This week we let our stockists and customers know that we are increasing the price of The Skinny. We sent out emails and we shared stories on instagram all the while holding our breath and hoping it would all be ok. We were nervous because people love it when you reduce prices, not so much when you raise them!
We received a message on instagram asking "why the sudden jump in price?" so we thought we would open up about why.
When first creating our products we wanted to use the minimum packaging that the lockers would need to travel safely. We all know that the world is drowning in plastic and reducing excess packaging is a really important part of doing our bit. Our first samples all arrived perfectly safely in a custom made wooden crate and we were pleased that there was no damage. This gave us confidence in the way we had packaged them.
Things really changed when we began to send out our first batch of orders after our launch. The boxes that kept the lockers safe in a timber crate just weren't enough to protect them from a couriers conveyer belt + handling. Lockers were being dropped on their ends, boxes punctured and our products arriving to our customers damaged. To say it was heartbreaking really doesn't cut the Mustard (Dad joke!). We knew after a week of delivering lockers that we had to make some changes.
We found solutions that would improve the packaging temporarily for the products that were already mid production. The boxes had already been made so we were limited but we did the best we could. This did make some improvement.
The next phase of fixing the problem for the long term was for Jess to travel back to China. She spent a week discussing with our factory, visiting packaging factories, finding new materials and dropping lockers from forklifts to test packaging combinations. This was so awful throwing products off a forklift! (And also hilarious) But we learnt a lot and thankfully found a solution.
The result was that the Skinny box increased in size as we added a chunky, honeycomb cardboard 'jacket' around the panels. We liked this solution as it meant we didn't have to resort to loads more polystyrene but it did have three important knock on effects...
Cost - The packaging costs us much more than it used to. It is custom made locally to the factory and increased our cost price significantly.
Transport - A bigger box means less lockers fit into the container so the cost of transporting per unit has therefore increased.
Storage - Less boxes fit per pallet which means they take up more space in the warehouse, more space means higher storage costs.
When working out the price of a product we need to take into account everything that it takes to produce, transport, store and sell it as well as factoring in the costs of running a business. This is balanced with the ratios of wholesale to retail that we aim for and a final price is decided on.
Luckily the Shorty didn't increase much in size as we didn't need to change the packaging so greatly and the Lowdown and Midi had the new packaging from the start so the retail prices already reflected this. As we've been rolling out the new packaging we have worn the extra costs for the Skinny while we made sure it did the job but the time has come to implement the price change.
Our new packaging has opened up the options for shipping safely around the world and reduced the damage issues significantly. The honeycomb jacket although bulky is recyclable and means we lose a lot less lockers to damages. Discarding of panels and products is not a sustainable option. Our products are not a throw away item, we want them to live in your homes future and we deeply care that our customers have a positive experience from start to finish.
Coming back to the customers question, "why the sudden jump in price?" Well, it isn't sudden at all, it's been around 10 months in the making and although we were nervous about potential negative reactions we are also really proud. We have priced our products fairly and for us it's a statement to ourselves that we are building a healthy and long lasting business, adapting to changes and offering something our customers love!
Sarah McMullin said:
Great clear honest explanation. Great products and you two do fabulous Instagram posts. Keep doing all the good work you are going with Mustard made. ❤️❤️❤️
September 04, 2019
Your transparency is super refreshing and a great example for other small businesses, I think the extra cost is a small price to pay for the best outcome for the environment!
September 04, 2019