Happy New Year everybody. I hope you guys reading this had a fun and safe new year. 2020 was supposed to be one of my better years until about March of 2020 when the pandemic was declared.
I am sure everybody had a different experience during the 202o year. Some probably lost a job over the pandemic, while others lost a loved one or someone they knew was affected by the pandemic.
I rarely share much of my personal life but today I will share just a little bit. I had an uncle and aunt that came down with Covid-19. Miraculously, they survived. My uncle had it worse than my aunt from what I am told. You see, my aunt and uncle were people I rarely saw at my age. They were around more when I was younger. Those were the fond memories I have of them. These days, the only reason we do not see each other is due to the fact that I am a veteran. I joined the United States Marine Corps some time after high school and I never made it home. What I mean by that is that Chicago is where I was born and raised in. After getting out of the military, I basically worked in various states and did many things that kept me from making it home. I eventually settled in Phoenix, Arizona where I have been now for 20 years. I still go back to Chicago and visit family and friends til this day. My relationship with close family is not what it once was. I am sure some of you can relate. You have family you were once close with but hardly ever hear from them these days. I still get news about what goes on with them occasionally and this was one of the biggest things that happened in respects to family.
I share this because this site is not solely a business but one where I can share a bit of myself with many of my followers. This website is not a big company where the CEO never chats with its customer base. I truly know the hardships that people experience. Part of what I do with this site is to also offer an honorable experience. One that has a personal side to it where I can be reached and talk to some of you. Not everything has to be political. This is NOT The Satanic Temple nor The Church of Satan. They push a different agenda. They are on a mission of a different cause that their founder(s) have. I have a product to offer and the experience you have in dealing with this site is different than what you may not have had 10 years ago. I sometimes make some very loud statements too and it causes people to get turned off by them. SO be it. I am human. That is Satanism. Being real with yourself and having a sense of understanding that not everyone will agree. Such is the case with my personal story that I share today. Not everybody experienced anything similar. Having said all this, my condolences goes out to all those who may have lost a loved one, friend, or co-worker due to Covid-19 in 2020. Some people shared their stories in private email or messages to me over the year.
This past year was also brutal for small businesses. Many went out of business or halted their business early on in the year and came back later. Others did not come back and probably moved on to something else. This site also took a major hit. I gotta say, for those that were not financially hit as hard as other people in our community, I THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. If you managed to treat yourself to some of our products, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Although, I make it a point to never share personal stories on social media, for the sake of this blog, I will share that this site did take a 40% DROP minimum. It was horrendous. Late in the 2020 year, I had to personally inject money from my personal money into my business account to invest in new inventory. The inventory that you saw drop towards the end of the year was much needed. I wanted to introduce some new items before the year was out. THANKFULLY, you ALL jumped at the chance to score some major giveaways I was doing too. I was giving away Grim Verum rings with the purchase of the new pendants. It was a late introduction but I felt I wanted to also give away a little something to those who truly showed up to support the site on a late intro of new items. It was a difficult year and we are not going to face some new challenges into the new year. I made a huge investment to grow this site further and I am sure you guys will love what I got planned for 2021. This is still an AMERICAN TALE of a homeless guy during the Great Recession of 2008, growing a brand from scratch with no major investments from anyone, yes, I will call out KillStar and Black Craft Cult on this, they took on outside investors. How else would a company start around the same time I did and get so miraculously big? MONEY, that's how. Lots of it and all MARKETING, LOW QUALITY ...well, in some cases. Some stuff is made right, lets be fair, but that's the extent of it. You guys helped this site stay alive and strong and I will continue the growth momentum in 2021 by doing what I do best. Offering something unique and different. Its all about being the first to market. Look for them in the following months ahead. You heard it heard first. An American story about a small brand that will be as big as Nike some day. As the world goes darker, so shall the brand get larger.
Its officially 2021 and I really need to share some new site updates. If you are not up for reading about changes to the site you can stop here now.
New Year, New Terms and Conditions. First, let me say that now that the holiday season is over, the United States Postal Service has officially dropped its temporary price increase for the season on shipping. If you order anything now and have noticed that somehow the cost of shipping went down some, it's not me, it's THEM.
I announced in October that the USPS will increase the cost of shipping. This is due to the postal workers working overtime, extra days, etc. The cost of doing business in the busiest time of year is passed on to the rest of us that utilize the services they offer. Our site is set up to have real-time shipping rates PLUS a small shipping and handling fee included. This fee is up by 10 cents right now. It was $1.65 and now its $1.75. This is the cost of the bubble mailer, tape, shipping label, and the time it takes to process an order, which is literally a fraction of time. I also stated in the past few months that prices would be adjusted for 2021 and beyond. As the site grows, we contract services from graphic designers and bring on new manufacturers to produce the fine products we offer. Its a GROWING PAIN every small business deals with at some point. There was a blog called GROWING PAINS and you can read little in depth about this.
