It's calendar season and the a. favorite design 2024 calendar is in production, but fair warning, the jury is out on if we do a 2025 version, and we would like your feedback!
Every year I celebrate our annual calendar release, however, this year I'm feeling a little nostalgic. After crunching numbers and seeing dwindling calendar sales, this may be the last year of our supercute clip calendar and refill. While I adore our calendar, it seems that in the last three years we've had to recycle almost as many as were sold, which isn't a great trend or investment. We do have a rapid group of customers who really love them, are kind of obsessed with them and re-order every year. They are very passionate about them, and we really appreciate the love, we love them too.
It's been an interesting journey, our first calendar release was in 2016 for the 2017 year, which sold out. The 2018 calendar also sold out. The 2019 calendar sales started to slow down and we cut back production for the 2020 calendar. That year also brought about challenges with our beloved teal OK clip. We had some stock of clips left but many had imperfections. When I went to reorder, they were no longer being produced. We ordered the same clip for years and I spent a lot of energy finding the right size, color and loved the, "OK," on them. I felt it was a subtle reminder that everything is OK, and if it doesn't feel OK at the moment, it will eventually. It was frustrating to find out our clip was no longer available. Which might not seem like a big deal, but trust me when I tell you, it really was. I had to invest extra time to research and find just the right clip. This ending up taking many hours, that were supposed to be my "downtime". I also spent a good amount of money ordering clips and testing the strength and their ability to hang on the wall, which was also a time-consuming process. When it came time to order our calendars, we magically found a box of the OK clips that had been misplaced in our move. It was a calendar miracle!
Which was great since I found a new clip, I really loved but it was too small, was a matte black and only 4". After calendar season, I reached out to the company, knowing I would need clip for 2021, and asked if they would create a 6" black matte clip. They said they would create a prototype and if all went well, they would be ready in late November of 2022. Ugh. I needed them for August, when we release our new calendar, so, it was back to the drawing board. I had a runner up clip, but it came from the UK and shipping was crazy. After another month of research, I decided my time was worth more and I ordered the UK clips and paid the high shipping costs, they ended up working great.
Another unforeseen issue we had with our calendar - supply chain issues, this was a biggie. In 2021, just getting paper was a challenge, like a really big hurdle. Apparently, during 2020, when everyone freaked out and bought up all the toilet paper and kleenex, those companies bought up all the pulp necessary to make any and all paper products. Many paper mills were on skeleton crews and not making paper, but instead clearing their floors of stock they had on hand. When we started getting back to business, paper and envelopes just weren't available, it was a big problem. Many small printers, like me, started hoarding as much paper as they could afford and had space for, which contributed to the issue. This made getting my 2021 calendar challenging. Our printer had to call around to make sure they could get the paper, I had to commit to quantities much earlier than usual, during a time when money was very tight, and we were still navigating the aftermath of 2020. They would only guarantee the estimated cost for a very limited time. Meaning, if I took more than a couple days to figure out my quantities and pricing, the costs could go up and the paper may no longer be available. It was a roller coaster, friends, a very, very, stressful roller coaster.
I ended up ordering based on the previous years quantities and paying a substantial bit more. My price increase to you all wasn't proportioned and we made no profit but just broke even. We also recycled a whole lot of calendars, which was heartbreaking. It was a similar experience in 2022 and for our 2023 calendar. Paper was still not readily available, costs kept rising and so did shipping. We cut back on quantities again.
This year, I ran the numbers over and over again. I went back and forth on whether to print them or not. I finally made the decision in September, a month after our usual deadline, when I had a couple customers ask when it would be released. We'll see how it sells this year to determine if we'll be reprinting for 2025. This year we finally have the supercute 6" black matte clip. You're gonna love them! Also, please know I really appreciate those who have loved and used our calendar annually. Thank you all for reaching out and asking about it. I'm happy to report they'll be in-stock this week! If you want to make sure it comes back next year, be sure to tell your friends; heck maybe buy a couple extra as gifts!
Let's hope it's not the last year, but if it is, we're still really proud of it and it had a great run.