Friday, August 24, 2012

Endings and beginnings

An update on all that fretting from last post:  I do indeed have 3 new fall scents that I'm pretty happy and excited about.  They turned out better than I hoped, and I just need to get a few more batches of those made in the next week so that I'm covered.

And yes, in fact, the Baby Love soap is over.  Both of the fragrance oils I used to make that particular blend are discontinued forever.  They were discontinued in December, but I guess I had just re-ordered in November, so I didn't notice until now, and have no way to stock up or get more.  They were pretty expensive and special things, so there is nobody else making or carrying anything similar.  I've done an exhaustive search.

I know this will make some people very upset.  Loss of a beloved thing is always really hard.  I feel the same way.  Of course the first reaction is denial.  And then how can I get something almost like it to replace it as quickly as possible so I hardly know it's gone missing.  I haven't given up hope that I can somehow mix something together as a replacement (like the Havana soap).  But it's going to be awhile before I have the time to work on that.  The investment I put into it will sort of match the requests, sobbing and hand wringing I get from customers.  It hasn't been the biggest selling soap, so a little wait and see . . . please feel free to contact me.

So just a little rant about the state of things in the world now since it's hit me in the arse a few times in a row this past week.  We're living in a place of vanilla and it makes me sad.  I love choice.  I love variety.  That's why I make so many seasonals and new scents.  It's so much fun to try new things and not be stuck with just the same old.

But first the recession and then the economy never really turning around, retailers have had to cut back on stock and selection.  Stores stopped carrying myriad smaller and obscure type things and just focused on the few most-popular brands and items.  In the crunch, customers bought less and only the primary things they needed.  So stores carried less items.  They couldn't afford to keep such large stocks of things that didn't turn over as fast.  So suppliers got hit too, and stopped making the stuff that didn't sell.  Or they made changes to the minimums, and if you didn't want thousands of them at a time, they were discontinued.

It's happened everywhere, and I'm not immune to it either.  I've had to go through all those heart-breaking decisions myself.  But I hate it.  I hate that special or custom or unusual things are now no longer available anywhere.  That's what happened at my local grocery store with some of my favorite ethnic and organic products.  That's what is happening everywhere you look.  Sure, there are still some niche shops - but the prices are high.  And there is still the one-of-a-kind handmade stuff (please support these too before they have to quit!).  But in general, in the mainstream shopping, it's much more limited than it was a few years ago.

The man I lamented all this with at the fragrance oil company said he has never sold as much vanilla and lavender in his life as the last few years.  And I have to agree, it's the same with me - those two scents have really been so much more popular recently.  The slightly kooky ones, I don't hardly make at all because nobody orders them.  Sort of chicken and egg thing.  Maybe it starts with the customers, and they are looking for simplicity and comfort?

I don't know.  You can go round and round.  The answers are the same.  Discontinued.

Sorry for the downer.  Have a great end-of-summer weekend y'all.  It's the final hurrah before school, back to work and fall begins in earnest.