Ten Digit Creations has been my entire life since 2008. I never dreamed my original dye-free wax melts and candles would soon emerge into a full line of home fragrance and bath/body products, touching so many lives along the way. With the part-time help of my hubby, a few employees along the way, and some serious hustle, we have managed to keep your wax warmers and bathrooms full of great smelling goodies the past 11 years! We cannot express how grateful we are for all of the support we've received over the years!
We have been discussing the future of TDC over the past year or so, and in depth the past several weeks. Sometimes a break can reveal some perspective. We've come to realize that we're simply both in a different place than we were back in 2008 in terms of who we are personally. Retirement isn't too far away for Ken, so we're closing in on moving to the mountains in the not-too-distant future. As for myself, a decade of many 70-hour work weeks have really taken their toll on, especially over the past couple of years. As much as I love my job, I'm ready to slow down and transition to a lifestyle that gives me more time to do other things I love -- being a grandma, reading, doing puzzles, etc. without being too exhausted to do them. From a business standpoint, Ken's current full time job has his schedule ever-changing, so he's not able to dedicate much time to help me like before....which leaves yours truly doing 95% of everything involved to run this business. Pair all of these things with the gradual decline in overall sales the past few years, and we've both agreed that It's just simply a good time to take TDC down to more of a part time business with part time hours and less products for whatever time remains.
It's no secret that wax is and will always be my one true love...and he and I both want a happy wife/happy life :) So, after much thought and consideration of many variables, we have decided to go ahead and discontinue all other products from our lineup effective immediately. We know this isn't the news many of you were hoping for, and we do apologize for the disappointment this may cause, but it's just time to let that part of our business go. We cannot thank you enough for supporting that portion of our business the past several years!!
To the remaining fans of my wax melts, any decisions, changes, and/or improvements made were to reflect my goals for 2019 as I transition to my version of a part time business. At this point, I'm taking one year at a time. I will continue making wax as long as I'm able and as long as enough people show up to buy it. Obviously, our small business cannot survive without customers and enough sales to justify staying open. As always, I have a 'plan b' to implement before closing TDC for good should it come to that sooner than I hope.
Aside from working less hours, my other goals for this year were to simplify the chaos, reduce waste, reduce profit losses, continue working through my current mountain of fragrances, and return TDC back to the simple life for the moment -- sometimes it's just best to strip and go 'back to the basics' for a while, being easier to add things back in a little at a time if possible and/or needed.
I know everyone hates reading a lot of detail, but when you're going from a full time business to a part time business, there's a lot to discuss.
TDC 2019: Back to the Basics Tour
1) What does a part time business with part time hours mean for you?
If I'm honest, I'd love to just pour wax and offer it whenever I'm able to. I also understand the need in trying to provide some type of proposed structure.
- Although I will still be offering my wax as 'ready to ship' for now, I will NOT be open every day for ordering, nor every month. Instead, I will only be open for 72-hour windows to have 'ready to ship' openings. Each opening will be Friday afternoon - Monday afternoon (open/close time TBA). My goal is to have an opening every 4-6 weeks during months of operation, but this past year has shown me that life has a tendency of getting in your way at times. I will always give as much advanced notice as possible of delays and/or cancellations with any scheduled openings. Dates of each opening will be given later after orders have been shipped from the previous opening. You will need to stay connected to us somehow for updates. They'll be posted on the homepage and in our Facebook group. Most people ordered during restock weekends anyway, and this method allows me to 'hold' remaining inventory, doing away with your need to place small orders in between just to snag any low on stock. More specific details about openings mentioned further below.
- Below is my current month-to-month plan for 2019 based on RTS openings every 4 weeks. Dates are subject to change if a 6-week gap is needed in between openings. Should things not work out how I envision, I will drop back and punt, allowing myself some flexibility to alter/change things if needed. Please understand that none of this is set in stone. It's just me trying to figure out how to do part time, and I felt a plan would be a good place to start :) If it's too much, I'll do less. If it's not enough, I'll do more.
||Customs and/or Pre-Orders (for 2020 and forward since we are currently closed)
||RTS opening - tentative dates: 22nd - 25th
||RTS opening - tentative dates: 22nd - 25th
||RTS opening - tentative dates: 19th - 22nd
||Customs and/or Pre-Orders (dates TBA)
||CLOSED (possible customs - dates TBA)
||RTS opening - tentative dates: 6th - 9th
||RTS opening - tentative dates: 4th - 7th
||RTS opening - tentative dates: 1st - 4th
2) General Product/Size and Fragrance Availability Information
- Custom orders will only be offered during the months mentioned above if time/life allows. If certain RTS openings have low sales, I may opt to offer limited customs shortly after. Scent selections for custom orders will mainly be limited to scents not offered via RTS. Any other scents offered will be based on how much I have on hand at the time. I will most likely offer 9oz Bakery Bags in select shapes, as well as 12oz Snap Bars (2-pack). Single scents and/or blending options will be available, as well as glitter and/or candy sprinkles. I may also opt to offer mystery bags during custom openings. They will be made from the current round of custom orders, as well as some made by me, so they will have the same processing time.
