For the last three weeks Howard and I have spent half our business meetings discussing merchandise ideas, merchandise pricing, probable merchandise sales, and sources for the right merchandise. These meetings were followed by fast email exchanges to refine designs and make orders. This week I can feel things shifting. The design and ordering is still ongoing, but now we’ve moved into the stage where merchandise is beginning to arrive. We have patches and mugs in our hands. Our re-order of dice arrived today, as did our annual thank you post card. Tomorrow we’re expecting some t-shirts. By Thursday we hope to open up ordering on all of these things. We want to allow people to bundle their purchases together and plenty of time for those over seas to get their stuff before the holidays. My next few weeks are all going to be about order management and shipping.
This afternoon I printed out the labels for our thank you postcards. We send one to every single address which ordered merchandise from us during the year. There were over 50 pages of labels with 30 labels to a page. This means that I have more than 1600 people to thank for the fact that we are able to pay for car repairs, medical bills, mortgage payments, and cartons of ice cream. Sometimes when I think about how dependent our income is on the good will of others I get stressed and scared. I can’t control how or when people choose to order from us. When I see this list of names, and start placing labels onto postcards, I begin to see names which have become familiar. Most of them have never spoken with me, nor I with them, but they still are a part of my life. I love the familiarity of recognizing names on the list year after year. Other names are new. Then I know that somewhere during the year someone found the comic and joined us on our adventure. These names make me happy too. Sticker by sticker, stamp by stamp, I move the postcards into the to-be-mailed pile. By Thursday I’ll hand them over to the postal service and they will begin to disperse to the far corners of the world. Cards from my hands are going to people in my town and to people in India, Croatia, Germany, Australia, Abu Dhabi, France, Spain, Canada, Italy, and every state in the United States. They will travel far, expanding my gratitude so that it has enough lift to carry me where ever I need to go. I love sending the thank you cards. It makes me happy.