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Old 09-08-2016, 08:55 AM   #1
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Default Hero Arts frustrating me

Hero Arts has been having monthly kits. Today is September 8th and this month's kit is sold out. I don't know if it was released on the first or when it was made available. I have been interested in the past in a die cut and found out that I had to purchase a kit to get the one die cut I wanted.

I am just getting fed up with companies that either offer such limited stock, products only available in kit form, or have such short windows to purchase a product. Sometimes a few hours and poof the sale is gone. I am not trying to be negative, but it gets frustrating when product is gone before you know it is available. Am I the only one feeling this way?
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Old 09-08-2016, 10:28 AM   #2
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Nope! I've been equally frustrated for similar reasons... One of the ways I've worked around one of the "kit" issues was for a stamp set that I wanted from Close to My Heart that was only available as part of a scrapbook workshop kit. I don't do scrapbooks and didn't want/need any of the papers or embellishments - I just wanted the stamps, please and thank you! I contacted my demo and she found another demo who was willing to part with her stamp set. It was stained bright red, but I didn't care!

I know that Unity offers past KOTMs and, if you're a subscribed member, you get them at a substantial discount. I haven't seen other companies offer past kits, though. I wish they would!
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Old 09-08-2016, 10:57 AM   #3
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Studio Calico sporadically offers past kits; they mostly let you know through their email list.

They also run out of some items within hours, and may not restock. They offer early purchasing of some new items to kit subscribers; about three (?) hours later non-subbers can buy, and sometimes those items are sold out not only before the public can buy them, but sometimes subbers are too late.

It's happened with items they know from past experience are extremely popular, so it's a mystery why more aren't manufactured. Maybe there's a good reason, who knows.
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:10 AM   #4
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I'm guessing there is a reason, but the company may not understand just how frustrating it is for customers. Product available for a few hours... really?!? They call it a kit of the month, so why not make it available for the month?

I am going to put my money where my mouth is and not buy anything from Hero Arts for the next year. I am sure I will have plenty of product to choose from by other companies that are not playing games.
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:24 AM   #5
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To be fair in Studio Calico's case, kits are only available to subscribers - except when there are specials like trying a kit for $5.00 or sales on past kits. That's part of their business model.

It's some very popular non-kit items that are the problem in their case. For example, people will have been agitating for a certain stamp set for ages. A smaller version of it will pop up and be gone in under two hours. Even some subbers don't get it and no one who doesn't sub. But SC is well aware of its popularity. {shrug}
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:38 AM   #6
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I like the way Papertrey Ink does their kits. The kits are only offered sporadically, but when one is coming out, customers know on the 15th of the month. Then on the last day of the month, the design team shares projects they have made with the kit. Then the kit is available for sale the next day (the first of the following month).

If a kit sells out within the first 24 hours, customers can pre-order a kit within a certain time frame, with the preordered kits being available within 3 to 4 weeks.

The paper in the card kit is also made available for sale separately in the store.

There are also mini kits released that are available all the time - some of those are my favorites, and they are a very good value. The paper in these kits are made available separately also.
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Old 09-08-2016, 01:46 PM   #7
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In Hero Arts defense, they began previewing the kit on 9/3. At that time, they announced it would launch on 9/6 at 1:00 pm est.

I completely forgot about the kit and when I remembered at 8:00 pm, it was still available. When I checked the next morning (9/7), it was still available. It was such a good deal that I'm not surprised it sold out sometime on the 7th.


I have a problem with a kit that sells out in minutes like Studio Calico's used to do. To snag a kit, you had to be online and push the right buttons at the right time and hope you could check out before it disappeared from your cart. That was nuts!


If you are interested, Hero Arts announced their October kit goes on sale 10/3.
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Old 09-08-2016, 04:06 PM   #8
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Pat, so Studio Calico used to have them available for everyone, not just subs? Now it's just subs, with the exceptions noted before. In fact I just got an email saying try a sub for $10 for any kit (there are four categories) with a code.

And you still can have items (not kits you sub to) disappear from your cart. You only have a few minutes before someone else can steal them if there are only a few left. So during big sales people are racing like crazy.
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Old 09-08-2016, 07:01 PM   #9
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This kit sold out the fastest of any of their kits, and they also had the largest quantity produced of any of their kits. Companies try really hard to match inventory with demand but it's hard. Really hard.

They are released at the same time each month - I think with Simon, Hero, etc. - if you want them - be an early bird.

