Provide your feedback on the main site (besides the patterns).
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By Zombie Pumpkins!
In an effort to streamline my sales and shipping procedure, I'm hoping to focus on items that are more unique to Zombie Pumpkins. Pro Pumpkin Carving Tools are my biggest seller (and I have some new ideas brewing there). ZP branded items like shirts etc are always fun. And I'm open to other items down the line also.

But since many of the items I've carried (such as Saral Transfer Paper) seem readily available from many online vendors, they should be able to pick up my slack, with any of those items I'm not currently stocking.

So if there are any items currently listed as "Out of Stock" on my Shop pages, don't wait around for me if you know you want this item for this Halloween. Feel free to place your orders soon from elsewhere.

I'll be posting a list of vendors to keep you all in the loop on where you can get the best pumpkin goods.
Last edited by Zombie Pumpkins! on Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:45 am, edited 3 times in total.
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By Hottie McNaughty
I must be psychic because I checked the shop earlier today and noticed Saral transfer paper was still out of stock so I ordered four boxes from Amazon.
HeyRyan, do you fancy doing a search for uk sellers of Saral, you'll find we've got minimal to zero access, this means I will not be sharing mine with anyone anymore as I can't afford to pay up to £14.00 per roll (probably £2.95 delivery on top)

Bad, bad news!

My impression over the past few seasons was that it sold out very quickly? was this due to small qty of stock held or sheer demand?
Thing is this is the ideal stencil transfer medium that is useable by all & sundry, so cannot quite get it into my head as to you dropping it as a line.

it's small & pretty compact, sells out within the season, unlike other items such as T-shirts & sweatshirts, which asides from Dadja, I doubt have too many overseas sales, nor do you have to offer them at a discounted price at the end of the season.
I don't know what the cost price is, however I'd think of this item as a great promotion vehicle of the site..
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By Zombie Pumpkins!
GUS -- I'm not sure how much Saral manufactures, or how much other sellers typically stock. If the product's usage is as widespread during pumpkin carving season as I'd like to think, some vendors may indeed run low on stock.

In terms of my online shop though, after selling the paper for a few years, I got a pretty good idea of how many I could expect to ship out during a fall season. So I was usually able to stock just enough to last through most of October (product sales dip in the week before Halloween, I suppose people think there isn't enough time left for shipping).

For transferring patterns, the product is a great thing, no debate there. It's my method of choice. So it's not a matter of low popularity or lack of demand. In fact, too much demand is the issue. And my 2 hands can only manage to pack so many orders within a 24 hour period.

I'll do all I can to seek other sellers that I can refer you too (including in the UK, if possible). Even if I can't personally send you all the pumpkin items you need, I'll do my best to provide the resources, links, and connections to keep you supplied.
I understand, although the question would therefore be, did the sales add to the site in any significant manner or detract from site.

Also were the majority of sales "add on" or singular purchase/, in which case prepack for the season "X" amount? as minimally as poss in casre it's needed (ie don't seal it up)
for our main sellersa I used to pre-package many hundreds at a time in order to anticipate seasonal requirements.

Are you using a dymo printer or similar?
I find invoicing / printing out the main time eater.
If you haven't got a dymo, get one& locate a decent generic that works without hindrance.

..we differ the size of our labels based on price, a label printed out costs half a pence. (lots more if actual dymo labels).
the downside is finding a good supplier, as bad labels are very problematic & time consuming.
a decent range of commercial grade sealable polybags should always be to hand, (& so many funky colours available)

A carton is a nice touch, but all too often unnecessary in terms of finishing off, as you do this each year you must be well practised by now, however it's always good to look at shaving grammes, time & expense off processing.
User avatar
By Zombie Pumpkins!
GUS wrote:I understand, although the question would therefore be, did the sales add to the site in any significant manner or detract from site?
When looking at the grand scheme, the sale of some items amounts to a miniscule amount of profit, for a grossly disproportionate amount amount of manual labor time.

In fact, my specific worry is that it detracts to the site's main goals. Last year I had very little time to update the website, because the majority of my work day was spent boxing up orders. Moving forward, I hope to place more focus on creating great patterns, and adding more fun and entertaining content to the site.

