Me again (yay!), with a few little clarifications regarding my post a couple of days ago.
My announcement last week was met with quite a bit of talk - which is a good thing. Of course there were lots of questions, and perhaps a few misunderstandings.
So let the clarifications begin!
1. "If you put products out there every week, how are people meant to keep up!?"
I think it's important to remember that we are actually not planning on doing more products, rather we're going to be making the same number of products and putting them out to the market in smaller, easier to digest portions. To keep with the digestion metaphor, instead of having one massive nine course meal every month - we're going to be having one delicious meal a week.
It's really about taking something that is currently overwhelming, and making it less overwhelming (for us as a business as well as for you guys).
I personally think that it is much easier to keep up with 12 products a week than 50 products a month.
To give you another example - I shop at supermarkets regularly. They put new stuff out all the time. How often they do is really of no concern for me because whenever I shop there I just choose what I want, and don't buy what I don't want. So, for example, if they bring out a new cereal, which is, say, 80% sugar, I can be like "Awesome! I'll get that! I wonder what the other 20% is made of...." And the next morning I'm enjoying a healthy start to my day.
But what happens if next week they bring out a cereal which is 90% sugar? Obviously I need to have that one instead. What to do? I could buy the new one as well, or I could just just coast along with what I have. It's my choice as a consumer.
I don't really care how many other cereals they introduce that week, just as long as I'm getting smacked in the face with enough glucose to kill a racehorse at 7:00am every morning.
Same with us, we'll just keep putting out cool stuff. If you love it and can afford it, great, it's yours. Buy the stuff you love, pass on the stuff you don't.
2. "Haven't girls been asking for less releases, not more?"
Well, actually, no.
Think about it, what do you think drives all our new products - my own personal desire to create a massively bloated inventory, or girls who love our clothes constantly asking for new stuff?
If you answered B, you get lots of points.
Sometimes girls will even say to me "jL, you are doing too many pieces, slow down" And before I have time to answer they're like "Oh and by the way, BURNED VELVET ALL THE THINGS I NEED IT ON MAH BODEH!!!!"
Or similarly they will say "I want less licensed releases, I'm over it. BUT OMG I AM SO READY FOR DAT POKEMON/SAILOR MOON/STUDIO GHIBLI/SHERLOCK/FIREFLY/ STUFF RIGHT NOW, LIKE, RIGHT NOW!!!"**
You see my predicament.
At the end of the day, we need to assess how much demand there is for what we are doing, and meet that demand as best we can. Not more, and not less. We will do our best to try to figure out exactly what that magical number is, and your patience while we figure it out is appreciated!
3. "So I guess I'm going to be missing out on lots of items now."
Well, I hope not! We went to a lot of effort to make these clothes, and we want you to buy them!
This is a common misunderstanding. To clarify - we are not going to be making smaller numbers, we're just not going to be allowing stuff to hang around on the website for a long time. The pieces will come, all the girls who want them will get them, and then we will move on to the next thing. It's not about making everything super ninja limited, it's about us not having a warehouse (and a website) full of stuff that people don't really want to buy any more!
Your chances of getting something from a BM release will be the result of two things:
- How many pieces we actually make
- How many people want it
Believe me, we are going to do our best to make those numbers match!
Also, the introduction of the 24 hour safe zone means that you will probably have more chance of snagging the things you love. :)
4. "This sounds like an attempt to create panic buying."
Not at all. I have said many times before, and I will say it again:
If you miss out on a certain piece of clothing that you really wanted, don't panic, there will be more new arrivals next week where you can get something else that you will (hopefully) love just as much, and there is always the possibility of doing another run of that piece at a later date if there is enough interest.
So please, don't panic. And don't buy something because you are panicking! If you buy a Black Milk piece, buy it because you love it. We have a a 24 hour safe zone where we guarantee you will be able to get the printed pieces that you want.
Guys, I make clothes for people to wear. Believe it or not, I really don't get a kick out of seeing less people wearing Black Milk! For me the key word is enough. I want to make enough clothes. Not too many, not too few. When we make too much, these poor pieces spend their entire lifespan in a box instead of on the legs of on a hot little boss. When we make too little, we miss out on sales and get sad sharkies. Neither works for us.
That's why we want to do a small number of products each week, that way we can closely monitor the numbers to make sure we are making enough. Of course, there will be a time of tweaking to try and get it right, and there will be times when we will absolutely get it wrong. However, we are just going to keep working hard at figuring out how much demand we have, and striving to meet it.
Again, your patience is appreciated. :)
5. "This is just playing into the hands of people who try to profiteer from Sharkies on eBay."
I'm sure there will be many people who will try to manipulate this system in the hope of profiteering. Sad but true.
However, the great news is that because there is new stuff coming out all the time, there is a good chance that sharkies will have already moved on to the next cool thing and will be spared the extortionate prices that some of these people expect.
At the end of the day, I don't want to punish good-hearted sharkies who do genuinely buy special limited edition pieces in order to prevent a few bad eggs from profiteering.
6. "This scares me!"
Don't be scared, it's going to be fun!
I think the most encouraging thing about this system is how it will enable sharkies to have more involvement with what we are doing. And sharkies love to be involved. :) We are going to be able to be far more responsive to what our customers are loving (or not loving!), and respond much quicker to fun new ideas.
- Weekly drops will start on 5 May :) Which means you get your first sneak peeks on 1 May.
- The returns process stays exactly the same, you'll still have 30 days to return your product if you're not happy.
- We're not trying to make you sad by making so many things limited for the sale, we've just got so much stock to clear that we're only keeping around our best sellers.
At the end of the day, all I want is a simple, predictable system that works for all of us - so we can get back to having fun with tight shiny clothes.
So... you ready?
** This does not mean we're doing all these deals. Soz.