I don’t talk much about the logistical side of Lost Art Press because it’s not woodworking. And I try to stick to woodworking as much as possible.
But occasionally, it’s necessary to drop the curtain and acknowledge a milestone.
About six years ago, John and I filled every order from our houses. I had our order processing computer propped on a folding table, and I’d put my feet on the litter box as I manually printed out every label for every order. John and his family did the same thing (without the litter box – John has dogs).
It was a good kind of drudgery. John and I now know enough about order systems and customer service that we’re picky about how our boxes are packed and our customers are treated.
This year, John devoted a ton of his time to find a new fulfillment service for Lost Art Press and Crucible Tool that makes everything better for you and us. The service is TF Fulfillment, and it’s northwest of Indianapolis in an area that is a hotbed of services such as this.
What’s in this for you? The warehouse is climate controlled and humidity controlled, so your books will arrive without having absorbed excess moisture. (We’re also starting to shrinkwrap all of our titles to help control moisture. We’re not wild about the extra plastic and extra expense, but it’s the best way to protect our goods.)
Also, TF Fulfillment is far more automated and modern than our previous efforts. So you are less likely to get a shipment with the wrong things in the box. One person picks the books. A second person checks their work. Also, we have the same two people working on our orders every day. So they know the difference between “To Make as Perfectly as Possible” and “With All the Precision Possible.”
Also, TF does a great job of packing boxes. If you’ve received a box from us in the last couple months you might have noticed. Good packaging means fewer damaged books.
I also think it’s important to say this on occasion: I couldn’t do this without John. We’re equal partners in Lost Art Press, and we both do difficult jobs that we wouldn’t wish on other people. I get a lot of credit because my name is at the bottom of most of these blog posts, but this business wouldn’t be successful without the both of us.
OK, back to woodworking.
— Christopher Schwarz
15 thoughts on “Wait, I Can’t Smell Kitty Litter”
All the books I have received (so far) have been in excellent condition. The best packing of any I have got from anywhere.
Thanks for the extra effort. I appreciate it very much.
And the books are great!
Thanks for the books I’ve received in the past. I have my own kitty litter.
It is all too easy to take such an operation for granted.
For years, I admired the way a world-famous museum’s gift shop used a practically anonymous return address on its packages. No one would suspect that anything of value was contained in the drab box.
Yesterday, I received a relatively large package from this store. Fortunately, the FedEx Ground driver had the good sense (not shared by quite a few of his colleagues) to put the package inside my back hall. The tape on the box had the repeated text “World-famous museum’s gift shop” (I have anonymized the text) and incredibly, at least one side of the box had this text on it, in huge Helvetica text:
Just What You’ve Been Waiting For
Thank you John! And big ups for that time when I ordered the chore coat and you packed and sent it to me personally, helping me with the shipping to Norway, which was a bit tricky.
If shrink wrap annoys you, Lee Valley use zip-lock bags when they send your books (and others). Don’t know where they get them from, very heavy duty and in odd sizes. But they are definitely re-useable when the book goes on the bookshelf, not headed for the landfill.
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but here is the secret:
I’m always eager to look behind the curtain. Learning new things is exciting, whether it’s woodworking, or woodworking-adjacent.
I admit I come here for the woodworking, but I also enjoy these posts about publishing. Happy to read more about it if you have something to share.
all of your efforts and attention to detail are noted and absorbed. Thanks for being so (darned) good in what you do.
My shop is in the basement. Right next to my shop is the somewhat-finished bathroom where the cat does her thing. I always smell the kitty litter.
I’m glad my books don’t smell like it, too.
I don’t know if anyone reads return email to this address, but I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying reading, and looking at the photos, in The Intelligent Hand. The writing is wonderful and the storytelling fascinating. I don’t want it to end.
I have several of your titles and they are among my most prized possessions.
Lou Hampel firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Lou! Much appreciated!!
As someone who developed inventory control and fulfillment systems for a high end mail order house in the 1980s, I really appreciate your efforts to locate a quality fulfillment service. Many businesses think they can do fulfillment, but only a few really succeed. Thanks for the great service as well as your great products.
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