in the workshop

Twenty-Twenty

Life is fickle.

If twenty-twenty has taught us nothing else, we might consider that while we like to imagine a measure of control over our lives, in reality we have very little. The most we can manage is our reaction to the people and situations we face. How we show up in the world says everything about us. The way we act and react speaks volume on a person's character. Our ability to listen, to forgive, to move beyond the petty annoyances shows our humanity in it's clearest form. I sometime wonder when the world began to equate kindness with weakness? In reality nothing could be further from the truth.

The background noise of American life is one determinate of how we show up.  Growing up the background noise of my life was Broadway and Motown. For many of my generation it is now the sound of a television with a twenty-four hour news cycle that demands fresh stories (drama) at every turn. A voracious twisting beast that will always find or create bedlam where none exists. It has fundementally changed the world in which we live, and the way we speak and act to one another. Raised voices, talking over one another and a sense of urgency about almost every story. Pandemic or politics, the surity that "I am right and you are wrong" has been the theme of this year. Will twenty-twenty-one be any different? Sure hope so.

We hope we have succeeded in touching your life in a positive way this year. While aspects of our attempts to order our world may have frustrated some, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. And it looks as though our walkup, pickup system won't be changing any time soon. A consicous choice that has served us well. While it limits the ability to generate pre-pandemic income, it continues to allow us to look after ourselves and our business in an intentional way. Splitting the difference is often the kindest way forward. Rather than pretend to normalize what is surely not normal, we choose to move in a new direction. A direction that will steer our course for many years to come.

After 15 years, we've learned a thing or two. Adapt or die is surely one of the more important lessons. Change is a fundamental part of life. Nothing can stay the same. Balancing the old and the new is a challenging and exciting proposition, one that drives us daily and brings us joy. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first year. By the end of their fifth year, roughly 50 percent of small businesses fail. After 10 years, the survival rate drops to approximately 35 percent. It only continues to drop from there. Let us all take a moment to ponder those statistical facts.

Sarah and I want to thank you for your kindness, compassion and support in this year of massive change. As we look forward to the coming year, and many years beyond, our goals are still the same: To live a well balanced life of work and play, to continue to create awesome bath, spa and skincare, and to find a permanent home in a building we can call our own.

Whatever twenty-twenty-one has in store, we will be here.

F*cking Covid

3 minute read

For the last few months we've made every effort to populate our site with great 24 hour deals beginning every Sunday night at 8PM. The response has been incredible, often selling out within a few hours. This is gratifying on several levels, not the least of which is our ability to connect with our customers virtually. Monday Deals specially created to target every taste at every price point.

Unlike most retailers who mark up the price of products and then slash when they have stock they can't move, our natural hand made products are always in small batch production. There are no leftovers. No marked up items to fool you into thinking is a markdown sale. In year's past we would offer a one day 20% OFF Sale before the holidays as a thank you. At this time, 2020 - The Pandemic Edition doesn't allow us that luxury.  To maintain our business we now ship most of our sales. The $7. flat fee is less than 40% of our shipping cost per box. Free shipping on order over $50 is roughly 20% off the entire sale. We don't mind any of it though. We do our part to keep our business and the economy going. We will though have to skip offering store wide sales for the immediate future.

This pandemic continues to blow. Hard. The hospitals are filling up again and while we all have varying views on what constitutes being safe, we are, each of us, trying to find an equilibrium. Calmly carrying on to make the best of what life is currently handing us. While some are opting for travel, most of us are staying put. But that means layoffs at the airlines, aircraft and parts manufacturers, hotels, restaurants, retailers, etc. The dominos are only beginning to fall because the stimulus money being used by Main Street American is drying up. This is not a political statement. It is a stark reality. Let's face it, American retail has been slowly dying for a very long time now. The internet is the mall of the future. The pandemic only serves to shine a light on this fact, and to hasten the inevitable changes. Is more stimulus money going to be the answer? No one really know for sure. Only guesses, (mostly by talking hairdos that almost never come up with viable solutions). So Sarah and I continue to wake up each day and happily come to work. To continue to find new ways in which to engage our customers. To build our business outside these four wall. To grow. To survive. To thrive. To be self-sustaining. To be grateful.

Last night the streets of Philadelphia were filled with revelers. Folks who were celebrating democracy in action. Regardless of personal political views, we live in an amazing country that allows many different types of people and personalities an opportunity to run the show. Whatever side you fall upon, let's celebrate that. For it is our diversity and the promise of opportunity to all that defines the American experience.

By now most of you have stopped reading, but if you're still here.. thank you. While we would love to shout about what you might buy from us, perhaps this year we could encourage you to make a greater positive impact in the local community. Spend a little less on swag this holiday and donate to those in need. The local food pantries, elder care centers and churches that are doing real work for those most at risk. This year duross & langel will be donating a percentage of our holiday sales to Mama Tee Community Fridge Fundraiser to feed folks who are food insecure. We encourage you to see the good works these folks are doing. If you can help, please reach out to them. If you are in need (as we all may be from time to time), don't hesitate to reach out for assistance. We are all in this life together.

Steve

Want something delivered by Christmas? Order way in advance

According to this article in CNN Business by Chris Isidore, "Good luck getting your holiday gifts delivered on time this year. You'll need it.

A surge in online purchases during the pandemic means that parcel delivery services are struggling to keep up with shipments. Demand for shipping has reached levels they didn't expect to deliver until several years from now.
Now everyone in the industry -- senders, recipients and those who deliver the shipments-- are growing concerned about an even bigger surge in shipments as the holiday season gets underway.
"The spread of Covid-19 in the US has triggered such an increase in ecommerce since March that shipping volumes have consistently been at Christmas peak or Cyber Monday levels every day," said FedEx Chief Marketing Officer Brie Carere. "Now we're headed into a peak on top of a peak. We expect there will be limits to capacity on certain days this season."
UPS and the US Postal Service insist that they're working with customers to handle the influx of packages, including adding more temporary staff and increasing Saturday and Sunday deliveries. But experts who track shipping capacity say that shippers -- those who send out the packages -- will still run into capacity bottlenecks.
"There's no way the parcel carriers are equipped to handle it," said Hannah Testani, chief operating officer of Intelligent Audit, a freight audit and analytics company. She said that people buying gifts online might want to order as early as December 1 to ensure that their packages arrive by Christmas.

Other experts wouldn't go to that extreme, saying it won't be necessary to order that much in advance. But they say delays will be the norm close to Christmas.
"I would say December 18, the Friday the before Christmas, should be safe in most cases," said Satish Jindel, ShipMatrix, a software provider that works with parcel shippers. "That's moved up by at least two or three days from last year."

Only so much delivery companies can do

Jindel said that as much as the parcel delivery services want to help, they can only add so much capacity in a short time.
"Adding capacity is not something you can do overnight. It takes a year to build a hub," he said.
The delivery services say they are increasing capacity as quickly as they can. UPS hired 39,000 permanent new employees in the second quarter of 2020, all of whom are working inside its sorting facilities or as drivers. It also will hire more than 100,000 additional seasonal employees for the peak holiday time frame. FedEx is adding 70,000.
The uncertainty about shipments is what makes it so difficult to plan for this year's holiday season. The demand could even tighter if a second wave of the pandemic forces traditional brick-and-mortar stores to shut down again.
"I don't know about a shipocalypse. But a year ago, no one saw these kinds of conditions existing at this point in time," said John McHugh, chairman of the Package Coalition, which represents shippers using the Postal Service for parcel deliveries. "We're in unprecedented territory."
One logistics expert who works with shippers says his clients are being told limits will be placed on the number of packages that their delivery services will accept.
"Without exception our customer base is all trying to make sure they have capacity because they're expecting a lot of shipments. And they're all having trouble finding capacity," said the expert, who spoke on the condition of remaining unnamed. "People are nervous about getting on the wrong side of UPS and FedEx..."
to read entire article go HERE