It's a huge financial risk to have unsold stuff sitting around - even though I know we all want to be able to buy all the things.
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Old 09-08-2016, 07:12 PM   #10
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I am not trying to be contrary but...


Isnt the point of kits usually for mini clubs of the company and they want to have unique product to make the sub to the club worthwhile?

If I could buy the product anytime, why would I sign up to the monthly club? It's fine when it's avaialbe to the public later on...6 months or more.


Lord knows it feels like companies have 50 different clubs now....I'm thinking of Paper Wishes but seriously-if I try, I'll think of a dozen companies with clubs pretty quickly, if not as many.


Where I could have a problem is when popular bloggers demo the kits like anyone can get them anytime...and maybe anyone can in those cases, but obviously often not enough supply from comments here. That would frustrate me too.
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Old 09-09-2016, 03:00 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=annie*;21316540]I'm guessing there is a reason, but the company may not understand just how frustrating it is for customers. Product available for a few hours... really?!? They call it a kit of the month, so why not make it available for the month?[j/QUOTE]

My thoughts exactly! If it's sold out in record time, why can't they still offer it to their customers, by having them prepay for it? That way the company isn't left with excessive inventory and the customer gets what they want, wouldn't that be a win-win? I'm frustrated too and have stopped looking at those companies who offer kits of the month. I'll spend my money on things I know I can get!
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Old 09-09-2016, 03:35 AM   #12
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Quote:

Originally Posted by UnderstandBlueView Post
This kit sold out the fastest of any of their kits, and they also had the largest quantity produced of any of their kits. Companies try really hard to match inventory with demand but it's hard. Really hard.

They are released at the same time each month - I think with Simon, Hero, etc. - if you want them - be an early bird.

It's a huge financial risk to have unsold stuff sitting around - even though I know we all want to be able to buy all the things.
I agree with this. The companies need to try to predict how much of everything will sell, and that has to be very difficult.

On the other hand, I think some of it is marketing tactics. Get it quick before it's gone makes people get excited for the merchandise, and probably increases the chance that someone will buy it, knowing not everyone will get one.

I also think many stampers grew up in a pre-Internet world. We're maybe just a bit slower than today's fast paced world. That is, a sale was advertised, and you had a week to think about it, and then purchase if you want.

Things nowadays are so much faster paced. Do this, do that. Marketing is now very much aimed at that fast paced world.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:06 AM   #13
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Yep. I only got the August kit. I really wanted the July and Sept kits. I'll camp out on site at midnight Oct 3rd and hope I can get the kit.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:11 AM   #14
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Unfortunately, stamp companies aren't the only ones who do this. Many companies (Nintendo, I'm talking to you) know very well what the demand on a product will be, and they intentionally create a buying frenzy. They deliberately make their supply fall far short of the demand, which results in "scalping" and price-gouging activities on eBay and other sites. I'm not accusing HA, PTI, or any other company specifically, but it does happen in the industry.
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:21 AM   #15
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I did contact Hero Arts yesterday and they said they were caught off guard by how quickly this item sold out and offered to sell me one if something became available. That is a great offer but it seems to me that a monthly kit should be available for a month. If it sells out I believe they own their customers the opportunity for backorder. This is my opinion and I am not a company owner, so I probably don't understand the problem.

Having said that I just refuse to get involved in game playing. Buy this item in 4 hours (Ulta is guilty of this one), or be online at this hour, etc. or poof the sale is gone. This kind of gimmick has me questioning my loyalty to those companies. I have always purchased Hero Arts products and now... well I am just going to spend my money with other companies.
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:31 AM   #16
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The July kit sold out quick. I called and was also told if one was returned they would let me know. Jennifer Mcguire mentions the kit and bam it's gone. Other stuff she shows in videos gets sold out( back ordered) fast. I like HA kits and will just hope I am fast enough to get one.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:02 AM   #17
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Wouldn't it be nice to simply be able to buy the kit if you wanted one?!
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:43 AM   #18
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Like Lydia pointed out, companies can't afford to have huge amounts of stock left over, since they have to pay for it. So just having enough kits just for subscribers - or subscribers plus a small extra quantity, depending on the company - helps them survive.

Of course if they have an agreement with famous crafters to blog/do video about certain products or kits, they will likely know they'll sell more.

But it's still a bit of a crapshoot. Just because people are fans of certain bloggers is no guarantee. Just my take.

