This dignify post draws from Derek Thompson's October 7th article in The Atlantic:
Thompson's article explains the practical challenges in 2021 for consumers as well as for retailers.
Here's how some of these points relate to dignify right now and in the coming months:
Bangladesh has experienced country-wide lockdowns as recently as August 2021. We have been super lucky that the production of our kantha products has not been so interrupted as to affect our supply.
Artisans were able to bring their work home, and while the circumstances were not ideal (juggling childcare at home instead of at Basha; sometimes unsafe home conditions, etc.), women were able to maintain employment — & continue production — during the challenging time.
It does help massively that we do not have seasonal or trend-based products; the unique, one-of-a-kind nature of our kantha has meant that which exact blankets arrive at certain times is not so important. We did have some plans for new product development & sourcing that became too difficult to execute given the various challenges & strains on the Basha team. Hopefully next year!
“The most dramatic expression of this snarl is the purgatory of loaded cargo containers stacked on ships bobbing off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Just as a normal traffic jam consists of too many drivers trying to use too few lanes, the traffic jam at California ports has been exacerbated by extravagant consumer demand slamming into a shortage of trucks, truckers, and port workers.”
Absolutely 💯 this has been our experience since last year. This week (October 7th), we received a shipment of blankets that had been originally scheduled to arrive August 15th! Count back to when we confirmed this order for production (April 12) and yes, it’s been a long wait... much of that spent sitting on a ship in port, waiting to be unloaded.
If this happens to our next one, there is a possibility that we will be low on kantha minis and large throws towards the holidays. But, we're working (and hoping, and praying — literally) to mitigate that. Last year held similar stresses, and you know what they say: fool me twice...
Unplanned changes, like these delays in port, create additional costs to us. And, as the article notes, domestic shipping (USPS, FedEx, Canada Post) prices are constantly on the rise. We have not changed the pricing to our customers in the 9 years we have been in business. It is possible (or likely) that in the coming months, we will increase the price on some items and/or shipping costs.
Finally, as if those slowdowns weren’t enough, there’s the mail. As of this month, the U.S. Postal Service is reducing its use of air transportation to save money. The USPS estimates that deliveries outside your local area will likely be delayed by one or two days. But as we’ve seen, relying on rail and truck means leaning on systems that are dealing with their own mess.
It’s true! Large online retailers can resource their own delivery systems (allowing, often, for free shipping for the customer in a short time). For a small operation like ours, we need to work with the existing systems.
We love to be helpful (and I hope that we are!), but there are constraints to our abilities. We cannot guarantee delivery by certain dates during this tenuous time. Buffer time will be our friend!
Our blankets are unique; in their very nature as a regionally-specific handicraft, they will always be an import from abroad. We are well-supplied and hoping that our best-laid-plans will go according to plan. There may be a shortage of "Everything", but our classic kantha throws will continue to be here.
We will (🤞) launch our holiday goods by the end of this month (stockings, tree skirts, etc.). Our once-a-year anniversary sale is in mid-November. Plan your wish lists & gift ideas early, act when you see a blanket you love, and you will have no problem getting what you need in time!
We are so grateful to be in a stable place after such a tumultuous year. Thank you!
The threat of technology to our humanness is no new fear (hello, Blade Runner! …actually: goodbye, you are a super boring movie 😆). But, there seems to be an acute crisis of our current cultural moment, as we relate to technology.
Here is just a fraction of writings from the past month addressing this:
With so much pain, brokenness, ugliness in the world, attention to beauty, joy, & wonder is absolutely necessary!
Beauty may not solve problems itself... A stunning photograph will not end famine or war. Banksy's graffiti art does not solve Middle eastern contested-land conflicts.
But, the restoration, hope, and inspiration that come from creativity and beauty are like gas in the tank — fuel for the drivers & changers of the world.
We don’t receive a lot of returned items, but it does happen. Of course! There is some degree of risk in shopping online, always.
Stores take different approaches to return policies, sometimes with great sophistication in how it will impact your willingness to purchase. Here's a little peek at what I've learned over the years (as a customer and also as a retailer) about return policies.