About the Header Photo

Our Valentine Sweets header cookie bouquet was created with Sweet Stampen's food safe rubber stamps: Chocolates, a tiny heart cut from Circle of Love, The whole image of Circle of love was used with , Winner's Circle was used to frame Wedding Border, a mini heart stamp was used dry to emboss the surface around Cupid's Magic, last cookie features a stamp that is not online yet: Key to My Heart

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Idiot Proofing!

NOTE: In an effort to pay more attention to my day job, I'm starting a new Friday Series called Inside the Rubber Room. The subject matter will be rubber stamping but, I'm hoping my crafty audience will follow along!

For more years than I can count, I have sold two sets of 12 stamps each geared toward artists making jewelry using rubber stamps. These 24 stamps are the very first I ever designed myself. I created them after becoming certified to teach PMC on a lark and hating the rubber stamps used in class! I knew I could do better!
Blacker images are darker and not as deeply etched as images with more white in them.

After having them tested by many of the professional stampers, polyclay and PMC artisans I know from my Carol Duvall days, I pursued the PMC Corporation as a customer. I could land the account BUT, the sheets had to be in one piece. This would make it easier to hang and display in stores! What I didn't learn about packaging and presentation in those early days!

And manufacturing! Cranking out thousands of dollars of rubber stamps from a 3 man factory! OY! What an education! And no, those sheets didn't always come off my vulcanizer in one pretty sheet. But my mom is a child of the Great Depression. I simply couldn't throw those slightly imperfect stamp sheets out! I started cutting out the damaged images and saving the rest. Before I knew it, I had several complete sets of the 12 images. I would sell these as 2nds... because the sheet was not whole. The images were just fine!
Darker images still stamp beautifully!

We went along like this for YEARS. Until some wiseacre bought a set of seconds off our site and then wanted a refund as if it were a perfect set. She claimed she cut them apart... like we couldn't tell from the discounted price! So as a result of that lovely customer, we moved all 2nds to Etsy. And all was well for YEARS.

 How the seconds arrive...

Until a few weeks ago when a glasser I know bought some of them.  She took one look at them and declared them inferior! And wanted a full refund including shipping. I gladly offer refunds on actual items but unless I made some grave error - like packing the wrong set - I rarely offer shipping refunds. As a business person, it's near impossible to offer a refund on money the post office has taken!

Samples of PMC using the stamps!

After a week of emails, I finally begged / pleaded / cajoled her to try them! She wrote to say I was right... they worked on clay but they didn't on paper. And she sent me a picture. I could tell from the heavily inked lines through her images that either her pad was getting dry or newly inked. It was the later. She ended up keeping the stamps but suggested " you offer a refund with postage to those of us who are unfamiliar ."

It left me banging my head against that rubber wall... My customer is an idiot who has no idea how black and white line drawings translate into rubber and I'm supposed to offer a refund with POSTAGE??? OY! It's days like these I want to chuck it all and get a real job...if only I could find one!

So last week, I sat down and wrote disclaimers for all my seconds on Etsy.

ABOUT THESE STAMPS: I manufacture and sell full uncut sheets to retail outlets. Sometimes the sheets do not come off the vulcanizer in ONE full sheet. Any damaged images are THROWN AWAY and the remaining GOOD IMAGES are kept and sold at a discount here. You will receive all 12 PERFECT images but most will be cut apart in the 2" squares. Because they are not a perfect 7 x 9 sheet, they are called "seconds" on your receipt reflecting the discounted price you have received. PHOTO 3 shows an uncut 1/2 sheet of rubber.

PHOTO 4: is most likely how your stamps will arrive. 12 PERFECT images, cut apart. Questions? Just ask!
Hopefully this will hold for a few years until I run across another idiot! 

Originally posted on HollysFollyBeads

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