State Arda Union

Posted on 30 January 2017

Hey guys, Harl here! We've been going through a lot of changes at Arda recently, and I wanted to update you on what's happening.

As most of you know, last August we instituted UPS shipping rates. Our hope was UPS would be able to provide a highly competitive rate against USPS with more guarantees in the delivery and transit times, since our customers previously had issues with USPS deliveries. We've been working with UPS for the past six months, instituting a flat rate shipping fee based on the contracted prices they quoted to us. We've heard back from you, and listened to your feedback. Unfortunately, it seems as though UPS simply isn't the right fit for us or for you. UPS was not able to deliver the promised rates we were trying to pass along to you via the new flat rate shipping options, and we know that you guys have been having a lot of problems with SurePost deliveries and transit times. We understand that shipping value is just as important as shipping time, so we've made the decision to go back to offering USPS in addition to UPS. This means we can't continue to offer our contract flat rates through UPS, but it also means we can go back to offering super cheap USPS First Class for orders under one pound. We will, of course, still continue to offer free shipping over $70.

We understand all this switching is frustrating -- it's frustrating for us too! We're sorry to keep changing things, we just want to make sure we're doing the best we can by our customers.

Speaking of which, that brings me to my next update and the dragon we here at Arda are always wrestling with -- our OUT OF STOCK statuses!

It's no secret we've been growing by leaps and bounds for the past few years; we've gone from being a tiny group of three way back in 2011 to being a pretty respectable group of 23 in 2017. It's been a really wild ride and we have loved every minute of interacting with you, meeting you, and supporting our community.

Growing a business can be overwhelming sometimes, and we do the best we can, but one of our major struggles has always been our inventory management. We have thousands of SKUs and thousands of pieces of inventory, and the more we grow, the more difficult it has been to manage it. Sometimes we've had good ideas, and sometimes the things we've tried have not worked as well as we'd hoped, like our site switchover in 2015.

This past year we have focused our efforts on getting a handle on this issue. We know it's disappointing to come to our site and not be able to find the items you need because they're not in stock. We do our best to help everyone find alternatives if we can, but sometimes you just need that wig and that wig only! With the help of our friends North of the Wall, we've spent the past six months vetting some really heavy-hitting inventory management partners that will hopefully pave the way toward solving this problem in 2017. We want to be able to anticipate and meet your needs quickly and efficiently, and have our products available for you when you need them as much as possible. We're optimistic that these new features and partners on our back end will offer you a more streamlined experience on our front end.

Beyond that, we have lots of things on the calendar that we're excited about, and planned improvements and features we hope to add to both our desktop and mobile site, as well as support for our global customers with customs and tax estimates. We are so thankful that we have been able to go on this journey with you, and we really look forward to continuing to do our best to offer products we believe in to the community, as well as the best possible customer experience. We are all costumers ourselves, and we are so lucky to be able to support and be involved in this community every day. In these uncertain times, we take comfort in each other and in you, our costuming family.

With love and hope,
Momma Arda Harl / Crystina

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