picture and the more I thought about the enormity of the fulfilling the order I had promised, the more I knew hyperventilating was a looming possibility!

I woke up at 3:00 am on Wednesday and started printing 300 Purple Heart Sympathy Story Cards. I began counting cello bags, cutting ribbon, punching purple heart confetti, assembling ‘if it fits, it ships’ boxes. I set out the gold pen and began inscribing the side of each heart, finding I could inscribe about 25 hearts an hour.

As soon as Costco opened I drove to the nearest store to grab as many rolls of purple wire ribbon in sight along with printer ink and tape!

Once all the shopping was done, I frantically sent a text to friends living near-by who might be willing to sacrifice an entire Saturday to help me package 300 purple hearts.

Thankfully I am blessed with WONDERFULLY creative, clever and responsive friends who agreed to help me fill the order in a work party that lasted 5 hours in exchange for dinner. There was plenty of teasing and suggestions like, ‘OK, I hope you are planning to think about streamlining the packaging next time,” along with lots of laughs, sharing stories and a work ethic that would make THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD proud!

Read more about Purple Hearts of Loving and Lasting Remembrance

Lesson Learned List

There are so many lessons in this sale, the first perhaps being, never quote until I’ve discussed the details of the order with my husband or accountant.

  1. Price chart taped to the wall listing the ‘value added’ accoutrements
  2. Update the Etsy Store and the Hide A Heart web site to reflect the ‘value added’ choices
  3. If at all possible, request 20-days to deliver on orders of 50 hearts or more
  4. Add shipping costs on orders of more than 10 hearts
  5. Make a separate listing including specific details on orders of more than 50 hearts
  6. Contract employees to help with orders of 50 hearts or more

I reserve the right to add to the list in the future!

What steps have you taken for expecting the unexpected?

4 thoughts on “Purple Hearts A $1500 Remembrance

  1. Very good lesson, though I’m sorry it was such a costly one for you and your business! I need to remember to keep my pricing and time in mind too, it’s hard sometimes. I so want to please people and that doesn’t make for a successful business mind at times!

    • You are so correct Ms LuLu! Goals of pleasing and business can be contradictory, but I think the trick is to figure out how to make them COMPATIBLE and a definite challenge!

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