premium-for-plush

Yee!

Ok! I am SO EXCITED to be writing this review.

I haven’t had a “real” mattress since 2003. We’ve been sleeping on air beds (yeah, for camping), piles of blankets, and this thing:

Ugh.


There was a Tumblr post going around with a review of Zinus mattresses, specifically this one, that was worded all casual and candid, but only used stock photos of the product. That didn’t feel trustworthy to me.

Considering how inexpensive the mattresses are (About $300 for most styles in Queen size!!!), I wanted a real user review.

So I did some research, read more “verified purchase” reviews on Amazon than I can count, and decided to give the  Zinus Memory Foam 12 Inch Premium Ultra Plush Cloud-like Mattress a go, because this one has a removable, washable, pillow topper.

ANYTHING is better than a hide-a-bed mattress on the floor with 18 blankets on it of varying sizes to make it less lumpy, right?

Yes?

Keep reading

Why you SHOULD NOT make a plush for Kickstarter

First of all, Purrmaids have been going ultra successfully, but because of that, I’ve had a LOT of messages about how to create a plush, but, what a lot of people do not seem to ask is “SHOULD I create a plush?”

This is not to say that no one should make a plush design, but instead, this is a discussion of all of the difficult elements associated with running and managing plush design.

#1. Prototypes, ALONE, are expensive.

Chances are, you’re going through a company that’s helping you work with a factory, and doing most of the heavy lifting for you.  This means you’ll easily be paying $300 to $500 JUST for a prototype.  Add in another $70 or so to have it shipped to you for final evaluation and you’re already in for more money than most merchandise runs cost outside of books and extra large orders.

#2. but wait, what if I go directly to the factory?  Isn’t that cheaper?

Yes it is, but now you will need to deal with customs, payment, and everything all on your own.  Also, if your factory runs into any problems, do you have any way of communicating with them in their own language?  If not, you’re upping your risk.  Before going directly to a factory, ask yourself if you can: one, communicate with them if there is a problem; two, if you even know how to provide feedback and direction that is primarily visual, and easily understood by someone who CANNOT READ YOUR NOTES; three, if you are willing to tackle international bulk shipping on your own, and potentially deal with customs forms, and customs payments if things go wrong.

#3. Most people’s designs just aren’t that good.

Why are you creating a plush?  What does your plush bring to the market that isn’t already there?  WHY should people pay a premium for your plush when they could go to WalMart or Target and find larger, often more inexpensive plush?  I feel like a lot of people don’t seem to really dive into these questions when they go into plush production.  I see a lot of two types of plush being made (and often never being funded)
A. A plush that is super personal to them, and is not a design that will be understood or loved by the masses.

Like, I get it!  You want to make your OC into a plush because YOU love it so much.  Remember, the more SPECIFIC your design gets, the smaller the crowd gets that you’re selling it to.  You may be really, really down with your purple wolf with teenaged punker hair, and fishnet stockings, but will a mom down the street want to buy that same plush?  This doesn’t mean you should only design what you think will sell well, but you do need to realize there is a balance between “Ideas I want to make” vs “Ideas that will actually sell”

B. A person designing a plush to look like what they consider a sellable plush to look like.  A lot of times they wind up creating generic poses, expressions or shapes, which puts them directly in competition with the thousands of mass produced plush already existing.

In the case of A, you’ll likely only find yourself funded if your plush already has a huge following, and in the case of B, a lot of people won’t be that interested in your plush, because it looks like everything else already out there.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t design what is essentially a common or generic plush and not make it interesting.  For instance, Naomi Romero’s corgi and shiba inu plush are wonderful because they are full of HER personality.  Even though you can find hundreds of those types of plush, you won’t find any that look the way hers do.  Avoid giving your plush a traditional teddy bear stance unless it ADDS to the character.  If you’re an artist, we really want to buy YOUR personality in a plush, and not just buy a plush produced by you.  In the case of my Siamese Beta plush, which had the MOST revisions of any of my designs, I went through about 2 weeks worth and maybe 30-40 drawings before I settled in on a design that I thought was both iconic, unique, and looked like my art, which ALSO worked well as a plush.

#4 Wait, how much do plush cost again??

