We've had a lot of questions lately about when products will be restocked. We have been working on a new shipment for several months, but the current global pandemic is making this process even more complicated than usual!
We've seen a large increase in orders over the last month, which is wonderful - thank you!! But it also means that we are selling out of products even faster than anticipated. I guess many of you have been using this extra time at home to expand or start a new fermenting hobby!
With all the new orders, we have some new customers here as well - welcome! If you are new, you might not know that we operate differently than most other small e-commerce companies. We self import all of the products we sell from small businesses in Poland. Most of our artisans can't afford to export their products on their own, so we gather all the items together into one large shipment to make it more affordable. To keep our prices low, we only import 2-3 large shipments each year. All of this means that items are only restocked 2-3 times each year, instead of continuously like most websites. It also means it might be several months before an item is restocked, and that most products will be restocked all at once.
Our artisans have been working over the last few months to manufacture the products we have ordered for the next shipment. We originally had planned to have all the products completed by the end of this month and shipping out from Poland at the beginning of May. On a typical schedule, this would have resulted in the products arriving at the end of May or beginning of June.
However, as everyone knows our world has been turned upside down over the last 6 weeks. Poland is currently on lockdown, with activities limited to essential business only. The borders are currently closed for travel, although it should not effect commercial shipping. Like us, many of our artisans are small businesses who rely on selling their products to stay afloat. With the travel restrictions currently in place, many of these companies are struggling to stay open without business from tourism. We have already had two of our artisans who have decided to temporarily close for the remainder of the year after fulfilling our orders.
Our facility in Poland* continues to work towards shipping out the products as soon as possible while putting the health of our workers and community first. Many of the products are already in our possession, but we are still waiting on a few manufacturers to complete their orders. We are doing our best to continue our normal shipment process as safely as possible. However, the pandemic restrictions are resulting in a longer lead time for many of our artisans.
For our part, we still anticipate being able to ship the container in May, it just might be a little later in the month than we had planned. After that, it's really anyone's guess as to how long it will take to get here to the United States. Typical transit time from Poland to our facility in Illinois is 4-6 weeks. The container travels by truck, train, ship, train and truck again before it gets to us, and also must clear customs in both Poland and the US. If any one of those systems is impacted by COVID-19 it could cause delays.
If we've learned anything as small business owners it is that there are many things that we cannot control. It's a lesson everyone is learning right now. So if you want to know when we will be restocking the website all I can say is - as soon as we safely can!
*As a side note - As of now, Poland has been doing remarkably well as far as the spread of COVID-19. They currently have much lower rates of infection and death than many other European nations. As we have many family members living in Poland this is incredibly important to us personally.