Our product line is always improving in Quality and Craftsmanship but its not all just in the product itself. The costs associated in producing top of the line products while maintaining very VERY reasonable prices is a task that is not easy to do. I used to wonder why companies like Alchemy Gothic charged so much, well, NOW I GET IT! I totally get it these days and they are right in doing so. In the end, the name of the game is the product that you can produce while trying to remain competitive on the price. I am not there yet on the prices others charge but I am FAR beyond great in the quality and craftsmanship I offer. Of course, there ARE some limitations on what I can do with Stainless Steel so I will never match the amount of items others offer because we are in a different category when it comes to what the products are made of. That is where we will be different and hopefully maintain competitive prices. In the end, YOU will vote with your money on this issue and I am forever grateful for your votes ANY TIME you dole it out!
The next thing you will notice on the site is that our TERMS AND CONDITIONS have changed. I recommend reading it thoroughly. We are no longer offering a 2 year warranty for purchases OUTSIDE of our website. If you buy on Ebay, Amazon, or Reseller, you will need to abide by THEIR policies in regards to returns and exchanges. Our website sales will honor warranties placed before the policy change for 2021. However, purchases made in 2021 and beyond, will only be honored if you ordered on our website. If you want to know why this update, here it is:
Ebay and Amazon is becoming highly competitive. Alot of our earlier products have been knocked off and copied. In order to stay competitive with those who create lesser quality or try to under-sell us with a knock-off or a copycat version of our brand, we decided that we will price our product to match them at a competitive price and that price will fluctuate depending on the season. Since these unknown sellers, have done this to us, we feel that we can offer these at competitive prices and buyers will ultimately be convinced of what we offer compared to the fakes. This mainly applies to platforms like Ebay and Amazon. New items will not be listed on this site until we feel comfortable to do so. Prices on our website has its advantages. Our warranty is part of it. It not only helps us from paying seller fees on PayPal, Ebay, and Amazon but it helps us grow our site and track the demand for each item listed. The more popular and item is, the more we can keep producing it and/or make new versions. You simply cannot do this on other platforms that we do not control.
In 2021, I am also going to look into creating a platform for sellers of all things DARK. Think of it as the next Amazon or Etsy for all things Goth, Dark, or Occult. What ever fits those descriptions is where we will create a platform for it. I will implement something the likes of what Amazon offers such as protecting trademarks or brands. I fully know the pain of having ideas taken from you or your brand hijacked. So hopefully, what will also be one of the things it will be known for. Most importantly, anything related to the darker side of life is what I hope this site will carry. A great place for finding what you really need without the distractions from fake sellers. Now, this may sound like a great idea and it IS just that right now, an idea. This is something that I have thought about in 2020 and will look into it further in 2021. Do not expect anything to rise from this idea in 2021 as it takes alot to fund such a large project and time to develop it too. It is an undertaking of epic prorportions for someone like me. It is no doubt a serious challenge and only time will tell if this goes anywhere.
Next I want to share that I am working on a new site that will likely launch in the first quarter of the year (Q1). There will be a soft launch of the products on THIS site soon and I hope that it will be worth the effort to publish a new site by February. Many of you already know that I have XERXES JEWELRY too. That site came from the idea that I wanted to create jewelry for other categories that are not necessarily "Satanic". The Xerxes Jewelry site could have gone in any direction. As of late 2020, I had been working on that site to update the look and feel of the site. I hardly have the time to promote it and you may or may not hear from from it. Certainly, you can follow it on Instagram or Facebook, but don't expect much from it as I am gonna have to dedicate more time to that site in 2021. Adding this new site that I have planned will also not necessarily be related to "Satanism" but it will SERVICE the community and many others. The name cannot yet be mentioned because I have not yet secured the domain name, plus, the domain name will also tell you what I got planned next. Sorry about that, I wish I could but I cannot afford losing the chance to secure the domain name I have in mind. Its a very fitting name for what I plan to do.
What do you guys think so far? Have you read this far down? Do you want to keep reading blogs like this? I seriously would like to know. Share your comments on Facebook about this. I am a person that loves writing so doing this does not bother me if nobody ever reads this stuff. I am just curious to see if you would rather I share some other type of content. This a jewelry site so what else can I possibly talk about, right? Therefore I do what seems legit. I have taken notice that some people find my statements to be too bold to handle. As if I am not entitled to an opinion or something. We all have that. I share it on MY pages, I do not post on anyone else's. You either like it or you don't. I totally understand that not everybody will get it, understand it, or perhaps disagree with it. It's all part of being a Satanist.
So at this point, its been a journal at this point. Should I go on? I think I will end it here.
I hope everyone has a better year than the last. I want to thank you all for the on-going support thus far and I hope you come back for more down the road.