Corset Making Supplies for you are collected from the Studio every day!
It feels like ages since I've written a general update on the 'situation' as regards Covid, Sew Curvy Service and other stuff...
Well the Covid situation seems to have settled a bit which is good. Haberdashery and Fabric supplies are getting through - still slower, but a bit quicker than last time I wrote!
Demand is still high, but not as high as when we were in full lockdown - that of course changed when people started going back to work.
Corsetry Coutil deliveries are back to normal at last!
Between all of those things, and the new postal system which has literally changed my life, you the gorgeous Customer, shouldn't notice too much amiss.
Where i'm still struggling is with admin - I have a pathological need to get my orders out on time - it's always been the case - and by the end of the day there's only so much time (and energy it must be said) to catch up with Admin. Admin is basically stock records, ordering in, customer correspondence etc., I'll sometimes do a bit of this of an evening from home, but right now - there's no internet for me at home (read on).
So other news which i've mostly kept to myself, is that for the entire period of lockdown there has been a bit of extra stress for me on the personal front! Literally the day before - on 23 March - my husband and I bought a new home! Then there was lockdown. Which meant that the whole house buying/moving process slowed down and on top of the usual stress of that, the lockdown stress was on top! Argh! I never do things by half!! The first time we moved home, we did it on our wedding day - 23 years ago! Well done us!
doesn't everyone have skulls to pack on moving day?
Anyway, that move took place (finally!) just over a week ago and ofcourse, the things you never notice when you view a new home, surfaced, and there is much to sort - with us it was basically that we had to dunk the entire place in bleach, hire a skip for all the rubbish left in there, and clean till our hands were raw. Anyway ... all done now, so normal service in the shop should resume from today!
In sumarry where we are now:
Orders are being packed asap every day, and post is collected daily.
The new postage system means that post is collected by the postman every day - it's been a godsend and means time saved on many fronts - no driving to the PO by lunchtime (and therefore limiting number of orders packed), no waiting in queue's at the PO, no danger of infections from other PO customers (though that was minimal it must be said), no looking up tracking numbers and doing separate emails per customer, etc., etc.,
Supplies are getting better at coming through
Stock levels should be back to normal soon
Again, THANK YOU so much for your amazing patience through this difficult time, and your support of Sew Curvy! It's been a pleasure getting your corsetry supplies out through these times and knowing that some of you are trying new things whilst possibly forming a new corset making addiction - sorrynotsorry.
My studio neighbour, The Cuckoo's Nest Gallery, has been creating an oasis of calm outside Sew Curvy Towers!
Hello all of you, from here at Sew Curvy Towers! It's been a while since my last update - I hope you are all keeping well. I know you are all busy because I've been sending you ALL THE THINGS to make you so!
Demand for corsetry supplies is still unprecenented and I am still working alone except for Sunday afternoons when I'm dragging my poor full time key working hubbie to the studio to help me get a head start on the week by winding up corset boning while I cut miles and miles of coutil fabrics.
this is just some of the corset boning and fabric mountain that Mr Sew Curvy and I prepared this Sunday just gone. The whole job - him cutting and winding the boning and me cutting the fabric, from orders taken Thurs-Sun, took nearly 4 hours.
During the week while packing your orders, I have my birds tweeting outside, and my music on and I'm up to my elbows in tissue paper, stripey bags and jiffy envelopes. Although I try to keep visits to the post office to a minimum for safety (twice a week currently), my post lady is still dressed up like the female version of Hanibal lector (scary mask, behind perspex), and all is as well as can be. I'm not complaining, but I do want to make it clear why your order may be taking a bit longer than usual.
My coutil cutting list by Sunday
Piles and piles of coutil!
