First of all, I wanted to thank you for your support this Summer as we opened our doors at a brand new location on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. It was a very exciting season! Everything was new and we learned quickly about the ins and outs of managing a larger retail store. Add in a record tourist season on Martha’s Vineyard (“post COVID” travel!) and unpredictable virus variants to keep us on our toes! My team and I pulled it off and we officially made it through our first summer season in downtown Oak Bluffs. It was a whirlwind and the excitement isn’t quite over yet. Thank you for your continued support as we navigate the upcoming holiday season and our first full year in business in our new location.
As we gear up for the holiday season, we are faced with new and unusual challenges. As you have probably heard, there are supply chain and labor shortages wreaking havoc on just about every industry-- and unfortunately, my small jewelry business isn’t an exception.
I wanted to let you know that you may encounter delays when ordering from us, due to factors that are beyond our control. Please be patient with us and plan ahead when doing your holiday shopping. When shopping with us this season, please expect the following:
Due to a busy summer and bead and silver delays, our stockpile of finished, “ready to ship” jewelry is unusually low at the moment which means that your package may take longer than usual to leave our hands, because each piece of jewelry is handmade. Between now and the end of the year, I would like to set your expectations that it will take anywhere from 2-10 days for your package to leave our studio. In the past we have typically shipped out orders received via our website within a day or two but we will be needing a bit more time as often we need to create a piece of jewelry in order to fill your request. Please know that we are working as quickly as possible given our supply shortages and our small team.
There are certain colors of beads and clasp styles that we are low on or out of stock of so some colors and styles may become unavailable. We will do our best to offer suitable substitutes wherever possible. We are trying our best to keep our inventory accurate (so that something says “sold out” on the website when it is no longer available), but occasionally something you order may not be available exactly as pictured. In this case we will contact you and try to find a suitable substitute (perhaps a similar color or a different style in the same color).
In August 2021, the USPS increased the price of a stamp and in early October 2021, they increased the cost of shipping a package. They are now charging between $0.75 - $5 more per package than they were before the increase. UPS recently introduced a “peak surcharge” of $1.15 - $6.15 per package, as well as suspending its service guarantees.
Once an order leaves our hands, we will always provide whatever tracking is available via the carrier but the package is no longer in our control. Please note that UPS has suspended its service guarantees and USPS has lengthened their shipping windows considerably.
Just about all of the beads we use in our jewelry come from a small family-run glass bead factory in the Czech Republic. While this region is currently experiencing some relief from past Covid surges, their production of beads was drastically slowed in the spring and summer and we are still experiencing the ripple effects of this slow down. In addition, bead shipments that used to take 3-5 days to reach me from the Czech Republic factory are now taking 2-5 weeks.
There are certain bead colors that I haven’t been able to replenish for over a year due to these delays. For example, I have been requesting coral circle beads and indigo rectangle beads since early spring of 2021 and the production of these is still not complete. When our jewelry studio is out of one color of bead we are unable to make our jewelry in certain color mixes until we receive this color. I am sometimes able to find a creative solution, like finding a small amount of the bead from a different supplier or sorting through our current stock to find similar beads that may have been tossed aside because the color or shape was slightly different from the rest at that time.
Many of our sterling silver “findings” (clasps, earwires, etc.) that we use to finish our jewelry, are made in India, Israel and Italy. We have experienced varying degrees of delays and price increases as these countries have navigated their own challenges due to the pandemic. Many of the sterling silver production facilities in India for example shut down for several months this summer due to their regional COVID spike and we are still experiencing shortages of some of our silver supplies due to these events.
In addition to our supply chain hiccups, we are also running the business with fewer than our ideal amount of employees. Here on the Vineyard, as in the rest of the US, there are fewer people looking for jobs than open positions. If you know of anyone who might like to work with us, please send them our way!