CysterWigs New Year’s Resolutions Part 2: 20 resolutions, new stuff, and other announcements

January 01, 2020 8 Comments

CysterWigs New Year’s Resolutions Part 2: 20 resolutions, new stuff, and other announcements

Hi there, Wig Lovers! New Year’s is the time of sentimental endings and hopeful new beginnings. 

Today's New Year's Day Resolutions will hopefully show why we still have the eye of the tiger, the thrill of the fight, and are rising up to the challenge of our rivals. (I mean, I could sing that entire song. But, since this is a blog post, it will kind of get lost in the format. Moving on . . . )

Note: There are a ton of images of new products and prototypes in this post, particularly towards the end, and it took a lot longer than expected to edit. My apologies for not getting this up earlier.  

 

Resolution #1: Continuing to give credit where it is due and express thanks.

Thank you to everyone who has expressed support for me, my husband, and our team. Thank you for your prayers, consideration, and your time. I worried myself sick about whether or not I should talk so openly about what I’ve been going through. There is a very real risk involved in being so open about these matters, and it was very scary. It really means a lot to know you’re on our side and that you care. We are so very grateful to you and thank you for your kindness and support. We will never stop trying to show you how much we appreciate you at every step of our operation.

 

Resolution #2: A way you can help us: we’re launching a fundraiser.

https://cysterwigs.com/products/fund-raiser-micro-invest-in-our-exclusive-products

All of the details are on the product page. Essentially, this is an attempt to crowd-source very specific goals without giving a percentage of the cut to Kickstarter. Most of the targets will be outlined in more detail throughout the rest of this blog post, and will include images of what we’re working on. We are able to do this without asking for help, but the process is very slow because it is limited by the money we have on hand to make it happen. We are also actively seeking professional investors to help get this off the ground. That being said, I don’t think anyone has more of a stake in this than our fans and customers. I wanted to create a way where you could help us meet our goals faster if you decide you’d like to help.

 

Resolution #3: 30% off coupon changes.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the constant coupons are really killing our margins. However, I do totally understand how important the savings can be for folks on fixed budgets. (Been there, done that, could write the book.) I decided that a compromise on this issue was the best way to go.

Estetica is the brand that mandated that we had to change the coupon code every month in order to run our INHOUSE discounts. That is a pain in the you-know-what. We are dropping them from the 30% off coupon and will use the same couponing model for them that we use for Jon Renau: periodic, controlled 30% off discounts via our newsletter.

The good news is that now the coupon will never change for the other brands in the Eligible for 30% Off collection on our site, making your coupon code options pretty easy to keep up with. It’s just a simple “INHOUSE” like in the good old days. Since I am just announcing this today, Estetica is included in this month’s INHOUSE coupon. After January 31, they will be removed from that discount in favor of monthly or bi-monthly coupons via the newsletter.

 

Resolution #4: We’re investing in new mannequins with diverse facial shapes and skin tones since I can’t afford models. 

I want to put a little more effort into presenting our custom products in a way that will showcase how they look on people that look nothing like me. I’m an inexpensive wig model, but I totally understand that am hardly representative of what all of my customers look like. 

 

Resolution #5: We’re launching a new exclusive BelleTress wig in Spring 2020 called PHOENIX.

Phoenix is a custom-designed wig that we’re making exclusively for our store. It will be the first custom BelleTress wig we’re making with their heat-friendly fiber, in some of their most popular colors. The first batch will be made in: Butterbeer Blonde, Honey with Chai Latte, Champagne with Apple Pie, Chocolate with Caramel, and Mocha with Cream. If she sells well, I will add more classic BelleTress colors to subsequent orders. If she sells really well, we will add in some of our custom non-heat-friendly colors and slowly start designing more styles based on customer input.

Phoenix was the brainchild of an email conversation between myself and the owner of BelleTress. I was lamenting that super-cute styles like Hunter and Jones by Estetica and Paige by Henry Margu don’t have enough monofilament. The fact that the curl on Jones looks nothing like the product image was also a topic of that discussion. We brainstormed and the result was Phoenix.

Phoenix is a very similar style to the ones that inspired it, except with some very important differences. This is not a copy of those styles. It’s a very deliberate upgrade. Phoenix is heat-friendly. This means that if you want her to be curlier or straighter, that power is literally in your hands. She has a thinner, feather-light bang that is much easier to control and work with than the thicker bangs on the styles that inspired her. She also comes out of the box with a shattered curl that looks more like the product images of Jones than the actual Jones does. The real MVP is the cap construction: Phoenix has a generous, deep, hand-tied monofilament side part and a full temple-to-temple lace front. 

