This is a summary of changes you’ll find taking place at LRT from April 2021. For a more thoughtful, detailed piece about the themes and ideas I experimented with during my two-month sabbatical, please click here.
A summary of the changes you’ll find at LRT from spring 2021
All of these changes are experimental and are intended to meet at least one of the following aims:
- Increase focus on LGBTQ+ and BIPOC+ creators
- Increase joy and connection
- Reduce sales to the level of ‘enough’, no more
- Disrupt capitalism in any way I can think of
Refocusing our inventory
We’re saying goodbye to some really popular decks so we can give all of our love and care and attention to queer and trans creators, and Black, Indigenous and creators of colour.
For as long as LRT has had ‘a mission’, this has been to celebrate and proliferate radical magic, with a strong, proud focus on LGBTQ+ and, increasingly, BIPOC+ creators, and others holding marginalised identities. In the early years it was necessary to stock other decks, big sellers, to bring in enough money to support some of these ‘smaller’ decks, but that’s no longer the case.
From spring, Little Red Tarot will solely stock queer and trans artists, Black, Indigenous and artists of colour (with a few exceptions). I want these decks and books centred and celebrated, not overshadowed by bigger sellers.
We took inventory of our QT/BIPOC-centred goods last summer. We will revisit this again in May.
Rewriting out vision, values, and mission statement
I’m currently engaged in a process of rewriting our vision and values to ensure our commitments to antiracism and unlearning capitalist white supremacist cis-hetero patriarchal culture are named loudly and proudly, so that we can generate conversation and be held accountable. (I’m grateful to the Kinswomen, whose anti-racism training is guiding and informing this process).
We will no longer be shipping to EU countries
I know. I really know. This is incredibly sad, and far and away the hardest choice I’ve made. I’m truly gutted about it – whilst knowing it is the right choice for LRT.
Why are we doing this? A mess of reasons. Brexit is, unsurprisingly, chaos. Returned parcels, incorrect paperwork, customers being charged VAT where they’re not suppose to be, unhappy business and customers both sides of the Channel. With hikes in shipping prices too, it seems impossible to offer good value to our EU customers. Many companies have ceased trading between the EU and UK in both directions – in the first weeks of 2021, I thought we might not have to follow them. But watching the mess and the headaches unfold, and bearing in mind my aims of reducing sales too, it feels sadly wise.
To our European customers, I want to say the hugest thank you. Thank you so much for seeing this little shop, for supporting it with your money and your love and your social media shares and your encouraging emails and your endless fabulous suggestions. I’ve never taken any of it for granted, and I’m incredibly aware that it is in part you who have helped this business grow into a viable, sustainable income not just for me, but for others too. Both Hele and I will really miss you <3
Shifting our focus from products to people.
Yes, we’re a shop, but the beautiful things we sell are created by humans, and they should be front and centre of our website! I’m slowly building this lovely creators page, where you can check out all of the beautiful people who make LRT what it is :)
Taking a break has been revolutionary – not only the interruption of 24/7 commerce, but also the space to dream, feel, listen, imagine, put energy into other things. And the understanding that I am allowed to rest, that we are allowed to rest. We are so much more than what we produce.
I don’t yet know exactly what this is going to look like, but am leaning towards short periods where the shop is closed around the equinoxes and solstices.
No more pre-orders
In the spirit of slow commerce and things arriving when they are ready, we are happy to be retiring this stressful service! Pre-orders are where we sell hotly-anticipated decks while they are still in production, allowing customers to reserve one in advance. But self-publishing is hard, mistakes and misprints of course happen, damaged stock is very real, and when things go awry we end up spending a lot of time working with customers who’ve already paid for things, trying to find solutions that don’t come at a cost to creators. (We also have a policy of never, ever competing with the artists we stock, and pre-orders always felt a little weird in that sense.)
From this spring, we’ll only sell decks we have on the shelves, so we know we are able to honour every order. (Meanwhile our waiting list button on out of stock items allows customers to sign up for notifications when things are back.)
On the flip side, wholesale pre-ordering forthcoming decks is one way that we support emerging artists – placing a large order for the first print run can make a big difference to some smaller projects, especially where crowfunding is involved as it so often is. We will continue to invest in emerging artists in this way.
Small price increase
The cost of pretty much everything has gone up (wholesale decks, freelance pay, shipping, accounting…) so our prices will be increased to reflect this.
Other smaller changes
I’m happily desigining colourful postcards printed with tarot spreads and other resources to include with your orders :)
We’re gradually shifting our packaging supplies to a cooperatively run UK company (Kite Packaging) with good environmental practices, and our print services from the big guys to a local company.
We have partnered with the wonderful Books Beyond Bars to supply tarot decks and books to incarcerated LGBTQ+ people in UK prisons (we also provide decks to other social justice and healing projects).
We continue to make substantial donations to grassroots social justice organisations including Sisters Uncut, Refugee Community Kitchen, Machynlleth Solidarity Fund, and others, whilst also sponsoring projects such as Black Womxn Thriving in the Workplace with regular donations.
I would love to get away from PayPal, however extricating ourselves from this behemoth payment processor is no small task. I do not see this happening any time soon, but it’s definitely a long-term goal!