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Business Changes

Posted by Jason Ferry on

TLDR: onewaylight.com will continue to offer all items we sell, but shipping will be reduced to once per week on Monday (or Tuesday in case of a holiday).  Amazon will offer a more limited set of popular light sets and lights fulfilled by Amazon (fast, daily shipping but possibly at increased cost).

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Long Version:

One Way Light has been a hobby of mine while I've worked part-time and gone to school.  My situation has changed and I am now working a full-time job in addition to being an Army Reservist.  I simply don't have the time available to ship orders daily.  One Way Light would need to grow to four or five times its current size to justify renting an office and hiring a full-time employee, so offloading these responsibilities is necessary.

I'm also going to have to dramatically change how lights and light sets are sold to continue to this business.  The bulk of my time is spend testing, packaging, and dealing with Amazon customers claiming they never received their order.

Testing:  I'm going to attempt to find a third-party that will be able to test and package individual lights prior to them leaving China.  I can't say how well this will work, but I don't have time to test each and every light that comes through the door.

Packaging:  Packaging takes even more time than testing.  I love labeling each and every light that I sell, particularly for light sets.  It makes installation much easier than it would be with a loose package of parts.  Unfortunately, with each light being used in different places depending on the vehicle - and individual lights sold needing different labels than light sets, the workload is simply too much.  We will transition over time to selling light 'bundles' that include all the lights and parts needed in any light set with instructions or vehicle specific guides either included with the bundle or available online only.

Customer Service:  I really hate selling on Amazon and eBay because a small portion of their customers seem to go into transactions with the goal of getting a refund, no matter the situation.  Amazon's customers claim non-delivery at more than 100x the rate of website customers.  It is incredible given that all orders are packaged and shipped the same.  Anyway, Amazon as fulfillment agent also means I'm not arguing non-delivery cases on a regular basis.

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Goals:

My goal is to continue offering high quality lights.  I will continue to offer XJ lights, but if the business is to grow (and it must grow to survive long-term) it must grow into a source for high-quality automotive LEDs in general.

I have an idea for this, but will need to hire someone to work out how to accomplish it.  Basically, I want to leverage customers to determine what works and what doesn't for any particular vehicle and use their results to build a database of what works and what doesn't.  I want to offer rewards (refunds or gift-cards) when customers provide information or confirm or offer new info about what does and doesn't work.  Over time, if many people report something working well, I might offer it as a bundle.  Rewards would be reduced as more and more people report on a particular vehicle.

Currently though, I've got XJ turn-signal and brake lights to figure out... I think my use of bridge rectifiers (so the light can be installed in either direction) is a liability for turn signals because of their tendency to feedback through one another).  I suspect making this change will permit the use of LEDs with quality (notiva, grote) relays and stock and after-market trailer lamp and brake modules.

I'm working on a WJ video showing installation of that light set.  Time is short though, so I don't expect it will be published until the fall when I'm settled into the new job and have fewer pressing Army Reserve obligations.

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About me:

I'm Jason and I started One Way Light after dealing with my frustration sourcing LEDs for the interior of my 2000 Jeep Cherokee XJ back in 2013.  Over time, I think I've got a very good product set for the XJ, but things have more or less stalled.  Most of my limited time is spent testing, packaging, and doing other things (taxes, customer service, inventory) necessary to keep a business like this operating.  Going forward, especially once I am doing videos this fall, I will represent One Way Light more as my personal passion than as a faceless company.  I work a full-time job as an electronics maintenance tech, a part-time job as an Army Reservist, and I'm still trying to finish an electrical engineering degree.  If I don't change things, One Way Light will cease-to-be because it's just not a good source of income and ultimately, is less important to me and my family than the other things going on in my life.

Best,

Jason


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