Farthingales is located in Canada so the 4th of July is not a big deal here. Our celebrations were earlier this week on July 1st "Canada Day", but today is a Saturday so it means I have some time to sit and think a bit...before starting laundry and house cleaning - my least favourite routines.
Farthingales has remained open throughout the pandemic. I run the business on my own and was self isolating. The first two weeks I wore a mask and gloves to process orders, just to be on the safe side and to know that if I did come down with the virus there was no way I had shared it with any of you.
Many of my suppliers were closed down and when they opened there were lengthy delays as they tried to adapt their processes to comply with new social distancing rules. I applaud them on this! I also appreciate that they held their prices despite the extra time it was taking to manufacture my orders.
Shipping services of every kind have also faced major slowing down of processes for the same reason. Again I applaud them for taking steps to keep their staff safe. While the postal systems have held their shipping rates steady the couriers have not. This has had a huge impact on my costs. I bring steel shipments in from the EU at over 1,000 pounds on a pallet. Normally a relatively cost effective way to ship. The rates increased by a little over 14% on two of these heavy shipments. That is a huge increase. Now, to be fair to the carrier they did send me an advisory letter and a quote before they picked up the goods (so I did have a chance to say "no"), but since the goods are manufactured for me when I order them - canceling the order was not an option.
At this point I have crunched the numbers and decided to hold my prices steady for awhile and hope that shipping costs will return to where they were pre-pandemic. At a time when so many people are struggling financially I don't want to limit their ability to get product that will allow them to work on projects, that can help them escape into something lovely like sewing a corset or costume!
To support the move to hold prices steady you will see many "sold out" items on the website. I'm having to give very careful thought as to where I spend the money now that there is much less of it. Items that do not sell quickly are not being replaced quickly. Typically, I try to restock before an item is completely gone - that's no longer possible, but at least you can see that the item is sold out and not - order it and then face disappointment.
I appreciate the continued support my customers show by placing orders. I know these times are difficult, no matter where in the world you live and that we are all struggling on some level. I hope the coming year - from now until July 4th 2021 will bring positive changes and a stabilizing of the economy.