Our feisty little Phoenix is a total babe. I took some images to show you the approved Phoenix prototype. The color is Butterbeer Blonde. Pre-orders will most likely begin for this sometime in late January or early February.

 

Resolution #6: We’re making more Ambrose wigs and we’re expanding the colors offered.

Ambrose was a massive hit. We took a gamble that some folks might not mind a wig that skimps on higher-end cap features as long as it is cute, comfortable, and inexpensive. Most importantly, we were very up-front about the trade-offs we made in the effort to keep the price low, and I think that honesty is what helped make this wig such a smash.

We’re asked all the time when we’ll be bringing her back. Folks also frequently ask for more colors. We’ve already committed to making a lot more of these and we’re greatly expanding the number of colors available for purchase. They are in production now. More details will be released once we get closer to the delivery date. Tentative restock will be around March or April. (It can take a while to make these.)

 

Resolution #7: THE RETURN OF JEWELED PEACOCK

We’ve received epic amounts of feedback about this, ranging from cute hints that we should bring this color back, to people begging for it outright.

Well, Cysters, fret no more! After all, who are we to keep you from this luscious one-of-a-kind blend?

We are planning to bring you two wigs in this for 2020: Cascara and Rose Ella. If these two styles sell well, we will make these wigs in some of our other custom colors (Raspberry Cocoa Frappe, for example) too. I’m even open to offering these colors in more styles based on how well they perform on these styles.

The Rose Ella will be made in the long-rooted version of this blend. We tried it both ways and found that the longer root really complimented the overall texture and Columbia-esque barely-there curl of this unique Boho style. We’ve already approved this prototype. Pre-orders will begin in early February and we expect them to arrive at our warehouse in early summer. (As I mentioned earlier, these things take a while when you’re a stickler for quality controls like I am.)

Cascara will need a revision, so she will be following a little later on this year. We had a version made with no rooting and it was just a bit too much, particularly with the neon permatease at the front and the bright blue at the front hairline. We are going to add a short dark brown root and try again. We don’t want the root to be too dark because aside from those two nit-picky critiques, this cut looks phenomenal in this color. I am so excited about it! I want to get it right before we commit to manufacturing. More details to follow as things progress.

 

Resolution #8: More automations, no cancellation window.

We want to automate our fulfillment to save money and to help speed up our order processing. Right now, the process is very labor intensive due to the fact that we have to hold the orders for that 4-hour window and submit them manually. We can automate this and speed things up all across the board by doing away with the standard free-cancellation / order modification window. This change has already been made to our store policies. It will probably be a couple months before all the automations are complete and all the kinks are hammered out. Our sincere hope is that you will notice an improvement in overall over processing speeds once this process is complete. We’re expecting to be done with this target by the summer.

 

Resolution #9: Y’all have spoken, and the free shipping stays.

We recently polled our private Facebook group and asked them if they had to choose, would they prefer free shipping (which benefit most people) or free returns (which really only benefit folks who need returns). I am glad I asked, because it proved that my instincts on this were right-on for our customers. The free shipping stays in 2020.

 

Resolution #10: Return fees are going up for a refund to the original payment method.

This is another change that has already been made in our systems and policies that went into effect today, 1/1/2020. As of today, refunds to original payment method will be charged a 15% restocking fee with a $15 minimum. (Refunds to store credit will stay at 10% with a $10 minimum.)

In yesterday’s blog post, I went into great detail about how tight our margins are and how expensive these products are relative to how much we make selling them. Returns to original payment method add an extra layer of challenge to all of this. For example, after Black Friday we had a return rate of 1 in 4. As in, for every 4 items we shipped out, 1 came back. (For the record: this is an INSANELY high return rate.) 78% of these returns were due to subjective issues, like color preference, that we have little control over. Additionally, almost 80% of those returns requested a refund to original payment method. That means on slow sales days in December 2019, we literally had to decide whether to process those refunds or process new orders because we did not always have the money to do both. (In full disclosure: We almost always opt in these situations to prioritize new orders over issuing return refunds, though we obviously can’t make either wait too long.)

The other projects in this blog post are very expensive. That is making this juggling act very rough right now. We lose substantial money on credit card / PayPal fees, labor and time expense, and a whole host of other expenses that are not refunded to us, even if we issue a refund to you. Returns are very expensive for our store, even before we consider the epic shrinkage, fraud, and theft.

I won’t mince words about it: we are absolutely trying to incentivize people to keep what they buy from us. If they can’t, we want them to opt to keep their money in our store in the form of an exchange for store credit if they need to return.

