I’ve been building my mailing list for 24 years. I started out with all the names and addresses I had in my personal address book, which was mostly college and high school friends. Then I went to the class reunion committees from Cedaredge High School where Dale and I both went to school and requested all the class reunion lists I could find. That first year I had 500 people on my mailing list and I mailed them all a postcard to let them know I was in business and selling toffee. I typed the mailing labels out individually on label forms, stuck them on the postcard by hand, licked the stamp I affixed to the card, and mailed them out.
This year, to my surprise, after 24 years of collecting addresses and adding them to my database, I found I had more than 18,000 addresses. I realize that isn’t a huge number compared to all the people in the United States, or maybe even in the state of Colorado, but I thought it was a pretty good number considering that everyone on that list has tasted, received, or given Ruth’s Toffee.
This year I decided to send a card or brochure to every person on that list. This was a change from previous years when I’ve just sent a brochure to people who have signed up for my mailing list or sent or received candy in the last 4-5 years. I sent to people who haven’t heard from me for years and it seems to have been a good tactic.
I’m grateful to have gotten orders from several people who received my card. Many have mentioned that they haven’t heard from me for years and I hope to hear from a lot more of the 18,000 on my list before Christmas. I love making my toffee and sending it all around the country. Most of all, though, I’m grateful for modern technology which allowed me to send out those 18,000 cards without having to type out the mailing labels individually.
We’ve made pounds and pounds of toffee this week and boxed some of it in our new boxes. We’ve made truffles and turtles and gotten them ready to send out. Our crunch and fudge are fresh and chocolate-y and delicious, just waiting to be shipped to a lucky recipient. Give us a call today or go on-line and let us know what we could send to you.
It has been a busy week since the launch of our new website. As might be expected on any new job, we’ve been learning a lot of things about the new site and our new shipping program. I think they may eventually work together well and work smoothly but it doesn’t seem to happen automatically and I’m still struggling with some things.
Sometimes, tech support is a valuable tool. A few nights ago I was staying up late trying to learn about shipping. I had made a test label for a shipment to figure out that I could actually just enter a name and address and print out a label if I needed to. Once I figured that out, though, I didn’t actually want to print the label but I couldn’t find a “Delete” option anywhere. I checked out all the options on the top menus — no “Delete” option. I searched through all the buttons on the left side of the shipping menu — lots of things to choose from but no “Delete” choice. By this time I was thoroughly frustrated but it was too late to call the friendly and helpful guys at the customer support center. I left the store stewing about how I would be able to get rid of an unwanted label without having to work around it for weeks when all I wanted to do was get rid of it.
The next morning, I called tech support as soon as they were open. I told the polite young man my problem with the unwanted label. I explained that I had looked EVERYWHERE and couldn’t find the option for “Delete” so how in the world would I be able to get rid of the unwanted label?!?! The polite young man hesitated only slightly and then quietly said, “Um. . . you just push the Delete button on your keyboard.” Ooops. That was one really simple option that totally had not occurred to me. I pictured all the polite young men at tech support rolling around on the floor holding their sides and belly laughing at me, but at least they don’t know who I am.
Wait . . . I told them my name when I called and put my picture and all my contact information up on the website. They not only know who I am but what I look like and where I live. Sheesh.
Hi from Ruth’s Toffee:
We’ve been working hard to launch a new website for Ruth’s Toffee. This project started back in June. Although I knew a lot was involved with setting up a new on-line commerce site, I still have been surprised about all the details that need to be tended to and all the aspects that need to be considered. It isn’t as easy as it looks! The finished product will accomplish what we wanted, though, which was to provide the on-line shopper with an easy, convenient, and attractive way to purchase from Ruth’s Toffee. We are also expecting some improvements in our shipping department to help us ensure orders get sent as ordered and on time even more efficiently than before.
I love modern technology! I am amazed when I look back at the changes that have happened in on-line shopping, web commerce, and shipping capabilities between now and when we started our business 24 years ago. For the first several years back in Bedrock, where Ruth’s Toffee was born, I would get in my car and carry my orders for the day to the local post office. The postmaster would weigh each box, calculate the postage, then count out the stamps in whatever combination of stamp denominations was the most efficient for sending the box. Then we’d stand there and lick and stick until the orders were all ready to go.
I thought the new sticky stamps the post office came out with were a wonderful invention. Licking them didn’t do any good — in fact it was frowned upon! — and we could peel and stick much faster than the old-fashioned lick and stick process. That process is absolutely antiquated, though, compared to what we can do now. My super-duper scale tells my computer how much the package weighs and the computer calculates the ship-to zone combined with the weight to figure out the postage needed, which is then printed out on my own printer. This is a sticky label so still no licking is needed! The postal service is informed of the process and knows a package label has been printed and will be leaving our facility. Someone in my computer or scale or the postal service or somewhere has my bank account number so if I run out of money to pay the postage, I just push a “yes” button and with almost absolutely NO effort on my part, they take big chunks of money out of my bank account. The process is so much different than standing in the post office back in Bedrock and licking stamps that I shake my head in amazement.
I look forward to the new advancements this website and modern technology will offer us. With all the changes in technology, though, one thing that hasn’t changed is the buttery, crunchy taste of Ruth’s Toffee. We still hand-craft our confection in small batches to bring you a beautiful and tasty gift. Treat someone special but don’t forget to treat yourself too — we can ship to everyone.
Launching a new website has been quite an adventure. I’m glad I’ve had an experienced and helpful team to get this project off the ground. Keep watching for more news when the website launches early in November.