It's like clothing; go into a store and there's no guarantee your size will be available.

Last edited by bjeans; 09-09-2016 at 08:44 AM.. Reason: too many justs
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:12 AM   #19
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I was also thinking people make kits so that people have paper that matches to ink, etc. Those guys seem to keep them around a bit longer.

I see both sides having been on all sides of the table: buyer, distributor and mfg (different industry, same principles though). The "monthly" term is confusing b/c it implies it should be available the whole month when in fact is it is simply that it is releasing that month. They have to name it something...and I am willing to bet no matter what they call it, if you cant get it, you will be unhappy.

On the other hand...you dont want to be caught out with dead inventory. The world went to JIT (Just in Time) warehouses in the 80s. Even mfgs dont keep the parts to make something lying around. They keep replenishing instead. That's a ticklish dance b/c you could cause your production line to shut down if you are missing a piece.

I could go into a thing about improving bottom lines/risk by keeping inventories lean and mean, but that's boring. True but boring. I can also promise you that if you are dealing with mfgs outside the country that makes it much worse because you have to factor time in for it freight over here, etc. So they are taking order for Christmas in March. Who knows what will suddenly be hot in 9 months and sell?

Studio Calico is a great example. They can sell out of some stuff very fast as has been noted, and other stuff just sits there and they have to clearance it out.

What I think is a good idea that was mentioned, is to offer a pre-pay non refundable (except for defect). Then the company knows exactly how many to get.

Dont we all get the pre-release emails (ad nauseum in some cases)? I likely know more about stamp releases than I do what I am going to make for dinner in my own house for the next week.

The snag may be that the factory (who probably makes for 100 companies) may not be able to just go backwards and make more of something for them. Production lines are planned out months in advance. Has to wait till they can squeeze it in. Plus what I just said above-they may not have the base supplies to make more and depending on the order size, it may not be worth it to them get more.

Ie if the mfg has to buy 1000 of a part min...that isnt worth it to them to fill an order of 400 unless it can be applied to another design down the road. They should be able to tell a company what the min order they want to run it again though.

Then the company turns around to us and says we can get more but not till X time...If you would still want it then, we can take pre-orders up to this day, and if we hit the required factory mins we will place the order and bill you.

If you just got dizzy from that explanation, imagine actually doing it and for multiple kits.

And this is how we get great sales/liquidators get stuff...it either doesnt pay to return or they cant. Often to get lower prices sellers agree to non return clauses. You can bet I did not tell my cousin that I saw of her designs at TJMaxx-and worse, in THEIR clearance racks!

Which is a joy of small companies that produce their own. You might have backorder delays but you know you will get it at some point.

HTH helps to understand why it happens. I know it wont do squat about making someone who missed out feel better.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:14 PM   #20
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Wow! Thanks for the explanation. It is a wonder that anyone stays in business if that is what they need to go through. I plan to stick with my original plan to buy from companies that have stamps and supplies available when I want to purchase them. It might be complicated for the company but it seems like the easiest route for me as the consumer.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:39 PM   #21
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I love Hero Arts. I have given up on every getting one of the of their monthly kits. I wonder how many are actually manufactured. With the demand for the kits being so great month to month and seeing how they sell out so quickly it's a shame they don't make more available.

The way I see it is that if HA can't come closer to meeting demand then I can come pretty close to replicating their kits with stamps and inks from other companies... it's their loss, not mine.
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Old 09-09-2016, 01:00 PM   #22
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It never dawned on me that the monthly term meant for the whole month, just that's when the product came out, plus might have a theme that relates to the month or time of year.

There are so many instances when items aren't available in department stores, grocery stores, on-line stores, etc., that it doesn't seem different. It doesn't bother me unless the communication is poor, or what's obvious and fixable isn't taken into consideration.

Better communication - in marketing, customer service, and between departments - could help in many cases.

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Old 09-09-2016, 03:42 PM   #23
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I am sorry about the extra lines. It keeps happening, and I usually can edit them out, but for some reason that time the edit did not hold and now I cant fix it.

I am glad it helped you understand Annie. It may not be that complicated...or it could be more. Depends. The more items or types of items a company has, the more complex obviously. As Beth pointed out-this is the way of the world...not just this industry.

