In 2015, we declared: “(The) only thing that’s not transparent here are the handkerchiefs.”
And here we are, a year later, still upholding our promise. Our handkerchiefs are as thick and absorbent as always. The only thing that remains transparent is—well—us!
For those who have been following our journey, you’ll recall we’ve done everything in our power to keep our prices affordable while staying true to our mission: creating ethically sourced, locally made, quality products.
How are you making money doing this?
Actually… we’re not.
Generating sufficient margins to be profitable, while staying true to our values, is a serious challenge.
Since its launch a little over two years ago, our business venture has brought Marion and I immense pride and joy—it just hasn’t raked in much money. And, as time passes, it’s becoming all the more evident that TSHU needs to grow into a profitable business if we’re going to make it to it’s 3rd year anniversary in 2017.
Why not get everything produced in China?
We all know the rule: lower costs equal more profit. Sure. But in our case, this is easier said than done.
Never would we cut corners—compromising quality and local sourcing—just to make a buck. We refuse to get our TSHUs manufactured in a foreign country simply to access cheaper (and often unethical) labour! This would go completely against our guiding principles.
Luckily, we didn’t have to look far—the solution was right there under our noses (not the first time, I know). And to top it off, it was perfectly alined with TSHU’s core values.
As we explained way back when we were just starting out, retailers played a key role in our total sales figure. And so, for our TSHUs to find a place on their shelves, we needed neat, eye-catching packaging.That’s how our beautiful sleeves were born—a simple-yet-elegant way to display our products without using too much cardboard (recycled, of course).
Returning to Our Roots
Once our online sales started to grow, our TSHUs suddenly faced a new obstacle: the weather. Indeed, when it rains, it rains on the mailman, mailboxes and—you guessed it—our envelopes. And, since our envelopes aren’t waterproof, they get soaked through… leaving our cardboard sleeves deformed. Not a great first impression. So we had to resort to using little poly bags to protect the sleeves. While our handkerchiefs themselves have no fear of water (quite the contrary!), we’ve had to send out our TSHUs, with their cardboard sleeves, wrapped in poly bags, themselves wrapped in (recycled) paper envelopes. I don’t know about you, but this feels like a lot of unnecessary packaging. Especially for a company whose mission is to reduce waste.
When we launched our mini-TSHUs, our focus was now on our direct clients (you!), so we figured we’d drop the packaging altogether and send them out as-is. No more packaging. Why not do the same for our bigger handkerchiefs? The answer was obvious and ended up answering multiple questions. Less packaging, less handling, less waste… and lower costs.
And so, we’re making it official. TSHU is having a huge spring cleaning—we’re dropping the cardboard and plastic packaging. Still the same high quality but with a lower environmental footprint. Making our handkerchiefs even more attractive, don’t you think?
For those of you who have asked us ahead of time not to bother with the plastic wrapping—we heard you loud and clear! We’re delighted to make you happy and, in doing so, we’re convinced we’ll come out of it happier as well. So thank you! As for the rest of our followers, what do you think? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.