Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Policy

As many of you know we have dropped our one a month doll limit. It feels like supply is meeting demand so we didn’t feel it was necessary to have the limit in place. We’ll see how it goes for a bit , nothing is set in stone, but it’s something we’d like to try for a while.

What has been happening now, however, is a high rate of people returning the dolls. Usually only after an hour or so after buying them. We’ve never had returns before like this – it’s only been since we dropped the limits. I know things come up unexpectedly and one may have to return a doll because something financial came up but we have a feeling this is something different. I’m not sure what is going on but we are going to have to charge a 10% restocking fee from now on.ย  It takes time to email back and forth, do the refunding, find and pull the order (make sure it doesn’t get processed in our system for shipping) and then relist – and because this is happening more frequently we need to cover our costs here. I’m also hoping this would be a bit of a deterrent for people doing this – we have preview pictures – so please only buy a doll if you really want her.

We are coming in close to having our new system in place. We are testing it like crazy and really taking our time with how it runs. At this point we are thinking of setting up a 5 minute cart time as opposed to the 30 minutes that is set up by Big Cartel (that we can’t change). The developers at Big Cartel just emailed me a bit ago about groups of dolls being held in carts – dropped – then held again. Don’t know what’s going on but it’s holding some dolls up for HOURS. This is really crazy frustrating on all ends. Now, I’m not sure if we should go back to a system where the first person to check out gets the doll. Or, if I should just list randomly? There are so many pro’s and cons to each way. We’ll roll out our new site in a few weeks and see how that goes. I wish there was an effective way to do the Serendipity’s like how Hyenacart had it – if anyone knows of anything that comes close – I’d appreciate it so much if you let me know!

Thanks so much for all your amazing loyalty and business over the years! I feel like you are all growing with me and I totally appreciate all the input on how to make Bamboletta better ๐Ÿ™‚

xo
Christina

Amy Fisher - August 23, 2012 - 11:00 am

A restocking fee makes sense–I had NO idea that was going on!

I agree to a shorter time in the cart–I’m not sure 5 minutes is enough time if there is a paypal problem, but then with your excellent customer service I can also see that the buyer could simply email you and let you know the situation so that you can take care of it if there is a legitimate paypal issue, so 5 minutes might be perfect. (I, too, am tired of a doll I or a friend wants being unavailable for hours but not purchased.)

Finally, as the supply and demand seems to be evening out a bit, PLEASE don’t make it that the first person to check out gets the doll–for myself, it is SO nice that I don’t have to worry about making any mistakes while checking out in paypal because I am trying to go so fast…not to mention that if folks want to choose an alternative form of payment other than their primary, they are guaranteed to lose. Less time in the carts seems a better solution to me.

Good luck as you figure this out–and thank you for your continued high standard in all aspects of your business.

Blessings,
Amy

Ida Norwood - August 23, 2012 - 11:04 am

I think a 5 minute cart time would be best. The other way where who ever checks out with the doll first is hard and frustrating if your computer isn’t fast enough. I hope this all works out for you because your offering a great product and have such a great demand. REALLY appreciate how your trying to make it fair for everyone. Thanks so much!

Leah Killian - August 23, 2012 - 11:07 am

Good for you guys! I’m for getting it in my cart and having 5-10 minutes to check out. The first to check out is extra hard.

Claire - August 23, 2012 - 11:47 am

I agree with you, a restocking fee should be charge, hopefully this will discourage some people from loading their cart with unwanted dolls.

Anyone noticed the amount of Bamboletta dolls for sale on ebay? Why buy if you don’t really want it?

mark - August 23, 2012 - 12:00 pm

Just FYI, in order to comply with credit card policy you will need to put a note on each listing specifying the restocking fee, otherwise someone can dispute the restocking fee with their credit card company, which will be a big hassle for you, and the customer will win the dispute. Just sort of like if an item is “Final Sale”, that has to be on the product description page for each item, or clearly stated on the checkout page works too. Just make sure you clearly state the restocking fee somewhere in the checkout process ๐Ÿ™‚

This I know from working with Visa, specifically.

mark - August 23, 2012 - 12:18 pm

P.S I’m looking forward the new cart system – 5 to 10 minutes is a much more reasonable cart ‘hold’ time ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope it isn’t first to check out – paypal can be so difficult sometimes! The idea of random uploads is fun.