 

Resolution #11: More of our Signature Line wigs (“Sister Wigs”) will be stocked every two weeks.

We will add freshly styled CysterWigs Signature Collection wigs – Annika, Artemis, Aurora, etc. – to our inventory every two weeks. It really just depends on how many we can style and how quickly we can package them and add them to the inventory. If you’re in love with a sold-out style or color, we recommend checking those products about once a week.

 

Resolution #12: We are committed to replenishing our stock on our EUROLINE styles about once a month, or whenever most of them are sold out, depending on which happens first.

We will also continue to add new styles to this popular collection as time, our budget, and customer demands dictate. We will announce it in the newsletter when we receive new shipments from Germany. If you keep buying them, we will keep restocking them.

 

Resolution #13: I will continue to poll our Moon Kitty Mixup Facebook group about new ideas or potential changes to the store.

Who needs focus groups when we have a whole bunch of active, informed, and interested Wig Lovers who are generally full of pretty awesome ideas? Our customers know what they want and I want to give it to them whenever I can.

 

Resolution #14: While we’re pretty meh about the phones, we love that you love the personalized video messages!  

My team and I love making the personalized video messages. It’s a nice way to show our customers that we’re actually taking the time to think of them and answer their questions. We may try to automate more of the routine shop stuff, such as, “what are your hours?” type questions. However, when it comes to helping you find your hair, we want you to know that you have our full attention. Your needs and preferences matter to us.

 

Resolution #15: The great purge of 2019 is over. Long live CysterWigs.  

Our announced purge of unpopular, heavily returned, and under-selling styles is now complete. We removed a total of 236 unprofitable styles from our site as a result of customer orders and feedback. Thank you for helping us find the keepers and get rid of the ones that you weren’t as interested in. We hope this makes your shopping experience easier and more enjoyable!

 

Resolution #16: Similar Style libraries.  

I am currently coding a tool for the site that will create Similar Style libraries, so customers can more easily shop for similar styles when their favorites are sold out. This will be much easier now that we’ve reduced the number of items in the store. (Thank you again for your help!) We hope to finish this and roll it out to our help desk to use as a client tool by early Spring. We will make it available to everyone as an aid to help them shop once we fix any potential bugs.

 

Resolution #17: We’re adding two new colors to our Signature Line, Karma Carnelian and Light Mushroom.

You asked for a brighter red and a pretty grey. Those are hard colors to make on a large scale because grey wearers and red wearers all want a specific blend and color layout…and no two people seem to want the same thing! Here is my attempt to see if I can make your 2020 start off on a super positive note. These will be available for sale sometime in the next two weeks. 

Karma Carnelian (my husband came up with the name) is a rich, vibrant medium copper with subtle highlights of natural light auburn brown. It is not a brown, which will make fans of real reds and coppers jump for joy. This is definitely a warm copper that will pop like a jewel in bright lights, while still looking office-appropriate under fluorescents.

Light Mushroom is a subtle take on the Mushroom Brown trend. Similar to a #38, our Mushroom Brown is an equal blend of two different browns and two different greys, giving it a dynamic, lusciously ashen appearance. It’s the shimmery middle ground between a light brown and a medium grey, evenly blended throughout, with no highlights.

Both colors will be available for Annika, Aurora, and Artemis styles. Like with other experimental styles in this blog post, if they sell well, we will add these colors to future releases too.

 

Resolution #18: We’re flirting with potentially opening an Etsy store to sell reimagined versions of popular styles.

When manufacturers send us lemons, we hire a Master Cosmetologist to turn those lemons into one-of-a-kind masterpieces. We’re considering opening a small Etsy store, since one-of-a-kind handmade goods and custom pieces are what that marketplace is all about. (We would not be selling our normal catalog there.)

Here are a few examples of the dozens of custom units we are currently creating:

This Sonoma was shampooed and conditioned. Then, we heavily stacked and layered the back to give it a more tapered, short, and dramatic appearance. The gradient of the cut is now much steeper. The front has been trimmed and the curl intentionally loosened to make the overall appearance softer and sweeter.

This Brooklyn was shampooed and conditioned before we texturized the layers, trimmed the lace front (which had been previously ripped), and added face framing layers to the area in the front. Finally, we steamed the curls to soften them up a little and play up the new texture of the layering we put in.

Kendall was a mess when we got her. We shampooed and conditioned her, then we cut 2” off of the bottom all around the wig, making her the same length on the back and sides. By keeping the factory wavy texture, we were able to turn this into an effortlessly cool, short, texturized bob.

