Friday, January 9, 2015

New year, new directions


Hello IHP fans!  This is probably the most important post I will make on this blog, so please read it carefully. It's going to be long and a little sappy, so you've been warned!

It's a new year and it's time for changes. It's with a heavy heart and teary eyes that I am posting to let you know I've decided to close the store. It's no surprise that we're in an evolving industry.  Many stores have closed before us - both online and retail giants like Archivers.  Paper Crafts Magazine just closed.  It's an ever changing industry and it's incredibly difficult to manage inventory expectations, trends, customer requests, increased overhead costs like postage and stay profitable and SANE.

A little background, if you care to indulge me.  If not, skip to the bottom to the sale image for the nitty gritty details.  :)

As you know, we moved into a new home over the past summer and our activity in dog rescue has increased exponentially.  Early last year I also was accepted into The Academy for Dog Trainers (the "standard for dog training excellence worldwide" and called "the Harvard of dog training") and have been pursuing my studies there.  It's a difficult and challenging program, based in science and on the science of animal learning (none of that "your dog is trying to dominate you" stuff).  When I graduate, I will be amongst the company of the best trainers in the world.  But, I need to graduate first.  And that will take a lot of time and work. And I know that ultimately, that is where my heart is. And that is where I need to focus my time and energy.

So that, coupled with declining sales, Facebook's algorithm tweaking making it harder to reach our customers and a whole laundry list of other reasons, I've decided that it is time to close.

Honestly, it's been quite a struggle to make this decision.  I'm not one to quit.  I'm one to pile lots of things on an overflowing plate and just balance it.  I am a multi-tasking queen.  But, I've learned that it doesn't have to be that way.  I recently re-listened to a favorite podcast of mine, Freakonomics and one specific episode called The Upside To Quitting.  (Find it here if you'd like to have a listen.)  It really helped me work through the idea that quitting is OK. It helped me realize that quitting something doesn't have to be bad - it can be the door to a new opportunity.  Economically speaking it is "sunk cost and opportunity cost. Sunk cost is about the past – it’s the time or money or sweat equity you’ve put into a job or relationship or a project, and which makes quitting hard. Opportunity cost is about the future. It means that for every hour or dollar you spend on one thing, you’re giving up the opportunity to spend that hour or dollar on something else – something that might make your life better. If only you weren’t so worried about the sunk cost. If only you could …. quit."

So I'm quitting, in the best sense of the word. I'm quitting to pursue a greater dream - a dream of helping save more dogs' lives by making them more adoptable, by helping ones with behavior issues that might otherwise cause them to be rehomed or euthanized and by helping people be happier with their canine companions, which makes the humans happier and healthier. (Did you know that petting a dog increases your oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine levels, which calm and relax both you and the dog, making you both healthier and happier?)

I'm a little sad right now because it is raw and new but I know there's a bright future ahead. It's just hard to close a door that has been open for so long. I'm incredibly thankful for so much.  I'm thankful for my design team members, both current and ones who came before them.  I'm thankful for my support staff (social media, newsletter, graphic designers, my husband, etc.) over the years but especially to Tracy and Lori, who have stuck with me since before day one. They're my confidants, my advisors and now, my friends.  I'm thankful for the independent company owners I've met along the way and supported as we mutually grew our businesses.  I'm thankful for the designers, Kimberly, Jannie and Tracy, who worked with me to launch their stamp lines.  I'm thankful for all the guest designers who shared their talents with us for a few months at a time.  And I'm thankful for the loyal customers I've gotten to know and a few that I count as good friends now.  And it is these relationships and friendships that I've made during this journey will last forever and that my friends, is better than any profit I would have ever made.