Dora - August 23, 2012 - 1:07 pm

I am so sorry about the high rate of people doing returns:( I do however agree with the 5 minute holds it gives tons of hopes;o Thank you for being so considerate of your customers/fans especially when were nearing the holidays. “Blessings to Bamboletta”

jennifer Cain - August 23, 2012 - 1:20 pm

I would pay double for a custom doll. Got to at least put it out there. Thank you

cas - August 23, 2012 - 1:57 pm

definitely agree w/first come, first served.

NAJ - August 23, 2012 - 3:22 pm

I agree! It’s unfortunate that so many are returning dolls, but if that’s the way it is, then a re-stocking fee makes complete sense.

On the cart time change, though, I support shortening the time but feel that 5 minutes is just too short. I personally had one purchase that I was having so many PP issues with that night that I almost missed the doll, and there’s no way I could have gotten the PP stuff worked out in 5 minutes. I would have been crushed if that doll had dropped out of my cart through no fault of my own. Maybe a happy medium like 10-15 minutes?

Rickiann - August 23, 2012 - 4:33 pm

I like the idea of the earlier drop time I think 5/10 mins is good .
You do have previews up the day before after all .

Mary Jane - August 23, 2012 - 9:17 pm

In my humble opinion, all sales should be final unless a doll is defective in some way. If people change their mind, they can resell the doll. The fact that adults are carting and then actually buying dolls that they don’t want is ridiculous. Maybe this is just sour grapes from someone who hasn’t been able to cart let alone buy a doll that I’ve fallen in love with, but this whole return/refund thing shouldn’t be your problem. And if there are some crazy people out there who are just carting dolls and letting them drop for the fun of it, then I hope you can figure out some way to block them from shopping at all.

Jill Cruz - August 23, 2012 - 10:00 pm

I commend you for the 10% restocking fee. I just don’t understand why people would buy a doll without intending to keep it? So silly. With regards to the 5 minute checkout – I have to say this scares me. So many times I have had paypal ask me xyz security questions, enter in my CC number again, wait for the phone call, enter the secret code, etc. etc. This has happened to me even while at home – if paypal decides to be funny, I know I won’t be checking out in 5 minutes. Sometimes it can take up to 10 to sort it all out.

admin - August 24, 2012 - 11:00 am

We will also have an option to just pay with your credit card and not use pp at all. We really appreciate all the input…SO MUCH!!!!

mark - August 24, 2012 - 5:32 pm

wow, I REALLY love that you will also allow other payment options besides paypal, Bamboletta!! I have solid relationships with credit cards, but not so much paypal – so am really happy for this news. e-checks can be a thing of the past ๐Ÿ˜‰

Facebook sharing is caring!

Eyes, Eyes, EYES!

I always have my basket of dollie heads with me .. even stuck in a ferry line up a few weeks ago! It’s sort of like how women knit all the time – it’s just what I do.

As most of you know I put the eyes on all the dolls. I spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday’s sitting in my cozy chair meeting each doll and putting on their faces. I’ve had Bamboletta for almost 10 years now and feel so lucky that I’ve been able to narrow my ‘job’ down to thing I find the most fun .. bringing the doll ‘alive’. I’ve tried training someone else before on eyes – we always have training dolls around the shop (it takes a LONG time for someone to learn to sew the dolls) but, to be honest, I abandoned the effort because they just didn’t look ‘right’. They didn’t look like Bamboletta. I sort of get to a point where I think ‘Gah! It’s only me that can do the eyes! No one else!’ and ,well, that’s why I’ve been doing them for 10 years! I like looking over my eyes through the years to see how they’ve progressed and changed and the sort of ‘phases’ I go through with them. Sometimes closer, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller and sometimes in between.

About a year ago I ended up in the hospital for a few days. The second thing I told John to do was to get the heads so that I can do the eyes for the dolls.ย  Because of my rate of growth and because we now have so many women who depend on Bamboletta for their income – it’s on me to make sure the dolls are ready to go for the Friday uploads. I’ve never thought of this in a bad way – gosh – I just love how each doll comes out and putting on their sweet faces. Eep – there’s that point that I put on the little smiles that makes my heart go a flutter!

Dang – I hit my mid 30’s and that was it .. all over the reading glasses now! I have about 10 pairs scattered throughout my house and studio because I keep losing them. I need to go get a proper pair with one of those cute beaded things that hang around my neck.

