Even if you don’t run a small business you may be aware of global supply chain issues for the past two years relating to the pandemic. In addition, millions of people have changed jobs during the pandemic that compounds problems for small businesses like ours to reliably get you the products you want.
Let’s look at a simple example we’re dealing with right now. White fabric. Seems like a really simple thing to get right? We’ve been waiting for our favorite Superior Solids White 09 for months now. It’s been waiting at a port to be picked up. The ship that was supposed to pick it up hasn’t done so because it’s full of other items manufacturers are anxious to get. Originally we were supposed to get it in February but now it’s been delayed until mid-March because the ships were too full. Without that one fabric, we can’t make certain kits. A lot of retailers, even big ones, are out of this particular fabric. We know if we substitute a different white it will confuse customers and create problems down the road. We’re looking for ways to find that particular fabric but when a customer asks, “Will you be restocking that kit?” or “When will you have more white fabric?” we truly don’t know the answer because “It depends whether the ship stops to pick up the crate, whether the fabric gets tied up in customs because of labor problems, whether there will be delays in shipping from the warehouse to us…” doesn’t help quilters plan their projects. The honest answer is that we don’t know because we’ve been in business long enough to know that you never know when your shipment will arrive until it’s on your doorstep.
So here’s our promise to you: the inventory on our website is a reflection of fabrics, publications and tools we actually have. It is updated after every order and every time a new shipment arrives. As soon as we receive items or are able to make new kits, we update inventory. If it’s out of stock, we don’t have it and probably can’t accurately tell you when we’re going to get it. The pandemic has required all of us to adapt to limitations that we never imagined and sadly that includes access to our favorite fabrics. The good news is that we are devoted to keeping our inventory as accurate as possible in live time so you’re not not left waiting and wondering when your order will ship. We also have a firm policy of not doing pre-sales. We won’t take anyone’s order for a product we don’t have. Plan ahead as much as possible and please understand that all businesses are trying their best to adapt to a very challenging operating environment.
If you’ve placed an order and haven’t received a confirmation, there’s a 99.99% chance that it’s in your spam folder so please look there as all confirmations are sent automatically when the order is received. Thanks for your patience.
In mid-June we started a two-part fundraising campaign to raise money for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund that supports students and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). We auctioned our Outside the Box quilt on eBay and set up a charity GoFundMe for Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Our delay in reporting back the results of the fundraiser resulted from a hold that eBay put on the funds because the winning bid was considered a high-ticket item. However we can officially announce that together with you we have raised a total of $2,750 for Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the final payment will be made tomorrow. We are so appreciative of all of the donations that were raised for this worthy charity, which is highly ranked for its management on Charity Navigator.
We launched this fundraiser to draw attention to the chronic underfunding of education in Black communities and are grateful for your help in raising these funds for HBCUs, which have been especially hard-hit during Covid-19. The winning bid for our Outside the Box quilt was $1,300 by a bidder who purchased it in memory of a friend and has asked that it be donated to the International Quilt Museum where it will be kept with our Pick-Up Sticks quilt, which we donated last year as the first Modern quilt in their collection.
We will continue to look for ways to use our work and resources to improve equity for those whose voices have gone unheard for far too long. If you missed our fundraiser and would like to donate directly to Thurgood Marshall College Fund, click here.
I experienced the transformative scale and beauty of Christo’s wrapping of the Pont Neuf, which I crossed daily on my way to fall classes during my junior year abroad in Paris in 1985. While Parisians didn’t all agree on its artistic merit, it brought people together. Like so many others, I got off the metro one stop early just to cross the bridge. I left a little early each day not just to walk its expanse but to make time for the wonderful conversations that inevitably happened on the overlooks that were crowded in a way I’d never seen.
More than a decade later I was a student again, this time in Chicago for graduate school. In the hallways of my school, I saw a poster announcing an upcoming lecture by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude. I excitedly told Weeks who was as eager as I to hear them. I told my program director of my admiration for their work and of my experiences on the Pont Neuf. He asked if I’d like to join them and a few others for brunch. Of course!
Christo and Jeanne-Claude were at ease with everyone. Professors and students shared stories of seeing their work whether from Germany to California. Both during the breakfast and later during the public lecture, Christo deftly guided the conversation away from his art and toward to the process of building consensus.
While many famous artists tell students to “pursue your dreams”, Christo didn’t say this, he showed us what he was doing. He showed early sketches from the late 1970s of the Gates project he envisioned for Central Park. He told stories of working with city administration, starting anew as elections changed those in power. He also explained how he worked with local residents, refuse workers and construction crews, getting them all to care and be invested in the work. He knew how to make things happen. In 2005 the 7503 gates became a stunning reality.
To this day I admire his work for its beauty, but what impacted me most was his dedication and determination. He was a true leader, bringing people together for the common good.