You’ll easily be spending anywhere from 3,500 to 10,000 to produce your plush project.  This is a LOT of dollars to put into a project that you aren’t sure everyone will purchase.  And there are some other issues assuming it’s fully funded on Kickstarter… (and we’ll get to the issues with Kickstarter, soon!)


#5 Shipping to your home will likely cost you more than the production of the plush.

Let’s assume you get your plush made for that low number of $3,500.  It’s fairly likely that if you want shipping by air or courier (sea can take 3-4 months) you’ll be paying another $3,000 to $6,000 just to ship it to your address.
This means that already your plush are costing a lot more than you may have assumed, which means less profit for you, the creator.

#6 Also, shipping to your customers is ALSO expensive.

Oh yeah, and now that you’ve spent all that money, to ALSO ship to your customers expect another $5 to $14 per domestic order depending on number of plush they ordered.  International shipping is EASILY $17 for Canada or $25 for international (US numbers).  If you have a very small plush, you may be able to get away with less, but basically, you’ll be spending a lot more dollars to make sure these items can even get to your fans in the first place.

#7 So, Kickstarter.  Let’s discuss where most people go wrong here.

We’ve already gotten into why these plush are super expensive, and that is JUST to create them.  Now, the great thing about Kickstarter is that it allows you to make sure there is enough funding and interest in your plush before you create them!  So, why is Kickstarter a bad idea for your plush?
A. almost everyone doesn’t raise enough money.
I’m not talking about whether your project is funded… what I mean is that most people only try to raise the cost OF PRODUCING THEIR PLUSH!  You need to consider the cost of shipping it to you and then shipping it out to backers!  Not to mention the fact you already lose about 10% of your profit right off the bat to Kickstarter and credit card fees, and yes, that includes what you raised in shipping fees.  It’s much better to be unfunded than to raise enough to purchase your plush, but not ship it to backers.
B. On top of section A, lots of people have TONS of backer rewards from stickers to buttons to all kinds of other products that they often don’t charge enough for, or give away.  These all eat off of your profit.
C. Most people REALLY ARE NOT ready to mail out 100 packages all at once, let alone 600-1000, or whatever crazy number you may wind up at if you over fund.  More on this, later.

#8 Well, what if I just self fund?

That’s fine, but what will you do if you go to a convention and literally only sell 1-2 of your plush?  It’s unlikely that most plush sellers you see are selling hundreds or thousands of plush a con.  Most of them are probably selling 15-50 or so plush at a large con. It takes a lot of sales to pay back your initial investment unless you have distributors, or an initial funding.

#9 OK, so you funded, did everything right, and now have a giant pile of plush… wait, where are you even going to STORE these?

We’re ordering 3,000 Purrmaid plush and an additional 1000 baby Purr mini beanbags.  The combined weight for all of these is a metric ton, or about the weight of a fully grown polar bear.  This all sounds pretty cool until you start to wonder where the hell all of these guys are gonna be placed?  I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment and most of the extra space is already full of my business supplies.  In my case we have rented not 1 but TWO 10x20′ garages, and I’m still not sure that’ll be enough.  There’s a fair chance I’ll be spending an additional $150 or so a month to rent a larger storage unit until I’m able to finish sending out my Kickstarter orders if they won’t fit in the space I already have.
Now, if you’re a kid at home, will your parents really be able or willing to store even 500 plush?  If you’re not super well off and living in a 1 bedroom apartment, or if you have roommates, do you have the shared space to store 12-20 large boxes?  Can you afford to pay for monthly storage at possibly premium rates?  These are extra expenses that people don’t always consider.

#10 You have all of the above… how are you going to get these plush to cons??

Remember, plush are LARGE ITEMS!  Unless you have super tiny plush you’re gonna have to invest in a way to get these guys to shows with you.  We drive a Honda Civic and already it’s pretty full when we go out to shows.  We invested about $400 into getting a roof rack and top carrier so we can store our plush above us since the car was full.  Alternatively, you may need to start mailing boxes of plush to every single show, adding extra costs.  You’ll probably need to invest in a vacuum sealer.  Again, all of these costs eat out of your final profit.

#11 Do you have the ability to take time off work, or put aside contract work to ship out 300 to 1000 boxes?

