I’ve been wanting to write for awhile, but a) I am not sure what to write and b) I’ve been so busy since coming back from vacation. I do know what to write, but there are so many things, most small items, most not connected to each other, so it won’t likely flow smoothly.
Here’s a wonderful story: back in November or so, the Post Office said they would temporarily increase prices for the holiday season. After the New Year, I waited and waited for the price to drop. Silly me. The USPS has raised prices at least twice in the last six months and they will again in mere days (10 July, I think). Of course, they were right – their holiday price hikes WERE temporary – only to be hiked AGAIN in a couple months.
TODAY – all packages I ship to California cost me money – about a quarter. Most other places I am able to “make” a quarter or 50 cents – that’s my shipping and handling fee. The cost of my time to pack and ship your orders.
Guess what? I’ll be raising my flat rate shipping charges in August.
COST OF MATERIALS
Have you noticed how “inflation” has hit you? Virtually everything we buy now costs more than it did last year. That includes all of the material that I use to make my kits: paper, packing supplies, ink, balsa… Guess what? I’ll be raising my kit prices in August.
Charlie Jones, et al, at FAI Model Supply is out of town/state/country for all of July. He was kind enough to let us dealers know before-hand. When I was in Costa Rica, I got the message. Knowing that I have two big selling contests in July (FAC Nats in Geneseo NY and the AMA Outdoor FF Nats in Muncie, IN), I hurriedly calculated what I needed without the ability to see my stock-on-hand. Then I doubled it.
I will be bringing all the rubber I have to Geneseo and Muncie. Of course, it will be first-come-first-served – UNLESS – you place an order online for Delivery to one of these contests. But hurry; time is running out for any sort of pre-ordering.
Some time last year, two things happened: 1) I passed 100 short kit designs available from me and 2) I passed 5,000 kits sold to you, my customers. To me, these are significant numbers. Free Flight is a limited hobby. And my little corner of it is even smaller. And yet, between you and I, we have hit these numbers.
Drawing plans, creating new designs, re-creating old designs, is a lot of fun for me and it is something that I do practically every day. It is almost relaxing for me. I would be doing this even if I was no longer selling. But, I like to share my creations. I guess you like most of them, as you keep buying them. Getting back to the price hike subject, I have always tried to keep prices low but reasonable. Your not getting full kits from me, so I find it hard to charge a lot. You DO get parts AND plans, unlike some short kit suppliers (I feel that’s a value added). Some of my designs will be complicated – large and complicated plans, many sheets of wood. For these, there is no easy way to keep the prices down.
I virtually cut these kits on demand. When you order, I generally have to cut the kit. Over the last several months, I’ve been cutting multiple kits instead of just one. That is so I will have a stock to bring to these two July contests; Geneseo especially.
But 100 is not the upper limit! I am always drawing something and and it is my intention that they will be built and flown. Then it is a small step to passing them on to you. Well, some of those complicated ones require several big steps.
It was 2019 the last time we FACers gathered for our big meet in Geneseo. Coming off the trip to Costa Rica and the contest immediately following in Muncie, I decided that there would be no new planes for Geneseo. I simply had/have too much to do and need to concentrate on putting my best foot forward at the XXII Nats. Then, due to gas prices, primarily, Winn Moore and I decided to ride together. This means that I can’t just take “everything” – I have to pick and choose – AND consolidate. We will be bringing Models and equipment for both of us, all of my sales goods (well, most of them), and two scooters.
I have selected (and pre-registered!) 18 of my models for competition. I have them packed in two large boxes, which was a complicated process. So complicated that I made a list of which models are in each of the three layers (one box has two levels of models), and I took photos of how they all are packed. This is in an effort to allow room in my vehicle for all of what Winn wants to bring.
I’ll be consolidating my sales good, too; making sure that I efficiently pack all my stuff. Getting the sales goods, one or two canopies, and two scooters into one 5×8 trailer might be a challenge, but I think we can do it.
Look for us to pull in to the flying field sometime Tuesday afternoon. With any luck, we will be able to kick back and relax in the evening, catch up with friends and prepare for a hectic Wednesday, not to mention Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – and the long drive home on Sunday.
Here’s one tip I will send out to all FACers going to Geneseo: DON’T FORGET YOUR DOCUMENTATION!
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