Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Frostings 2 - 19,500 Items

Wow.  It has been a total production facility around here this week.  Ok, that is the rosy view of the place, my husband and kids would instead characterize it as a 'little plastic box sweat shop'.  Why?  Because I am getting geared up for the Frostings Box Session 2 to be packed and sent out to the people who are excited to get new threads.  Tonight my husband spent three hours watching comedy shows while placing stickers on little plastic bags.

It is a long road to getting the box in your mailbox!  There are the months (in this case 18 months) of designing threads, checking colors and waiting... waiting... waiting... for the threads to start trickling in.  The last one arrived days ago.  There are 39 individual threads/colors and 500 boxes to pack so somehow all those big spools that come in have to be divided up and labeled.

Just the act of opening up the little clear plastic boxes to put something in takes a tremendous amount of time, then you line them up, load them and close them and then apply a label.  If I do a box of 500 of them of one thread, it can take me about 6-8 hours.  So this time the family has taken quite a bit of pity on me and finally pitched in to help.  19,500 little boxes or bags have to have cut and wound things put inside and labeled.  Then there is the packing of the actual white frostings boxes and shrink wrapping - that will take a week before I sit for a whole two days and making/printing shipping labels.  A couple of hours then verifying that the label is correct and marking up the database that a box is leaving.  And then many emails assuring people that the label I created on Monday and wasn't ready to adhere to the packed boxes until Thursday hadn't gotten lost by the post office as I haven't gotten a slot in the post office truck schedule until Friday to do the massive pick up.  :-) All-in-all the process is about 1.5 months from starting to cut the threads to the boxes leaving on their journey to you.

Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend, I cried 'uncle' and decided to bring in the big guns, paid teenagers.  While I only intended to hire one of them - one of the girls on the robot team that I knew was looking for some work - I managed to get a gaggle of them.  Guess they are all growing up and realize that all my time helping them with roboting costs me dearly in my work time.  So amazingly when she showed up there were others in tow.  Over the course of two days (and some sleepovers) I had four different teens (boys and girls - sorry if a few labels aren't as straight as I might like) here to help me as well as family too.  We voted on movies and had a whole Pirates of the Caribbean marathon.  Took them to see the 5th movie on Sunday to celebrate getting 3500 little plastic boxes packed and labeled in three days.  It would have normally taken me seven days.

They certainly made the work much more fun.  Sounds like they are planning on coming back for the shrink wrap party - heck - why not?  Sounds like cool tech toys and we all know robot boys like cool tech toys!


  1. Wow! That is so amazing! What a mammoth effort on everyone's part (but especially yours). Thank you so much for sharing this with us, so interesting.

  2. Well, the number of emails I get from people who haven't sat back and reflected a bit on how the stuff gets in the box is very high. Often people are really upset that the box hasn't arrived a few days after the mailing label is made. But the logistics makes it so 500 boxes going out at once is quite an operation even with a half dozen or so people halting me. The boxes take up a whole truck - so just getting them to the post office is a big operation. They refuse to take them at the window so I have to schedule a truck to come get them!

  3. A big thank you Tricia, your family and the teens for all this work !And yes,it's true, we don't imagine very well the so big amount of work you are doing. I'm looking forward to discover what is in this new box but will be patiently waiting....Laurence

  4. Aw - it's a shame people don't understand how 'cottage industry' this sort of thing really is. But you should know that for every complaint you might get about slow service, or labels not on straight, there are 10 of us who are so thankful for the lovely, lovely things we can have because of all your hard work. Good for you for getting the teens involved - many hands make light work!

  5. Thank you very much for putting so much time and effort. Personally, at this end of the world I do appreciate it. I LOVE the quality of the bags you use, they are easy to reuse and often I will change bags as I use items, so I also love the way your labels can be re applied.
    Please don't get despondent by the naggers... keep looking at all the pretty embroideries on ning & you can see what you help inspire, teach and encourage.

  6. I'm so glad the kids pitched in. It verifies that the Robot Club training has been worth the time beyond competition, as if you had any doubt. Grand work for all of you.
    And in the treads area also. Thank you for putting all this time and attention to detail.

  7. I am happy for you that the teens/family have pitched into help. I know just how long it takes to organize, pack, check and then ship retail items. Perhaps the robot team could design a robot for you?
    I will be patiently waiting for my parcel; I know that the wait is worth it.