If we do decide to launch an Etsy, we'll let you all know via the MKM Facebook group and our newsletter. 

 

Resolution #19: We’re adding two new “Sister Wigs” -- and we need your help naming one of them!

These two sister CysterWigs Signature Collection styles are scheduled to be released in early February. We’ve been working on them for the past 8 months and they are almost ready for prime time.

Both of these wigs are classic chic bobs with ultra-premium 100% hand-tied caps. (Absolutely no tracks at all. I made sure of that!) They both have polyurethane on the ear tabs for easy application of adhesive if you need it and feature transparent, pre-cut, glue-less lace fronts and felt-covered extended napes. They are absolutely identical caps and cuts, and can fit petite-average to average-large courtesy of her built-in adjusters.

Imogen is all of these things with a big, loose curl added to give her a spirited and fresh personality. She was in the works well before Jon Renau released their new Parker style and would make an attractive alternative if you’d prefer a fully hand-tied cap.

Her sister, on the other hand, is straight with a slight rounding at the ends to approximate a blow-dry finish with a round brush. This helps her lay soft and naturally.

They are both gorgeous and very flattering. However, I can’t make up my mind about the name for the straighter sister!

If you would like to help us pick a name, please join our Moon Kitty Mixup group on Facebook. (But be sure to answer all the questions or the mods won't let you into the group to protect us all from spammers.) I will start the poll sometime this weekend (January 3 or 4). Whomever comes up with the winning name will get one of the as-of-now nameless wigs for free on us as a reward.

Condition: The name needs to start with the letter “I”, just like her sister, “Imogen.” Stay tuned to our Facebook group for more details.

 

Resolution #20: Have a beautiful and prosperous New Year, Cysters!




8 Responses

Rachel
Rachel

January 04, 2020

I love your plans and energy for the future! The Etsy store is a GREAT idea. And “similar styles” would be so helpful for those of us who don’t even know how to describe what we like!

Here’s a business question I’d love to have answered, since you’ve pulled back the curtain on a lot of inside wig biz: do you hate it when people price match? If you aren’t offering a Jon Renau coupon right now, but someone else is and I ask for a price match, is that in any way worse for you than if I wait for you to have a JR sale?

Really don’t want to screw you guys over, but 30% off makes a lot of wigs attainable that wouldn’t be otherwise. I can wait for your sales if it makes a difference though!

Serine H
Serine H

January 03, 2020

I love all of these plans! And I vote YES to the Etsy store – what fun! (I especially love what you all did with the reimagined ROP Sonoma – that style is exactly what I’ve been looking for!) Great job, Heather. Looking forward to jumping into 2020 with you, your staff, and your store. :)

Melissa
Melissa

January 02, 2020

Thank you for this series of very detailed blog posts. I only shop from Cysterwigs and am a member of the Moon Kitty Mixup group. I absolutely love that you offer a curated collection of wigs rather than every style out there. I love the euroline, signature line, and all of the limited run pieces you do. I love the idea of an Etsy shop. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do this year.

Chandra Steppy
Chandra Steppy

January 02, 2020

Omg, so many exciting things!!! I can’t wait for the rooted peacock, Etsy store and short hand tied cap bob!!! I need to start saving $$$!!! 💙💙💙

Lisa Mullins
Lisa Mullins

January 02, 2020

I love the idea of the Etsy shop and customizing some of the funky styles! I’m amazed at that Sonoma! You turned her into such a wearable style! Brilliant! As far as the new bob, my vote for her name is Ingrid! She has a bit of a spy vibe!

Gina R
Gina R

January 02, 2020

What a way to start the new decade! Such exciting things to look forward to. New styles, new colors, and new guidelines all to help us and you. I’d rather pay a little more and have an honest company stay in business than feed the beast at the other end. Honesty will win every time in my book.
I love the idea of having similar styles together! Brilliant! Saves time on both sides.
The Etsy store is so smart. Why not sell what you’ve upgraded to originals.
Can’t wait to see this year unfold. Wishing you all you’re working toward this year.
Thank you again.
Gina

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

January 02, 2020

I love the idea of an Etsy shop for customized wigs! It seems like a great idea to salvage an otherwise good unit. I say give it a try!

Annie Foss
Annie Foss

January 02, 2020

Bravo, Heather!! Exciting and enticing new styles and colors that shows your passion and ingenuity! (Typing that makes me think…. let me be the first to suggest Ingenuity as the new wig name!) I look forward to trying more of your creations! Time to fill my piggy bank back up!!

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