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Monday, 9 March 2015

My first ever wide table went really well! We were at Majikkon, in Huddersfield, on March 7th. The table was 12ftx2ft and we had a great time setting it up! I really enjoyed spreading everything out, and knowing both MCM Expo London and Sunnycon are only single tables is starting to worry me, hah.
Sales were really good! I keep selling out of my Okami poster so I should get round to printing more.
My lunch was on the kawaii side - Pokémon noodles! Ryan laughed at me because apparantly I 'eat [noodles] like Korra'

My next convention is May22, in London! Excited to do London again, it's expensive but it's great fun.
I'm planning three cosplays that weekend! Will be building them from next month onwards.

April is all about Youtube and my printing service, which has launched a brand new product - custom printed sketchbooks!

I'm so happy to have finally got them up, and I even did a video about it on my FB page.
I'll be adding my own printed ones to Jellie Bee this week :)

I'm so tired though, I need a holiday :(

Monday, 16 February 2015

I've wanted to do a Journey picture for so long. This represents my first playthrough., when I partnered with a Transcendance Robe player - they were so helpful, showed me all the hidden bits, were super patient and we had a connection that consisted of thank-yous by merely tapping the circle button and twirling around in gratitude. 
I cried at the end of that playthrough, the music is so powerful. 
It was also something that gave me hope for my own future. Journey saved my life, quite literally.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Recently, I chose to apply free shipping to my online store.
I felt that I was having enough sales to be able to afford it, but the more I use Royal Mail, the more it appears I cannot continue.
At least, for things that constitute as a 'Small Package'.

For delivering in the UK, Royal Mail give three main sizes:

  • Letter
  • Large Letter
  • Small Package
However, for International, they give you these options:
  • Letter
  • Small Package
There are different weights and price breaks for these, but I'm going to demonstrate why I'm annoyed in the first place.

A Letter must be no thicker than 0.5cm. A Small Package, however, falls under this:
"The combined length + width + depth must be no more than 90cm with no single side longer than 60cm"
Taken from Royal Mail's Price Finder tool.

The maximum length for a Small Package cannot exceed 45cm and the depth cannot exceed 16cm.
So, from 0.5cm to 16cm your package constitutes as a Small Package, by Royal Mail's standards.

The Large Letter option is anything from 0.5cm to 2.5cm - a whole inch thick. How is this not an option for International? It's hardly fair to say that something measuring 0.6cm should be a Small Package.
The price of Large Letter in comparison to Letter is tiny, about 10-20p more. That's doable.

What is not acceptable is the fact that, should my package measure 0.6cm or more, that it becomes twice the price.

Here are two typical orders that I would send out from Royal Mail.
I did two weights: 60g and 100g.
100g is the max weight of a Letter when sending internationally.
Both are in identical C5 envelopes and fit as a Letter in width. Both would fit through a standard letter box.

Both prices are example prices when sending to USA, which is where 45% of my sales go (35%  are UK, 20% Other, including Canada and Europe).

A is a Letter (Left)
B is a Small Package. (Right)

Can't see much difference? No, neither can I.

A contains flat products, prints, stickers, bookmarks etc.
B contains four prints and one badge.
One badge that weighs 5g max. 

Let's compare the depth.

Depth of A:

Depth of B:

There's a slight increase in height where the badge is. Minute, one would argue.
However, this minute increase makes the price increase by 95%.

Let's look at actual prices now.
As I said, I compared both at 60g and 100g.

To send to the USA, prices are as follows.
A costs me £1.43
B costs me £2.80

That is a 95% increase - almost twice the price. Save 6p and that's actually 100%.
All for the sake of a few mm.

Now, lets increase the weight. 100g is the max weight for a Letter - so anything weighing 101g becomes a Small Package, regardless of height. 

At 100g, here are the prices.

A costs me £2.02
B still costs me £2.80.

Some people might think that £1.40, 80p here and there extra is nothing. When it is 5-10 orders a week and I'm footing that bill, it adds up. Saving that £1.40 means I can keep free shipping - until it changes people are forced to pay shipping on my online store for one measly badge.

Of course, no-one's forcing me to do Free Shipping - however I used it as a marketing tactic and it works. I get more sales. I also like that fuzzy feeling of doing something in return. I am a business woman as well as an artist, it benefits me as much as it benefits others.
But not when Royal Mail charge me an extra £1.40 for a badge that actually costs my customer £1.

I decided to compare the increase in price to something I would actually consider a 'Small Package'

This box weighs 250g, measures (LxWxD) 201x153x108mm. It fits nicely into the category "Small Package".

The price to send this to the USA is £3.65.
Yes, it's an increase from £2.80.
However, the increase is only 30.35% - that's less than a third of the increase from before.

So, I can send a deep box weighing five times the amount (almost) and only have an increase of 30.35% in price, or I can add a 4mm badge to my envelope and pay twice the price.

Now, something to finally note. This is for International Economy. The prices for International Standard are even worse.
And don't get me started on Signed For.

I was asked recently why I don't add tracking to my shipping. This is why. Overpriced, and potentially extortionate prices from Royal Mail are what limits me and my customers.

Now, this is a different example entirely, but I would like to end my mini rant on a comparison of Hong Kong's postal service.

I could send the two packages above for around $3 HKD - which is around 50p. Internationally. That was without signatures or anything.

Hong Kong and the UK are two very different economic climates, but if a tiny island in Asia can ship a package overseas for 50p, why do Royal Mail charge me £2.80?

Ideally, a Large Letter or higher depth threshold would be marvelous for International shipping. It wouldn't just affect me, either, I can almost guarantee that a lot of small businesses would have a party at this knowledge.

Oh and Royal Mail? Sort your website out, I still cant charge my saved Visa card.