Nice to have you here again and reading my blog! My name is Brechje and I am the proud owner of All-time Favourites, the feel-good large bag brand that helps you get the most out of your busy day in style! And why feel-good? Because I want my brand to make you happy every time you see that bag and confidently face the day's adventure. You can be sure that you have everything with you and that you look nice!
Of course, feel-good is not the only thing that matters to us every day. In life, and business, that's not possible anyway. Every company faces setbacks and headwinds and so do we. And even then, we always try to radiate cheerfulness and convey it to you. In 2019 I had to make a difficult decision as to whether or not I should keep delivering ATF bags to stores.
As a little background, I got a flying start in 2015 when I opened my web shop and showed my mini collection at the leading accessories fair in Paris just a few months later. The web shop grew rapidly, as did delivery to stores at home and abroad. But as you grow, so do the growing pains. Every time I placed a new order with the factory, I had to pre-finance it 100% (this is still the case today). Then it often took another 4 months before I received the goods. We then delivered these items to the stores and uploaded the new bags to our web shop. Our customers online pay immediately. No problem there. But we delivered to retailers on account. And here's where it went wrong. At one point we had so many outstanding invoices that our B2B department had to use the turnover from the web shop to close the gaps in all outstanding invoices. We and our bank were not happy with this.
So then I made the decision—ATF will no longer supply to outside parties. We are far too vulnerable. I don't want to be dependent. We also had problems with all the sales and midseason sales. And you lose control over what happens to your goods and at what prices they are sold. There were many nice retailers that we delivered to, but unfortunately there were far more who got me into trouble. So our last delivery to stores was in October 2019.
That was 3 years ago. So you are probably wondering, why are you still talking about that? Well, because this week we saw the problems from that B2B model are still haunting us.
Here's what happened. This week we saw a photo in the TUI airline magazine of 4 items from our 2019/2020 collection offered at just €20. I wanted to bury my head in the sand. They were supposed to sold on board that season, but then along came Covid. And TUI flights, like all flights were grounded. Now they can fly again, but they have a surplus of inventory that they need to 'dump'. These items have long been written off on their balance sheet and so they are happy with any euro they can get. Gone is gone, they think. Of course, this devalues our high quality product. I could and still do cry. But this just reminds me precisely why I no longer wanted to be dependent on large (and small) third-parties who do what they want with my brand, and why I stopped selling to them.
As a small player you cannot do anything against a large company such as TUI airlines. They don't care if something is not being done as agreed or that they offer those items far below their own purchase price, VAT free too. They just want to get rid of it.
But you know what hurts me more? When someone sends a us nasty messages about this because they find out they can buy our bags from TUI for €20. Why be angry with us? Fortunately, most of our customers are fans, always very sweet and concerned about us!
To those of you have the chance to buy an ATF shopper for just €20, go for it. Buy 2 or 3. Because, NEVER, NEVER again will you be able to buy an ATF bag at such a low price. And enjoy that bag to the fullest. Let it empower you with your busy life! That is what makes me happy. That is what ATF is all about!