A couple years ago when I was moving I put a TON of things onto Ebay.  I sold about 25-30 items at once, and set them up so they all shipped in flat rate boxes.  Despite that, to just package and ship these 25-30 items took me the WHOLE weekend.  There was a huge mess of boxes and packages and I had to make sure not to mix anything up.  That’s baby business compared to my 600 Kickstarter backers and additional 200 or so preorders.  There ARE websites designed to help you with the shipping process, but they cost money.  There are label printers, but they cost money.  There are a lot of things to make life easier, but it WILL cost money, and if you don’t use them, it’ll cost you a ton of time.  I’m self employed, so I have to purposely NOT take on any work for about 2 months while I take care of these Purrmaids.

#12  Are you good enough with your money that you can COMPLETELY separate the money you raise for your plush from your regular funds?

This is super important.  In our case we had about $37,000 coming into our bank account, so we had to make sure to have a separate account JUST for Purrmaids.  I’ve always been juggling money, because I ran a large household for several years, and had to deal with accepting large multi thousand dollar plus rent payments, while juggling student loan payments, and other bills, all at the same time.  Separation is ESSENTIAL in cases like this, or you risk mixing up your dinner income with your plush money.  The worst thing you can do is accidentally use your Kickstarter or plush pre-order money on paying off some bills and then when it comes to shipping your items, have no money left over.  No one wants to go into massive debt.  Be extra wary because it’s very likely you’ll have to wait MONTHS before you even start to pay the money back into shipping and the like and you NEED to realize that this Kickstarter money is basically untouchable until every last order has been sent out.  Are you strong enough to stare at $35,000 while your bank account maybe only has $5,000 in it, and then pay your 1,000 to 2,000 bill off using your regular savings and NOT the plush order? If you can’t do that, you’re not ready to run an expensive Kickstarter.  If you live month to month on your paychecks, you REALLY should reconsider running a massive Kickstarter.  Why?


#13 You WILL go over budget.

I think there are rare people who keep things completely in budget, and GO THEM!  Most likely, you’re going to go over budget.  Either accidentally (You forgot to consider shipping costs, or forgot to include the cost of the boxes and envelopes TO ship, or delays came up, estimates were off, etc), or purposely decided to go over budget (In our case, we hired a lawyer, and then decided to raise some plush numbers from 500 to 1000, AND are producing the baby Purrs out of pocket, 500 of which we are just giving away for free!).
You should always have some savings in place, and plan to use some of it towards your project, or, have a dedicated pre-order system in place to help take care of extra costs.  Again, remember that every single dime of income should be held aside until 100% of your orders are shipped.

#14 Some of your plush WILL get lost in the mail.

I haven’t yet gotten to the shipping part, but I’ve been running a business for years, now.  Mail gets lost some times.  It sucks.  You better have a plan in place for all customers who do not get their expensive items, and which you’ll likely be covering out of pocket while you wait for your *hopefully* insured mail to send you a refund.

#15 Are you seriously willing to check the internet every single day to answer questions, and post updates, and deal with angry people if there are delays?

SO many people are just terrible about customer service.  This seems straightforward to me, but seriously, if you are going to run a massive fundraising thing, stay in touch with everyone.  If you’re shy, and don’t like answering emails, have a person who WILL for you.  If you can’t do any of this, re-consider having a plush.

#17 Have you taken care of a large multi hundred or multi thousand dollar order before?

If not, PLEASE do that thing first!!!  Consider ordering special bookmarks, enamel pins, glittery prints, soft cover books, or ANYTHING before you consider doing a plush project.  These projects will often cost anywhere from $200 to $2500 to produce, which is significantly less money you risk losing if things go wrong.  In addition to all of that, it’s practice for what it means to deal with outsourcing, and shipping out orders.  It takes practice to really understand the costs of shipping and production, as well as how to market yourself at a convention or online.  I do fairly well, but I still have a good 50 or 60 books leftover from my massive 500 book order a couple years back.  Dealing with storing the books, traveling with them, and displaying them gave me a ton of practice for dealing with an item that will undoubtedly be much more expensive and difficult to manage.  I’ve been selling my art for about 6 years or so, and 2-3 years fully freelance.  If I had done this plush order even 2 years ago I would NOT have been ready for the undertaking.

