Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Treatise on ordering

New items are waiting for you at http://houseofstitches.com/whatsnew.cfm!  We stitchers are always on the lookout for new projects to add to our stash for future stitching.  Stoney Creek and Leisure Arts both have new books with wonderful Christmas stockings.  If you thought you missed getting Strawberry Fields Forever from Blackbird Designs, you are in luck!  It has been reprinted.  Patriotic charts are well represented with new books from Blackbird Designs, Plum Street and Cross-Point Designs.

I recently read a blog post from my friend Deb at Stitches ‘n Things.  She has given me permission to reprint it here and she also credits Cathy from Needle in a Haystack for some of the content.  The needlework industry has changed dramatically since I started at House of Stitches 29 years ago.  I used to order from 2 or 3 companies every week to get the majority of things that we sold.  Now it seems like most of my time is spent ordering, re-ordering, keeping track of backorders and trying to track down out of print charts that are suddenly THE thing to stitch in all the on-line groups.  Deb explains things in a way that I think will help you understand why it sometimes takes longer than we would like to get you the supplies that you need.

I am often asked why an item may take a while to be ordered and mailed.

In our industry, more than 99% of the vendors we deal with are small companies. While we purchase Zweigart fabric and DMC and other threads, we don't deal directly with them, but purchase through distributors here in the US. To put it into context, my local bakery (Crust here in Fenton) has more employees than most of the companies we purchase directly from.

Most are 1-2 people companies with a handful (Wichelt, Kreinik, Week's Dye Works, Norden Crafts, Fleur de Paris) having maybe 6 to 10 employees. While many cross-stitch designers also sell through one of the distributors that's not true of most thread and fabric dyers. So when you place an order for say, fabric from 4 different companies, threads from 6 more, a mug, a frame or a couple of charts, chances are we have to order from 2-10 vendors.

Where orders with most vendors took 1-2 weeks, that has now changed to more like 2-4 weeks and that's from the time we place the order. Our industry still has not recovered to pre-2008 levels and that means all of us tightened our belts. We are not able to carry as much stock as we once did nor can our vendors or distributors. So a hand-dyer of threads or fibers might no longer keep a deep inventory in stock but have to dye as needed, which means it can take longer to get orders than it once did. Plus, they all have lives outside of our industry and jury duty, an illness, a family emergency or even an unexpected school holiday can throw a spanner in the works (designers do not have 'staff' to fill in for them as they work out of their homes).

Some vendors we may only order from a few times a year; with many others once or twice a month. And, the only distributors we order from "nearly" every week are Hoffman, Norden, Wichelt and Yarn Tree. But they frequently have to backorder items to us or tell us to reorder until their shipments are filled (they have minimum order requirements to meet too from the manufacturers) and arrive back in their warehouses.

Speaking of minimum ordering amounts ... some of our companies have set dollar minimums we have to meet. until we have enough orders to meet their minimums, we cannot place our orders. And, with the companies that do dying of fabric and threads, they have to have enough yardage orders to dye a certain color before they can make that dye bath up. When they do have that minimum requirement met, those dye orders are then placed in queue to be dyed behind their existing orders.

My hope in explaining this is that you'll have a better understanding of why your orders don't magically appear and why it may take longer than you think it should. If you have a deadline for a project, let us know when you place an order and we can tell you if we think we can meet it. If not, we'll see if we can help you find an alternate, or see if another shop might have what you need. We are small industry and you would be surprised how many times we all reach out to our fellow shop owners to find things we don't have in our stock!

With that detailed explanation, just let me add that we appreciate your understanding and continued business! We want everyone to have all of the supplies that they need.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Latest arrivals!

Our What’s New page is filled with over sixty great new designs!  Hop over to visit at http://houseofstitches.com/whatsnew.cfm.   The new Mill Hill kits are here!  In addition to six Autumn Buttons and Beads kits and six Autumn Harvest Magnet kits, we have the Little Monsters Trilogy and Calavera Charmed Ornaments.  Lizzie Kate’s new Yearbook Double Flip series has begun and the first half of the series is in stock and waiting for you!   Heart’s Content has a beautiful new kit called Tudor-Batik Scissors Sheath.   If you feel like stitching a summer-themed design, be sure to see the To the Beach series from Hands On Design.  Needle’s Notion has a cute design called Bandana Ranch for the little cowboy or cowgirl in your life.

Strawberry Fields from Blackbird Designs is back in print and back in stock!  And their new book, Sweet Land of Liberty also arrived today.  It has five patriotic designs!  If you need either of these just put a note in the customer comments area of your order form.

Our framer says to tell you she has framed Winter Wienerland (http://www.houseofstitches.com/detail.cfm?ID=32315) from Plum Street a couple of times recently and it is as cute as can be!  It is fun to see how the same design looks when stitched on different counts and colors of fabric. 
While we are speaking of Plum Street, I started stitching Deer Friends recently.  I worked on it in the car while we traveled this past weekend and I am sure my poor husband got quite tired of hearing me exclaim over the beautiful colors. This is what is stitched so far.  (Now you can admire the colors, too! LOL) I am ready to start a deer!

Any day now we will be receiving a trunk show from Summer House Stitche Works.  I am really looking forward to having Beth’s stitched models in the shop!  It is always very inspiring to see the actual stitched piece instead of just a photo on a chart.  Once we have the models unpacked and set up I will post some photos for those who cannot visit in person.  Stay tuned!