Price Increases - Posted June 11th - 2018
Chris Rose of Rose Leather Crafting here. This letter is probably the letter I’ve least looked forward to writing in quite a few years, but I have to. I feel it is my responsibility as an adult, a business owner, and an honest person to lay out all the facts and be as open and transparent as I can be. With that said, on Monday the 18th of June AEST I will have to increase the price of the products that I offer by a sizable amount. This price increase will be in the region of 50% - 100% (almost double the price they are now). That is a huge increase, so I believe it warrants not just an explanatory letter, but also an apology. The apology will be at the end of this letter. Before the apology, I’m going to outline the four main reasons for the price increases, and what I hope I can achieve from them.
The first reason is for family. On Saturday the 2nd of June 2018, I married the woman of my dreams, Courtney. While I am extremely lucky to have married a very intelligent, beautiful woman who is the main breadwinner of our new small family (just the two of us at this stage!), I want to be in a position financially to help lift the burden from my Wife’s shoulders as much as I can. In 2018, it is no shock, nor should it be, that a woman can be the strong, independent, breadwinner that my Wife is. Courtney is a highly educated, driven, strong person who is paid well for her time, knowledge, and responsibilities. Lives literally depend on her knowledge and her ability to recall what she knows and apply that knowledge in her field of work, Pharmacy. She works long, stressful hours in a hospital. So to be able to ease that burden of stress from her shoulders is my top priority as her new Husband. And in the years to follow, as we start a family which includes children, it is important for us that we can both contribute to a financially (and emotionally, of course) secure household.
The second reason is so that I can earn a fair wage. Currently, I earn just enough to rebuy materials and supplies, pay my rent and bills and have a small amount left over for saving. This equates to producing a wallet for just about wholesale price. If I were to add food into that equation, I would be running very close to breaking even if not a little bit under. Therefore, I rely on my Wife, again being the main breadwinner, to feed both of us. Earning a fair wage for myself relates back to my Wife in that she won’t have to worry about making sure she always works to keep us both fed. She would be free to take a holiday or break whenever she likes or needs. Earning a fair wage would also allow me to support our family now, and family in the future when our children enter the world. In conclusion, I earn just enough to support myself. If I were the only person I had to worry about, that would be ok. But I have a family I need to help support now, and a fair wage is crucial to that.
The third reason is for health and creativity. With an increase in price of my products, the expectation is that I will see a slower rate of orders placed. While I am so incredibly thankful that I am lucky enough to make a living doing what I love, I must admit that my health, both physically and mentally, has been suffering because of it. Right now, the amount of orders I receive on a daily basis is too much for one person to complete without jeopardizing my health. My neck, lower back, fingers, and left shoulder in particular have suffered the most. My current prices are such that I don’t earn enough money to hire a helper to ease that pain. The idea with raising the prices is that I earn a little more than I do now, and my personal work output is less. That way I won’t be putting my body through the wringer like I have been. I will also have the time to visit my Doctor more so that we may more carefully monitor the breakdown of my body as I get older. That is the physical aspect. The mental aspect relates to me waking up, completing orders, then going to sleep at night and repeating the same over and over. I have very little time for creative design and research. I’m very proud of the wallets that I have created, but I would like to expand into belts, bags, and shoes/boots in the future. Hopefully offering a “full set” of products that are both appealing to the eye, functional, handmade, and high quality. If all of my time is taken up completing order after order, I can’t set aside time to work on these new items.
The fourth reason is for expansion. Because I have been working for just about wholesale price, I’ve shot myself in the foot in regards to expanding. I have been very lucky to have been approached several times over the last few years regarding stocking my products in a physical shop location. Either in Australia or elsewhere around the world. When the nitty gritty of prices of wholesale orders come into question, that is generally where the deal falls short. If I were to offer a wallet at a price where the shop owner can then make a profit themselves, while not competing against me, I would need to offer a wallet for well under half the wholesale price. Which means I lose money, which means the deal is not financially viable. This restricts any progress that I could possibly make. Increasing the price allows for a wholesale price that is both viable for shop owners, as well as myself.
With the above said, I would like to offer a deep apology. I know that by increasing my prices I’m going to be restricting some people from being able to afford one of my items. For this, I am so sorry! Going into this I started with the mentality that I wanted to make sure as many people as possible could afford a quality wallet. A wallet that was made by hand and that would last you a lifetime so that you didn’t have to keep spending your hard earned money on wallet after wallet when they keep breaking down. Coming from a working class family, I know the importance of those few dollars that spell the difference between food or dishwashing liquid. Sometimes even between rent and food. Keeping my products affordable has been very important to me, because when I was growing up, the affordability of life’s crucial valuables such as food, a roof over your head, clothing, was itself crucial. I am so deeply sorry that I can’t keep my prices as low as I would like them to be!
I’ve tried for years to fight against the high cost of living in my country, as well as other factors, some of which I have outlined above. But right now I need to focus more on my health, and the well being of my family. I hope that you understand, but I respect your decisions if you should disagree.
With warm regards,
Rose Leather Crafting.