We've been getting a lot of questions about what's happening with the shop.
Are you going out of business?
Why are you still getting new inventory?
What is going on with your website, some buttons are malfunctioning?
Why are you so awesome? (much like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.)
Hopefully this post can answer some questions about what's going on. Settle in, children, I am a
longwinded thorough writer.
Here's what happened, in a nutshell... We made a business plan with Instagram as our main source of advertising and people-interaction. We loved seeing pictures of what people make, the new lines of fabric, and the innovative ideas people came up with, so Instagram was a natural fit for us.
And it was still chronological! *swoon*
We also, like everyone else on this planet that isn't a ZuckerLord or fortune 500 company, absolutely loathed Facebook's new algorithm. The infiltration of the fill-in-the-blank-phobic demographic that's been plaguing it over the past year or so has also been quite a turn off. So Facebook was out as a focus platform.
We spent a lot of time researching when the peak Instagram posting times were for our target demographic. What did they post about? What did they "like" the most? Who did they interact with and why? What kind of posts got the most response? How do you use these new fancy filters and photo-editing tools? What is a Snapchat? Why do people like the dog face filter so much? We poured many, many hours of research into finding answers to these questions. (FYI: we still have not found the answer to why people like the dog face filter so much. We have hired a team of investigators to dig deeper*)
Facebook bought Instagram.
Facebook forced The Algorithm™ on Instagram.
Facebook ruined Instagram.
Now, all of the research I'd spent so much time on was useless. I could post at peak interaction times, and nobody would see it. I could post really fun stuff that you would love to chat about, but it would only show up on 10% of my followers news feeds. I could post about a sweet 24 hour sale, but that lucky 10% wouldn't see it until 3 days after the sale expired. And heaven forbid someone didn't realize that post was 3 days old, I'd get flooded with DMs that were completely justifiably frustrated that the sale codes weren't working!
BUT WAIT! Facestagram had a solution for me! The great ZuckerLord had built The Algorithm™ with some important little loopholes. You see, I COULD have a larger percentage of my followers -you know, the people who had already opted to follow me- more of these voluntary fans could see my posts... for a price. This idea effectively snuffed out small businesses, including ours, while boosting and championing the larger businesses that had a meaty advertising budget.
Don't even get me started on the new ad guidelines. All the ads we designed? Toast. They didn't fit Facestagram's new oddly-specific guidelines. To redesign and refocus all of our pre-planned advertisements would take many many hours. Since, unlike those big name fabric stores, we don't have a marketing team we pay to do these things, we suffered. The time we spent trying to learn how to fix these things was taken from our customer interaction. We posted less, our shipping times were longer than usual, we started to combust.
We are not ones to give up on our dreams. In fact, the easiest way to motivate me to do something is to tell me you don't think I can do it. So instead of giving up, we've hit pause. We're having a fire sale on all our inventory so we can repay our initial investment, that way we aren't paying interest during the time we go dark to recalibrate. We are still getting a few bolts of inventory that we ordered in 2017, but Panorama, Eclipse and Firelight are the last bits. After that we have zero bolts of fabric on order. We are using this time to research, relearn and refocus so we can come back strong and enjoy our business instead of having it be a constant source of stress. We are still selling, and will be until we are in the black. Everything is the same except the prices (lower!), and the fact we have no more stock coming in any day soon.
We appreciate all of the kindness we've experienced in the last few weeks!
My hope is that we can be back at it by Fall Market. That we can place some orders then and get more shipments to start arriving in January 2019.
In the mean time, we will continue to make plans and take baby steps. Like fixing up our website to be more intuitive or making branded items to stick in your orders to remind you how awesome it is to buy from Whipstitchcraft. And more invitations to share with us what you make with the things you buy! Our goal was to supply everyone with the fabric used in creating what makes you happy, not beating our head against a wall trying to figure out stupid new algorithms!
The future of Whipstitchcraft is this and only this: helping you create happiness.
Will you stick around and be our friend? I promise we will keep posting our sewing (mis)adventures, great sales on what we currently have in stock, some personal destashing here and there, and all sorts of other fun stuff. Like excessive pictures of our food!*
Thanks again for everyone's continued support, and thanks for reading this post, aka my novel!
[*indicates the presence of alternative facts aka outright lies]