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Archive for the ‘Updates’Category

Advice and Beans Updates – Spring 2017 Edition (Personal Edition)

So we finally did it.  We escaped the deathtrap peninsula we lived on in Suburbia just outside of Nashville, TN.  No longer do I fear the rising floodwaters of a broken dam or being trapped in an EMP nightmare with 30,000 other people on a 5 square mile strip of land with only 2 ways out.  We bought a 40-Acre farm in Lewisburg, TN about an hour and a half south of where we were living (About 40 minutes north of the Alabama border).  We did keep the house in Hendersonville and are renting it (kind of, as the tenants only pay occasionally).  We also upgraded the business from the little 3000 square foot rental location to a 6000 square foot building we purchased.  It’s provided us a lot more opportunities and we’ve taken a stab at some other little businesses in addition to Discount Mylar Bags.

After the kids are bad.

I love the small town feel (there’s an open drive-in theater two lots down from us!), and I will live and die in this place.  My wife doesn’t even ask if I want to run to Nashville for something…because I don’t want to, and likely never will.  I could putter around in the warehouse or on the new farm for the rest of my days, without ever stepping outside of town.  To all of the customers who made this possible, you will never understand how grateful I am for you.  With Trump in the White House, our market has seen some pretty significant declines, and I hear the same for almost every prepper-based business.  We’re attempting to retool and refocus in different areas as quickly as we can, but no one ever knows what will happen.  For me, it’s enough that we’re here and we’ve kind of created a lifestyle where my wife and I could pay most of our bills selling stuff from Goodwill on eBay.  Plus, they let us keep our kids in cages as necessary.

Not the brightest animals.

We’re on our 2nd flock of chickens, as the first were killed off over the Fall and Winter.  (I hear that’s pretty common with a first flock).  We’ve upgraded to a nice large coop and have 6 great hens (1 passed just recently to an infection).  I had to put down our rooster Cluck Norris last week as he attacked one of my 3 year old twins (and has even attacked my wife).  It was the first, and hopefully last, time I ever pointed my Glock at a living thing.  Though it was a little nice to know that my carry pistol works!  We have a new turkey that wanders up to say hello to the chickens around sunset, I keep meaning to put a flock block out for her.

The thing about 40 acres is there’s always something to do.  My wife and I are not outdoorsy or farmy by nature, but we’re trying.  We all went tooling around the property in the Suburban on Sunday putting fire ant killer on any mounds we could find.  My wife is working on a small garden, and my Spring project is trying to fix the fences (so we can get some goats) and carve out a walking path around the property (it’s just about a mile walk along the outside of the entire property)

Our beloved Coco passed (she ran into the road, which is still too close for comfort), but it was almost a necessity, as she, despite being 3 pounds, killed 3 of our first flock of chickens.  My wife, who was a trainer by trade, says chicken-killing is a trait that is hard to break for a dog.  Ellie, our new border collie mix, loves to get along with everyone.  She’s our hero right now, as she pulled the rooster off of Dagny when it was attacking her, and damn near killed it.  For as sweet a dog as she is, it’s nice to have another set of eyes (and teeth) looking after the girls.

Mancamp in the back 40

Life is busy, but beautiful.  We’ve found a church we love, and we’re working to start making those important connections in a small community.  This past weekend I passed the Technician test to get my Ham Radio license. (Call Sign KN4DCA) I plan to join our local ham club and emergency response team.  I am even considering starting a little ‘Survivalclub’ Meetup to see what the town has in the way of preppers and survivalists.  Down here, I suspect they’ll be quite a few folks who far surpass anything we’ve done.

My families main food storage is still at SurvivalClub North (as another just in case), so I’ve started again down here.  However, my focus here is a lot different, and encompasses everything I learned helping our group lock down our needs at our first location.  If I find the time, I’ll try to do some updates and let you know how I’m doing things differently down here in comparison to when we first started prepping.

Again, thanks to all who helped make this amazing journey possible!

11

05 2017

Upcoming Blog Giveaway – Running 03/31/14-04/07/14

Hey everyone, just a note to tell you that we are sponsoring (with about 4 others) a blog giveaway taking place from March 31-April 7.  We are a sponsor, and are giving away 5 – $50 gift cards to the store, and there are 4 other participants as well, including one giving away a 9 tray Excalibur like the one we use…its awesome and you’ll definitely want to enter to win.

