When I retired and archived the Little Red Tarot Community Blog back in October, one reason was to allow myself more time to focus on the LRT shop.
Run for years as a side-project to support the blog, my shop was crying out for proper love and attention. The books were a mess, service was inconsistent, and inventory management was done on the fly. It was way past time to take things in hand!
Since then, that has been my main project. In my astrological forecast for 2019, Chani Nicholas stressed the importance of ‘creating appropriate professional containers’, and I have taken that message deeply to heart.
During this work, many holes have been exposed. I’ve really had to explore each of LRT’s ‘systems’ (or lack thereof), break them down to component level, re-imagine, and rebuild. It’s slow, frustrating, expensive work… but the reward – joy and ease for me, for Hele, and for all you brilliant customers, is well worth it.
So! Where are things now? Here’s an update!
Better shipping starts in May!
At long last, we are moving to a reliable courier service for UK tracked and overseas parcels. Whilst I love dealing with staff at the local Post Office, and for years this has been my main reason for using Royal Mail, in truth, I have not found Royal Mail to be a supportive service provider for my business.
In May, we’re switching to a courier service for all tracked and non-UK parcels. All international parcels will be tracked, delivery times will be (much) faster, you’ll get better tracking information, and Hele and I won’t have to lug heavy Ikea bags of parcels to the Post Office in the rain any more. #winning
UK Second Class (which has always worked fine) will still be a budget option for UK customers who don’t require tracking or speedy delivery.
Returning to the blog
In my focus on stuctures and systems, I’ve had less time for the part of LRT I’m most passionate about: tarot itself. So as I get the structural stuff ironed out, I’ll be writing much more here here on the blog – a job I dearly love.
You can expect more deck reviews, interviews with creators, tarot spreads and other resources for your tarot journey, just like the good ol’ days.
Meanwhile: Check out my review of the gorgeous new Apparition Tarot!
The Alternative Tarot Course will return
I’ve had so much demand for the currently-retired Alternative Tarot Course and have happy news: It will be returning later this year. In February, I took myself off on a writing retreat and have re-written and updated the entire course. I’m still deciding on the right way to deliver this course, but can confirm that it will be open for enrollments in an new and improved format soon (I’m currently thinking Summer).
Focusing the stock
Over the years, I’ve really enjoyed responding to customer requests for new decks and other items to stock – but along the way I’ve felt I have been diluting LRT’s core aim of providing a brilliantly-curated selection of my very favourite indie tarot decks. I am returning to that aim and to my role as curator with renewed passion, and have been going through the LRT inventory with a fine tooth comb.
This means certain items will be retired after current stock runs out. This is a work in progress, and in terms of tarot and oracle card decks, I’m not yet able to confirm what will be discontinued.
In the meantime I can confirm that I’m winding down the ‘bookstore’ part of LRT.
We will still stock our favourite ‘learn tarot’ books, all of which are by LGBTQ+ writers. Michelle Tea’s Modern Tarot, Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, Melissa Cynova’s Kitchen Table Tarot, Barbara Moore’s Tarot for Beginners and of course Oliver Pickle’s She Is Sitting in the Night will remain, along with guidebooks that accompany specific decks.
Other books – including the lovely range of nature-magic books by Glennie Kindred – will be retired once current stock runs out.
So, if you were hoping to purchase any of these from LRT, now is a good time as we won’t be restocking once this lot runs out.
During my mammoth task of ‘getting on top of the books’, it was revealed that LRT passed the VAT threshold a while back. As some of you know, discovering this was not a lot of fun! Since then I’ve been working with my accountants to find a palatable, sustainable solution that is fair to all of us.
In Company of One, Paul Jarvis (one of my business heroes) says: ‘A company of one questions growth, and stays small on purpose.’ I have this quote on my wall. Along with defining ‘enoughness’, questioning growth is absolutely key to running a anti-capitalist busniess (or at least non-capitalist – I’m not yet sure if a business can be anti-capitalist.) Yet, though I never made plans to ‘grow’ LRT beyond a sustainable livelihood, growth has happened, unchecked. That’s been exciting – I’ve simply poured extra money into bringing in new items (talk about #Decklust – mine is insatiable!) …but I’ve also had the scary feeling of running along behind a runaway train for some time. My business goal for 2019 was ‘stay small’ and that’s what I’m working to do.
Long-term: I do not want LRT to be a VAT-registered business. Sure, it means limiting my potential profits and I’ve received a lot of advice against this decision, but since I aim to run LRT on the anti-capitalist principle of ‘enoughness’, ever-increasing profits are of no interest. I can make a sustainable livelihood whilst remaining under this threshold. I prefer to stay small and agile, reduce paperwork, stress, and costs, and have time to bloody well enjoy my life. So my long-term goal is to gently bring LRT back under the threshold.
Short term: LRT still has to charge and pay VAT until it is back under the threshold. As mentioned previously, a small increase has been applied to all UK and EU sales (prices still come in way lower than purchasing the same items from the US). I flat-out refuse to charge VAT on shipping, though I am being charged this. Overall LRT is taking a pretty big hit on the whole thing, but we’ll get through it! I estimate that LRT will be back under the threshold by the end of this year, if not sooner. At that point, VAT will be removed from sales.
What about Brexit?
Who the hell knows. Big companies are ploughing millions into their Brexit survival strategies, whilst others leave the country before things get ugly (sorry mate – too late). My partner and I pour over the news as it unfolds each day, and on top of all the general horrors of the process, the outcomes, and what it says about our country, I’m also trying to figure out what it will mean for LRT.
The core difference will be felt by EU customers – depending on whether we remain in a customs union, or whether we will have to do customs declarations for every EU parcel. Obviously I’m hoping that by some magic we won’t leave the European Union at all – but if we do, and it currently looks like we will, the next best thing for LRT will that we remain in the customs union. If and when there are changes affecting LRT, I’ll post here on the blog to explain things.
One more thing to add: I’ll be on holiday from 31st March – 22nd April. Hele will be managing orders and customer service as usual, but there won’t be anyone to fill gaps when she’s not in the shop. So heads up that service will be a little slower for much of April.
As always, I share these updates in the interests of transparency, and of inviting conversation. Customers are always invited to respond to changes and announcements regarding Little Red Tarot – please feel free to comment below if you have something to say.
Thank you as always for enjoying and supporting this little shop! I love figuring out this business thing in the company of supportive customers, suppliers and partners who share my aims.
Love and gratitude,