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COVID-19 Update - "Stay-at-Home"

Posted on March 21, 2020 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

What a strange time we are living in right now.  Things are changing by the day, and I don't know about you but I am feeling very overwhelmed with keeping up with all of it!

Here in Illinois, our governor has issued a "stay-at-home" order.  This means that we have been instructed to stay at home except for essentials.  We want to do our part to flatten the curve, so we are going to be scaling back our order shipping for at least the next two weeks.  We've been anticipating this announcement and making changes so that we do not have to completely stop order processing during this time.

We will continue to ship out orders as long as USPS and UPS are running.  However, we want to reduce our impact on these shipping companies is order to ensure that essential health, safety, and food related products have priority.  Therefore, we are anticipating longer processing times over the next few weeks.  We are planning on shipping out orders 1-2 times each week, rather than every day. 

If you would like to support our business, but don't need something right now, consider purchasing a Gift Card!  We now have gift cards available on the website in $10, $25, $50 or $100 denominations.  You can purchase a gift card for yourself, or send it to someone else!  You will receive a unique code to use for purchase on our website anytime.  Gift cards never expire, so you can take your time deciding what you want to purchase!

These are difficult times for so many people and businesses. Right now we consider ourselves lucky to have so many blessings and supportive customers that have purchased our products over the years.  Thank you for your continued support in helping us flatten the curve! Stay safe everyone!

Behind the Business - COVID-19 Concerns

Posted on March 14, 2020 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

We know everyone's inboxes are flooded right now with emails from companies explaining their response to COVID-19.  As a small family business, we rely on your orders to help keep our business running.  But we know that many people are concerned about the current global pandemic, as they should be.  We wanted to offer some information on our practices in case you are concerned about ordering from us at this time.  Most of these items are routine for our company, but now seems like a good time to remind our customers of the way things run around here!

    1. All of our products are made in Poland. We work with small businesses in Poland, direct importing all the products we sell from the artisans who make them.  Our last shipment from Poland arrived in Fall 2019, which means all of our products were made prior to that. 
    2. We do not use dropshippers.  All of our items come directly from Poland to our own facility.  We have full control of the supply chain and who comes in contact with our products from the moment it arrives in the US until it is shipped to our customers. 
    3. We have been working over the last year to transition to a method of prepacking products for shipping in order to allow a more streamlined order packing process.  We did this primarily for our work flow, but in light of the current global concerns it has become a huge advantage.  Because items are already packed for shipping, we have minimal contact with the products themselves at this time.  For the majority of orders we are able to simply insert the packing list, tape the box closed and affix the shipping label without actually touching the products themselves.  We've been utilizing this method since August of 2019, and will continue for the foreseeable future.
    4. We only have 2 people in our organization which are involved with the packing and shipping of orders, and because we work out of our own space we are able to practice social distancing while still preparing and shipping orders.  We are following CDC guidelines.
    5. Our schools statewide are currently closed as a preemptive measure to slow the spread of the virus.  (We are in Illinois for those that don't know!)
    6. Should anyone in our organization show signs of sickness or have knowledge of exposure to COVID-19 we will suspend order processing and shipping until the risk has passed.  We will update this information should any changes occur.

        At this time we are able to prepare and ship orders with no impact to our typical processing times.  We have not been informed of any changes to UPS or USPS shipping procedures and therefore anticipate continuing to operate as normal for as long as that is an option.  As a small family business we are used to working from home, and count ourselves lucky to have little impact on our work lives because of COVID-19. 


        This information will be updated should our situation change, which understandably is happening a lot at this time.  Stay safe everyone and if you find yourself with some free time at home, why not try fermenting to pass the time?

        Authentic Polish Papercut Wycinanki Folk Art

        Posted on November 21, 2019 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

        This summer while visiting Poland we had the opportunity to discover many new products at the Polish Folk Art Fair in Krakow.  The products I am most excited about are these beautiful hand cut Polish Papercut Wycinanki !  We sell many products featuring prints of this style of Folk Art, but this is the first time we have been able to find someone who still makes the authentic traditional layered paper version.  These Wycinanki are so beautiful and unique - we wanted to purchase every single item the artisan had in her booth!

        I wish you could see these in products in person, because they truly are works of art!  We spent last weekend carefully taking photographs in an attempt to convey just how special these papercut designs are - so be sure to check out the product listings to see all the images.  I also included lots of historical information in the description if you're interested in learning more about this unique folk art craft.

        Being a Polish American family, I'm always looking for ways to add more of our Polish heritage into our home here in the United States.  I cannot wait to frame the Wycinanki we picked out at the festival to add to our decor - and now you can do the same!  The papercut designs will also make wonderful gifts for those with Polish ancestry. 

        I'm so excited to make these traditional Polish Papercut Wycinanki  more accessible so that everyone can purchase a small piece of Polish cultural history for their own homes!

        Boleslawiec vs. Rustic Ceramics

        Posted on November 16, 2019 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

        The world of online shopping has made it so much easier to discover new and interesting products.  But, not being able to see items in person can make it hard to decide what product is right for you!  That's why many customers email asking for my opinion of the differences between some of our Fermenting Crocks.  Today I thought I'd share my observations comparing the Rustic and Boleslawiec Fermenting Crocks

         

        There are several differences between the Rustic Crocks and the Boleslawiec Crocks, but here are the most noticeable -  

        Clay

        The Rustic Fermenting Crocks feature a dense clay with thick wall construction.  This makes the crock heavier to move around as well as helping to moderate temperature shifts in the environment.  Customers also report that these crocks seem to be less susceptible to barometric pressure changes.  In contrast, the Boleslawiec crocks have a thinner wall construction and a smoother clay.  The result is a crock that is lighter weight and therefore easier to move around.  

