You can't look at social media or a newspaper without reading about the cost-of-living crisis. The price of everything is going up. Fuel, food, transport, homes, you name it, it's going to cost more. As a small business owner, I was determined to look into ways to keep prices down for my customers. After all, many of you run your own businesses and I understand how difficult things are for us all right now.
So, when my suppliers put their fabric price up, I knew I had to do something drastic. I want to take this opportunity to explain to you why the cost of our fabric is rising, and how I reached a conclusion that passing on the cost increase was the only option I had.
Why my supplier had to increase their fabric price
Having worked with a supplier I was happy with for a long time, I was gutted to hear that they were having to increase their prices. Before making any decisions, I had a chat with them to see whether we could come to a compromise. They explained that their costs had increased in the following ways:
- Shipping cost from China has gone up
- Fabric price has increased
In addition to that, the British Pound is currently lower than it has been for many years against the US Dollar. So, as well as my suppliers increasing their prices, the actual cost to me went up as well.
Of course, I understood their predicament. We are all just trying to earn a living and I don't believe that anybody in this industry is making vast profits. But after much soul-searching, I realised that my commitment to my customers had to be stronger than my sympathies for my supplier. It was time to start researching the alternatives.
Looking for another supplier
The process of researching suppliers was as laborious as it sounds. There are many fabric printers out there, offering a variety of different services and prices. Whilst fabric price was my main reason for switching supplier, this couldn't be my only consideration when searching for an alternative.
I needed to find a supplier that offered the same services as my previous supplier. I would insist on a relatively quick turnaround on both my pre-order prints and print-your-own fabrics. And above all else, the quality had to be excellent with minimal delays and faults.
Finally, I found a supplier that could provide the services I needed at the price I was paying before the increase. I requested samples and did the necessary quality checks. My mind was made up, I would change supplier to keep my own fabric price down for my customers.
You get what you pay for
Unfortunately, as the old adage goes, you really do get what you pay for. I gave the new suppliers a chance, and at first it looked like this was the solution I was looking for. Then, the delays came. I was unable to fulfil orders within my timescales due to slow turnaround times at the printers. The final straw was when some of my fabrics weren't up to the quality I expected. Then, I knew I had made the wrong decision.
As this was the only supplier I could find that would provide the services I needed at the lower cost, it was time to see what my customers wanted me to do. As a premium brand, it's important to deliver the quality that people expect. Preserving the good name of my business that I have worked so hard to build up is important to me. But would my customers value quality over price?
I canvassed opinions from members of my ever supportive Facebook group. My customers agreed that they would prefer to pay more and not compromise on quality. My mind was made up.
Fabric price increase: Back to our old suppliers
Thankfully, my previous suppliers welcomed me back with open arms. They were as uncomfortable with the price increase as I was and understood my predicament. We were soon back into the swing of working together to produce fantastic quality fabric, albeit at a slightly higher price.
Kids Print Fabrics is one of the best quality print-your-own and pre-order fabric shops on the UK market. I am so glad to be able to maintain our good name with the support of both my trusted suppliers and my loyal customers.
I am sorry to have to pass on this price increase and I hope this post helps you to understand why I had to do so.