Posting & Processing your Corsetry Supplies
I have been receiving a few 'impatient' emails, demanding to know tracking numbers, proof of postage, etc., even when these have already been sent but where items are taking a bit longer, and some people do not seem to be taking into consideration that on top of everything, we have just had a bank holiday (post offices closed) followed by a weekend - I know it seems like an age, but I am not Amazon. I can't pack and admin at the same time, and packing is my priority. Every email response demanded, is time away from the packing table. I try to catch up with the computer towards the end of the week - certainly after Monday/Tuesday. I do 'forget' sometimes even though I am quite efficient at 'flagging'. If it's been a week, please do feel free to chase me up, but please bear in mind the delays beforehand and calculate accordingly.
Whilst I realise that clients and deadlines don't go away, and I know some are excited and eager to get started on projects, this is a Global Pandemic, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Spanish Flu outbreak after the first world war, which came in two waves, and killed millions. It's hard times for all of us and not a little frustrating, I know. I myself, on top of trying to keep the business going as efficiently as possible, am also in the process of moving house - I won't even start on the difficulties of trying to do that during a lock-down. People for the most part have been exceptionally patient, kind and understanding, frequently sending me messages of support and solidarity. These messages mean a huge amount and really keep me going - THANK YOU to those of you who have sent them - there have been many.
They really keep me going
Things are taking a long time to get to places, especially outside the UK. Which brings me to my next very exciting peice of news...
just one of this morning's bags on the way out It's uber heavy!
A New Mail Service for the UK is Coming!
For a while i've been frustrated about the Royal Mail 'recorded mail' service. Not just because I get the odd shouty person thinking that 'first class recorded' is actually 'priority on the packaging table' (it isn't) but because, the 'recorded' service is not a tracking service. It's a mechanism by which we can tell if items have been sent and more importantly delivered. There is no tracking in between. I know! It came as a shock to me too when I found out. Which is why i've been looking for an alternative.
To cut a very long and boring story short, Last week I was contacted by The Royal Mail Business service who I had been in touch with previously around 2 years ago when said service was quite expensive, and beyond the reach of many a small but busy business. In the interim it seems that they have been researching and developing over at Royal Mail and have realised that a) the future is in mail order b) there is absolutely tons of business they're missing out on by pricing too high and most importantly c) people like me are actually clogging up rural post offices with sacks of mail which could be dealt with more efficiently in an entirely different 'business' system which is tracked, automated and separate to all the other mail!
So i've signed up to the new improved service! In approximately two weeks (would have been sooner but for 'youknowwhat'), most UK mail heading out of this studio will be tracked. Properly tracked. Not only will it be tracked, but THEY - the Royal Mail - send you an email to tell you your tracking number and when you can expect to receive said items!
There will be two layers - Tracked 24 and Tracked 48 which do exactly what they say on the tin (but for pandemics). I will not tier the cost of this by the amount you spend. The rate will be the same for parcels from 200g to 20kg ! Items under 200g, will still be sent in the usual system because that will be cheaper.
I'll write more about it in a second post, and I wish it could take immediate effect due to my currently having very sore arms lugging all the mail bags to the post office, but soon it will be in place and we will at last, have a proper tracked system!
In the meantime, please be patient and remember the following:
We are dealing with an unprecedented amount of orders right now
First class recorded is not 'priority on the packing table'
Recorded mail is not tracked
*Urgent orders are not possible atm even if you are a student on a deadline
We do still take time off over the weekend
We do not, as a rule, reply to email on any evening especially at weekends.
We are doing our best to get your order out as quickly as possible
The mail service is absolutely overwhelmed while running on between 50-80% of their usual resources
Airmail is taking much longer due to air traffic, customs, your native postal service restrictions due to CV19.
We can't always supply eveyrthing in your order due to stock shortages and supply chain slowness - if it's on the way we'll let you know, if it's not, we'll send.
We are really happy that you're all sewing so many corsets and costumes!
That's 'the Royal We' - because it really is only me.
