Opinion: Ship Shape?! Jack and Hannah Dale, co-owners of Wrendale Speak Out

Last January it cost $2,500 to ship a 40’ container from the Far East to the UK. Now that cost has soared to $16,000 – with further price rises on the horizon.

Soaring costs of shipping, haulage and raw materials, coupled with container shortages and disruption at ports post Brexit resulting in delays are causing horrendous headaches for greeting card publishers, calendar companies and giftwrappings businesses bringing their products into the UK.

Above: Swingeing shipping costs and shortages are causing havoc for companies such as Wrendale Designs.
Above: Swingeing shipping costs and shortages are causing havoc for companies such as Wrendale Designs.

Jack and Hannah Dale, co-owners of Wrendale Designs tells PG Buzz about dealing with these challenges…

“It is a nightmare. We’re having to deal with massive supply chain issues and rising costs across the board.

Lots of our products are made in the UK but we are finding that supply chains are all being affected somewhere along the line which is resulting in delays and increasing costs – huge rises in paper prices for example.

Above: Hannah and Jack Dale have undertaken a huge rewilding project on their land, which has involved planting 28,000 trees. Here they are having just finished the planting!
Above: Hannah and Jack Dale have undertaken a huge rewilding project on their land, which has involved planting 28,000 trees. Here they are having just finished the planting!

The cost of bringing stock to the UK on shipping containers has shot up four-fold since December 2020. The reasons for this aren’t particularly clear, but along with the pandemic part of the issue appears to be a shortage of shipping containers.  As well as increasing shipping costs it’s having a knock-on effect on materials and shortages are also pushing prices up.

The Suez Canal situation didn’t help as we had a couple of containers held up, but the impact of this felt minor compared to the delays we were already experiencing due to the congestion at the UK ports in the new year caused by Brexit.

This is obviously having a major effect on our margins, especially for some of our bulkier giftware items and our printers and suppliers are passing on their increased costs to us already. Across the industry we’re expecting to see unavoidable price increases unfortunately.”

Above: The first four Wrendale plush characters.
Above: The first four Wrendale plush characters.

What mitigating action have you taken?

“We’ve been trying to mitigate this issue by ordering in larger quantities and earlier than normal, but I think there will be inevitable shortages.”

Above: Some Wrendale cushions.
Above: Some Wrendale cushions.

What are you thoughts about the future?

“In spite of these challenges we feel really positive about the future, we need to be able to adapt to the changing circumstances but invariably it will provide opportunities. I’m sure if we keep working proactively with our suppliers, maintaining good levels of communication we’ll get through this.”

Above: While Wrendale’s greeting cards are produced in the UK, a lot of its gift and homewares products are manufactured in the Far East.
Above: While Wrendale’s greeting cards are produced in the UK, a lot of its gift and homewares products are manufactured in the Far East.

Top: Hannah and Jack Dale, co-owners of Wrendale Designs.

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