You might feel some changes coming to Val Marie Paper over the next few weeks as you place orders!
In September we moved all our shipping to a fulfillment company. After shipping 6,000 Yearly Prayer Journals (on top of regular orders from the shop) from Ashley’s living room last year, we knew we needed a solution before this most recent batch of yearlys. In all honesty, we could have looked for solutions like office space locally, but I was excited about the option of a fulfillment company knowing it would mean we could save ourselves some growing pains if business continued to grow. In the past two years, we saw our business almost double. And to be honest, that trajectory made me feel like we needed to get all our ducks in a row early.
Having a fulfillment company take over during our busy season this year was a godsend. We didn’t need to figure out where to house 14 pallets of journals with Ashley caring for a newborn.
But…we’re now taking fulfillment back.
Over the last few months, we’ve prayed more over shipping and fulfillment more than you could probably imagine. Our contract was up at the end of January so we knew we’d need to figure out if this would work for the long haul. After many conversations as a team (and plenty with God too), we just realized we wanted to stay small. We wanted to do a lot of the things small businesses can do that Amazon can’t.
- We wanted to be able to send handwritten gift notes when you send to a friend.
- We wanted to be able to comb over each journal and make sure it met the VMP standard the first time it shipped out.
- We wanted to be able to offer lower shipping prices during Christmas.
- We wanted to be able to offer extras, including fun inserts or bonus items.
- We wanted to be able to change addresses or color choices after an order was placed when you needed to.
We thought we outgrew these things, but we really hadn’t. That might have bummed me out a few years ago, but now I’m really grateful to get to stay small for as long as we can and not rush ahead.
So here’s some helpful info for what happens next:
How does this affect y’all?
- Orders will ship out two days a week, every Monday and Thursday (instead of 5 days a week with the fulfillment company). Before we went to the fulfillment company, we were shipping out once a week, but we did want to keep a little more steady pace as we switched back. Having days in between also helps us accommodate any changes needed after you place your order.
- There will be fewer imperfect journals in your orders because we’ll get to personally hand check each one.
- International orders will be shipped out along with regular orders on Mondays and Thursdays. Some of you may remember that prior to the fulfillment company, we only took international orders about once a quarter. Moving forward, we’d like to keep taking international orders every day. Please see some additional notes on how this will work here!
How does this affect our team?
- The majority of the stock is currently in my garage until we secure a local office space we have our eye on! It’s actually a total God thing for how this new space should work out with timing (before our next shipment of yearlys) and location and so many other things that I could have never dreamed up for our company. More details as things are finalized!!
- Our Shop Manager, Ashley, will be back to shipping but we’ll also be hiring some local help with packaging and orders. Ashley loves the day-to-day of touching each order so she’s super excited to be shipping orders personally again!
Thank you in advance for your patience as we transition everything this week! Our VMP supporters are seriously the best we could ever hope for so we truly mean that! THANK YOU!!!
Hi Val, thank you, thank you, thank you! for finding an amazing UK supplier. I just placed an order for one of your 6-month Prayer Journals with Scurry Home & Paper in the UK. Not only is the site filled with wonderful, unique, thoughtful items, but Sarah the owner is definitely a woman after your own heart, with an OUTSTANDING approach to customer service. Really, really happy that you’ve found such a great stockist in the UK. Hayley x
That is the BEST news to hear Hayley!!!!
Thanks for being transparent and for giving us a glimpse behind the scenes. I love that you listened to the Lord and that you are striving to keep your business personal.
Thanks Lisa!! It’s been so cool to see how God cares about every aspect of what we do! We just gotta ask and open our ears for His guiding! 😉