If I don't answer emails right away, it's because I'm either packing, or i'm 'officially' off duty (bank holidays/weekends)
You can get the most up to the minute updates and info by following me on Instagram @sewcurvysupplies See below for my Sunday/Monday stories:
Are you like me, struggling to remember what day it is right now? I have to think quite hard of a morning and sometimes count on my fingers! So today is Thursday on week what? of the lock down? At least supplies in the food shops are getting more regular and back to normal even if we can't just all pile in like we used to to get our daily bread.
Before I ramble on about what's going on at Sew Curvy HQ I just want to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of you who have been purchasing from me and supporting my little shop! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, it means that I don't have to worry for now about 'all the things' going on in our shared horror story of covid-19 and hopefully I'm keeping some of you sane with things to do at the same time.
corset kits are back on site!
So the shop has continued being uber busy while people decide that now is the perfect time to 'try that thing' they've always wanted to try, and to this end, I put my basic corset kits back on the website last week. As predicted, they've been flying out the door (albeit, that part was quite slow!).
That's alorra lorra steel and whalebone!
This week I received a pallet of steel - hurray! - ok it was a week late, but lets be forgiving in these times when delivery drivers around the UK are working twice as hard for not twice as much money.
So, steel boning of all sorts, and the ever popular synthetic whalebone is back in stock - I now order more whalebone than steel, that's how popular it is!
(for my opinions on plastic vs steel, please click HERE and HERE)
Going forward - as I said, volumes are high, and there is still only me packing, posting, admin'ing etc.,
Usually I have an assistant on Mondays - she helps with bits of orders, sets up kit supplies, fills standard packages of stuff (lingerie bits), and does the admin for me - refunds, invoices, the books ... that's quite alot of work I'm also picking up on top of the double/triple volume of orders.
Mr Sew Curvy is now coming in with me on Sunday afternoons to do the bulk of steel picking and winding - do you know that I am now the only supplier who sells boning and other corsetry supplies in units of less than 5 or 10 metres?
Mr Sew Curvy sporting a mask I made for him
Anyway, for the past two weeks, I've had to disable the shopping basket from Tuesday to Friday, just so that I can cope - I've been getting two weeks of orders in 3 days on some weeks so you can imagine the frenzy in here!
I don't think i'm going to set that closure in stone, i'd rather see how it goes week by week, but if you definately want your supplies by a certain date because you've made promises to clients or similar, then you must must must order 2 weeks in advance. I received a large order on Monday saying "I need this week" - not possible i'm afraid, not just because of me - and the fact that there may be 60 other orders to pack before your urgent one, but because of the postal and other delivery services etc., there simply are no guarantees right now.
for corset making advice follow me on Instagram @sewcurvysupplies
In the meantime, I've been doing a few live's on Instagram and i've also made a little tutorial from one of the questions asked of me, which was about how to set eyelets. You can see that and much more by following me on Instagram or Facebook on @sewcurvysupplies - it tends to be where I 'announce' things first so is always more 'up to the minute' and is automatically copied to Facebook, if you don't have Instagram.
All about Eyelets Soon to go on IGTV - stay tuned!
So that's it for this week. KBO as Churchill used to say. Keep Buggering On!
I spoke too soon! We have had to temporarily disable the shopping cart in order to work through the huge volume of orders received, update stock, and get back on top of the admin. We will re-open the shop on Friday 24 April in the morning, so do have a browse, and don't fear, there will be more stock available by then as we are expecting a huge delivery of steel, s. whalebone and coutil this week but we need time and space to organise ourselves.
I have also decided to only do only ONE post office run per week. This will be on a Wednesday morning until further notice.
In the meantime, I discovered how to make a mask (for keeping your droplets to yourself!) and that you can make it from one layer of coutil with a cotton lining. This makes a sturdy, good quality mask with reasonable filtration due to the close weave of coutil. The mask above is one layer of small weave herringbone lined with a quilting weight cotton. Pattern is here.
Don't forget we have an instagram page @sewcurvysupplies and a Facebook group @learncorsetmaking Pop in and say Hi!