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This is an open letter to scooter seat cover customers that I wrote early in 2009, explaining why I was taking a break from the business.

CrystalMarch, 2009 - Until further notice, scooter seat covers is still on haitus.

For those of you who have asked, I'm not giving up the business, I'm just taking a break from it to figure out how to best move forward to better serve customers. I'd planned on the "break" to be a lot shorter than it has been, but because I love scooter seat covers as much as I do, I want to give it the proper attention it deserves. The 2008 season was the busiest ever, and it was also exhausting! Because of how busy it was, my ability to give good customer service was compromised, and I don't want to work that way. It's not good business and it's not who I am.

I've tried to write this open letter so that you know just what I've been doing, rather than just posting a standard 'gone fishing' business notice. One of the reasons you've told me you like doing business with me is because I'm a person, not just a business. And that's one of the best parts of it for me, too. I've grown to know thousands of you in the scooter community through forums and my blogs, and you are one of the best communities I've ever belonged to.

It's just amazing to me how scooter seat covers has grown in four years. It's had its ups and downs, and 2008 proved to be a tough year, and not just for the reasons that usually befall a company in tough economic times. Even with all my efforts to grow scooter seat covers in a smart, effective way, I'm still a one person company, and to put it quite simply, I'm at a fork in the road and I'm not sure what my next step will be.

I love scooter seat covers. I'm proud of it, and there is no doubt in my mind that I have created a great product. I have tons of happy customers all over the world who love their scooter seat covers.

I'm my best asset, and my biggest limitation. Almost since I started back in 2005, I've been trying to find a sewing contractor. Most sewing manufacturing has left the US, and finding a good one either here or overseas is a full-time job in itself. While I belong to industry forums and groups, I've found that other people in the sewn-products industry simply don't disclose who their own sewing contractors are. During the busy months, I can't spend time searching for help, either trying to find a home sewer in the area or interviewing contractors because I have to spend every minute producing. The busy-ness is a blessing and a curse - I make more sales, of course, but orders can get backed up and the queue gets longer and longer and emails can take longer to respond to - especially if something comes up, and this summer a lot of things "came up" - a major move and a serious back injury among many other events.

Most customers understand and are absolutely great, and I really do my best to keep in touch and get orders out as soon as I can. I make it clear both on the site before purchase, and through email after an order is placed, that I'm a one person company and do everything myself and sometimes the queue can get super long - if you ordered a cover in 2008, you may have experienced this first-hand. This past summer, the queue got a LOT longer than I wanted or expected, and even some nice polite understanding customers who said they would wait got tired of waiting and requested refunds. I totally understand their frustration! But my understanding doesn't make the queue move faster or make customers happy.

Besides having frustrated 'normal' customers, this season I had to deal with some daffy - and sometimes scary - situations. I'm not alone in this, according to others I've talked to who sell or do service in this market and from others who do custom work. Must have been something in the air. I have pretty tough skin, but dealing with customers making personal threats gets to me.

Another frustration: because I've had more orders, more orders seem to get lost in shipping. I don't know if there's a black hole out there full of scooter seat covers, but I've also had the extra task of filing lost package claims as well as calming down customers whose covers go missing, re-making covers or issuing refunds.

So, if you've read this far, thank you. If you would like to receive a notice when scooter seat covers comes back online, please let me know and I'll add you to the mailing list.

One last thing for now: Since I still have to buy groceries and pay the mortgage, I'm working full-time in my previous career again as I ponder what to do next with scooter seat covers. I'm also talking with a business consultant to help get an objective view on the whole picture. I'm also on the road for a couple of weeks coming up, so if you've written to me in the last few weeks and I haven't replied, I assure you I will soon.

Thank you for your support, patience, and belief in me and my great products!

- Crystal Waters


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