After nearly one full year of business, Period.Shop has grown considerably. I’m grateful to see that hard work has paid off. We’ve shipped thousands of orders to customers in the US. When I started the shop my idea was to bring the best brands under one physical roof. For the first time ever, customers in the US would be able to buy their favorite brands from one location and trust the products because they’ve been vetted by an expert.
We made the decision early on that to compete with Amazon and brands our shipping should be free over $35. At the time we were hoping to scale up enough that this made financial sense, and hoped more people would buy their menstrual products from us because we were able to compete with Amazon on pricing. I know customers will comparison shop and if we couldn’t match Amazon and the brands on free shipping, we’d lose the sale in many cases.
Despite our considerable growth the fact is this model is not sustainable for our small business. Sales continue to climb but each month our costs climb with them and the profits are non-existent. We took a long hard look at our profit/loss charts for the year and the only way to move forward is to change our shipping model.
I believe in full transparency and respecting your investment. Here’s the bottomline: Period.Shop is not Amazon and we can’t afford to be. Retail margins are slim - products we sell vary but the markup averages about 30%. Let’s say you purchase one menstrual cup from Period.Shop at $35. Period.Shop will profit $10.50. Your shipping is free, let’s remove $4.50 to cover the USPS postage and materials (box, labels, adorable custom tissue), now Period.Shop has earned $6. Now for labor - we pay a local company to ship all of our packages, this gives me the time to run the other parts of our business and create educational content. The cost? $3.50 to pack and ship your item. Our local distributor is able to pay their employees fair wages and they enjoy a normal Monday-Friday business - no one in our warehouse is urinating in bottles. Period.Shop has earned $2.50 on your cup purchase. Now we have to pay our monthly overhead costs, email platform, marketing, and storage fees to our warehouse. Period.Shop is lucky if we made .50 on your purchase.
If we charge shipping we are back up to $5.00 of profit. That is why Period.Shop is increasing our Free Shipping offer to orders over $50 effective immediately.
There are many ways to make a living as a small business owner but .50 per item isn’t one of them. For a product that lasts 5-10 years we can’t rely on many repeat purchases and customers, either. I know how to build a brand and I’m not afraid to work hard. Our growth is proof of that fact. I am, however, unable to sustain a brand when I’m not making enough to pay my own salary. I’ve re-invested every cent earned back into the business and after over a year of incredibly hard work I’d like to be able to pay myself, and possibly one day, hire help. I’m the only full-time employee managing our entire business - I do the job of 5 people.
No one said starting a business would be easy. I’m fully aware of the task I decided to take on and knew it would be a huge challenge to compete with a trillion dollar household name retailer. I did this because I’m passionate about reusable menstrual products. All we need to thrive is a sliver of the pie that is the reusable products industry, but the sliver needs to make a profit. The goal is and always has been to make educational content. The retail store was always designed to fund free online education on Period Nirvana for the world. I hope that my followers and patrons can look past the “which is cheapest - Amazon or Period.Shop?” comparison shopping mentality and consider their purchase as supporting my wider efforts to help people find and succeed with their cups. If you’re all set with products consider sharing our store and quiz - small businesses thrive and grow on word of mouth.
I want to thank the customers who have trusted our new store and ordered from us. I especially want to thank our repeat customers and those who have supported us by leaving reviews or sharing us on social media with your friends and followers.