GUS wrote:Also were the majority of sales "add on" or singular purchase? In which case pre-pack for the season "X" amount?
The transfer paper was almost always an "add on" rather than a singular purchase. Usually ordered with a carving tool, pumpkin light, or some other combination of items. That's the tricky thing about offering too wide a variety of goods. Arranging the contents of each box is like doing another puzzle with different pieces.

Pre-packing certain items ahead of time is a good idea though. I've taken that approach with the Pro Carving Tools, since those are often ordered by themselves. Should save a lot of time in the daily workflow.

GUS wrote:Are you using a dymo printer or similar?
I don't use a DYMO label printer, but I do have a laser printer that allows me to bulk print things like packing list/order confirmations and shipping labels (on adhesive labels I purchase in bulk amounts). With computer software and a digital scale (also attached to the computer) things move along at a pretty good pace.

GUS wrote:A decent range of commercial grade sealable polybags should always be to hand. A carton is a nice touch, but all too often unnecessary. It's always good to look at shaving grammes, time & expense off processing.
Oh, I've tried pretty much every combination of shipping materials. Cardboard cartons, poly bags, bubble mailers, fiber padded envelopes, and mailing tubes. Bags work well for shirts, but often a harder box is required for the Saral so I don't get complaints of crushed/folded transfer paper rolls.

And with these boxes, again it all relates to the fact that customers can order a random combination of items. I've minimized the amount of box sizes as best I can, but... while a few pumpkin lights fit in one size box, if they order a Pumpkin Gutter, suddenly the longer size box is needed. So I have to keep those on hand too.
Ok Ryan, seems to me perhaps a "menu card" could be helpful so folk know what can be crammed into one box as combinations & singular mixes...

that way the customer & yourself can squeeze product & weight v.f.m. making it feel you've wrung the most out of the system for your & their money.
just a thought.
User avatar
By monstermash
Do what you think is best for you Ryan. It sounds like if your time is being taken up with packing things when you're not making that much profit from them then don't do it. I really don't know how you manage. I know how hard it is packing, from doing a bit of selling on ebay, nevermind running a website too!
Of course you need to make money but do what you love as much as you can. You're lucky to have such a wonderful talent and were lucky that your sharing it with us. The last thing we want is for you to get disheartened or bogged down with packing and stocking and packing and stocking etc.
By Ajax
Couldn't you hire someone to pack the boxes? Maybe they'll work for Patterns alone.
By Ajax
Maybe they'll work for Brains.
User avatar
By Hottie McNaughty
I got mine cheap from Amazon with free shipping. If international people want to order some I'd be more than happy to pack them up and ship them to you. I'm weird and really like the post office.
User avatar
By Dredge
#49626 ... -paper.htm

Gus, not to be rude, but it seems this season you have had a lot complaints/suggestions to Ryan. First, the thread in the pattern forum, and now your response to this thread, which I feel came across as a bit disrespectful.

We are all very fortunate that Ryan takes his time to make this site available to us. As far as I'm concerned he should be able to do with it as he pleases without us moaning and groaning about the decisions he makes. It simply not possible for him to make everyone happy. Ryan makes his own decisions for his own reasons, and I don't feel that he necessarily owes us any explanations as to why these decisions are made.

I'm not trying to flame anyone here, it just seems that you aren't as easily pleased this season as you have been in the past.
whenever I see an opening gambit like that.. ROFLMAO

BRAINSTORMING, options, call it what you will.

For fricks sake dredge, thus the questions, it's not like I can pop down the pub & say, have you contemplated this?, ..have you looked at this angle?

I suggest you read the thread properly, it clearly is asking questions that run along the "poser" of too much time spent packaging items, ..bigger problem overall, choosing to drop an item may not be the grand solution or end of the matter in a seasonal concern.

