“Why don't you have more Birkenstocks?” “Why is everything taking so long?” “Why don't you have what I want?” We hear you, dear customer and to be totally transparent, heres why.
First, please understand, we hate sending you away without the shoe or sandal you really wanted, especially if it something you can depend on us to carry. Starting this summer we began to experience more extreme shipping delays than ever before. Sadly, that translated into fewer and fewer shoes in store. There are a few contributing factors.
The shoe industry is quite unique. A preseason shoe order is placed 6 - 9 months before we plan to have the styles arrive in-store. Plainly that means styles for Spring 2022 are ordered in July 2021 and will be the inventory for January - June 2022. Imagine ordering your winter coat, rain boots and scarves in the heat of summer praying everything will be trending when the cold weather comes through again. Makes it interesting...
Obviously, every market is different and stores all over the country are placing similar shoe orders, so our vendors, like Birkenstock, Dansko, Vionic, etc are collecting,collating and, deciding how many thousands of pairs to order for each shoe, then adding in extra for special orders and fill ins for us, the retailers, to access if the shoe is a big hit. Bringing a new style of shoe to market can be a 1 - 3 year process from idea inception to display in store. So involved, I know!
You may ask yourself, how do we decide what shoes to order? Good Question! Experience plays a roll, we have been doing this for a number of years, but that is not to say we don’t do our homework or make mistakes. Many hours go into analyzing statistics, trends in the market, planning our budget and that's before we even see the shoes! Then we go to market - which means 100's of possibilities with 100's of different vendors. It's a little science, a little gut feeling and a whole lot of praying that what we picked is what you - the customer - will fall in love with, like we did. Thankfully, our 40 years in business helps us know we are on the right track. Usually....
Now throw Covid into the mix and it all gets a whole lot harder.
The shoe manufacturing factories all over the world closed down for months at a time, then add in the shipping logistics that have to occur to get shoes from overseas. Their ports need to ship to one of our ports, send to the warehouse facility that they then distributed to the US retail stores. Many of our vendors are struggling to get shoes made. Many of them are struggling to get them out of the ports. What used take 2-3 weeks can now take 2-3 months! Even more shocking, what used to cost $1700 per shipping container is now $17,000...yes, you read that right, seventeen thousand dollars! Raising prices to us and then to you.
So all in all - it's all a big mess and very frustrating. We just want to you know that we take all of this very seriously and are doing everything in our power to try to get you what you want. I felt, as the owner, that this might bear more explanation so that you truly realize that we aren't shining you on, we aren't making excuses - we are very much trying to do the best we can.
We pride ourselves on providing you with quality products and quality service.
We are so thankful for your patience and understanding.