Supply chains and the postal service
Part of the reality of the evolving ‘new normal’ is the breakdown of supply chains and disturbances to postal services. As many of you know, our partner Paper Scissors Stone is experiencing shortages from their many suppliers, many of whom are unable to tell PSS when their products (crayons, recorders, craft materials and books) will once again be available.
We are now exploring alternatives to the US postal service. Many of you know that it is in its death throes---I have spoken with a number of small online business owners and there is a lot of panic and concern....this is not just about Christopherus by any means!
Too many international orders have gone missing in the past few months--we of course have to replace these at our cost and the US postal service no longer gives refunds even if one has taken out insurance on the parcel (which we always do). This is costing us too much money to carry on in this way not to mention our frustration--and the huge frustration of our customers outside the US.
Recently we have seen problems with domestic orders as well though they, like orders to Canada, are not (yet?) too problematic.
In 17 years of business we have never had these problems.
For the moment, we have suspended all sales outside of the USA and Canada. We will let people know via the announcement box at the top right of our homepage, here in this newsletter, and on our facebook group, when international sales are once more available.
A big issue for us (aside from the fact that the USPS is one of the last bastions of good union jobs with good benefits and we wanted to support that) is that both Fed Ex and UPS charge far more for shipping (DSL is not an option as we are in a rural area).
We know we cannot charge higher shipping --so that means we must subsidize shipping heavily. We already subsidize international at 15% and will have to increase this.
So....we will need your help. We need all of you who love and support Christopherus to spread the word--if we can reach more customers, increase our volume of sales, then subsidizing shipping will not be a burden for us and we will continue to be sustainable. We will be watching our subsidized international sales especially carefully--please help us be able to continue shipping to places such as Australia by letting fellow Australian Waldorf homeschoolers know about Christopherus and encouraging them to buy their curriculum from us.
One thing that makes us feel positive that together we will figure this out is the great numbers of you who choose to pay 'break even' or 'supporting' for your curriculum. If everyone who could afford it did that, and if everyone told their friends about Christopherus and urged them to buy directly from us, then I think we will be ok!
And just to say...we cannot print in other countries to avoid shipping costs as US paper size and margins are different than that of the rest of the world and conversion is a huge and costly rigamarole. We do not want to sell our materials as pdfs—we have done that a bit over the years, especially of those publications which we then update or rewrite (such as the Curriculum Overview, kindergarten and Joyful Movement in the past few years) but there are many issues which we have looked at exhaustively over the years, including 1) as the world moves online we insist upon the importance of hard copy 2) pdfs are that much easier to pirate, something which is already a problem for us 3) most of the non-printable options for pdfs are tied in with Amazon which we avoid and 4) quite a few of our current and upcoming publications are not suitable as pdfs as they are workbooks for students.
We are working hard at finding an alternative and will have an announcement about this soon.
Blessings on your homeschool journey!