Today is a very big day at Sweetwater. Not that it’s earth shattering- but it’s pretty exciting to us! After many months of planning, we are finally ready to introduce: Sweetwater Subscriptions!
As always, we have more ideas than time, so this took a while. Even though we have more in the works, we are starting with two products today that will be subscriptions. The first is Project Sweetwater!
This was the big one. We started Project Sweetwater over a year ago and while we loved it, there were many things about it that were hard for us and confusing for customers. Here are the issues we faced.
- First of all, if you wanted a box, you had to pre-order it. That’s because we have to order fabric so far in advance to make sure everyone that wants a box would get one. The pre-order was confusing because customers believed they were signing up for a “subscription”, when in reality, it was just for one box. If you wanted the next box, you would have to make a separate pre-order for that box.
- Because the box was so heavy, the shipping costs was expensive. The more we loaded in the box (especially fabric), the more expensive the shipping was. Some customers were disappointed in the shipping cost, but we are at the mercy of the post office when it comes to shipping rates. Customers who lived close to us were charged less by the post office than those who were farther away. We weren’t happy with that whole structure so we fixed all that (more about shipping below).
- Trying to figure out when we would have new fabric (and a new box) was impossible to predict. We had 6 boxes last year, but they weren’t on a schedule, such as every other month. We had to ship when we received new fabric or when we had a new collection. The problem is we don’t know exactly when new collections will come out, or how many new collections we will have in a year. It is always variable. That is what makes it hard to plan the boxes for a regular subscription schedule.
As you can see, we had work to do. We needed to figure out how Project Sweetwater can work better for us and our customers. Here is what we came up with:
- We have scaled Project Sweetwater down just a bit- in the size & cost of the box, as well as the frequency.
- Instead of 6 boxes per year, we are offering boxes on a quarterly basis- every three months. We are scheduled to ship boxes in June, September, December and March. This schedule will allow us to plan the boxes more easily. When there are 3 months in between boxes, we will have a better idea of the quantity we need and our customers will have a better idea of when the boxes will come out.
- We have made the box more affordable. Instead of $49.95, the box is now $39.95. It will still be an incredible value- the retail value of the contents will be over $60.
- We want to make the boxes fresh and exciting, so while the contents will basically be the same from box to box, we will change it up, depending on the patterns/projects we include. Here is what a sample box might contain: 7 fat quarters, a mini charm pack, a Sweetwater iron-on label, 3 patterns, an iron-on transfer and twill or ribbon.
- We are planning each box around a theme- it will usually be concentrated on a new fabric line.
- Because we scaled the box down a bit, it isn’t as heavy and the shipping cost will be consistent for everyone. It still is heavy enough that it must go Priority Mail, but by just reducing the weight by a few ounces and the box dimensions by a couple inches, we were able to get a more reasonable shipping cost for everyone.
- When you sign up for the Project Sweetwater box, your credit card will be charged for the first box the day you sign up and then every three months after that. However, this very first box is a little different. We aren’t sending the first box until June, because that is when we will have our fabric for the first box. Your second charge won’t occur until August 15th. That charge will be for the September box. Then you will be on a regular schedule every three months. You will be charged November 15th for the December box and then February 15, 2018 for the March box. We generally need about 2 weeks from the time the credit cards are charged until the time everything is boxed a ready to ship. That is why we charge the cards 2 weeks prior to shipping.
- There is one catch. As I said before, we never know the exact time our fabric will arrive. While we think we have the scedule planned pretty well, things can happen and fabric might be a couple weeks late. So when we say a box will ship in December, we can’t predict a specific date in December. However, we will get them out as soon in December as we are able.
- You can cancel your subscription at any time.
Now to the good stuff! Our first subscription box (shipped in June) will feature our….Hometown, Christmas Edition fabric!
I wish I could show you some projects from the box. But…of course we don’t have them finished! But they will be adorable, I promise. Now to the part we need your help with.
You have a couple of months to sign up for a subscription to Project Sweetwater. However, if you are going to get a subscription, I can’t tell you how much it would help us out to sign up in the next couple of weeks. Our fabric order for Hometown Christmas is due soon, and it would be so helpful to know approximately how many boxes to plan for. If we don’t order enough fabric, we will have to cut off the subscriptions for the Christmas box. You would be able to sign up for the other boxes, but you wouldn’t get the Hometown Christmas in June. I know this is asking a lot because the system will charge you for your first box at the time of sign up. But to show our appreciation, if you sign up before February 25th, we will send you a thank you gift. You will have to wait and be surprised at what the gift is, but it will be nice- think Sweetwater fabric and labels!
Whew. That was a lot of information. But there’s more! We have another subscription product to tell you about. About a year ago, we sadly ended our Sweetwater Label Crew. We were having a bit of trouble getting excited to design new projects and labels for the Label Crew. That’s how we ended up with Project Sweetwater. But many of you have expressed to us how you miss it and specially miss the personalized label that was included. So we had an idea. Instead of sending a tiny label each month, we thought it would be fun to send a personalized quilt label every month. Not the tiny size. A 4″ x 5″ label fit for a quilt! We call this new club Tagged. Here are a few examples.
Here is how Tagged works:
- Each month, you will receive a personalized quilt label in the mail.
- The labels are sized approximately 4″ x 5″.
- Labels are shipped around the 28th of each month. We will show the new month’s design on our blog and Instagram around the 20th of each month.
- You can cancel your subscription at any time.
We think this will be such a fun- it’s so important to label your quilts. Quilts are passed on from one generation to the next and having a label indicating who made the quilt is so special. It is also a great gift idea- and because you can cancel at any time, it makes a perfect gift if you have wanting to send 3, 6 or even 1 label to a special friend. The best part about this club is it starts now! The first labels will ship February 28th!
Okay, I know we might have overwhelmed you with all that. But we have even more news to share. In order to provide these new subscription products, we had to overhaul the entire system we used for subscriptions. I have had many days with tears because I hated the old system. The problem is we have so many different types of products- downloadable products, physical products, subscription products, etc. Whenever someone ordered a subscription (like to the Label Crew or BOM), they system didn’t like it when another non-subscription product was ordered at the same time. Blah….I hated it! It also had other hiccups and issues that came up all the time. And since we are much better fabric designers than web designers it made life miserable for everyone. So….we have a brand new system and we are confident it will be easier for everyone! Here are the things you need to know:
- Our new subscription products now have their own system and basically their own site. It only takes care of our subscriptions. Even though you can get to the subscription site through this site, it has nothing to do with the shop on this site. The two sites don’t communicate with each other, share customer accounts or passwords with each other or process orders together. This will be a huge help in the ordering process to keep everything straight. We are hoping to have less problems and hope you have a better experience.
- Because of all this, if you order a subscription, you must sign up for a new account on the subscription site. Remember, subscription products and non-subscription products are now kept separate.
- You will be able to manage everything about your subscription on the subscription site- update credit cards, addresses, etc. However, if you update anything on this site in your account, such as your address, you must update it on the subscription site as well if you have a subscription.
- It may sound confusing, but it’s really not! If you want to purchase a Sweetwater subscription, go to our subscription site here. If you want to purchase a non-subscription product, just stay here on this shop.
One more thing. The new subscription site is just the beginning of a complete overhaul of the entire site. So in the next few months, you can expect to have an even better and more simple shopping experience at Sweetwater. So after all that, if you want to sign up for a subscription to either Project Sweetwater or Tagged, click here.
Also, remember that the deadline for signing up for our Hometown Christmas Quilt is February 25th. You can do that here.
Sorry for the marathon post! Hopefully I made everything clear. Please be sure to contact us if you have any questions. Have a great weekend!