When we published the article titled “Designing During a Pandemic: Why it isn’t Really “Business as usual” Just Yet” back in September of 2020, we had no way of knowing how these challenges would change over the course of the next year. Unfortunately, these challenges have not yet gone away, and we are still dealing with these challenges on a daily basis.
Customers and clients are waiting longer than ever before for high demand items like hardwood and appliances, as well as products like furniture and decor pieces. While you may have never imagined you’d be waiting up to six months for a new sofa, that is our current reality. Read on for a full explanation of why these delays are happening, and what you can do to make the best of the current situation
back of the line
As a consumer, you may not see an issue with delaying the purchase of your new furniture for a few days to a week, but in the time that you have delayed your purchase, others have gotten in line in front of you and when the line is as long as it is, those couple days to a week of delay can mean many more months of waiting for the final product to arrive. While we never want to rush a client making decisions about their home, it is important to understand that these delayed decisions mean even longer delays in receiving your products.
Many countries that are responsible for fabric production were shut down for months on end while communities battled the pandemic. While some fabrics are kept stocked, many others are created in small batches and these shutdowns delayed production of many fabrics. Even now, as most of these fabric suppliers have opened their doors and are working to create more stock, there are backorders and delays in fabric, which means that upholstered furniture is delayed as well.
It is a well known fact among designers that the world is currently experiencing a foam shortage. This has been a long standing issue that stems from both the pandemic, as well as storms and hurricanes down south – where most foam is produced. Add to this fact that many custom pieces may require different types of foam (think of a sofa which may have a different type of foam for the arms, back cushions, seat cushions etc.). If we are waiting on one type of foam for the product, the entire piece will be delayed.
shortage of skilled workers
Once the factories got back up and running, there were new protocols to keep everyone safe. With new protocols in place, the production time has slowed down to accommodate more safety procedures. In addition to a slowed down production line, many of the skilled workers who have perfected their crafts were no longer going to work, be it because of illness, mandatory quarantines, or lack of childcare. Because these are SKILLED trades, it isn’t simply a matter of replacing someone on the line. Instead, things get further delayed because of a lack of workers able to produce the furniture.
So what can you do about all of this? Well, it starts with having the right attitude. Instead of lamenting over the fact that your furniture is delayed, it is best to understand that this is all out of anyone’s control and there is nothing we can do about it.
It also helps to have a skilled Interior Design firm in your corner that will keep you informed on all these delays. Every week, our firm sits down to discuss each project in detail and we compose emails to each client that has had any updated product delay or new estimated arrival time. We find that by keeping our clients informed, they are understanding and appreciative of the communication – more so than being disappointed about the delay. We work with long standing suppliers who we trust will be in business long after these delays are resolved. We believe a high quality piece of furniture that you love is worth the wait.
Questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!