People ask me frequently when something will be ready. During normal times predictions were difficult for us because we are so specialized. And now? There are far more uncertainties than before. Here's hoping this is NOT the new normal.
I wish I wasn't writing this, but ... here are some of the uncertainties!
- Virus quarantines, passports, fears. And actually, the other uncertainties are mostly virus-related
- Some of our contractors are short-handed because staff is afraid to come to work or are being paid more NOT to work ... or both. The labor shortage is affecting at least three different companies we work with in the Carolinas
- Trucking is suddenly very difficult to arrange and much more expensive. I'm personally doing some trucking for WeatherWool and it looks like this will continue!
- Supply chains are disrupted
- Prices of everything, energy in particular, are suddenly UP
- People are hoarding what they can get
- Equipment is idled for lack of parts, particularly if the parts need to be imported
- Imports are seriously delayed. We don't directly use any imports at all but many commodity chemicals that are far upstream of us are subject to import delays and shortages
- We need very skilled Tailors and Hatmakers who are willing and able to work our Fabric, which is relatively difficult and requires some specialized equipment. Just because we have Fabric does not mean the artisans will be ready to work on it. For example, we have spoken with the Hatmakers who have taken over for Ruby, who made our hats until he passed away. They told us they would need about four months to make hats for us, and that the clock does not start running until all our materials are in their possession
I'm reminded of some lines from Donald Rumsfeld. "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones."
Rumsfeld was dealing with the biggest issues, but his thoughts hit home for me because more than once we've been delayed or smacked by a hitherto unknown unknown.
And for these reasons we are extremely reluctant to accept payment for any garment that is not already in our hands. What we are happy to do, however, is accept no-obligation backorders, particularly on a SHIP ASAP basis.
4 September 2021 --- Ralph