Many of you will know that AL was hit with a few issues throughout November and without repeating each of them to you, it has meant I have taken stock of where we are and completely re-planned our Christmas calendar, based on November’s learnings.
Typically, when hit with problems, a small business will figure out the resolution over time, however with this being the gifting season, I am aware there is a hard deadline for people to understand what they can buy and when it will be received.
With that in mind I have broken down each of our areas, to highlight the changes we are making this December to ensure that any gifts purchased (whether that is treat for someone else or yourself!) will be received in time.
Each season we launch a new collection with the best of intentions. When it comes to fabric, our intention is to have each fabric we list available all season.
One of the (many) reasons that we, as a society, over-consume, is through the scarcity that feeds in from brands 'to buy before it goes', ‘offer ends’, ‘while stock lasts’ etc etc
We have always tried to avoid feeding this into our customers, hence the reason for two main collection drops per year (Spring Summer & Autumn Winter), alongside providing all the products at the beginning of each season (rather than gradual product drops throughout the season).
However, following the launch in October, we had numerous issues with fabric throughout November; this resulted in us having one fabric not even launch (blue fleece) and one fabric was 'out of stock' within a week due to an incorrect delivery (green fleece).
When it comes to suppliers, AL works with UK suppliers where possible. Everything from fabric, to thread, packaging to sewing machines are all ordered through local UK suppliers. The idea is not only to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible, but to work with small (often family) run businesses who are able to support with our 'relatively' small orders (in comparison to the high street, our orders would not even come close to the minimum orders these brands place with their suppliers).
As November has been a bit of a “No...No… November” we wanted to make the most of December and the end of year. With that in mind we want to have control as much as possible so our last rolls of fabric have been delivered this side of Christmas and will only be selling based on the fabrics we actually have in stock right now. That isn’t to say that we won’t have fabrics back in stock in January, however it is only fair that you are shopping for what we can guarantee you will receive.
Green: Our supplier cannot commit to a date that we will receive the original green fleece, therefore I know we will not have it in advance of Christmas.
Many of you will know that we received a slightly different shade, therefore given the number of people who were hoping to get their hands on forest green garments, I have listed the fleece we have available under a collection called 'Green Gate'. This collection features an image of a fabric swatch which is the shade of fabric we have available. The shade is still lovely, it just isn't quite the same as the one we originally shot for the website, so I wanted to ensure you get a clear picture of the fabric in advance of purchasing.
Our aim is still to have the original shade available again in the New Year.
TO SHOP GREEN CLICK HERE
Hot Pink: We have the least amount of this fabric left. It will most likely be the first to run out.
Lilac: I feel confident we have enough to cover December.
Black: I feel confident we have enough to cover December.
Blue: The supplier has not been able to get it to us in advance of December and therefore we will not be able to stock this until after Christmas.
All four colours (Black, Red, Grey and Oatmeal) are all available.
Please note, we are aiming to have all the fabrics available again in the New Year, however we cannot commit to a date that this will happen.
Another issue we hit in No...No...November was the delivery of your orders. The capacity of our production room is something that we have worked really closely on - crunching the numbers of what we can produce daily and weekly, based on the number of cutters, sewers and the hours that each of the team work.
We work hard to calculate the team’s holiday / any days off, as well as watching the orders live to ensure that we do not ‘over egg’ what we can do.
Unforeseen personal circumstances in November, meant that I was unexpectedly down four members of our seven person team nearly the entire month. This kind of loss in the team unfortunately means that there was no way to catch up on the orders within our usual delivery time frame.
Therefore for December, I have re-planned our capacity and been over cautious. It is based on the numbers of team members I expect to have in, but I also have a backup capacity should the team numbers be reduced for any reason. This capacity I will monitor on a daily basis (a combination of the number of orders taken on a daily basis alongside the number of team members I have in). Currently the last made to order date is 15th December this might be earlier if we hit our production capacity. So in short, as soon as we hit capacity, there will be clear comms stating we have taken all the orders we can in order for Christmas delivery.
We will carry on making and dispatching up to the 22nd December but there is a risk that it won’t arrive before Christmas.
Given we are currently only shipping in the UK, we had originally planned the made to order to ship up until the 22nd December with last orders up to the 19th December.
However our local post office who we work with to dispatch your orders, have already advised that this should be brought forward as they are predicting delays with delivery. Given the deliveries were brought forward for 2020, I have decided that our final shipping date for Christmas delivery will be 18th December and with capacity being ok the last order date would be 15th December.
We will continue to ship after this date, until we close the studio, however I’m afraid we cannot guarantee you will receive those orders in time for Christmas.