On Shipping Delays, Restocks, Processing Times, & Preorders
We spent the day packing up and shipping out a huge amounts of orders, including tons of fall pre-orders and pretty much all the shampoo bar orders. The reminder are packed up for local delivery either tomorrow or Saturday!
I'm sure several of you are waiting excitedly on shipments and deliveries, and we really appreciate your patience. I know a few of you have noticed that our current processing time is longer than usual, or that we have a lot of pre-orders, sold-out items, that kind of thing. I debated whether or not to post more detail, but I wanted to take a few moments to explain exactly what's going on behind the scenes here at Belham & Co. and just why things seem so crazy lately!
Like a lot of you, we've felt the impacts of the pandemic. In February, we were supplying over a hundred small businesses all over the country with our handmade products. We had a ton of production space, and lots of plans for the future. But when March came and businesses began closing their doors, we saw a sharp decline in orders. Over the next four months, we heard from less than a dozen of our retail partners. In-person events and classes were no longer on the table. Our kids were home full time with no options for childcare. In the middle of it all, our lease was up for renewal, and we knew it didn't make sense to keep our big, beautiful space.
But that meant we had to drastically downsize. It meant we had to find a new way to make our business work. It meant making a tiny workshop space work, one that was closed to the public. It meant our batches had to get smaller, because we now had limited space to store materials and finished products. It meant setting up an office in a spare bedroom. It meant hours driving around town doing local deliveries with two little ones, listening to Frozen 2 music on repeat. It meant working around distance learning times, naptimes, and staying up all night to get products made. I'm sure many of you can relate!
There have been many days in the past few months when I've been so exhausted and frustrated with it all that I've wanted to throw in the towel. There have been weeks and weeks of waiting for delayed shipments due to covid, finding new suppliers because old ones shut down or closed, weeks that went by with hardly a sale, only to be so overwhelmed with orders the following week that even with working every spare minute of every day, we couldn't meet our processing times, because of kids, and school, and other jobs. There were days when we didn't know if we'd make it without the wholesale side that supplied 75% of our business. There were too many days when I just didn't know when I'd be able to get an ingredient or packaging in, or when I'd have time to work on production. There were days when I wondered if we should keep going. The ups and downs and uncertainties have been quite real.
But after all of these ups and downs, we are still here. We are so thankful that we've managed to hold on through all the craziness! There are still bumps to smooth out, though. Our products are selling out fast, because our batches are necessarily small. Our restocks are less frequent, and our processing times are longer, because we're juggling a dozen balls at a time (hello, virtual kindergarten and online college) and sometimes still waiting on supplies to come in. But we are doing the best we can. We REALLY really don't want to close down entirely, but the reality is that we can only go so fast right now, due to lots of crazy circumstances beyond our control. So we're hoping you'll understand if we are upfront about it. We're hoping you'll stick around and order your favorites when they get in. In the coming months, we expect to be gearing up production and shipping your stuff out faster. So if you can, have patience with us til then. And y'all, thank you, SO MUCH, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your support and kindness. We really couldn't do this without you. ❤