But, with 70 – 80 dolls going into each upload, it’s quite a bit of work.ย  I also always have a basket of heads with me all the time that I work on during the week as well as doing the complete dolls – it’s just what I do!ย  The thing is – I sometimes lay awake at 2am thinking ‘OMGosh – what happens if I break my arm?!’ ‘OMGosh what happens if I get really bad carpel tunnel and can’t move my fingers?’ and ‘Gah, I can’t really go on a vacation because I have to make sure the eyes get done.’. Like I said before – not complaining – this is just where I’m at right now. I sort of get freaked out once in a while about the what if’s.

Where the heck is this going, you may ask?ย  During a little staff get away inย  Sooke a few weeks back we got to talking about what we can do about the face sewing and the obvious answer was Brandi! The answer to my conundrum is Brandi!!ย  She has been working with Bamboletta for about 5 years now – first a few hours a week in my basement to now beyond full time at the studio. She is almost as in love with Bamboletta as I am and she’s really like a sister to me. For YEARS she been saying ‘OH – this is a really cute face!’ when she does the doll hair on Thursdays – so she knows a good face. So ,for a few hours per week, she’s been my Karate Kid and I’ve been her Mr. Miyagi. We have about 250 plus ‘booboo’ dolls – these are dolls that the gals trained on when they learned to sew, dolls that get stained, not stitched right, holes – whatever really – these are the dolls that I end up giving to hospitals and charity toy drives. (As a side note – I gave all our 2011 dolls away – these dolls are just from 2012). So, slowly but surely, Brandi has been going through these dolls one by one with me basically looking over her shoulder. Poor thing – every stitch is scrutinized – I’ve told her countless times to ‘Take it out and do it again’. And , sweet Brandi, smiles and tries her very hardest. She is doing such a great job – amazing actually – they look just like my eyes! She still has another 200 or so dolls to go through before she can help me with upload doll faces so this is her training. This will take months and months before she can do upload doll eyes but it’s the most important job at Bamboletta – it really is – and it will take time.ย  There is no one more perfect to help me out than Brandi. It’s quite serendipitious actually.

Just snapped this pic of what I have in my basement at home. We have 8 more of these bins at the studio. When these dolls get eyes they end up going to different charitable organizations and hospitals. I may , just may, do a local sale somewhere around the holiday’s. I really miss doing markets and fairs. We’ll see how it goes!

So, what else does this mean? Well, Brandi is no longer doing Frock stuff or shipping stuff. My ‘Make it Hap’n Capt’n’ Brooke has taken over Frock stuff and customer service stuff. It’s so cool to figure out where everyone ‘fits’ as we grow .. nice to see where people can shine!

So, there we have it – the newest development at Bamboletta. This has been one of the biggest things yet – crucial to our sustainability – and it came about so perfectly and at exactly the right time. It’s yet another thing I am so grateful for with how Bamboletta has unfolded .. it’s never been with a plan, it’s always just ‘happened’.

xo
Christina

Brandi working on a group of ladies! They are so happy to get faces!

deborah b. - August 23, 2012 - 11:12 am

great news, i can imagine how scary that’d be to be the ONLY one doing eyes. i’d have what-ifs, too! that little lady whose eyes the lovely brandi has finished is beautiful!!!

linda jt - August 24, 2012 - 8:41 pm

go brandi–it’s your birthday….
now brandi used to work at the post office, right? the one where you would take the dolls to ship off to all of us. but you stole her away–first as part-time and now as more than full time. that’s a sweet story for a very sweet woman. we heart brandi!! and her eyes look fantastic. love this new chapter in the little bamboletta book. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Facebook sharing is caring!

Banking!

Our display over at the Duncan branch of Coast Capital Savings where we are the ‘Featured Business’. Not such a great pic, but you get the gist!

I’ve pretty much funded Bamboletta using a Visa card. I’ve done this sort of backwards – no business plan, no investment or bank loan – I literally would throw every penny I made back into Bamboletta buying more fabrics, more wool and more yarns. I was lucky because for the first few years John was working (and so was I) and I was in the position where I could do that. Anyhow, time has come now that I need to have something in the bank – more as a cushion or to take be able to take advantage of great yarn sales or something like that. When you grow a business like this and have 30 plus peeps to pay you really to fly by the seat of your pants some times!