How it works:

There are currently 17 blogs in the giveaway.  Every person can earn a total of 2 entries by liking 2 social accounts (Such as Facebook and Twitter) of each of the sponsors linked at any of the blogs (I’m not actually a participant but a sponsor so you won’t be able to get an entry here), so if you like all 10 social accounts of the 5 sponsors, you will get the maximum 10 entries into the contest.  All the entries will be put into a virtual hat and presto, out come winners!

I’ve been highlighting one of the participating blogs per day over at our Facebook page if you want to check it out (and like us!).

If not, here is the full list (forgive the formatting, I hate copying and pasting from Office, but its better than retyping it all!).  You should go check some of them out; I’ve been reading a bunch of them over the last couple of days, and most of them have beautiful, interesting blogs…I definitely have blog envy!

Full List of bloggers participating:


1. Jennifer Osuch
2. Jane Adams
3. Laurie Neverman
 
4. Jamie Black Smith
 
5. Linda Loosli
 
6. Angela Paskett
 
7. Julie Sczerbinski
 
 
8. Adrienne Urban
 
9. Chris Ray
 
10. Mike Prunty
 
11. Dan DeLaiarro

12. Tammy Trayer
13. Bernie Carr

14. Jodi Moore and Julie Wise

15. Sharon Pannell

16. Colleen Anderson

17. Angela England

Untrained Housewife

27

03 2014

Update Winter 2014: Babies, new Mylar Bags, Wholesale Website for Survival/Prepper Store Owners

Hey y’all, looks like its time for my semi-annual post!  Yes, my blog is sad, I know, but someday I will be able to warp time and space and clone myself 7 times so I can get everything done every day that I want to!  I actually have a couple of posts lined up so it’ll have a flurry of activity for February at least.=)

My beautiful bebbies!

My beautiful bebbies!

Personal Life Update:  And these babies are why; please welcome Dagny Abigail (left) and Liberty Belle (right), our beautiful twins, into this crazy world!  Prepping is an act of preparing for the unexpected.  And while the girls were definitely unexpected, my wife and I had already ordered our life in such a way that what might be a crazy emergency for those who don’t prep, for those of us who do it was more like ‘Groovy, scary, crazy, but in the end, it’ll be ok!’  I’ll have an entire post on how my wife and I felt and acted before, during, and now, in terms of living a prepared lifestyle.

New Product Update:  We’ve gone back into production for another full truckload of product, due to arrive in late March (Lord I hope the cold is long gone before having to spend the day unloading!).  Included in the new shipment are a couple of additional bag sizes in the awesome ShieldPro material.  Like all of our new styles, these were requested by customers.  (So if you think of something you need, let us know, we just might make 10,000 of them!)  I’ve added a new small zip-seal bag, a 6″x6″.  I’m always surprised by how many of our 4″x4″ bags we sell to folks wanting to store spices and supplements in their 5 gallon buckets.  I’ve had requests for something just a touch larger but not as big as our 1-quart bag (8.25″x8.25″), so we’re getting a test run of 10,000 units.  We’re also adding another zip seal to the line, ensuring we will now have a zip seal available in all our main sizes.  It is a 2-gallon Zip (14″x20″), a size I’ve been surprised to find some folks storing water in.  I’ll do some testing of that process myself and if it goes well, will do another post on that subject.

New Business Update:  A pet project I’ve had on my mind since I started Advice and Beans was a wholesale website designed just for prep store owners.  That project is now coming to fruition, as through negotiations with the previous owners, we were able to acquire the premiere domain name for our niche.  Our wholesale site is now live at www.mylarbags.com.  Like most folks who have sold food storage supplies, there is one place on the ‘Net that comes up first in most search results and offers wholesale Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers (among other things).  However, after dealing with that company for a good long time (over a year), I came to understand why most people leave them quickly:  incredibly poor customer service, overpriced shipping, and inflexibility.

Mylarbags.com is our answer to that 700-pound gorilla.  We are making it as easy as possible for prep-store owners (whether brick-and-mortar or online) to source their goods.  First, our prices are better or competitive to anyplace on the ‘Net.  And that doesn’t count the additional discounting for pallet and truckload sized orders.  Everything on the site offers free shipping to the Continental US, so there is no going back and forth trying to nail down what that will cost. (one huge pain point I have had in the past with wholesale suppliers)  There is even an additional discount for orders paid with Cashier’s Checks, ACH, or Postal Money Orders as we pass on the savings from not have to pay a credit card processing fee.

We offer kitting in any combination the customer needs at a very reasonable cost per unit.  So we can ship in bulk if you need, however for folks doing gun and prep shows, our pre-made kits are a great time-saver.  If you like, we can even source kit-bags with your 1-color art (and appropriate lead time) as low as $.20/unit.  I am also personally available (as always!) to answer any questions or offer any advice to make your business successful.

So if you run a survival store or know someone who does, I hope you will send them our way and let us show them how customers should really be treated!=)

It’s looking to be an awesome 2014!  On top of the above, we’ll run some giveaways (my wife picked up yet another copy of a Rawles’ book I’ve read twice!) starting next week, hope to see you here!

 

27

01 2014

How We Do Business – Mylar Bag Edition

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a while!  While it has been quiet on the blog, we have been very busy behind the scenes trying to serve our customers better.  I’ve been thinking about doing a video encapsulating our philosophy of doing business, and what makes us stand out.  We have the best return customer rate in the business, and I thought we would share some of the reasons why.  If you’ve been on the fence about ordering from us, I hope this gives you some indication of how far we will go to serve our customers!  If you don’t know the address, here is our online store!

1)  Same Day Shipping – In the beginning, there is very little to differentiate one seller from another.  One of the ways we have done so from day one is offering same day shipping for all orders that come in until 3pm.  And many days if I can manage it, I’ll ship everything that comes in until about 5pm, stopping by the Post Office on the way home to drop off packages which miss the regular pickup.  Getting your package in the mail ASAP is very important to us.  We work 7 days a week (about a half shift on Saturday and Sunday) to make sure you get your item as soon as humanly possible without using Express Service!

2)  USPS Priority Mail Shipping for most orders – Whatever else one might say about USPS, I can attest that Priority Mail is the best reasonably costed standard shipping method available today.  UPS Ground can compete for a certain geographical area, but no one else guarantees 2-3 day shipping times (In TN and parts of surrounding states, some folks have told us they got their package the next day!).  This includes Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  If you need your order as quick as possible, you can trust us to get it there.  Just today, we had several customers on the phone who thanked us on getting their order to them ASAP.

3)  We Value Your Privacy – I am a privacy nut myself, and so we go out of our way to protect yours.  First, we use discrete packaging, meaning nothing will ever show up on your door with a big ‘Survival Stuff Inside!’ or giant ‘Discount Mylar Bags’ plastered all over the box.  We have many folks who specifically request plain packaging, and this is to let everyone know we don’t have ANY outer packaging with our name on it.  The only place you will see our name is the return address as required by our shipping carriers.

4)  We Value Your Privacy, Part 2 – For all orders placed online, we NEVER see or have access to your credit card information.  It is handled in exactly the same manner as it would be at a department or other retail store…invisibly and behind the scenes.  Only our credit card processor actually sees your credit card number, so you never have to fear one of our employees gallivanting around Europe using your credit card!

5)  We Value Your Privacy, Part 3 – While I’ve thought about doing one, we don’t have a mailing list.  We don’t, and will never, sell your email to anyone for any reason.  I hate junk mail in my inbox, and many of the survival stores are terrible about sending out a ton.  The only way I would send an email to a customer is if they asked me to do a newsletter, and only then if they chose to opt in.  This is currently not in the planning stage, so if you’d like to see one, let me know.

6)  Free Shipping over $50 and on all kits – In the beginning I tested out ‘Free shipping on everything!’  That wasn’t very funny when I had dozens of folks placing orders for 2 Mylar Bags at $.25 each.  Needless to say, we lost our shirts and had to change that policy quickly.=)  We know $50 is a lot of money to some folks, and so we also offer free shipping on all our kits (located here).  Our goal is not to make money on shipping, and we only have the minimum charge to cover the cost of processing and packaging small orders.

7)  When We Screw Up, We Fix It – This is perhaps the defining aspect of how we run our business.  While we do our best to get all orders out the door perfect, inevitably we’ll mess one up.  However, you have my promise that I’ll fix it, quickly!  Your satisfaction with your order is our only concern.

8)  No Hassle Returns – Something not quite what you pictured when you bought it?  No problem, you are welcome to return anything at any time for a full refund!  Again, I only wish I could get the same from many of the places I order!=)  We’ve accepted returns from customers who had their product for a year and finally said to themselves ‘I’m never going to do this’.  And that’s OK, ship it back to us and we’ll refund it.

