And soon it will be brexit too! As it is now past the posting deadline for corset supplies to get to Europe before they have to go through customs, I have decided to take some time out for a number of reasons.
1. We need to take stock - it's been a crazy year! Orders going out like mad has meant we've hardly had time to update stock let alone catch our breath - since March we have had 3 pallets of corsetry steel and plastic whalebone delivered with the last arriving today.
Eagle eyed customers will also have notcied a shiney new shelf in the Fabric department where we have been selling coutil remnants, roll ends, and slight seconds. These usually go very fast only hours after they are listed, so you'll be forgiven for having missed them! Anyway ... there is still a mountain to climb on that front ... We have 'bundles' to list yet, which include bra making materials, herringbone coutil boxes, lace and trim bundles and special edition corset making kits.
Corsetry coutil fabric remnants for sale at reduced prices. Sometimes this includes corsetry fabrics which are no longer in stock or available so the early bird does catch the coutil worms!
The famous pile! It's getting alot smaller but there are still corset making goody bags to go! We have closed the Etsy shop where all this used to be listed because fees and postage rules are ridic!
The corset boning roll ends is always the biggest pile! This is particularly handy for when you need small or odd amounts of flat spring steel and plastic whalebone.
2. We need to figure out what to do after the Brexit transition period which ends on 1 January 2021. As yet, there are no guidelines at all. For a small business like Sew Curvy, the most difficult thing is VAT. Customs information etc., is all taken care of through our Royal Mail 'Click and Drop' account but we need to be more clear on the way we present products and VAT.
3. We haven't had a furlough scheme going on at Sew Curvy and while that has been a blessing in disguise because I was able to get out of the house, it has been crazy busy - we have sent out more corset kits this year, than in the whole of the previous 10! You'll see from my previous blog posts that there has been some personal busy'ness going on too - moving house during a lockdown, is no small endeavour let me tell you.
Corset making supplies going out all over the world This was a quiet day!
I have therefore decided that the 2 week festive break will be an ideal time to take a bit of time off, and sort out the shop & studio without the pressure of orders to send out daily.
I have therefore turned off the shopping basket for the Christmas period and will re-open on 31 December. We need this time in order to catch up with ourselves after what has been a hectic year, and to prepare for the year ahead and our new trading status outside of the EU. This means we are sorting out stock, getting a sale ready, streamlining the business, and swotting up on really boring things like tarriff codes and VAT.
If you are in Europe and are wondering where your order is - don't worry! If you ordered before Monday 21 December, your goods are safely on their way and have already left the UK. If you ordered after 21 December, your goods have not left the studio yet due to the EU blockades on UK goods.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our customers old and new, a merry festive period and a happy and prosperous new year!
We look forward very much to seeing you on the other side!
Apologies for the extended radio silence from Sew Curvy Towers! Who knew this pandamoneum - i mean pandemic - would last for so long !!
Well whilst things have calmed down a BIT, it's still been busy so first of all I'd like to send out my huge and limitless thanks to all of you who have kept this little business going through what's been a very difficult year for everyone! Thank you so much for all your support! Judging by the fact that I have sent out more corset kits over this summer than I have in the last 10 years I think we have added a few nice new corset making addicts to the world in the process - sorrynotsorry ...
The good news is that I now have help on a Monday which is the busiest day, so we are able to get more sent out faster. There are still a few blips in the supply chain for haberdashery, cotton fabrics and cotton tapes, but on the whole, things have settled down in that area.
On a personal note, my house move continues to be 'interesting' - I've moved from the west of Oxfordshire to the south of Oxfordshire. The studio is still in West Oxon which for me, means longer commuting times and this does impact on the working day somewhat - I used to live only 5 mins away from the studio, in a perfect house that didn't need decorating/sorting/mending etc., so I could quite happily work till 6.30pm and still have tea on the table at a reasonable time, but that has all changed now so along with all the lockdown type stuff, I'm having to adapt a bit on the home front. It's all good, though a few things have changed, or will be changing over the next few weeks:
Changes at SCC for the month of November and beyond as follows:
The first thing is Fridays. I'm no longer sending out orders on a Friday. This will give me more time to focus on blog writing, tutorials, admin, and social media!
The 'big bad B' - BREXIT
So on 31 December as things stand now, we're going to be out of the EU without a deal. This is going to add new meanings to words like 'chaos', 'panick' and 'pandemoneim' and it's going to be a whole world of pain financially for many people, not least small traders like Sew Curvy who will have to negotiate a whole new raft of rules and regulations as far as customs and duties are concerned. I'm expecting a drastic change to the way we import and export, so what I'm trying to do is get enough stock together to ride past that particular storm (if that will indeed be possible!) and keep all of you corset makers in stock too! That means i'm concentrating on our core corset making components - busks, spiral steels, flat steel boning and good quality european corsetry coutil. So, 'preparing for brexit' will be high on my agenda over the next few weeks and that means lots of studying of new procedures, new VAT rules, and stock related admin. I'm tired just thinking about it.
Post no longer going out on Fridays
Shopping basket will be closed for a period over Christmas so I can work out all the Brexity stuff.
I hope you all have a safe and productive lock-down, and lets keep everything crossed that November's 'pain' will be December's gain.
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: