10-09-2016, 03:53 PM
#1
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My Friends,


The response to the BSSW/M&F collaborations has exceeded even our most optimistic expectations. While we're delighted with this response, we must face the fact that orders have come in far faster than we will ever be able to fill them.  For that reason, we are suspending brush sales for (probably) three-to-four weeks so we can catch up on the backlog. Please know that this is only an estimate, based on our projected ability to fill outstanding orders.  Please be assured that we will be posting periodic updates on our FaceBook page, as well as in this space on TSN to keep you apprised of our progress.  


If you would like to receive personal email updates, please let us know through the Contact Form on our website.  In order to maximize production time, I probably will not be answering many emails until we can get our heads above water; so please bear with us.

We sincerely regret the inconvenience this suspension will cause to our many of our friends in the Wet Shaving Community.

We will be back as soon as possible! 

Thanks for your patience!

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 10-09-2016, 08:44 PM
#2
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Brad, you kept the list open for much longer than I would have thought - my deepest respect!

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 10-10-2016, 06:02 AM
#3
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(10-09-2016, 08:44 PM)alfredus Wrote: Brad, you kept the list open for much longer than I would have thought - my deepest respect!

Thanks, Alfredus.  It's all good.   Smile

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 10-10-2016, 06:09 AM
#4
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As an update to last night's "suspension" posting, Nancy, my wife/accountant, and I (along with Lee's encouragement) just completed a brief but intense time & motion study to (hopefully!) increase "production" efficiencies. Part of that effort included a detailed cost analysis in which we re-examined the cost components that go into hand-crafting every shaving brush in our catalog. Interestingly, the cost study showed that while most of the BSSW-pattern brushes were priced fairly, it also pointed out that we were losing money to varying degrees on most of the M&F brushes. It showed that we were, in effect, offering an unplanned, unadvertised "introductory sale."

Surprisingly, the largest losses resulted from brushes with "multi-resin" handles--like two-color 2XL's--where three pieces of resin are precisely hand-fit and glued together. These findings, along with a rapidly increasing backlog that put us farther behind each day, led to the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the order process so that we could "stop the bleeding" and catch up on the backlog.
The bottom line is that we will be adjusting prices on some of the Morris & Forndran brushes today so everyone will be able to plan their acquisitions for when we re-open the website to new orders.


One thing I want to emphasize is the increasing respect I have for Lee.  None of this would be possible if it were not for his kind advice and continued encouragement.  Regardless of any past history, this is a gentleman worthy of our respect and admiration.



And as we said last night, we plan to continue to provide periodic updates to keep everyone informed.

Know that Nancy, Lee and I sincerely thank you all for your support, patronage and patience!

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 10-10-2016, 08:45 AM
#5
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Facepalm Sigh. I Knew him when and didn't save my money fast enough. I will have to just bide my time. When it happens it happens.  Looks at my oatmeal and snarls 'who you laughing at'?

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 10-10-2016, 08:56 AM
#6
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(10-10-2016, 08:45 AM)kav Wrote: Facepalm Sigh. I Knew him when and didn't save my money fast enough. I will have to just bide my time. When it happens it happens.  Looks at my oatmeal and snarls 'who you laughing at'?


One thing to note is that you're looking at 4 months until brush completion and Brad never asks for money until the craft is complete. When it opens you will have quite a head start to allocate the funding

Cheers


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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 10-10-2016, 09:27 AM
#7
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(10-10-2016, 08:45 AM)kav Wrote: Facepalm Sigh. I Knew him when and didn't save my money fast enough. I will have to just bide my time. When it happens it happens.  Looks at my oatmeal and snarls 'who you laughing at'?

Yeah, I know, Kav.  But no worries.  I have your email address around here somewhere, but can't find it at the moment.  (Seven straight hours in front of the computer answering emails has me just a wee bit cross-eyed  Scared )  Just shoot it to me and I'll put you on the notification list.

Oh...and Goose, I'm working on reducing that lead time.  (No promises, mind you, but there are some things we can do, like using FedEx overnight to move handles and finished brushes across the pond faster.  Yes, there are costs and other potential issues associated with using a commercial carrier, but if the demand is there, we might be able to justify passing the costs along.)  That brings me to the other thing we're looking at, which is market-based pricing.  We'll see what happens when we re-open orders, but if we get flooded again, I'd rather use pricing to control demand than play the "on again...off again" game.  That way, we at least remove some of the ordering/lead time uncertainty.  We just need to get the open orders under control first.

It's a "live and learn" situation on both sides.  And it's all good.  I just feel very privileged to be part of a team able to offer a truly world-class product.

I'll do my best to keep everyone informed!  We appreciate everyone's staying with us.

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 10-10-2016, 09:44 AM
#8
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Reread Eclessiastes 3:1

Recited Serenity Prayer

Reread the Mahhakaccaanabhaddekaratha  ( buddhasutra.com)

This isn't working. PM email to Brad

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 10-10-2016, 12:01 PM
#9
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Kav if I had a M&F brush in the den still I would be happy to let you have one. Unfortunately I'm waiting for one myself.

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 10-10-2016, 12:06 PM
#10
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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That's O.K. these items are holy grails and the search 90 percent of the spiritual enlightenment. I am still trying to convince others besides Brothers ( Gary in Oklahoma) my MWF ceramic dish floats in silent rotation above the countertop.

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 10-10-2016, 01:39 PM
#11
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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(10-10-2016, 09:27 AM)BSWoodturning Wrote:
(10-10-2016, 08:45 AM)kav Wrote: Facepalm Sigh. I Knew him when and didn't save my money fast enough. I will have to just bide my time. When it happens it happens.  Looks at my oatmeal and snarls 'who you laughing at'?

Yeah, I know, Kav.  But no worries.  I have your email address around here somewhere, but can't find it at the moment.  (Seven straight hours in front of the computer answering emails has me just a wee bit cross-eyed  Scared )  Just shoot it to me and I'll put you on the notification list.

Oh...and Goose, I'm working on reducing that lead time.  (No promises, mind you, but there are some things we can do, like using FedEx overnight to move handles and finished brushes across the pond faster.  Yes, there are costs and other potential issues associated with using a commercial carrier, but if the demand is there, we might be able to justify passing the costs along.)  That brings me to the other thing we're looking at, which is market-based pricing.  We'll see what happens when we re-open orders, but if we get flooded again, I'd rather use pricing to control demand than play the "on again...off again" game.  That way, we at least remove some of the ordering/lead time uncertainty.  We just need to get the open orders under control first.

It's a "live and learn" situation on both sides.  And it's all good.  I just feel very privileged to be part of a team able to offer a truly world-class product.

I'll do my best to keep everyone informed!  We appreciate everyone's staying with us.

Well stated, Brad.

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 10-12-2016, 03:18 AM
#12
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If Shipping/Import challenges are any indication, then I guess we're starting to break into, if not the "Big Leagues," then into at least "Double A."  I make that claim because now two of our last three international cast polyester rod orders have either been lost (since mid-August) or "Damaged" (discovered yesterday.)  Interestingly, "damaged" (a cute euphemism used by the shipper) meant that the package apparently fell apart after being opened/inspected by Customs and the contents are now missing.  Of course, the package--or what's left of it--has been sitting in the shipper's warehouse, an hour from our shop, since last Monday....

To his credit, the MD of our offshore supplier says he'll have his people start putting together a replacement shipment this morning, which is to include both the lost rods from August as well as the "missing" rods from yesterday.

Fortunately, we've been able to cut brush blanks to cover about half our M&F backlog from our now much depleted on-hand stock; so if this new/replacement shipment makes it here within a week--or maybe a little more, we should still be able to meet our targeted delivery and re-opening dates.

It's all part of the "growing game"...I...guess.... Undecided

Anyway, it'll all work out.  Have a great day, Gentlemen!

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 10-12-2016, 03:44 AM
#13
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We appreciate the update Brad.  I think most of us agree that communication and transparency are key in these situations.

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 10-13-2016, 06:05 PM
#14
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Agreed on the communication. Glad to see that you're avoiding building an unwieldy large pre-order list. Knowing when to cap the queue allows those on it a realistic expectation, and also gives your business the opportunity to adjust sooner.

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 10-13-2016, 08:06 PM
#15
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Putting out good vibes your way Brad.

Quality over quantity for sure. 
Appreciate the updates too. Customs is such a terrifying part of international shipping. Gives me goose bumps... When it goes well it's all good, but when it goes bad it's never fun at all.

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 10-13-2016, 08:12 PM
#16
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Thanks so much for the update, Brad. This is a very exciting venture for the wet shaving community, and I wish you all the luck in the world. I've ordered two of them, and no worries about the time frame, because I know you and Lee will do these right! Keep your chin up!