If there’s anything we can do serve you that we’re not currently doing, please let me know!  We are working on getting some new bag sizes in to fill requests of customers, so I hope you’ll check back!

Summer Updates, OMG It’s Really Freaking Hot Edition!

However, it doesn’t really feel as hot as it might.  I read Neil Strauss’ book ‘Emergency‘ about a year ago (I could have sworn I wrote a review on it, but I’ve checked the archive and can’t find it!), and while it was a little overtly political for my taste (and not the good kind), it has some good bits of information for the novice prepper.  One which I try to take to heart is where he talks about forgoing his heating and air conditioning, on the premise that in many disaster scenarios, one may be without them for an extended period of time.  While I haven’t go so far as to rip out our air conditioning unit, we do set our thermostats a little different than many folks I know.  In the summer, we’ve taken to leaving the thermostat at 80 during the day, and about 76 at night.  In the winter, we leave it at about 55 degrees.  My wife doesn’t always agree, but what we’ve found is that your body can and will become accustomed to a wide variety of temperatures, if you just let it.  Considering we used to keep it at 68 in the winter and 70 in the summer ‘to be comfortable’, the fact that we rarely notice the temperature anymore only tells me we were throwing money away on heating and cooling costs.

It’s like the New Englanders who visit Florida in the winter and wonder why the natives have windbreakers on while they are in shorts.  Working in the warehouse has started to affect me much the same way, and I’m grateful.  It’s not well insulated so its usually only about 5-8 degrees cooler than outside, and its gotten pretty hot the last month or so.  I went to a wedding a few weeks back…to a person, everyone complained about the heat, and many were sweating.  It was about 82 degrees, and I found the temperature just mild.

I’d recommend folks whose air conditioning or heat runs constantly to try raising the thermostat in the summer by 5 degrees and lowering it by 5 degrees in the winter for 3 weeks.  My bet is at the end of that time, you won’t feel any more or less warm or cool, but you will notice yourself saving money on your utilities.

On to the updates!:

  • We are very excited to announce we will be doing our first official Food Storage info-sharing get together in Harrison, AR the weekend of June 15, sponsored by a local store.  We’ll be bringing a trailer load of bags and buckets (partially so we can still get orders out in the timeframe customers expect!), but also so folks who want to pick up supplies ‘shipping-cost free’ can save a bunch.  We’re going to do a flat 20% off our website prices on everything, so I hope we’ll see you there if you are in the area!  We may also be stopping by Calico Rock, AR that weekend as well.  I’ll provide the details here and on Facebook (Go Like ‘Advice and Beans’ for our Facebook page) once they are nailed down.
  • We finally got our newest website, a Long Term Food Storage Calculator, up and running.  For folks who ever wondered what they should store to cover a particular period of time, please stop by and give it a try!  There’s a free version that lets you run the calculator and store your results, and a very modestly priced Premium version ($3/mo) with some more advanced features including being able to run reports as well as add your own items and categories.
  • Slowly but surely, I am getting our first official Youtube video done.  Our video series will be called ‘Spill the Beans’, and I’ll be answering questions and providing some info I don’t think you can find anywhere else.  Plus, I’ll be channelling my inner geek, but you’ll have to wait and see to find out what that means!  The first episode will be on oxygen indicator tablets and what they are and aren’t good for.  I hope to have the first video ready by the end of June.  As I get used to using the video-editing software, I hope they’ll come out quicker after that, maybe every 2-3 weeks.
  • As part of the seminar we are doing, I am writing what I consider to be the ‘Essential 8 Pages About Food Storage’ booklet.  Once its ready I’ll be doing a short print run (maybe 250 copies for version 1).  I’ll be giving them away with large orders, otherwise they’ll probably be just a couple bucks.  It will contain all the info a novice food storer will need to get started.  As an FYI, all the information in the booklet is available free here in the archives, so don’t worry about missing anything, I’m just combining it into a easy-to-read format.
  • As our base of small commercial customers has grown quite a bit, we are establishing a Preferred Merchant Program.  It includes the best wholesale pricing we can offer, plus we’ll be offering perks such as ‘at cost’ pricing of items such as the Food Storage pamphlet as well as seminars and demos for your customers. (For those within 800 miles or so of Nashville)  Folks who carry our products in survival/prep stores, gun shops, and Army/Navy stores have seen close to 100% sellthrough with some excellent margins.

 

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by!  As always, you can reach me at admin@discountmylarbags.com with any questions or comments!

30

05 2012