        Glaze

        The smoother clay on the Boleslawiec crocks also contributes to a smoother glaze finish.  In addition, the glaze on the Boleslawiec Crocks is a glossy finish.  The glaze on the Rustic Fermenting Crocks is more of a matte finish.  The denser clay on thh Rustic Crocks also leads to a rougher finish than the Boleslawiec Crocks

        Shape

        The handles on the Rustic Crocks are large, making it easier to move them around.  In addition, the shape is shorter and fatter than the Boleslawiec Crocks

        Reputation

        Boleslawiec is the most recognized Polish ceramics company in the world.  The Rustic Fermenting Crocks are made by a much smaller ceramics studio that is only know within Poland and Germany. 

        Hopefully these comparisons help you understand our products a little better!

        Nuts for Fall Sale!

        Posted on October 08, 2019 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

        There is a chill to the air, the leaves are falling and we're hauling in the last of our garden harvests.  As the fall season sets in, we always like to bring out our collection of Mushroom Nutcrackers and a bowl of mixed nuts ready for shelling.  My children love to sit by our fireplace and shell the nuts while they nibble on their "rewards".  I love that they have a quiet activity to occupy their time, plus a nutritious snack all at the same time!  And what parent doesn't love a snack that your kids serve themselves!


        While I love having nutcrackers around my house, they also make the perfect gift!  They are small and easy to keep on hand for those last minute situations, and their unique design and beauty mean that you never have to worry if the recipient already has one!  And with three different designs to choose from - Traditional Brown, Natural Heartwood or Red Toadstool - there's sure to be a Mushroom Nutcracker that even the most discerning giftee will love!

        Don't forget - we aren't the only ones who love our Mushroom Nutcrackers!  Who remembers when it was featured in this New York Times article "Nutcrackers: Master of the Hard Shell", online and in the print version on November 20, 2014? Here's what Chef Chris Cosentino had to say about our nutcracker -

        "He also liked a mushroom-like wooden nutcracker from Stone Creek Trading, which he thought resembled a porcini. "You can hold the top or the bottom to twist it together," he said. "That's nice, elegant and simple.""



        In honor of our favorite fall product, our Mushroom Nutcrackers are on sale this week!  Now thru Sunday September 13, 2019 Buy 2 Mushroom Nutcrackers and get 1 for Free!  This discount is automatically applied at checkout, so simply add any 3 designs of our Mushroom Nutcrackers to your cart and the lowest price item will be free (no discount code needed).

        You can use the discount up to 5 times (which would be a total of 15 nutcrackers for the price of 10!!) so now is the time to stock up for the holidays!

        One discount per order - cannot be combined with other discounts.
        Not applicable on Factory Second Nutcrackers.
        Valid on in stock items only, no rainchecks.  Not valid on previous purchases. 

        Garden Lantern Review in Heirloom Gardener Magazine

        Posted on June 10, 2019 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

        It's that time of year when we just want to be outside all the time. Meals on the deck and fires on the patio while the kids play in the backyard is the perfect way to spend a summer evening.  With so much time spent outside, our garden lanterns are very popular this time of year!  With 5 different styles, the garden lanterns are the perfect way to add a little extra decor to our outdoor spaces. 

        It's exciting to see that we aren't the only ones who enjoy the garden lanterns this time of year!  Check out this review of our Floral Garden Lantern in Heirloom Gardener Magazine!*  We love hearing what others think of our products, and know it's so helpful for customers as well.

        To celebrate the summer and the new review, we decided the garden lanterns are the perfect choice for this week's Product of the Week! So order any design of the lanterns this week (6/10/19 - 6/16/19) and automatically receive 20% off!

        Now comes the hard part - choosing which one!

        *The review in Heirloom Gardener lists a price of $19.  This price did not include any shipping fees.  However, we recently restructured our pricing to greatly reduce shipping fees, which is why the current price on our website differs.  The new price for the Garden Lanterns is actually less than the previous total price because of the large reduction in shipping charges!


         

        Spring Refresh! New Logo, Pricing & Shipping Fees

        Posted on May 14, 2019 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

        Have you noticed some changes around Stone Creek Trading lately?  We've been taking this time of growth and renewal in nature to also freshen up things here on the website! 

        We started out by updating our logos across all platforms to make sure they reflect who we are and what we are known for!  What do you think of our new taglines?

        Once we saw how easy it was to make some graphic changes, we decided to finally tackle our biggest struggle - shipping fees.  We have heard lots of feedback from customers on our "high" shipping fees.  The truth is that the shipping fees we are charged by UPS and USPS are expensive and they keep going up at least 5% every year!  We have tried not to increase our prices as much as we can, but we also have to stay in business!

        Because we aren't a big corporation with locations in every state, it can be expensive for us to ship to customers that are far away.  From our location in the Midwest, it can be quite expensive to ship to the coasts, especially locations like California, Oregon and Washington.  Add on top of that that our best selling products are large, heavy and fragile - and the shipping charges really add up!

        Nowadays, many people expect free shipping.  However, the free shipping model won't work for our small family business.  With our one location, the shipping fees we have to pay for a product will vary greatly depending on the location of the buyer - which makes it difficult to build the price of shipping into the product price. 

        But we know how frustrating it can be to find a product and price that works for you, only to discover a big shipping fee.  We've been playing around with ideas for awhile, and we think we've come up with a way to reduce the shipping "shock", but still keep our prices fair. 

        We have reduced the shipping fees across the board, making some of our smaller products ship for free!  We have now incorporated some or all of the shipping fees into the price of the product, helping you to see more of the price upfront.  We know it's not a perfect solution, but we think it's the right mix of what our customers are asking for and what our small business can do!

        Take a look around the website and let us know what you think!  If you have any questions (or find any errors) send us an email - emily@stonecreektrading.com!