As Interior Designers we have to chuckle at some of the shows on HGTV that make it appear furniture is made by magic fairies and it all shows up at the job site very quickly…well, at the end of an hour. Anyone who has worked with an Interior Designer knows that custom furniture takes time to produce to your specifications. Today, a year and a half after the pandemic first began, it is taking even longer to get home furniture and other home design items. Why?
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “It’ll Take How Long? Getting Around Supply-Chain Delays”, explained it very well and we will sum it up for you.
At the beginning of the pandemic, people were stuck in their homes. Aside from essential workers, we were living in our homes, working in our homes and schooling in our homes. Non-essential businesses were closed. People began seeing the need for a private home office (or two) and outdoor living spaces. During this time, our homes’ flaws began to become very noticeable because we were essentially there 24/7. The master bathroom began to look very dated, the kitchen began closing in on us, the family room furniture was starting to look worn, etc. Also, during this time some people were still moving and buying new homes and even vacation homes in an effort to “get away from it all”. These homes needed renovations, furniture, etc. As a result of these three occurrences, demand for furniture and other home goods began to increase significantly.
As businesses began to slowly open, manufacturing could not meet the high demand for goods. As these manufacturing companies began to producing goods again, ports are becoming jammed to the point where ships can't even unload their products. When they finally have room to do so, there is a shortage of crane operators to unload the products. Once on land, there is now a shortage of truck drivers to move the products. Also, poor weather in Texas and Louisiana caused two major factories that produce chemicals used to make foam padding which... you guessed it, are used to make sofas and chairs. All of these factors have created the perfect storm.
Furniture Industry Analyst and executive director of the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association in High Point, NC Ray Allegrezza was quoted in the Wall Street Journal article as saying, "Two-thirds of all goods trying to come into this country are coming in really late. I've never seen anything this crazy - and it's not going to get better any time soon."
So, what can be done? These are Wendy's top five tips:
1. Don't put off your design projects. Although some things will take longer to get, putting off projects will most likely involve price increases in the future.
2. Some furniture companies will put you in the front of the manufacturing line if you are willing to pay a fee. Ask your designer about this.
3. Work with your designer to make decisions in a timely fashion to decrease the chance of even greater delays. If you are unsure of something, speak with your designer... that is why you are hiring her.
4. Find out if there are creative options to avoid delays. For example, if you have a chair you love, consider reupholstering it.
5. Be patient. This is a difficult one since we live in a "gotta have it now" world. When all is said and done, your home design project will be worth the wait!
Reference: Wall Street Journal, “It’ll Take How Long? Getting Around Supply-Chain Delays”, 10/26/21