So this is another exciting and hectic week here at RuffleButts! I am so happy to say that our sales are still going strong as a result of our recent praise in the May issue of babytalk Magazine. This is such a huge blessing, and I am infinitely grateful, but with all exciting times in business, it naturally brings along many lessons to be learned.
One of my biggest lessons is to always be months ahead of the game in product planning and time management. As many of you know, the manufacturing side of this business has been one hugely ginormous learning experience after another. I have tried desperately to work through the kinks to get a good system in place, and I am happy to say that we are on our way there. Unfortunately, it was through this time of "working through the issues" that put us so far behind. I had found another factory to run replacement products as we were getting low, but this flood of orders has put us a little behind yet again. We are out-of-stock on a few of our most popular items, which is so very frustrating to me personally, because I really want our customers to have a fabulous shopping experience with us. I know that there is always a bit of disappointment when they have to wait a few weeks for products to arrive, and I would like to avoid disappointment as much as possible.
I also have to say here, that our customers are absolutely fantastic and have been more than understanding with these product back-orders. I truly feel like if I could meet our RuffleButt customers in person, that I would find many lifelong friends - I really couldn't be more blessed! The other good news is that we have another huge production run in place at the main factory now. All of the fabric and trims have arrived via boat and they should be churning out product over the next few weeks.
My husband and I are taking a little trip to the Dominican Republic this Saturday to visit the factory and make sure that everything is running smoothly. I am really crossing my fingers that they are going to be on track and the visit will be a positive one. When asked about running a business, I always find myself saying that if only I could do everything, things would be so much easier. I have found it disappointing that not everyone keeps their word, but I am hoping that things go much better than the first time around and that I will have positive news to report upon my return!
To those of you starting a business, my biggest piece of advice with regard to production is to try to stay as far ahead of the game as possible...plan, plan, and pre-plan. Make your deadlines very well known to your vendors and hold them accountable as much as possible. Easier said than done, I know, but I am learning the value of planning as far ahead in advance as possible.