Behind the scenes #15

Since the beginning of Northern Playground in 2014 we have dreamed being sold out – it's a sign that people want what we are creating. Our dream has since been fulfilled, but today in 2021 being sold out has become a daily nightmare.

You may have noticed the long delivery time on some products in our shop. Since this winter we have had too few products and been sold out again and again. There are two reasons for this: 1. We have been selling like crazy and have a growth of 150% this year. 2. Corona. Extreme growth is obviously great! The Corona problem on the other hand, isn't.

When the news of Corona first came around we were prepared for delays, problems with deliveries and fewer sales. After a few months of lots of uncertainty, it seemed that we had steered clear of our worst fears. One year later, Corona is all of a sudden giving us repercussions that I never read about in any of the textbooks I plowed my way through in business school.

The problems we are up against
In a normal situation it takes about six weeks from our manufacturer orders yarn until it is delivered from the supplier. Now this takes at least 22 weeks. The case is the same for zippers. In May, one of our manufacutrers also had an outbreak of the virus, which meant that they could only work in one shift instead of their normal three. They expect to catch up with the delays this caused in September. In other words, four months later. It is obvious that this means huge delays for us and others in the textile industry. And it's not just us. Bikes, micro chips, aluminium and lots more are in the same situation.

I have asked myself, and discussed many times with other economist friends; why didn't we see any of this last year? Part of the answer is stock. Most manufacturers, including us, have a stock they can take from for a period of time. So even with closed factories we are able to deliver products a little while, until the shelves are empty. There is also a reproductive effect that has us seeing bigger problems now than a year ago. Picture traffic on the freeway. If the car in front of you breaks, it doesn't take long until you are back to your normal speed. But the time it takes for the cars behind you to get back up to speed gets longer the further back in line you get. Ships getting stuck in the Suez channel and outbreaks at container docks aren't helping the situation either.

It hurts deep in our souls to not deliver as promised to our customers. And it is annoying that I, an economist, was taken by surprise by the situation that has occured. It makes me wonder what subjects I should have taken at school to be able to predict the situation we are in. I still haven't come up with a good answer.

We love a challenge, and uphill battles usually just make us more motivated to succeed. But now we aren't battling uphill – we're battling a vertical wall! Of course we are doing everything we can and a little more, but we are excited to see what fall will bring and when we will have a normal flow of goods again.

Thanks to all you customers who have been so patient and who are waiting for preoredered products!

Greetings from Marita

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