Sunday, July 13, 2008


I’ve been pretty quiet here this last week, not for lack of things to talk about. Rather I’ve been obsessing this week over one thing. One large thing has dominated the mind of the Monk, driven him from sleep and I fear may have caused him to even become ill. An international shipping container. A giant steel monster of a container that is currently sitting in New York harbor awaiting inspection and x-ray. Just my luck that my next big rope shipment would land in NYC on the 4th of July. Looks like the customs folks want to take extra care to make sure I’m not trying to smuggle anything odd into the country. That is unless you think 3 TONS of hemp rope ain’t too odd.

Now I always factor extra time into my shipping estimates when it comes to getting stock from Eastern Europe. No matter how well I plan they always seem to take that extra time plus another week to get here. This time around even the most generous schedule padding could not have projected just how late this shipment would be. Of course it does not help that this particular shipment is probably our most ambitious order yet. No imports from a middleman distributorship, just us working with partners in Europe to secure an entire harvest of rope. Not just one harvest mind you, but if this deal works, every couple of months there will be a fresh container landing in NYC headed for me. (Yeah, for those of you still waiting on 8MM rope stock from other sources, sorry you are gonna have to wait even longer now. Not only have I bought up all the 8MM stock in N. America, I just bought all the stock in Europe as well.)

Of course the thing is, we have to get THIS container first. This very, very late container that is just out of our reach. This container that not only holds nearly a ton of 8MM stock, a container that also hold samples of new, fair trade and organic jute (say no more to that awful, nasty kerosene smell!) and of course replacement stock for the rest of our orders. See, we are almost out of stock, squeaking by on the few thousand feet we have on hand as well as what stock we can locate in the US.

This, this dear reader is driving me insane.

With out enough stock to run the machine that is Twistedmonk at top speed, orders are not filled as quickly as I like causing a backlog. Forcing good customers to wait, while most have been very understating I still hate asking them to wait. Extra color runs are abandoned so that each precious foot of rope stock goes to fill orders on hand, so no color of the month or re-launch of our reformulated colors. Minion, on break from college and rearing to make some extra income are forced to scale back as we wait for the word from our broker.

Will it be today? Maybe tomorrow? When will the stop-gap stock get here? Should we order more just in case customs holds it for another week? What do you mean there is no more stop gap stock left in the country? Do we have enough stock on hand to fill sufficient orders and still make payroll come week’s end?

Thankfully, there is more than enough in the war chest to weather this storm and our customers have been awesome with the delays and substitutions. Tomorrow when I call my broker, as I have every day for the past 2 weeks, I’ll either have great news or another day of hair pulling frustration as we wait and wait knowing that once the green light is given, we are going to be very, very busy.