Finerly Decor Shipping Retro
We had some unique shipping challenges in 2023! We pride ourselves on transparency and communication, and wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at what went down in 2023, and a look at the lengths we small business owners will go through to do right by our customers!:
The first thing to know is that we have operated under a model of pre-orders for the last couple of years. We do this so we can not only estimate our total inventory needs for the year but also because it makes sense for us financially. We, like many small businesses, have largely had to bootstrap which means we don't have loans or capital given to us by someone as an investment. All inventory orders have been made at our own expense. Pre-orders help us immensely in this regard.
How it has worked so far is that we open pre-orders for Christmas in July, provide our order to the manufacturer in early August, and then the product ships mid-September, we receive the shipment in mid-October or sooner, and get your orders packed and out to you by the end of October. Last year we had all orders out by October 15th!
This year's challenges:
Well -- multiple things happened this year that created a perfect storm in terms of product shipment.
1. Our product wasn't done being manufactured until October 20. Normally we already have the product shipped to our customers by then and this year it hadn't even left the manufacturer's yet. We were told it would be done by mid-September, then October 5, then October 15, and finally October 20. My suspicion is that our order was bumped for larger companies. Our manufacturer is the same as many big names -- something we didn't know until this year! On the one hand, it's great because it means we chose well in terms of quality and capacity, but there are clearly some downsides.
2. We thought we'd at least have the shipment by the first or second week of November, still in time to get it out well before Thanksgiving. Well... then the shipment didn't leave the port until the second week of November. It was just sitting there. Yes, I was going absolutely bonkers. At this point, we had decided that David would fly out to Long Beach where the ship comes into port, load the boxes into a big moving truck, and drive them back to Indiana where we could fulfill them. It wouldn't be perfect, but then at least we could have orders shipped by Nov 17th.
3. Then we got a call that they were expecting an additional delay at the port. It was at this point we decided that we would fly our family out to CA and process the shipments from there. It was a big sacrifice for our family, and it costs us more to ship from CA than from the Midwest, but we knew it's what needed to be done. We picked up the orders from the warehouse where shipping containers are offloaded, reloaded them into a moving truck, and personally unloaded, packaged, and processed hundreds and hundreds of orders over the course of the next two days, all from the confines of a storage unit we rented out. It was less than ideal, and we didn't get to package our orders how we like to (with tissue paper and making them look pretty) but it did allow us to get orders out literally as fast as we could. We even took them to the UPS processing center and loaded them directly onto the belt. At one point I looked at David and said, "I should have been a lawyer," Attorneys are infamous for their long hours, but that seemed like a vacation compared to what we were doing.
The upside to all of this is that we'll never have to do this again. Because of the success we've had this year, we will be able to put our order in to our manufacturer in January of 2024. That will give them plenty of time to get our order done, ship it in May, so we can have everything in our possession before our Christmas in July sale even begins next year. That means, as soon as we get an order, we can process it. There will be no pre-ordering! Just ordering! Like a real, big girl company!
We know that this growth is because of you all and we're so appreciative. Thank you so much for your patience this year as we've had some challenges. We strive to provide the best product and the best customer service, and believe we have the best customers out there!
Onward and upward!