TLDR: To our friends and supporters, COVID-19 has impacted us and almost every other business. The impact is mainly to our shipping time, both from our crafter to us, and from us to you. As of 4 Apr, we are still fully operational: we can continue taking your orders, both ready stock and custom made straps, and we can continue sending out your straps. However, there will be some changes to our international shipping policy. For international orders, we will be offering subsidised courier service (via UPS Worldwide Saver) due to the longer shipping times and unreliability of normal postal service - this would increase the shipping cost to you but you will get the straps much sooner.
|Order Value||Percentage Subsidy||South Asia/East Asia/New Zealand/Australia
(US$12 base cost)
|Continental USA, Canada, UK, Europe
(US$18 base cost)
|Rest of World
(US$50 base cost)
|US$75 - US$150||50%||US$6.00||US$9.00||US$25.00|
To be running an e-commerce business and hitting a major catastrophe like the current COVID-19 situation is not fun. And even though it's still early days (I say this not knowing, on hindsight, how long more it will last but I do think it will be here with us for quite a while, maybe the whole of 2020), we have already been impacted. Let me run through the life cycle of our straps, and then you will have a better understanding of how we are impacted.
Step 1: Sourcing of leather and other materials
We get our leather and materials from all over the world. The bulk of the leather and other materials (glue, buckles, thread etc) we use is sourced from distributors around Asia.
COVID-19 Impact: We were slightly impacted by this, mainly because China was on lockdown for such a long period early this year, so some of the leather we wanted to purchase were delayed. We were also running out of buckles and unable to get a restock on them for quite a long time. But these have or will soon be rectified.
Step 2: Sending of materials to crafters
All of the materials bought are sent to our team of crafters in Vietnam.
COVID-19 Impact: Due to the reduced number of international flights all around the world, these materials are taking longer to get to our crafters. Which means longer wait time before we can offer a new leather to you. Still a relative small impact to you, the end customer, and something that can be overcome with a bit of forward planning.
Step 3: Crafting of strap
We have a team of crafters in Vietnam crafting all the straps we sell, whether it's ready stock straps or custom made straps. Once a week, they will send all the completed straps to us in Singapore.
COVID-19 Impact: For now, our crafters are still able to go to their workshop and craft, and none of them are under quarantine. But as the situation develops and the rules change, there is a possibility that they will be unable to head to their workshop. This would mean no custom orders, no restock of ready stock straps, and no new straps coming in.
Step 4: Sending of completed straps to Singapore for QC
The straps that are completed will first be sent from Vietnam to Singapore for QC.
COVID-19 Impact: Similar to Step 2, fewer flights mean delays in getting the straps from Vietnam to Singapore. Our post office is also overwhelmed at the moment, so a lot of the packages have not yet been processed. For many of you with outstanding orders, this is why your order has not yet been sent out. Going ahead, we will only be using courier services for this step to ensure timely delivery.
Step 5: QC and final packaging in Singapore
After receiving the straps from Vietnam, we will ensure that it is crafted according to specification, and package it together with the rest of the order. Oh, and we will usually photograph some of the more interesting straps to provide inspiration the rest of the watch community :)
COVID-19 Impact: No impact at this point, and we do not foresee any impact to this step going ahead since we actually do all of this at home!
Step 6: Sending the completed straps to you!
After ensuring that everything is correct, we will send the strap out to you. For international orders, we usually send your orders out via DHL e-commerce, who would then hand it over to the local post office in your country for last mile delivery.
COVID-19 Impact: Once again, this is impacted due to lack of flights. Straps that normally take around 7-12 days to deliver, are now taking much longer. And some of the services that we use have also stopped.
So what are we doing about all of this?
- All international shipping will only be through courier shipping (UPS Worldwide Saver provides us the best rate at this moment). And we will subsidise this additional shipping charges according to the rates below. This should drastically reduce the shipping time for your order from the current 2-3 weeks to 1 week.
|Order Value||Percentage Subsidy||Asia
(US$15 base cost)
|USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Rest of World
(US$25 base cost)
|US$75 - US$150||50%||US$7.50||US$12.50|
|US$150 - $250||75%||US$3.75||US$6.25|
|> US$250||100%||Free shipping||Free shipping|
- We will continue to get more straps in stock as compared to custom made, so that we can immediately send out these straps to you upon order.
- We will stockpile leather and other materials with our crafters. Just like food supplies, leather and other materials like buckles, threads, edge paint are essential for our business to continue. We will plan ahead and stock up on these (including new leather for the subsequent months), so that we can continue crafting.
We know that having to pay more for shipping is a huge bummer. As much as we would like to fully subsidise the shipping rates for all orders, the financials don't allow us to do so and still sustain our business. Many of you will probably either hold off on ordering, or looking for alternatives within your own country. We totally get it. I just hope you'll continue to keep us in mind when the situation isn't so bad and we can revert back to cheaper shipping options.
Until then, stay home and stay safe!