A “No Updates” SKT Update + Personal Ramblings

Note: photo taken late at night; bad interior lighting

First, the important but dry status update report. There are none. Sigh. The container that my decks are in finally made it to the warehouse on Friday, October 1. Delivery of the shipment to my front doorstep will happen next week.

When exactly next week, I asked? The reply I got was “some time next week.” Can we narrow that projection? Some time next week. Like are we talking Monday to Wednesday or are we talking about Wednesday to Friday? :: radio silence :: Sigh. Welp. :: hands up and a shrug :: There ya go. Some time next week is when I will get the decks and next-next week is when we will start shipping them out. Assuming everything I’ve said above is accurate. Another sigh.

For aspiring indie deck creators who are building their own timelines from these posts to get a sense of what to expect, there you go. Also, I had to proactively reach out, alternating between my contact at the freight forwarding company and my contact at the warehouse (so I don’t exhaust any one person out, hehe) just to get that info.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: If you have NOT received an e-mail from abelldelivers (at) gmail with the subject line “SKT Order Important Info,” then please e-mail us ASAPWe received about a dozen bounce-back delivery error notices where the e-mail address that was provided to us is no longer functional. Thus, we have no way of contacting you. You need to contact us about your pre-order status.

U.S. POST OFFICE HAS SUSPENDED SHIPPING TO CERTAIN COUNTRIES: Also, on October 1, the U.S. Postal Service published a news alert: Our country’s postal service is “temporarily suspending international mail acceptance for certain destinations due to impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other unrelated service disruption.”

For sure we are going to be impacted, because we have quite the number of orders from Australia and New Zealand. The update continues: “Customers: please refrain from mailing items addressed to the countries listed here, until further notice.”

Oh geez. Australia and New Zealand friends: don’t freak out just yet. James and I are still brainstorming.

Eos (Aurora), charioteer personification of the dawn

Now for some ramblings. So I have now self-published and indie-sold three different decks, albeit just three editions of the same deck, the SKT. Clarifying, I guess what I mean to say is I’ve done this production, shipping, delivery process 3 times now in 3 different years.

I do believe each subsequent time I’ve done this I improved from the previous in discernible ways. But one can’t be compared to another because for each of the three times, I approached the process a little differently, to experiment.

SKT First Edition

For the black and white First Edition back in 2018, I decided a total print run without any data or info, just a crapshoot in the wind, decided on 1,000 decks, and only after all 1,000 decks were sitting in a den in my house did I begin opening up orders. I think I still referred to them as “pre-orders” for some reason, but technically, they were orders.

Oh! I remember. Sorry. I decided to call them “pre-orders” to manage delivery time expectations, because the timing coincided with James and I going out of the country for two weeks. We had planned that out-of-country trip a year in advance, so it’s not like we were going to cancel it just because the decks arrived. So the decks arrived, we took pre-orders, then went on vacay, then came home, and began fulfilling the orders. That’s why I called it a “pre-order.”

SKT Vitruvian

For the sepia-toned Vitruvian Edition in 2019, this time they were bona fide pre-orders, but the customer’s wait time wasn’t too bad. At least that would be my opinion. =) James and I decided we would open pre-orders for a relatively limited or short window of time. We then placed our order with the factory based on the number of pre-orders, plus only a handful of extras.

In both the 2018 and 2019 approaches, we ran out of inventory fairly quickly. In both, we underestimated the total number of decks we would need.

For this 2021 Revelation Edition, if you didn’t appreciate the long wait time for the pre-order period, blame James. =) Yeah I’m throwing the hubby under the bus! We had a disagreement about this and this was his business decision, and he won out in that disagreement, so we went with his approach. Hence the crazy-long wait this time around.

The difference between the Vitruvian approach to pre-orders and the Revelation approach is that for the Vitruvian, we used a very short window of time to collect sales and then projected out total print run based on data from that short window of time. For the Revelation, we used a much longer window of time to collect sales data, and then projected from a lot more data than the Vitruvian to place our production run.

Random close-up of The Emperor card

And then there were the newfound issues the global pandemic brought on all of us. Both the First and the Vitruvian were produced and delivered pre-pandemic. So a lot of what we prided as experiential knowledge went out the window. In 2021, every single stage of business operation for everybody in every industry was hit by under-staffing, scarcity in resources, and inflation.

As a result, the customer’s experience for this third edition is having handed me a small fortune of money back in March and right now the year is almost over and the customer still doesn’t have a deck in hand.

It is a really tough situation where you can’t even blame the customer for being aggravated, but I also feel at a loss, because it’s entirely out of my control. It’s not like there are boxes of decks sitting in my living room and I’m off sipping piña coladas instead of packing and shipping out orders.

Anubis, the Wayfinder

And yet as a seller, you still wonder if maybe you did something wrong along the production chain. Perhaps a very long pre-order window was the wrong way to go. Yeah, it probably was. (Thanks, James… though I can already see him huffing and puffing, getting defensive and giving this long business-y finance-y speech about how his decision was still the right call.)

So I gotta admit, I’m feeling pretty good about delivery (to us) next week. In any event, you’ll most certainly know when the shipment has arrived curbside in front of our home, because you bet there will be Instagram posts and squealing. =)

12 thoughts on “A “No Updates” SKT Update + Personal Ramblings

  1. Anonymous

    Most of the delays are probably more related to the covid and it’s really something that is out of your hands. Yesterday I received an email from a metaphysical store stating that the shipments they are getting from LA port are so backlogged they are waiting months to get items due to truck driver shortage. I do not recall where your decks were coming but this may be true of other places too. I didn’t verify the information but makes sense and may be worth looking into since if I recall correctly the dude who’s title i forget hasn’t always been straight forward with you

    Like

  2. Jess

    I have to come out of lurkdom just to say how very much I appreciate how often and how clearly you’ve been willing to update us about the status and the entire process so far. I can definitely speak for myself, and I hope I can speak for many others too, when I say I’m happy to handle almost any wait as long as there’s some communication happening!

    Like

  3. Hi Benebell,

    This means that you CAN sip a pina colada now as from next week the dispatching is going to be crazy! Enjoy the calm before the long-awaited storm.
    Personally, I am mega patient and the fact that you are keeping us updated help. Don’t worry about venting your frustration!

    Lots of love

    Like

  4. geekgirlunveiled@gmail.com

    You’ve kept us updated as you get new information, so the long wait time hasn’t been troublesome on my end. Thank you.

    Like

  5. Let’s see, regular updates, less than a year to fulfillment, you have done really well. I’ve waited much longer for decks that still have yet to make it to my door step and get way less updates. I’d say it’s going great, if nerve wracking.

    Like

  6. Laurie Hardwick

    Hi Benebell:)

    Do you still have availability of your new deck for those that did not preorder? Before I go Zelle-ing money I just wanted to make sure

    Best

    Like

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