- My goal for this year is to continue whittling away at my current stash of fragrance oils, using what I have on hand...which is still an overwhelming amount. I do not have plans to reorder many (if any) fragrance oils at this time. So, to be straightforward and professionally blunt, scents offered each 'season' may vary and will be available until they're not. Which ones will be ordered and/or reordered in the future can just be a surprise to both me and you. Regardless, most scents rarely retain enough popularity to remain in the lineup for more than a year or two, if that long.
- Until further notice, all cups and most shape molds have been put away except for use in samples sent with orders. At this time, I will be offering most scents in our Mini Snap Bars -- these are cut sections of our full size snap bar, weighing approximately 2.6 - 2.8 ounces each (about the weight of a typical clamshell). Yes, they will be colored. No, they will not have glitter or candy sprinkles. (NOTICE: I purchased more snap bar molds in different colors, not realizing the different colored molds had a different 'design' to them. They're still the same size/weight, but they have a more rounded top with an etched floral design on top of each square).
- There are several fragrances right now that have low/limited stock. These particular scents will be offered in one of four shape bags, all weighing a total of 3.6 - 3.9 ounces each. I will be using Roses, Mums, Teddy Bears, and Emojis. I will pour a few bags at a time until the last is made, in which case they will be marked as Last Ones in the drop-down box. (NOTICE: once any scent reaches low/limited stock, it will most likely move from mini snap bars to shape bags). Some fragrances may return later down the road, and others will not.
- Because I don't want to put too many limitations on myself, I may opt to pour some occasional 'special edition' styles like before. Those of you who don't like to purchase scents you can never get again can choose to skip that section.
- NOTICE OF IMPROVEMENT: I have upgraded the zip bags I use for my wax melts. They're now double the thickness as before. This has shown thus far to have solved the 'ink smearing' issue on my labels...and as a bonus to the wax hoarders, it just adds longevity to keeping your wax fresh. Since sample sizes are generally melted sooner, I only went up one size in thickness.
- How to offer scents is probably my biggest challenge. One group likes simple/less complex fragrances and another group likes blends. When you pour things as ready-to-ship, It can be stressful figuring out which group contains the most people to avoid the most waste. Because I'm currently trying to work through my current mountain of fragrances, I need to simplify things to better help me keep an eye on inventory levels. In short, the days of all the crazy mixed blends are over. Like I said, back to the basics for a while! No, that doesn't mean I'll only be offering just single note scents. It just means that whatever scents I offer, whether simple or complex, will be offered as they are. Any blends I create will be of the milder variety -- we can save all the crazy blends for your custom orders. Since some scents don't sell well as they are, they will most likely be offered in simpler blends. (Example: Spearmint Marshmallow versus just Spearmint). But, If you want to see Barber Shop mixed with Blue Sugar and Orange Patchouli, for example, then you will need to purchase all three of those scents individually (if available) in mini snap bars and do your own blending. It's the best way I know how to balance a method for everyone with the varying scent preferences. This was my main reason for choosing the Mini Snap Bars as the main size/shape available. They're great for those who want to smell the scent as it is, and convenient (no cutting) for those of you who do like to blend. I do intend to offer some of my past blends that don't contain each component offered individually. Fizzberry, for example, does contain Fizzy Pop but the other components aren't offered separately. Some scents have proven not to sell well for me at all. Those will only be available during any custom openings.
3) More RTS (ready to ship) Openings Information
- As a general rule, scent types offered will vary by season. The fruity/clean/floral/laundry/light bakery, etc. will be offered February - April, and the fall/spicy/woodsy/holiday/heavy bakery, etc will be offered September - November. Some scents/scent types may be offered both seasons since they typically do well no matter the time of year.
