Frequently Asked Questions
Question:How long have you guys been in business?
Answer: We officially started in August of 2007. PJ has always been woodworking as a hobby and deeply involved with Chamoru cultural practice and preservation. He has been making and giving away gifts to friends and family for years. Because we kept getting requests from more and more fellow Chamoru people, we decided get a business license and expand our capabilities with an initial investment of over $20,000.00 to purchase woodworking equipment and our laser engraver.
We are very happy with our decision to contribute to the items available to our people that showcase and highlight our cultural pride! We have gotten overwhelming support and appreciation for the mission of promoting cultural pride and awareness that we have chosen to undertake
We have also made the conscious decision to keep our products respectful and family-friendly by refraining from products that carry explicit or sexual connotations.
Question:Do you guys have a physical store?
Answer: No, we primarily sell our items online and we are often invited to sell at large Chamoru gatherings and celebrations in Washington state. We have not participated in
events outside of Washington state because of the great costs associated with travel and lodging. We do plan to participate in a limited number of events in California in 2008.
If you are interested in having us come to your party or gathering just shoot us an e-mail to discuss the possibility.
Question:Do you guys make all your items that you sell?
Answer: No, many items are common items popular with Chamoru people that we purchase and just add personalization. Some examples are the picture frames and the utensils
We select only high quality items that we ourselves would appreciate owning.
The items that we do make ourselves are the items that are not commonly sold in the regular market such as the kamyo or the family name plaques. These items are made from raw materials and take considerable time and effort to get them to the finished product.
Question: How do you determine your prices?
Answer: All of the items we sell are below the suggested retail price that a similar company would charge for specialty items. We cannot compete with WalMart because we don't have the buying power that they have. They might buy and item for $.30 each because they buy 400,000 units of the item. We are limited to buying only a dozen or 2 dozen so we might pay $5.00 each for that same item. For this reason there is a common misconception that we have high prices. In order to correctly compare our prices, compare us to similar companies and not "Target" or "Walmart." Then it will be evident that for the items we sell, we are well below other companies.
PayPal also charges fees for payments processed through them and that is a factor that must be a factor in price determination. Many will notice that the prices we charge at the fiestas and parties are slightly less than the online prices we have, this is because we don't have to pay the finance charges to PayPal so we pass the savings on to the customer.
The bottom line is that we do our best to keep our prices as low as possible for our customers because our goal is not to get rich, it is to provide the items to our people. Likewise, there are many items that we donate and costs associated with doing business. Most times we will give a significant discount or include additional items for free to people who purchase large quantities from us. This is because our goal is not huge profits, we just want to recover the costs associated with our business. There is tremendous time and effort that is involved in addition to equipment and materials costs associated with the business and most people appreciate that but there are a few who do not understand this.
Question: So why do you guys sell below suggested retail?
Answer: This business is only a hobby for us and a labor of love to provide items for Chamoru people that Chamoru people like and appreciate.
Question: What kind of payments do you accept at the fiestas?
Answer: Cash and major credit/debit cards. Credit and debit is processed through a secure merchant service that uses internet access. Some locations that we have been to do not have a strong enough signal for us to link with the secure merchant service. We can only accept cash if the secure merchant service is unavailable. Personal checks is a last resort and will require valid picture i.d.
Question: Why do you only use the U.S. Postal service?
Answer: Just for simplicity and convenience. Our experience with the U.S. Postal service has been extremely positive. We don't want to fix something that is not broken.
Question: How do you determine your shipping costs?
Answer: Shipping charges are based on the average costs associated with the particular items. Shipping is not just postage. There are also hefty costs for packaging materials. If you are quoted for shipping and the actual cost exceeds that quote, you will not be asked to pay the extra costs. We try to minimize costs passed on to the customer by recycling packaging materials.
Question: Where do you guys come up with the ideas for the items you sell?
Answer: Most of the ideas are from customer requests and influences from existing products out there that we just add our own flavor.
Question: Why do you guys only use PayPal?
Answer: PayPal is extremely secure and SPJ Crafts & Engraving never ever sees or retains any financial information of the customer. All we recieve is a notification that payment has been recieved.