I've been thinking about this...not to try to change your mind or anyone else's, but I would like to offer a suggestion: Email them and say you would like to be put on a waiting list if they get more of your desired item, even if you have to pre-pay. If they get enough of those, they are far more likely to go after more. Just having a good sell-through would not necessarily do it. No guarantees but if it was me, I'd pay attention if I got a bunch of those. Just a proactive thing you can do that takes 2 mins. if you really want a thing. Create demand!
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Old 09-09-2016, 05:41 PM   #24
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the thing with hero arts kits is, there is no monthly commitment. so, you can look at the peeks ( beginning of the month) and make the decision then if its one you think you want. and then just place the order the first day they go for sale ( that is how I got all of mine) I don't buy it every month but, I do look at the "extra's" when I am in the site looking because, sometimes there is a sideline die that goes with what is in the kit and I add it to the order ( because, it saves on shipping)

one thing I learned being a dt member ( not hero arts ) is that companies stamp sets are ordered from the mfg plants in big sheets so, it sounds good on paper to say I need more of XYZ set, but it's manufactured with 5 other sets. ( so there are 6 different sets printed/pressed what ever) on a single sheet so, for a co. to order more stock they need to be out of more than one of the stamp sets on that sheet. kwim? (or they are stuck with overstock on the other 5 sets that were not low or sold out)
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Old 09-10-2016, 04:54 AM   #25
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disclosure -- I've done some design work for Hero Arts. Just wanted to highlight a message that the Hero Arts CEO posted on its blog yesterday.

A note from Hero Arts CEO Aaron Leventhal:
We at Hero Arts are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and excitement for our My Monthly Hero kits. This month the kit sold out in less than 23 hours, and we are honored and humbled by the interest. We are also very sorry that some people who really wanted the kit were not able to get it. We send our most sincere apologies. The kit quantities are planned months ahead, and we did not foresee the growth in interest this month generated. We are immediately taking steps to solve this in the future and will have more available starting with the October kit. Again, thank you for your support, a deep apology to those who did not get the September kit, and we hope we can continue to inspire your creativity for many months to come. Just know, your excitement inspires us to be our best as a company.
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Old 09-10-2016, 05:29 AM   #26
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Thank you, Joan B. Class act. Other companies could take a lesson from that.

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Old 09-10-2016, 02:27 PM   #27
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I saw a hero arts monthly kit a few months ago that I really really wanted. Of course - sold out. So I decided to boycott all their kits this year because they created a frenzy.

Look at it from the opposite angle.ranger showed a new distress ink every month last year. Was it hard to get that month? Yes. Was it hard 3 months later ? No. So I waited and I have the whole collection now.
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Old 09-10-2016, 04:15 PM   #28
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I don't get into a frenzy for any product. It bothers me when a company says, hurry, hurry, get it before it's gone, limited time offer, blah, blah, blah. I have never in my life been "on trend" or "fashionable". I've never been an early adopter either. I like to wait to see if a product proves to be 'better' than the last innovation before upgrading. I prefer long-term value and products which are still relevant years later. I also like old t.v. shows which do not seem dated. So .. not very likely to stand in a line overnight to get the next version of a game or a phone. Also, not very likely to watch the clock for the second to start calling or viewing online to get a kit. I realize when a company does this the product/tickets or whatever will run out in a short period of time. I decide my time (and sanity) is more valuable then "pushing" everyone out of the way to be the first in line.
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:39 PM   #29
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I'm disappointed, too. As soon as I hear of the Hero Arts kit on Jennifer McGuire's blog I went to look at it. I saw the date of Sept 9th, and thought it could be ordered that date.
Then when I went to buy it on the 9th it was sold out.
Didn't Hero Arts even think that such a beautiful offering would have high demand?
Does anyone know if the items will be available separately?
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:45 PM   #30
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Quote:

Originally Posted by harvestmoonView Post
I'm disappointed, too. As soon as I hear of the Hero Arts kit on Jennifer McGuire's blog I went to look at it. I saw the date of Sept 9th, and thought it could be ordered that date.
Then when I went to buy it on the 9th it was sold out.
Didn't Hero Arts even think that such a beautiful offering would have high demand?
Does anyone know if the items will be available separately?

I totally get that. But just think of it this way....

What if you had to write a check for $20,000 and then just hope that people bought it? It's scary. So all companies have to balance the risk with the demand. But each month, they learn from the demand and the next month adjusts, as Joan pointed out.

There is so much risk pre-buying custom products.