- Regardless of 'season', I will begin with an assortment of scents for the first opening of each season. To help reduce waste since RTS will always be a gamble, I will only be pouring small batches of each at a time -- some less than others, since many aren't big fan favorites. Anything that doesn't sell will be 'on hold' and available during the next opening. Between openings, I will re-pour what I can of any that sold out (or add more to low stock on overly popular ones), and probably add a few more from my stash each time to give more variety. Some scents may not be poured again during the season if they don't sell well to begin with. So, if you miss out on certain scents for openings, you can snag it the next round. How many I pour and how much will always be dependent on current sales, current inventory, and time.
- There will not be a Master Scent List of every scent and blend I may offer. I will simply have a Current Scent List that will be updated for each opening. If a scent is not on the list, it's not currently available. Scent selections for openings will be chosen by me based on my current inventory. I know we're all used to 11 years of a 1,000 scent options at a time, but I'm hopeful we can all have a smooth transition into enjoying whatever I'm able to offer and pour for each opening.
- IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT PRODUCT LISTINGS / INVENTORY CONTROL: I do not like having pages and pages of individual listings, as I'm a lover of organization who dislikes clutter. I prefer one listing by product style with the drop-down box of scent options, so this is how you will see future listings. This also saves me time by not having to list every single scent separately nor needing to individually photograph any specialty items. This does, however, have a few snags that we'll just have to work around. For whatever reason, our shopping cart is not capable of telling you 'which' scent choices may be out of stock by the time you are ready to check out. I have complained to tech support on how ridiculous it is to not have this basic concept, but so far my words have fallen on deaf ears. Inventory levels do not update until a customer has completed checkout, so you may have to return to the product listing and refresh to see which scents are now out of stock and remove them from your cart before checking out. If this method becomes a huge problem, I may have to revert back to the old way -- I won't do it without a tantrum though ;) The wish list has also been disabled. It does not save scent choices from a drop-down box format, only the product itself, so it's no longer a functional perk. If I'm forced to go back to the old way, I will reactivate it. Since I will be remaking several for each opening, scents will now show 'out of stock' versus automatically disappearing from view when they sell out. Only scents that can't/won't be remade will be removed from the drop-down list before the next opening.
4) Shipping Costs / Shipping Changes / Combined Orders Information
- As you know, USPS has increased their shipping rates again. I crunched numbers for over three weeks trying to work out a balance that still allowed me to offer a flat rate rate shipping for everyone. Unfortunately, the rates just vary too much based on weight and location, and we saw too big of a loss this past year with our low flat rate shipping option...especially when it came to shipping to the west coast and on sale/clearance items. So, we will go back to shipping charges based on weight and location from me to you. No one likes to pay shipping, but I am just unable to continue coming out of pocket. The closer you live to Georgia, the cheaper your shipping rates will be. This is yet another reason I chose Mini Snap Bars as the main source for scents. I can fit almost 5 pounds of them in the medium box I use, so many of you won't ever have to pay more than the medium rate to your zone....which currently varies from just under $8 to surrounding states close to me all the way up to around $16 for Alaska and Hawaii. Due to the bulk sizes on custom orders, the weight structure will be different during those openings since I can only fit around 3 pounds in the medium box.
- Due to packaging supply costs and insurance requirements, we will no longer be offering First Class as a shipping option. ALL orders will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail. In addition, to give your wax the most protection I can from careless USPS workers, I will no longer be using the padded flat rate envelopes without a box inside for shipping. I can fit up to 6 Mini Snap Bars in the 'video' box many of you have received inside the flat rate envelope.
- Due to limited openings, we will be able to resume combining orders placed during each RTS opening. Actual shipping charges do apply, so any refunds will be based on whether additional items fit in with your first order or cause it to go up to the next package size. Any partial refunds will be issued when your orders ship. Due to the amount of paper needed for multiple orders, we do ask that you try to limit your orders to two for each opening. We understand that you may wish to go in and snag any low stock/last ones first, but please try to get everything else on a second order. We appreciate your cooperation.
I'm sure I forgot to cover some things, and I'm certain I haven't fixed every issue that may arise. I also know that I've never done TDC as a part time business, so I have no idea if this plan works. We can find out together.
Because Ken is still recovering from knee surgery, because I'm starting from scratch with no inventory, and because I still have some workshop cleanup/organization to do, our first tentative RTS opening is set for Friday, February 22nd - Monday, February 25th. Opening and closing times TBA later. I will update you with confirmed dates as we get closer.
We understand these decisions and new methods of operation won't be loved by everyone, and that many of you will move on for your own reasons. This is simply what's best for us at this stage of our lives. And just in case our decisions don't work out for a big enough crowd to remain open as long as we'd like, a huge thank you for allowing us to do what we've loved doing for so many years!! We love and appreciate each one of you!
~ Ken & Amber