At Aquinas and More I have always believed that we aren't in business to sell Catholic stuff, we are in business to evangelize through not only the things we sell but also through the hundreds of saint biographies and articles we've published over the years.
I hope that our goal of being a safe haven for orthodoxy and our commitment to not sell any products from China are things that make Aquinas and More a trusted resource for your Catholic gift needs.
Over the past few years we've hit a few serious bumps that have us in a position where we may have to shut down Aquinas and More. If you want the details, you can read our blog post at our blog
In my blog post where I laid out my mistakes, I listed nine primary things (excluding the economy) that caused our current condition. We have already corrected five of them:
- Open a retail store: We closed our retail store in December and will never open another in this city.
- Growing our selection faster than our shipable inventory: We recently have removed many products that weren't selling and rewrote our procedures for how to purchase products to make sure that we keep the most popular products in stock.
- Growing our staff instead of becoming more efficient: Over the past three years we have made many improvements to our processes and our inventory system to speed up jobs and reduce the number of people needed to perform each task. For example, in 2008 we had three full-time and two part-time people doing fulfillment. In 2012, we were able to do a similar volume of shipments with one full-time and one-part time employee.
- Accounting: Our accountants have cleaned up our books and figured out the problems that were causing certain expenses (mostly credit card processing fees) to go unreported for several years.
- Side projects: I have noticed that entrepreneurs tend to like to start projects more than they like to maintain or complete them. I ended several projects last year and at least one more will be ending this year. Every new project that is proposed will now have to be shown to be directly related to the core of our business before it ever gets farther than a meeting note.
- Taking relationships for granted: This one is an ongoing process that I will be focusing on on a daily basis.
This fundraising campaign will correct three more and take care of our debt problems:
- Not hiring someone to fix bugs and add features: a portion of the funds raised will be used to pay an outside company to fix some long-standing bugs and complete features that have been languishing for several years. Also, both Aquinas and More and Catholic Church Supply will get a complete design overhaul.
- Growing selection faster than on-hand inventory: We have established new procedures for how we stock product and with this funding we will be able to grow our inventory with the right products in the right quantities with more on hand than ever before.
- Not hiring an outside company to work on search engine optimization: Part of the funding will be used to hire a company to get Google to "like" us again.
Today I am asking you, if you support our mission of fidelity, beauty and evangelization, to consider being an Aquinas and More Angel by supporting us through this funding effort. We are going to raise $250,000 over the next two weeks. These funds will be used for the purposes outlined above.
I know that $250,000 seems like a lot of money but we have a community of over 30,000 Facebook and Twitter fans and have sent orders to over 200,000 people. If every one of our Facebook fans just gave $10 - less than the cost of a book, we would more than meet our goal. This is an all-or-nothing campaign. If we don't meet the goal, your pledges won't be collected. We want to make sure that our business can come back better than before for you.
If we aren't, with your help, able to raise the funds we need, several unique services we offer will vanish from the Internet because we are the only Catholic site that has them. Here are a few:
- Registries for seminarians and military chaplains - we've sent over 7000 items to Catholic military chaplains to distribute to their flocks
- Our Good Faith guarantee
- No Chinese products - It's been our commitment from the start and over 200,000 orders later, it still is
- Imprimatur information on books
Even if you can't personally give, you can still support us by letting your family and friends know, writing a blog post or sending us a testimonial about how Aquinas and More has helped you strengthen your Faith.
We also ask you to remember Aquinas and More in your prayers. If you can, please pray the St. Michael Prayer each day for the success of our Angel Campaign.
From our family to yours, many blessings and thank you for your support.
Ian Rutherford, President
Pledges are not tax-deductible and are not investments for stock or equity in Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, Inc.
If you would like to show your support and promote our campaign, you can download images for Facebook, Google and your blog at the Aquinas and More website.