Pandemonium at Port of Los Angeles. Those little Lego-like pieces are actually 40 ft shipping containers on a massive barge.
Guest blog post by our intern, Kiersten McMahon, a 14 year old student at Boston Latin School.
Since we’ve all spent the last year and a half sitting on our mattresses all day we’ve realized that maybe it’s time for a new one. The demand for beds is so high right now that suppliers can’t keep up. You might have noticed it’s taking a lot longer to get your stuff lately. This is as a result of an array of reasons. One:manufacturing factories globally are closing to try to control the spread of the virus and the variants, two: there are not enough containers in which to ship the components and products, three: there is more demand than supply oHalloranf many products since demand has shifted during quarantines..
Manufacturing factories are not operating as they usually are. Covid has caused layoffs for an estimated 20 million Americans and 114 million people worldwide. When people lose their jobs, employers lose their employees. This has made it harder for manufacturers to keep up with demand. Working in a factory (or anywhere in person) is a major safety risk during a pandemic so they can’t get new employees. Factories worldwide have had to cease production of components of consumer goods due to COVID outbreaks in their factories.This will continue to be a problem until covid is completely eradicated.
Another problem is container shortages. There are fewer containers being shipped back to suppliers, specifically China, from ports. The usual percentage sent back is about 50%. Now it’s at 3-4%, which is a significantly lower amount. As countries start a ride back to a stable economy, these containers will be in higher demand but they won’t be accessible. This shortage will last as long as covid as well as a few buffer months to get back to normal. This means the container shortage can last well into 2022. As a result, container prices have quadrupled with companies trying to outbid one another for them to get their goods moving. This makes the product costs rise, too.
The demand is very high and the supply is very low. This is caused by the world having been “closed” for so long. There are so many backorders and everyone has so much to catch up on. The demand however is rising at the same time because with the world slowly “reopening” we are looking for new household items such as mattresses and sofas. Most promotionally priced mattresses and sofas are shipping from Vietnam. As of the date of this post, these factories have ceased production due to COVID variants and lack of vaccines.
The only way that the world will go back to “normal” is when covid ceases to exist. This will allow enough workers at factories, 50% of containers to be sent back to suppliers, and to have equal amounts of supply and demand rather than one over the other. One upside however, for organic mattresses and non-toxic furniture here in the States is the fact that organic fibers are sourced locally as opposed to synthetic fibers being sourced internationally. Also, organic latex is experiencing the same shortages that synthetic foam is. Right now, this means suppliers are able to get the components to manufacturers faster.. Thus receiving your brand new bespoke ViSpring ,Naturepedic or Ergovea mattress or non-toxic sofa in your house is actually faster than conventional ones.
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I have had a lengthy career in the textile industry, dating back the 1980's. It wasn't until 2004 when I met pioneers in the organic mattress and home furnishings industry that I started to research and educate myself about the toxicity of textiles, mattresses and upholstered furniture. I have since used my textile background to focus specifically on promoting non-toxic textiles and home furnishings products produced with non-toxic textiles and other natural ingredients.
Consumer knowledge and purchases in this category have risen over the decades.
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