Did you know we create a bi-monthly magazine? Of course you did, because between you all you bought 1,000 copies through our website within two days of its official release date. Sure, we had pre-orders up for a while before hand but we didn’t expect to sell even half of that over the next two months! And while this is undoubtedly great news it came with some real challenges and forced us to scale up our logistics on short notice. Here’s how we did it.
From 2011 to 2014 we were self-publishing, self-distributing an annually produced magazine. It was a labour of love, spawned from a weird idea, which furnished us with far more praise than we ever expected. The business model was pretty basic: We would print 1,000 copies per issue and they would gradually sell over a 12-month period until they were all gone. Two or three times a week I would take a trip to our local Post Office to send out the orders. The counter staff there got to know me well, they knew what I was sending and between us the process became relatively efficient for its scale.
But regardless, there were times when that arrangement would prove problematic. For instance, with every new release we would have a flood of orders. The 2013 release saw us receive 198 orders on launch day alone. When I walked into the Post Office that day the manager looked understandably distraught. He put a staff member on my delivery and asked me to come back a few hours later to pay the… *ahem* sizable bill.
This all changed in January, when we started working with a 3rd party publisher. Along with getting our magazine in high-street stores like WHSmiths, their distributors would hold all the stock and take responsibility for shipping out the online orders – no longer would our dining table be a small-scale warehouse for packing and shipping magazines! Unfortunately, the appeal of leaving it to somebody else soon wore off as customer satisfaction hit an all-time low. Every week we were dealing with customers’ who were waiting for their orders to arrive. And it’s not as if there were thousands and thousands of magazines to ship, we were only taking in the order of a few hundred online sales per issue at the time. Yet in our four year magazine-selling-history we had never had so many customer service problems as we did during the first half of 2015.
So what was going wrong? There were two main problems, first was the sheer number of people involved in shipping the product. It had gone from one (i.e. me) to a dozen, spread through three different companies. Any customer queries had to propegate through the entire chain before the buyer had so much as a response, let alone a resolution, to their questions. The second problem was economics, it was only cost effective for the distributor to send out our customers’ orders once a fortnight which meant some people had to wait nearly two weeks after making payment before their magazine even left the warehouse! It doesn’t matter what size your business is, this just isn’t good enough in 2015.
Nikita and Ksu had an amazingly creative kawaii and 1950s inspired wedding in Russia. The bride’s dress and shoes were from Baby, The Stars Shine Bright and her headpiece was homemade.
“We met five years ago while we were hanging out in anime and cosplay convention and after six months we decided to date”, said the bride. “We like 50s culture and all things anime so we wanted to fuse the two for our wedding. We often listen to vinyl and our favourite artists are Elvis and Frank Sinatra.”
Alejandra and Cameron originally wanted to have a very small courthouse wedding but instead decided to have a bigger celebration (but still with just 40 guests) for their families. They also planned the whole wedding in just two months!
“We didn’t have a wedding party or any of the usual wedding traditions”, said the bride. “One thing that I particularly think that made our wedding unique was how much the wedding reflected our own style. From our rings matching (tungsten carbide rings with carbon fibre), to my dress and Star Wars inspired the accessories! We wrote our ow vows and the judge even said they were the best ones he’d heard in 20 years. Everything was very true to our fun personalities and tried to not get caught up in all the craziness that weddings can be.”
The wedding was held at a restaurant, Little Village On The River. “Our budget was $5000″, she continued. “My dress was from Unique Vintage and while I did originally want a ‘real’ wedding dress, I knew that the time constraints just would not do. Unique Vintage was a great find. They have lots of vintage and pin-up style dresses. I also got a petticoat in royal blue to add some colour. All in all, I ended up spending less than $250 on my entire outfit. We made the cross stitch centrepieces. Some patterns included Star Wars, Carl and Ellie from ‘Up’, and science themed (as we are both scientists). I also made my belt with some Star Wars fabric and lace.”
Caris and Steve were inspired by everything they love for their wedding. So that meant flamingos, kitsch, traditional tattoo designs, Mexican day of the dead, 1950s B movies and octopuses – it was quite an eclectic day!