Start with small items and build your way up.  Your dream might be to make and produce a plush, but don’t become a sucker to that dream and hurt yourself financially with a HUGE undertaking unless you’re really ready for it.  Don’t think of plush as a get rich quick scheme, until you really understand 100% of the costs behind it.

Just be smart if you go into plush production.

I’m going to write up a full post on my Purrmaid plush Kickstarter around January or so, but until then, I figure it’s important to note that out of the $39,200 we raised, our estimated final costs are closer to $45,000.  We actually DID plan to put our own money down on this project, and have made financial choices with full awareness, but I worry other people see that $40,000 funding raised and assume the money was pure income.  Don’t jump into a huge financial undertaking unless you have the full ability to take care of it.  Plush are DEFINITELY not a product for everyone, and I just want people to be aware of the difficulties behind it BEFORE they start down that road!!

That said, if you read all of this, know you got it, and produce a plush, please share it with me!  I love seeing all kinds of artistic creations!

Kiki

Packages!

Because I feel empty if I’m not waiting on mail…

Zinus Memory Foam 12 Inch Premium Ultra Plush Cloud-like Mattress, Queen - Today! - I am so excited! I’ve not owned or slept on a “real” mattress since 2003…. My back is a mess. I’ll let you all know how it is.

Doll house kit - Monday, May 8 - I might leave this one as-is if the wallpaper isn’t too pixellated. This is the first one that I’ve liked all of the details.
And I’ll need someone to live in it. The first one has my repainted Funko Mystery Minis Vinyl Figure - Barbie - 1961 FLIGHT ATTENDANT which doesn’t really make sense, but she fits, and the second has a  Lil’ Woodzeez Bobbleheads Collectible Chipmunk.

Those two spinners (1,2) which have a real tracking number and that’s always encouraging when ordering something that ships from China. Those are predicted to arrive somewhere near the end of May, but will hopefully show up sooner like the doll house kit.

[CONTEST OVER] Win a Harvest Moon Panda Plushie

Thank you everyone for joining me on the new Tumblr journey. The Natsume fandom, notably the Harvest Moon fandom, has been amazing and so very open and welcoming. To say “thank you!” to that group of fans, we’re giving away an extremely rare plushie:

This adorable panda was previously available San Diego Comic Con in 2013; it has never been a pre-order bonus, or a giveaway or prize before. This is the Natsume plushie collector’s dream, and TWO LUCKY WINNERS will receive their very own adorable panda – and be the envy of all the plushie collectors~

How to Enter:
*Follow my tumblr (ceecee-natsume)
*One entry for a like OR reblog; Three entries for a like AND reblog.  Maximum of one share and/or reblog, three entries maximum per user; re-sharing over and over is just spam!

That’s it! We’ll choose two winners who will each receive:
1 x Premium-sized “Harvest Moon” Panda plush.

How can you resist this cute tail?  Enter today!

LEGAL RULES:
a) Contest is open starting NOW, January 17th and will run until January Monday 20th at 11:59pm PST and is open to North American residents over 16.  
b) Winners will be announced via Tumblr post.  One winner per household; winners must send CeeCee their contact information within fourteen (14) days or forfeit their prize.
c) Prizes will be awarded as-is; no substitutes will be offered. No delivery estimate is guaranteed.
d) All contest decisions are at the discretion of Natsume, Inc., and are final.
e) Employees of Natsume, their partners and their families, are not eligible for a prize.

Rosy61987 fan

rosy61987sells-fake is despicable. 

Rosy is such an awesome and sweet girl and that fact that someone is trying to ruin her reputation for something she loves and has worked hard at, annoys me to no end. I only have five alpacasso currently and three of them have come from Rosy’s storenvy. But I ordered my sister the pink pirate alpacasso from Rosy’s ebay after she saw my Ace, as a birthday present. 

I’d recommend both of the sellers (rosy and plushies paradise) I’ve used to anyone and I usually don’t condone badmouthing sellers, but having spoke to another user over her issue with PFP, I think it’s really only necessary to warn other buyers. 

And, just for proof I’m a person with said genuine Rosy alpacas (its night time here shh)Ordered from Newest to oldest. My Fresh Soda paca (still needs a name), Mr Bear the Love Hat alpacasso and then Captain Yuki (Ace Wu…who looks a little scraggly now compared to that first picture ^^;;)