For instance recycling is suggestive (here's a bin please recycle), result being 65% increase in recycling less landfill,.. advertising is suggestive, Ryan could pop up a pic or guide of various mixes that fit into his current cartons that make life easier for him, you only have to ask for folk to do something for alot of them to comply, especially when they see the benefit in terms of dispatch, or a well thought out package of goodies...
bundle #1.
bundle #2.
..everything else

With any item you sell out of your entire stock of prior to halloween amongst a range of goods orientated the same direction you've clearly got to assess as to whether it's a wise move to remove that listing & how it relates to site / B&M movement.

If Ryan is spending too much time packaging it may come down to several immediate possibilities.

Layout space, existing packaging, site growth & boomerang effect on sales, awkward product... etc.

If not done effectively the packing up aspect can easily waste between 30 minutes & 1 1/2 hrs daily.

Bearing in mind the seasonality & way Ryan works through the night, propping himself up on mountain dew etc, doing everything else etc there is obviously squeezed time between all the processes that need re-evaluating / refining / adopting, ..scheduling sleep

Therefore you'd be daft not to question those when it comes to smooth running & allowing time to function as a human being when presented with something that clearly sells, draws to the site & is influential to making your patterns accessible & do-able by all regardless of experience via such an easy & promoted means on your site.

Therefore questions.

Asides from Ryan Doing ALL aspects of the site revamp prior to seasonal peak, say finishing everything by August 1st including ignoring all new pattern suggestions / requests that come in up to & inclusive of 31st October..

(that's not going to happen then)

Saral is / was extremely hard to get over here unless you know where to look, & can be as much as 19.85 GBP = 32.4984 USD

Saral Paper by the looks of things influences sales, for the one stop shop, rather than the "oh shop X sells saral & lights, & decorations, it'll have everything ...i'll get it from there", ..opportunity missed, stock left, cashflow!

This means potential loss of sales of strobe & howler lights ..all of which are available in plenty of US /Canadian stores,

Warren cutlery is pretty well known in North america ..strike another product (it's available as a dedicated pumpkin carving set from them now)

Pumpkin Gutter ...touted around the place generally, available in shops too... strike another item.

Pumpkin hanger, who knows how these'll be marketed in coming seasons, in store availability, though it's easy to replicate & sell through any outlet seasonally..

Which pretty much leaves t-shirts, stickers, that's 3 products out of a potential 10 as are showing currently (Aug 2011)

So we have 7 products which are pretty likely to be found in biggish stores (or variants thereof).

Then we have 3 products remaining 2 of which are T-shirts, these depend heavily upon having possibly, XS,S,M,L,XL,XXL,XXXL (7 sizes) on cost, where it is also seasonal (new pic each year) with a starkly contrasting price between old & new style to throw into the mix, of which Ryan has already downsized his availability which from the shop frontage was a slow burner with plenty of left over stock from 3?? previous seasons.

Finally we have a nice cut out vinyl sticker at $7.00 ..for a sticker, the mindset may say "that's almost the cost of a cheap t-shirt", (before shipping).

So unless within the annual "big reveal" there's a plethora of newly sourced goodies I'd be concerned as to key items ramping up or down overall sales.

Sales can often be interlinked, back to back dependent upon each other but won't clearly show until you lose key components.

Pertaining to your Link for Saral, I've already placed what we believe to be the current uk best price (no idea of stock held) linked elsewhere, just as I did last year.

I didn't link to that site based on the fact that if you purchase Saral from them ... there is £5.95 p+p from them taking it to £14.91
i'd already checked it out from purchase to delivery!

With regards to the rest of your post Dredge, look at it this way unless you are here & reading very frequently & chose to look precisely when a post is created or answered, dug up (again) then you are faced with ALOT of fresh posts whereby upon reading you may assume (incorrectly) the member is having a whine, in which case totally incorrect.

Try this exercise perhaps, write down EVERYTHING you wish to say over the course of a day & write it verbatim onto your phone in office mode for instance, then read it back to yourself , or get someone else to read it back & see how it comes across, ..probably if you've had a bad day, in pain, bored, emotive, what comes back is deemed whiney, to anyone who is unable to contextualise it & say, ok this is in direct relation to 1 subject matter & therefore should not stigmatise the rest of a persons character.

Like you say in your blog about being a miserable so & so, hard to live with, "shady" / morose does that define the rest of your character?