I didn’t think asking the bank for a line of credit would be an issue at all. Pop in, chat, show them some paperwork, etc.ย  We have a house (mortgaged and very modest – but still), car, and almost 10 years of records of Bamboletta’s growth. Jeesh, was I ever in for a surprise! I went into a Big Bank (who will remain unnamed) to speak to a business specialist and ,man, I don’t think I’ve ever been so humiliated in my life. They wanted nothing short of my first born – seriously! I wasn’t even asking for a loan! Just a line of credit. It was horrible – I shudder thinking back to those few weeks of trying to appease them. Finally, I thought, ‘ENOUGH!ย  It can NOT be this difficult’!ย  So, I went over to Coast Capital Savings as I had banked with them before and heard great things about them.

What an amazing difference! I was treated so nicely and with respectย  – not as though I had a big ‘X’ on my head.ย  The fact that I employee 30 plus womenย  in a small town where there aren’t a lot of options was recognized and appreciated instead of looked upon as a liability. Paperwork was handled quickly and efficiently and always with a smile. I think at Coast they see beyond the bottom line and I really feel like I have a partner in all this now. In the next week or so I’ll go in to sign to finally get a Line of Credit! I was even made the ‘Featured Business’ over at my branch! How cool is that?

I’m not in cahoots with Coast to write this like an advertisement or anything like that. The experience with the other bank was so horrid that the way I am treated now feels like it should be written about, you know? And, as perhaps one business owner to another , tales like this are good to read about. The good, the bad and the banks!

Krista Chileshe - August 20, 2012 - 6:28 pm

and imagine, I have been the banker pestering you and into your business for years. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am so happy you went with Coast Capital Savings. I love their style and they are a great fit for you and your business. I most likely could have saved your time and embarrassment with the “big bank” as I know all of their “personalities” for business banking.

But hey, maybe you wouldn’t have believed me! Nothing like first hand experience to make you appreciate something different like Coast. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I must say, in BC, I like Coast and Vancity. In AB, I like Servus credit union. I myself deal with Scotia (I need some international outreach).

Overall for the big banks….as a business owner and long time commercial banker I would always direct other business owners to Scotiabank or BMO. Sometimes though…it really is ALL about who your account manager is though. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a guess and test.

YAY for your line of credit! Working Capital is king for growth!

linda jt - August 24, 2012 - 8:48 pm

thanks for these posts, C. i really enjoy reading them and it makes me feel like I am a part of something special, too, even though I’m just a ‘fan’ and a long-time customer. please keep sharing all of these little vignettes. i know it takes time–precious time away from your growing boys. but i love knowing all of these little details as the years go by…

Facebook sharing is caring!

Long time no write!

I LOVE this!

It has been MONTHS since I’ve blogged – so long! The past few months I’ve felt like I’ve had to disconnect from being online a bit, take a bit of a break. I’ve been going pretty much non stop for the past 5 years. I’m not saying this in a complain-y sort of way , quite the opposite, I feel so blessed to be doing something and building something that I love so incredibly much. I’ve also been super lucky to have Brooke on board now to take care of online stuff, do uploads, answer emails, knows how to talk to web developers and just gets stuff done. I feel like I can leave the shop now! If you own a small business you know how incredibly HUGE something like this is. I can’t leave the shop for more than 3 days at a time but small steps, right? I’m still doing all the doll eyes, which takes up about 3 days (and I always have a basket of heads with me to work on during the weekend) and I just can’t let go of doing my books. Anyhow, why am I telling you all this? Boring!

I’m really loving where things are at right now. It feels like the craziness of the uploads is calming down a bit. And, after years of building the business up, the supply is meeting the demand. Instead of the dolls going in like 5 minutes, now it’s taking a few hours for all the dolls to sell out. I remember lamenting to John a few years back about how I just wanted the dolls to stay up for a while, so that it wasn’t so hard to get them. We’ve also dropped the one a month limit now. It feels like things are stabilizing now. We are also introducing new things, like our jointed dolls and soon to be baby dolls. And YES – Little Buddy dollies will be more available as weeks go on. The situation we have here is so unique. One sewing mama falls ill and all of a sudden we don’t have 7 LB’s, then another has a vacation,ย  another has a baby – doll sewing can be SO up and down. I’ve hired on 4 new gals though specifically for LB’s and we should start seeing their dollies just before Christmas time. Yay! More LB’s!

