In case the cause isn't clear, the USPS re-adjusted its international shipping rates about 4 or 5 months ago. Many rates doubled, some tripled or worse.
Before throwing out any ideas, a few things are a bit fuzzy to me, and I could use further explanation to help clarify them. For example, here's one of the standard OTTI info statements:
Chip wrote:Any surplus $$$ will roll over into the OTTI fund. Surplus at the end of the 2013 will go towards charity. For instance, The TC Japan Relief Fund has raised over $1300 for this effort (Through OTTI and Teaware Special Offerings).
So, what I gather is that any surplus from the last couple of OTTIs has actually gone toward subsidizing international shipping, and then any extra goes into a roll over fund, which then might go to a Relief Fund if there's any extra left over at the end of the year?
Speaking of which, I know I probably missed it, but where is the thread that identified the place(s) where that Relief Fund money was donated?
I would certainly appreciate any correction or clarification where required.
Well, OTTI 18 I was not aware until I went to ship, my fault as I must have been hibernating in the TeaCave. I based my guestimates on past experience. I had it nailed down pretty well (and still do for domestics). International is tough since this covers the entire globe ... and to ship to any country or even regions within countries is different.
But there were not that many internationals for OTTI 18, so for OTTI 19, I figured this would be an observation round. And observe I did ... there were a lot of internationals this round!!! To Canada, shipping doubled to over 7 USD. To Europe, shipping doubled to over 9 USD ... and a few were over 12. You get the picture.
OTTI has never excluded anyone ... but in order to accomodate the increase, I would pretty much have to double internationals' shipping right across the board. I do not see a less expensive solution. Part of why I posted this was to inform members across the board of likely changes, seek input, and hope for a miracle.
"Profits." The overwhelming bulk of profits were from specific Hagi SO's that were specifically intended to raise money for the Japan Relief Effort. These were forwarded to Japan Red Cross and earmarked for Fukushima relief. I had wanted to make this a more focused donation, but ultimately time was of the essence.
On the other hand, OTTI has really not made much to speak of in the last 2 years, which is ultimately the goal, right? Even as minor "profits" accumulated each round/year, expenses would usually "drain the bank." And some rounds were in the red
. There is always something. A few rounds, after I posted OTTI topics (and prices), the cost for the teas was increased over the original estimate. This round it was the international shipping.
If by the end of the year, after all expenses, if OTTI simply breaks even, I am happy ... this is actually ideal.
But OTTI 20 will have to be adjusted.
The only other solution is to find a "sponsor" ... but I have shied away from this in order to maintain program credibility and autonomy which I feel are critical elements of OTTI.
Keep in mind, I had been conducting "unofficial tastings" for several years before OTTI was coined. When Adagio happened to notice discussions on tastings, they proposed a program which I would organize, but they would handle all the logistics (all teas would be shipped to Adagio, they would package and ship to participants), price setting, payments. This stalled the program for almost a year as I was not comfortable with this arrangement ... not that I distrusted Adagio, but this arrangement would have quite a different feel and appearance. It also lacked synergy as the tastings would not be as high a priority for Adagio as they were for me ... and YOU!
I also felt our goals were not congruent. And there would be those who would point fingers of distrust.