It is our mission to equip families for battle in the modern world. Spiritual warfare is life long battle which means our customers need weapons that last a lifetime. As we continue to grow and learn, we are constantly optimizing our business and operations. There are 3 areas we are focused on that will translate to improvements that benefit you as a customer.
We have done a significant amount of work this summer upgrading and optimizing our manufacturing workflows to ensure that we reduce the number and frequency of stock-outs. I'm excited to report that at the time of this post, ZERO products are out-of-stock! While this is an exciting milestone, in order to ensure that we continue this success, we are phasing out several products that aren't as popular. This will help us focus on our most popular designs. The products we are phasing out will be listed with "(R)" in the title. Additionally, I created a product collection for them. If you are interested in any of these, grab one before it's gone. Everything else has a solid plan in place to ensure we maintain availability of these products for your shopping convenience.
As many of you know, I work in the software industry full-time. One of the qualities of my company's software that I'm most impressed with is it's reliability. We have this saying, "DO NOT REPEAT INCIDENT" to ensure that if the system goes down for any reason, that we make sure it never happens again. We apply this same concept to our products. We expect them to last a lifetime. That's why we offer a lifetime guarantee. That's also why we continue to improve the quality of materials we use.
We made a difficult decision recently that will move us in this direction. We are slowly phasing out dyed wood beads. I know, many people love them...in the beginning, but we've had too many customer frustrated with the dye rubbing off in their hands or in the wash or getting chipped in their pocket. We are moving your favorite colors to resin beads which are more durable and equally colorful (red is already available, and green and marian armor are coming soon).
We also made the difficult decision to part ways with 2 of our bead suppliers. The quality just wasn't there, and it was resulting in too many rosaries coming back with cracked beads. Sure, all those customers were well cared for, but no one wants to find themselves praying one day with only 9 beads on the 4th decade. Additionally, we had problems with inconsistent size and color which made it hard to make symmetrical rosaries that matched the picture on the website. Our current supplier goes through a rigorous quality process to ensure consistent color, size, and quality that we think you'll appreciate. On our side, each finished rosary goes through a 5-point inspection to ensure knot tightness, symmetry, spacing, orientation, and esthetics. Every detail matters!
I don't know about you, but every-time we go to the grocery store our bill is $20 more than the last trip. That's not the type of business we want to run. Full transparency, the average cost of our products has increased this year and our prices reflect that. The cost increases you've seen are the result of significant improvements in the quality of materials. See the new ebony beads and madre de cacao beads for proof. Fewer cracks in beads, better quality casting, etc. That said, we have several projects underway that will result in lower prices and/or better value for our customers long term.
The first of those changes will be with our custom rosaries. look for an email from me next week for early, limited access to our custom rosary designer where you'll be able to customize the centerpiece and crucifix of your favorite designs for far less than it costs with the custom designer. The first big wave of changes will be available October 7th. If all goes well, we'll transition all custom orders to the new designer in November.
The second major project involves our premium centerpieces and crucifixes. As you know well, we design and manufacture several of our own rosary parts. This has been a labor of love, and cost of each piece is 30x what it costs for the pieces we get from Italy (we think the design quality is 30x, too). That said, we know this cost is high, and we are in the early stages of prototyping a new manufacturing technique that will significantly reduce the cost of each of these pieces without losing any of the detail that we have come to love. I hope to roll out the first of these designs later this year, with more coming available next year.
The third project is making our small home altars more affordable. We are doing this by changing the printer we use to offer a similar quality prayer card at a significantly lower cost. By doing this, we'll be able to offer all our prayer cards with each altar instead of only 1 prayer card without raising our prices. Expect to see these changes show up next month. Along with these changes, we'll be limiting the design to 1 crucifix color - white. This help us make sure the product is always in-stock and give us more negotiating power with our supplier.