So yes, I'm quitting, but incredibly proud of the business I ran and the success we had.  I am proud of the exclusive stamp lines we launched and the opportunities new designers had.  I am proud of the amazing support and fundraising effort we accomplished together with so many other companies and customers and individuals to help support Katie Renz and her family during her cancer and in the aftermath of her death through Swimming For Katie.  I'm proud that I upheld the highest business ethics and refused to align with or carry certain products because I felt they stole other artists' work or were too heavily "inspired by" them.  I am proud of the service I provided to almost 5000 customers and the over 9000 orders that were filled (with less than a dozen mistakes filling them in total). So, there's a lot to be proud of.  And I'm certainly not the first small stamping company to close its doors and likely won't be the last. It's been happening like wildfire lately and things continue to change.

It's been a fun ride but it's time to get off.  I can do more good in the world by training and rescuing dogs than I can selling paper and stamps and ribbon!


So with that being said (thank you to those who indulged me and read it!), now for the nitty gritty.  Use coupon code BYEIHP at checkout.  Everything is 30% off using this code. As inventory dwindles, the amount of the coupon may change to help move things along.  You receive the discount that is in place at the time of your order, even if the discount amount increases later on in the sale. You will get the best selection early on, so don't wait.  If you wait, items will sell out!

Due to the steep discounts, free shipping is not being offered any longer.  Shipping will be calculated at checkout.

You will notice i {stick} papers is no longer available in the store.  I will be selling this product over at my store on Etsy since this is the only item exclusive to us.  That's good news since it is our best selling item and there's always a demand for it.  So you will still be able to purchase our best selling, exclusive tape there!

Gift certificates must be redeemed by Jan 31, 2015.  New gift certificates are no longer for sale.

And obviously, all sales are final.

Make sure you check in on our Facebook page!  We will be sharing news and updates as we go into the final days.


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14 comments:

~amy~ said...

I'm so sorry that you're closing up the store BUT so happy that your pursuing a greater dream♡

Lisa Lara said...

I am happy to have GD'd for IHP Kate. Hugs and best wishes to you. You go girl.

Basement Stamper said...

I'm sorry to hear this, but so happy for your following your dreams in helping dogs! You should be VERY proud of the business you ran, you were awesome and I loved ordering from you. Best of luck in your new adventure and you bet I'll continue to follow you...and keep on petting my Moochie Poo :-)

Jingle said...

Kate, I am a bit at a loss. I guess I want you to know that I believe very much in what you are pursuing (and you already know that, of course) and I am proud of you for working so hard for what you are truly passionate about and what for what you love. I am sad that the store is closing. You will be missed, as I do believe you were a strong retailer in the crafting world. I know I gave your name to many a friend along the way. I wish you the very best as your journey continues. I hope you remain connected to the crafting world. You are amazing and I look forward to hearing more about your work with animals as your journey continues.

Katie Ann Brooks said...

So sorry you'll be closing but support tour pursuit of a greater dream. Ultimately, you are doing what you need to do for you and it will all work out in the end. Thank you and best of luck with the dig rescue and training. Doors are opening... :) hugs!

Chris K said...

Sorry to see you go - best of luck in your new venture!

Carolyn Mustopa said...

I'm so proud of you for all you've accomplished, and proud as well to have been part of your original DT. But most of all, thankful to call you a friend, with or without paper! Best of luck with your furry endeavors.

Rox-Ann said...

So sad good luck in your new adventures you will be missed

Ruby N said...

So sorry to hear!!! Best of luck with your future endeavors <3

Billie Dee said...

Best of luck in your future endeavors!!

Vicki Dutcher said...

It's sad to see another store closing, but in your case, the door that is opening is amazing! What a fabulous cause and I thank you for it! Animals only have us to help them so KUDOS to you. Now, I am off to the store...

Broni said...

I'm so sorry to hear you're closing the doors, Kate, but wish you the very, very best on your wonderful future path!

Amy Sheffer said...

I think it takes a lot of courage to let go of something familiar and good in order to go for something better, but unfamiliar. Kudos to you for following your heart. Sad the store is closing, but wishing you all the best in the future. You're not quitting anything -- you're being wise enough to prune in one area so you can grow in another!

JenRey said...

Sorry to hear this news. As they say, one door closes, another opens! Best wishes in following your dreams!