Happy New Year! I know it’s a bit late, but it’s the first time we’ve spoken since. If you joined in with our Twixmas quiz, thank you. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and my thanks to my guest question-setters.
Thanks also (this is starting to sound like an awards speech!) to those of you who sent us Christmas wishes, and apologies for absence for the quiz. All are much appreciated, and, of course, I hope you had a good Christmas too.

As I’ve hinted above, this isn’t a normal Newsletter. The questions I usually include are all, genuinely, ones that have come in to us, either by phone or email etc. They haven’t really started up in earnest yet this year. And I do try not to repeat them, but after five years that’s getting harder every week!

I’ll get back to them next time, but as we’ve got a ‘spare’ week, I thought I’d turn the tables and ask you a question… If you could change one thing about Chestnut Products, what would it be?
I always remember, many years ago, a simple request from a customer. We were sending them two or three boxes of stock on a regular basis, enclosing the delivery note in one of them. They asked if we could mark which box the delivery note was in, so they could open that one first to check everything off. Such a simple thing, but we hadn’t thought of it!
We recently had a comment about our website, suggesting we add a ‘Buy One of Each’ option to things like the Dome Buffs that are available in three options. A great idea, now implemented.

So what are your thoughts on this? I promise we’ll read all replies, although I can’t guarantee to use all ideas; some might not be practical, affordable, or possibly not even physically possible!

We have an idea of things we’d like to change, but can’t:

Prices. We keep our costs as low as we can. That’s why we don’t have sales, we really can’t sell it cheaper! As well as the obvious costs (raw materials, packaging, rent, wages, power etc), there are many hidden costs, usually associated with compliance to various legislations.

Delivery Costs. Our hands are tied on these, too. Some carriers won’t transport hazardous goods (which most of ours are), so our options are limited on this. We started using APC last year, and they’ve been about the best we’ve found. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of problems we’ve had with them. (If you were one of them, I’m sorry. I know it’s no consolation, but they really have been good in 99%+ cases). There are cheaper carriers around, but I’ve rarely had a good experience when receiving parcels via them, I wouldn’t inflict that on you!

Child Resistant Caps. Yes, those horrible clik-lok or squeez-lok caps. I know they’re a pain, but we have to use them, it’s a legal requirement for some of our products. (I have heard of people cutting the lugs off the caps with a craft knife, but we couldn’t recommend this).

Website. We’re constantly updating this, trying to find ways to make it more user-friendly and helpful. It’ll never be perfect, but we’re trying. If you know of any glaring omissions or mistakes, do let me know.

What makes your list, what are we getting wrong? Because no-one is perfect, however hard we might try. 

A more normal Newsletter next week, hopefully. I also hope you have a good weekend. I’ll be spending mine working out who could play me in a TV drama, getting prepared in case I’m accused of something I haven’t done. Because, sadly, that seems to be a major way of getting justice – which is almost as big a disgrace as the Horizon scandal! And, on a par with the amount of time it’s taken to sort this out, despite the powers that be (of all colours) being fully aware of the situation.

(I rarely get political or personal, but I’ve been incensed by this for years, thank heavens something is finally being done).

Oh, and I think Mr. Blobby is possibly leading my audition list at the moment!

I’ll be back soon, but I hope I’ll be hearing from you before then.