“We both love colour and knew we wanted it to feature strongly throughout the day, along with a sense of informality, fun and fiesta”, said the bride. “After visiting a few potential venues we realised that we would not be able to do exactly what we wanted at any of them (which were also way over our budget) therefore we would need to start from scratch with a blank canvas.”
“We fell in love with a large 42ft event yurt made by Yurt Maker so we hunted around for somewhere to put it and eventually approached a local wildlife charity who owned the perfect field just five miles from where we live! They were totally up for the idea of having a wedding reception on their land, despite never having done anything like this previously and charged us a really reasonable hire rate and were just fantastic throughout. We were thrilled that rather than our money going to a corporation it was supporting a local charity.”
Lisa Jane Photography
That old cliché that beauty comes from within isn’t just referring to your sparkling personality. If you want to look great on the outside, then you really do have to focus on what’s going on inside your body too. You can’t expect to have amazing glowing skin, flowing healthy locks and a twinkle in your eye if you’re drinking booze like its going out of fashion and eating junk food all day. If only life wasn’t so cruel!
I’ve recently stopped drinking alcohol at home, only indulging in a couple of glasses of my beloved wine if I’m having dinner out with friends or family. It was getting to a point where I was was suffering for it. Not through monster hangovers but I was feeling sluggish and depressed (alcohol is a depressant after all!) and my skin was dehydrated and tired-looking too. Lovely.
So I decided to do something about it and that didn’t mean just cutting down on the vino, I also wanted to up my supplement intake and start taking better care of my insides.
I’ve been using Xtend Life products for years. Ever since a friend recommended their Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil to sort out my bleach damaged hair I have been hooked! They literally transformed my locks in six months or so. I’m one of those people who’s pretty critical about the claims of supplements and the like, but after trying them for myself I can hand-on-my-heart say that they are complete magic! The purity of the oil in Xtend Life products is significantly better than a lot of other omega 3 items on the market and there’s no nasties like mercury in the water which the fish are bred in.
So, on my new health kick, I recently branched out on the Xtend Life products I was using. I decided to try the Kiwi-Klenz supplement to give my body, specifically my gut, a good old detox. It’s seriously good for your skin as most skin problems actually start in the gut apparently! To compliment this I also gave the Zupafood for Skin and the Age Defying Cleansing Mask a bash at the same time.
After taking everything for a few of months, coupled with my decreased alcohol intake, I have to say I feel FANTASTIC and my skin looks so much more radiant. My make up is going on better, my skin feels smooth and subtle and I’ve noticed I have more energy throughout the day.
WIN A PRIZE PACK FROM XTEND LIFE
Today, in partnership with Xtend Life, I want to give one of you the chance to try all these wonder products too! We’ve put together a prize pack worth over $150 (NZ) for one lucky babe to win. The prize pack includes:
Omega-3 Premium Fish Oil
Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil
Zupafood for Skin
Age Defying Cleansing Mask
Festival weddings aren’t going anywhere, which makes me very happy indeed! I mean, what could be better than hanging out in the sunshine, listening to your favourite music and dancing late into the night?!
Becs and Chris were married at The Winter Garden at Sennowe Park, Norfolk. They hosted their reception in a tipi on the bride’s parent’s farm. “We always said that when we got married we wanted a festival feel”, said the bride. “Festival for us meant relaxed vibes, happy music and street food! We love food and that was pretty much the most important bit for us. We got Manjit and Fish& to drive down from Leeds because we love their award-winning food so much! I guess it’s quite unusual to have Gujarati food at a non-Indian wedding but we love curry and Manjit’s is incredible. As is Fish& – we had three types batters for our fish pieces! Trumpet & Crumpet provided amazing canapés and delicious British desserts for us.”
“Since the farm is reasonably remote, we let people camp over in one of the fields too”, she continued. “We also had my mum doing the ceremony which made it pretty unique – not many people can say their mum married them! My mum became a registrar when I was one and it had been my dream to have my mum do my wedding ever since then!”