Hello all, I hope you find this post well. I've been dormant on Formiculture for a long time and I'd like to open light on what's been going on and the major changes that are coming around the corner. I'd like to be clear and state, I'm a highschooler, I have a lot to do every week and this was my first time operating a business at this scale and have it get quite a large following online.
So first things first, what did I do wrong? Several things, I first off I lacked quite a bit of communication with customers on issues with their orders and took a VERY long time to get back to them. During periods I got a large amount of orders and got very stressed out, a prime example was during May, I had a planned trip to Peru to visit family for a month or two, during that time was also end for a lot of my school activities like being a part of the orchestra and choir practice on top of it all they were mostly performances and I still had school work to do, this meant that in the hour or two I had left every day, I tried to cram everything in that time and I had received a massive amount of influx of orders during that time, I tried to do as many as I could but could not do all of them, several I had to cancel once I left and tell them that I tried but couldn't get it done in time. Another issue was the molds for the nest, these molds are all plastic containers, each mold had to be completely destroyed after a nest would make, this not only took time to not cut myself but that meant every time I got more nest orders I had to make more molds to the exact specifications of each customer, this in and of itself takes a lot of time each time, and occasionally, the nest got destroyed in the process. Another smaller issue is that the plexi glass was hard to mold to good specifications by hand just because of how much force plexi glass needs to cut quickly and cleanly with rounded corners. The next issue is that, the business when I made it was when I didn't have many intensive activities going on that took up large parts of my day, but then over time, I got more and more work to do with school activities and it just became too much with the business, but I still tried to keep running it at the current pace because I was very naive thinking I could keep up with it and I just got sick so frequently because of the stress of it all.
So, what could I change from now on to make the business run much more smoothly and avoid a headache for customers? Well, the changes go as follows.
- I will be improving communication with customers and be much more attentive to my emails. And hours to receive a response from me will be 9AM-6PM Monday-Friday.
- I'll be much more realistic with all the orders I can take in and be prompt to notify someone if I'm unsure I can take their order if I get overwhelmed or just refund them and explain to them the situation
- Nests will now be using a very strong reusable 3D printed mold for the nests with sanded corners to make it very hard to see layer lines and an ironed base for a smooth finish for the glass.
- I'll be switching to mostly producing Ready-to-Ship nests which will be shipped out within a week of purchase.
- Custom nests I will only take a max of 5 per week, if I receive more than this I will notify the customer that the orders will be slightly delayed just to fit inside this range. And the production time for an order of custom made nests will be raised back up to 3-4 weeks. Doing this will lower the amount of stress to get a nest shipped out.
- All small nests like the Horizontal Nest Pack Small and our soon to come 3D printed nests will have only 2 vinyl tubing ports for Ready-to-Ship. One on the front, and one on the right side. Larger ones will have depending on the model, 1-2 vinyl tubing ports on the front and one on the left and right side. All these nests will also come with plugs for the nests which are yet to be decided if they'll be made with TPU or PLA.
- After a large amount of requests for this, we are now going to bring the option for a nice glass lid for nests, these nests will no longer have rounded corners though due to the logistics of cutting rounded edges for glass at the scale my business is. We will still keep the rounded corner nests with plexi glass though, these will likely in the very close future actually be CNC machined for a beautiful cut and accuracy for rounded corners. And plexi glass lids will still be available for all hydrostone or 3D printed nests.
I am very open to more suggestions, I believe to make this business the best I can I must ask the antkeeping community itself what they'd like to see be done better. And if you made it this far, I really appreciate that you took the time to read this all, I hope that the next few weeks and following months that I can prove that these changes will be for the better. Thank you all.
Edited by ColdBloodedCritters, August 20 2023 - 7:18 PM.