We don't like following the crowd. So when something doesn't make since to us, even if everyone else is doing it, we don't follow suit. Often times it makes things a little bit more complicated for us, but knowing we can stand behind our business and the products we sell is more important than a quick buck! Which is one of the reasons why we don't dropship!
We import all of the items we sell direct from Poland. We work with my father-in-law Jacek who is based in Poland to source and purchase all of our products direct from the small companies who make them. We gather the products at a warehouse in Poland, and then load them all together to ship them to us here in the US. We store all the items we sell in our own warehouse and pack each order individually to ship to the customer who ordered it.
Most online businesses don't even stock the items they sell. Instead, an online business will choose items from a catalog that they have often never seen or used, and list them on their website. The catalog is provided by a large distribution company who imports the items and stores them at their gigantic warehouses. When an item sells, the business will automatically transmit the order information to the distributor's warehouse, and the distributor is the one to pack and ship the order. This is called "dropshipping", where the seller of the product doesn't ever possess the items they sell.
All of this is extremely cost efficient, and impersonal. Have you ever tried to get detailed information about one of these products from the online business, only to get very generic answers? It might be because they have never actually seen or used the product themselves!
While we've had many offers to set up this kind of arrangement for Stone Creek Trading, it just doesn't make sense to us. We founded our business on the notion that our customers deserve a connection to products they purchase. We want you to know where your products came from and we want you to know that the products we ship meet our high quality standards. If we never even see the products ourselves, we couldn't do that.
We know we could increase our profits if we changed to a "drop shipping" website. But we believe that the value of a small business is something greater than money. We hope that our customers choose to purchase from us not just because of our quality products and low prices, but because they want to support our traditional small family business!
* This blog post is part of a new series - Behind the Business. We want to give our customers more insight into the decisions we make everyday that contribute to how our business runs. We try to always keep the customers best interest in mind when making these decisions, and we want you to know why we at Stone Creek Trading aren't your "normal" online business. We are proud that we don't follow the "business rules" and choose to do things a little differently!