I am promoting discussion,, getting others views & expanding on a theme even by berating it, as I realize I am not the only voice, but nor in all likelihood am I the only one who may feel the same way, but maybe the only one to actually comment on it, in order to discuss & gain insight..

& sadly covering old covered territory again...

As someone who is active on the forum most of the year, the odds are in favour of more posts from myself therefore a skewed perspective.
When I question something it's usually because a thought or experience has prompted me to do so, such as actively encountering folk who say "Zombie Pumpkins is incredibly US orientated", from their pespective & dalliance via a link, ..correct if you are looking at Summer Spirits, flags, bald eagles, uncle sam etc etc... (which is a percentage of an overall site).

Take for example the ratio of North American members to UK / european forum members's pretty small yes? therefore those who vocalise will feature more prominently.

If say you were on tv all the time doubtless perception rightly or wrongly would be put upon you also due to looks, features, physical aspects, regional characteristics.. all of which may not accurately portray the person.

What would be worse? If I had concerns about elements of the site & neglected to speak up & voice my concerns to someone I have dealings with on an almost daily basis?

Or should it simply be left as is to sink or swim, the forum is here for the express purpose of discussion, sharing, good or bad... my personal opinion of Twilight is that it's about an abusive relationship that is sending out "god knows what" messages to potentially impressionable children that domestic abuse is normal within a relationship..

It's well documented..
This is a random trawl.... ... tic-abuse/

..& an utterly terrible vacuous movie series (to date)

However as I've previously stated, it (multiple character stencil release) takes up large blocks of limited release over the course of a season, multiply a release like that two-fold & that's a big chunk of the "shop window" where new releases are concerned..

I wouldn't bull$hit my kid, colleagues, friends, people I know by association, (e.g. internet) on matters that gave me reasonable concern etc I wasn't brought up to sugar coat "the pill" ...(avoidance of issues).

Ultimately Ryan will do it the way Ryan wan'ts to do it, but if we all go down the route of " hearty back slapping,everythings fine, you're great, I heart everything you do then we are not being truthful to anyone with regards to a site we care about. & feedback / opinion help drive direction, input = output, as Ryan has also stated with regards to stencil design creativity happening.

The more info there is to read develop knowledge of the better, same as putting info up on the internet, to share, inspire, improve, rejuvenate, chew over.

Only a fool would post up anything on the internet & expect pure adulation! :roll: ..however in many instances folk do just that to the detriment of someones health or endeavour for the sake of a job position, pay & entitlement.

Ryan's not dumb, we can however all get in a rut though & sometimes have things go by unexplored / unnoticed.

If you go read your own posts on your blog Dredge, how do you come across? is that the sum of you?

no, I don't expect it is.
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By Zombie Pumpkins!
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. However, I started up this thread mostly as a way to give you a heads up that some items won't be available in my shop this year, so you can plan ahead and seek other sources.

It's not so much an issue of "I really wish I could figure out ways to ship more merchandise faster." It's more about "how the heck did I get so involved in physical product reselling anyway?!" :lol:


The purpose of my online shop has never been about making money really. When I started selling some products, I did it mostly because I thought it would be fun. Sure, I may not sell a ton of t-shirts, but I just think it's fun for some fans to be able to wear the Zombie Pumpkins pride.


When a certain task gets so time consuming that it's no longer fun, I have to reevaluate. After all, I got my college degree by studying graphic design and illustration. Stocking shelves with inventory and dragging boxes to the post office wasn't part of the chosen curriculum. ;)


So I ask myself, where should I put my focus? On the thing that isn't too fun and makes little profit? Or the thing that is way fun and more rewarding on all levels?


While the compliments I receive are good for morale, I do appreciate more critical opinions too. Constructive criticism can help me adjust my game plan, to please as many as possible.

But if I ever seem like I don't fully adhere to suggestions posted in the forum, keep in mind the other data I take into consideration... countless private emails, a decade of web usage stats, etc. The site is only going to get better. In Patch Master we trust?
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By Dredge
I want the banner in the first pic! Thats awesome