All the best,


Michael

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 10-13-2016, 09:24 PM
#17
  • SCOV
  • Active Member
  • Minnesota
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I made the order before the cutoff.  One item off my shaving bucket list.

Brad is obviously a "class act" and I wish him great success.

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 10-14-2016, 08:10 AM
#18
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I guess you couldn't squeeze in 100 coffee mills right now.  Just kidding we love your brushes and appreciate the communication.

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 10-16-2016, 10:10 AM
#19
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(10-14-2016, 08:10 AM)daveinsweethome Wrote: I guess you couldn't squeeze in 100 coffee mills right now.  Just kidding we love your brushes and appreciate the communication.

Hi Dave,

It's great to see you weigh in!  Short answer:  sure  Pancarta  Interestingly, I've been getting requests for French-Polished Cocobolo salt & pepper sets as well.  I'm afraid that's probably not going to happen for a few days at least. Tongue

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 10-16-2016, 11:03 AM
#20
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October 16 Update:  Although our misplaced rod order has not yet been replaced, we're moving forward with the brushes that can be created from our existing rod inventory.  Best guess is that I can keep producing handles for about another week and a half before things will start to become tight.  But from what FedEx tells me, they can get a shipment from the U.K. to Maryland in two days. Time through Customs is--they say--the most significant variable.  Please be assured that we will do our best to keep everyone informed.

On a related note, I wanted to share a little bit about our "manufacturing" process.  As with most things, the most efficient way to get things done is to work in a straight line.  In our case, it goes like something like this:


  1. Create a spreadsheet sorted by resin type within handle style--for example, this groups all 1XL, 2XL, 3XL, L7 (et al.)  handles together then, each handle style is subdivided by material (Ivory, Jade, Tortoiseshell, et al.)  This improves the efficiency of step 2.
  2. Next, we pull each rod from inventory and cut all the "like" handle blanks to length on a radial arm saw that has a blade specially designed to cut 1.5"-2"diameter cast polyester rods.  (I spent half a day last week just cutting blanks.  (Glad the dust collector works well!)  We didn't get all the way through due to the previously mentioned inventory constraints, but we made a good "dent" in the orders.)
  3. As each blank is cut, we label it as to handle type (2XL, 3XL, L7...) and group them by handle type in plastic "shoe boxes."
  4. Once that's done, the next step involves "truing" each blank.  That mean mounting each blank on the lathe and turning it "straight."  We do this because the polyester rods are slightly out of round when they emerge from the molds.  It's generally not a lot (usually a millimeter or so over (say) the 45-50mm length of a brush handle, but that's enough to cause problems when the handle is formed.
  5. Next, we drill the sockets and form the socket end or collar to its finished shape.  Then sand and polish it.  I call this "prepping the blank."
  6. After eight-to-10 blanks have been "prepped," I'll switch gears and starting turning, sanding and polishing handles.  
  7. As each handle's completed, we attach a tag with the new owner's name, order number, handle style, handle material, knot size, and knot type & shape; then put it in another box for shipment to Lee.  (At this point, we're doing about one shipment/week.)
  8. At the end of each day, we update the order log to show the status of every completed handle.
Keen-eyed observers will quickly see that we've only talked about "single-resin" handles.  Handles with different colored rings include several intermediate steps wherein each piece of the handle is cut and hand-fitted using a variation on what woodworkers call a "mortise and tennon" technique.  This is a painstaking process taken to ensure that each piece of the handle is precisely fit and aligned so that it will run "true" on the lathe.  (Trust me:  we get some really "entertaining" results when a multi-resin blank doesn't run "true and straight."  Dodgy )

In between times, we try to sneak in a few minutes to answer emails, run errands, do things like cut the grass (yes, it's still growing here on the Eastern Shore!), and attempt to knock a thing or two off the Honey-Do list(!)  (Oh, and by the way, Sundays are a much needed "Day of Rest."  I'm breaking one of my rules to write this because, frankly, it's very important to me to keep you somewhat up to date on what's happening!)  

I've saved the big question for last:  when do we plan to re-open for new orders?  The answer is:  I'm not sure.  My sense is:  about three weeks, depending on when our rod order comes in.  I will let everyone know when that happens.  As to exactly when we plan to re-open, we'll send out an email blast to everyone on the list (probably...hopefully) with about 24 hour's notice.

Now, I'm going to go walk the dog then sit down with a good book!

Until next time, thanks for your support and stay safe gentlemen!

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