Jo Barber, owner of card and gift store No. 14 Ampthill, shared the good news with her customers about the shop having reached the finals in The Retas 2021, The Greats 2021 and the Muddy Stiletto awards, but in the same newsletter communication confronted the thorny issue of inevitable price rises.
Never one to shy away from challenges, the ever erudite Jo, detailed the reasons for the price rises, reassuring customers that “it’s not us being greedy or taking a fatter margin”, but as a result of several different factors, from raw materials to shipping costs.
Here, PG Buzz shares her wise words…
“As much as we don’t want to, we find ourselves having to review the prices of a number of the products we sell, but I wanted to explain that it won’t just be us implementing these changes, almost everything you buy will soon increase in price.
One of the factors is shortage of labour within the factories where some of our products are made; younger workers now prefer to work in IT or technology and older workers have opportunities closer to home, away from the cities. Add to this the fact that raw material prices have increased greatly, particularly cardboard, due to worldwide shortages.
As a result of these factors, factories have imposed price increases of between 3-10%, but unfortunately, the challenges don’t stop with factory price increases.
Shipping lines have been trying to drive down demand from British importers by charging a premium for deliveries to the UK, or bypassing our ports altogether. The UK’s largest container port at Felixstowe has been experiencing long delays since October. The bottlenecks were initially caused by a surge in imports as business activity picked up after the first pandemic, together with huge shipments of PPE arriving, which meant our ports struggled to cope.
And I’m sure you’ve heard there’s a worldwide shortage of container capacity that has resulted in the price of a 40-foot container rocketing from $2,000 to $18,000+ and there is speculation that this may even reach $22,000 this summer. Even at these prices it’s exceedingly difficult to secure a shipping slot as most of the carriers don’t want UK cargo because of the issues when the vessels dock, so mainly they’re favouring European ports. Our suppliers then have to truck containers over, which adds an additional cost of up to £2,000 per container, and can take an extra 7-10 days to reach the delivery point in the UK.
I hope this has helped explain the situation we find ourselves in, we’ve held many of our prices, but we’ve reached a point where we will have to pass future increases on.
You may question why we don’t buy just British products. We do actually stock a lot of products made in the UK but it’s highly likely components will be sourced from overseas. Take candles for example, materials to manufacture the jars and the lids will almost certainly originate from overseas.
I hope I’ve helped explain why prices will increase, it’s not us being greedy or taking a fatter margin, it’s a combination of all these factors.”
Top: Jo Barber at a Henries judging event a few years ago.