I’m really excited about everything that’s happening here. It feels like Bamboletta has grown up a bit – I’ve worked hard to keep the love and handcrafted beauty in the dolls by having the most wonderful and talented lovelies working with me who really ‘get’ what we do. But now I also have the stuff in place that will keep Bamboletta around for the long haul. Like organizing inventory, semi ‘departments’, and stuff like that. It is different now – this isn’t something that I do in my living room anymore and now we have almost 40 women that depend on bamboletta for work – gotta make this ship TIGHT! Never in a million years did I think I’d be in this position and I really have all of you gals to thank. You really are the best customers EVER! It’s been so nice to see so many ‘old’ names, customers from 5-6 years ago now buying for siblings or for themselves. I’m really humbled by all this.

Ah! It’s been so nice to ‘chat’! I hope everyone is keeping well and having a magical summer! Talk soon!

xo Christina

 

cheryl - August 17, 2012 - 4:20 pm

I remember our first Bamboletta was a custom, and I wanted her to look like my daughter and you wrote back saying that its a waldorf doll, my reply was they will both be squishy, Well she will be 10 in October and her favorite doll is her Bamboletta Violet, My two sons have them also and love them just as much. My daughter also used you as her inspiration for a Girl Scout patch where she used you as an example of a strong woman. I am so happy that you are continuing to create new Bambolettas for us to love and we would love to see a gnome or two…just sayin. Congrats on your continued success. ๐Ÿ™‚

Natalie Bakody Flinn - August 17, 2012 - 5:34 pm

So wonderful that you are at this place, Christina. It is a pleasure supporting such an ethical business (and every time I look or hold doll created by the hands of so many women, made in Canada, it lights me up! I swear each one has their own special spirit!). Enjoy this place. So happy for you!

Leah Killian - August 17, 2012 - 5:51 pm

I am excited to have a shot at a little buddy ๐Ÿ™‚ And it makes me so happy to see what you have accomplished- it is empowering!

Barbara H - August 17, 2012 - 8:46 pm

Love the freshness that you’ve added to things lately… new styles, more frocks, more dolls and my favorite- no more one a month, lol! Keep on keepin’ on momma! <3 <3 <3

katharine - August 17, 2012 - 10:24 pm

Aww.. i love the Girl Scout reference Cheryl made – that is so sweet!! Congratulations on all your success – well deserved.. ๐Ÿ™‚ We love our dollies, they get LOTS of snuggles – my little girl is a real snuggler.. I’ve even caught her hugging her brother’s wooden trains.. Wishing you all the best – i hope there comes a day when Bamboletta has an onsite shop, a place to come and pick out a special little love.. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cristina - August 18, 2012 - 8:21 am

Christina–It really is so nice to see more people getting dolls and more uploads leading to happy mamas and children! I remember the “old days” and uploads of only 6-7 dolls and there were not nearly enough to go around!

You have built a wonderful and “kind” business for sure! ๐Ÿ™‚

brandy - August 18, 2012 - 8:56 am

<3

Krista Chileshe - August 20, 2012 - 6:34 pm

I must say, I have seen MANY small businesses try to grow. I have been so impressed with how you have managed Bamboletta from the first time I heard of you about 3 years ago.

I’m so proud that you are Canadian and that you are female. ๐Ÿ˜‰
I will continue to cheer you on from the sidelines. Way to go!

Facebook sharing is caring!

Frock Changes

 

We are changing things up with our Frocks uploads a bit. We’ve had quite a few requests to change it around so that people who buy dolls can buy Frocks and not have to pay that additional shipping – who wants to pay for more shipping? So, next week our Frock upload will follow the doll upload. The dolls will go up at NOON PDT and then the Frocks will go up at 2pm PDT. This way we can take the weekend to organize all the orders and prepare for shipping out on Monday and Tuesday. So, if you get a doll and Frocks that portion of your shipping will be refunded. So – next week we will not have a Frock upload on Tuesday (the 10th) like we normally do … it will be on the 13th.

Thanks so much for everything ladies – your suggestions are what keep us tweaking and growing!

Christina

Barbara H. - July 3, 2012 - 8:54 am

Great idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

cara Z - July 3, 2012 - 9:03 am

Fantastic!

Tonja Medlock - July 3, 2012 - 10:30 am

Sounds like a great plan!

Jill - July 3, 2012 - 11:59 am

Awesome idea!

Facebook sharing is caring!
R e c e n t   p o s t s
A r c h i v e s