All companies who do limited releases take this risk and it's hard to get it right. I can tell you that they are amazing, sweet people who want their customers to be happy.

There aren't nicer people in this industry than HA peeps.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:04 AM   #31
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Well put, Lydia. I only have experience with HA as a customer, but when I've emailed them, they've been so helpful and thorough - not the cut-and-paste or bored sounding customer service response that's prevalent these days.

That said, some companies - and I'm excluding HA - don't plan well and/or don't handle customer or inter-departmentmental communications well, among other responsibilities.
After all, the bell-shaped curve is alive and well in every field.

Just my take.
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Old 10-19-2016, 04:13 PM   #32
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Hero Arts sells out quickly every month. They are never available for longer than a few days that I can remember. The October kit was sold out in less than a day. Now PTI has their holiday kit that sold out in a few days. Last year their kit sat in inventory and was available until Aug I think.
I think the only ones benefitting from these reduced inventories are the eBay sellers who severely overcharge the people who really want these sets. I love so many if them. For example, I will not pay the $500 - $800 people are asking for the PTI Tinsel and Tags set. It is such a cute set but the eBay markup shocks me.
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:04 PM   #33
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Quote:

Originally Posted by campbell96View Post
Hero Arts sells out quickly every month. They are never available for longer than a few days that I can remember. The October kit was sold out in less than a day. Now PTI has their holiday kit that sold out in a few days. Last year their kit sat in inventory and was available until Aug I think.
I think the only ones benefitting from these reduced inventories are the eBay sellers who severely overcharge the people who really want these sets. I love so many if them. For example, I will not pay the $500 - $800 people are asking for the PTI Tinsel and Tags set. It is such a cute set but the eBay markup shocks me.
There ought to be a law.
$500 for a stamp set? Ridiculous. Are people actually buying it at that price?
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:45 PM   #34
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I am so frustrated. I couldn't get September or October. I don't know why they can't have another run of those kits. Especially with the amount of complaints. I contacted them and they said they have been increasing the number of kits each month. They also said they are going to be offering a subscription service. I think they should try to fix things though. Take pre-orders and do another run. When a kit sells out in a day you obviously have a winner. Also I think if Jennifer is going to do a video they should co-ordinate. I don't even try to order anything she does a video on. I know it will be sold out. I really loved the October kit. No way to get it now! I'm stamping my foot like a little kid. I want it!!
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Old 10-20-2016, 02:59 AM   #35
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Quote:

Originally Posted by lynnewithaneView Post
There ought to be a law.
$500 for a stamp set? Ridiculous. Are people actually buying it at that price?
Yep, people are paying $400- $660 for this set. The sold items show for $660, $574, $440, etc. There is one listed now for $799.99. I wish PTI would do another production run of this and mess up all of these greedy sellers- not to mention that I could then get the set for a reasonable price.
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Old 10-20-2016, 03:36 AM   #36
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Just a thought regarding pre-orders and doing another run of the kit. If manufacturing lead times are too long, then the season may have passed before they can get a second run of kits to customers. For example, if the dies or another part of the kit is made overseas, it could take a month to get product in. By then Halloween is over, Thanksgiving could be over, or it could be too close to Christmas. In addition to manufacturing and shipping, their warehouse has to receive, count and stock the product, and then update inventory.

If products are made in the USA but by third-party manufacturers, manufacturing time may already be booked. So perhaps they have to wait two weeks before the manufacturer has time to make the product.


If the kit is less seasonal, then it's easier for the company to take pre-orders, and when it comes in, it comes in.


Of course this doesn't dull anyone's frustration, but having worked with manufacturing, I just wanted to point this out.
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:55 AM   #37
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It looks like these subscription kits are a huge thing for many of the stamp companies.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:07 AM   #38
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Subscriptions also allow companies to plan ahead, to know roughly how much product to manufacture. And they know they can count on $X in sales.

They don't want stale inventory that won't sell. An extra 1,000 2016 themed kits may not sell in 2017. Some companies are better at predicting than others.
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Old 10-21-2016, 10:41 AM   #39
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I have an extra the October kit. I'm asking $60 for it. I'm not greedy, just want to make enough money to buy a future kit. People are nuts to pay $$$$ for a card kit.
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Old 11-09-2016, 11:32 AM   #40
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I ordered the Nov kit on Monday and it is still in stock. They either increased their quantities or demand went down. I hope it was due to more availability.
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