However, no one foresaw the recent housing boom, the huge challenges to the supply chain and the subsequently, increase in furniture demand.
Challenges to the Furniture Industry
The challenges to furniture delays were not solely due to the pandemic. The recent blocking of the Suez Canal affected global shipping. According to Fortune, the “lodged cargo ship resulted in delays of many other ships, several of which were filled with furniture.” As a result, the congested ports slowed even more shipments.
Why does this matter for furniture made in the United States? When you custom order a piece of furniture, we process your order and quickly begin ordering materials. Your furniture build times depend on many components (such as frames, foam, feathers, fabric, etc) all impacted by the supply chain disruptions. After these materials arrive, we then begin to craft your furniture from all the components. At Cisco Home, we do not use assembly lines and have craftspeople that use their hands in every stage of building your custom furniture order.
Textile Production Halted during the Pandemic
While we craft your orders by hand in the United States, we source natural fibers from the top vendors in the United States and Europe. According to Kaitlin Petersen, editor of Business of Home, the main areas for textile production such as Belgium, India, Turkey, and countries throughout Asia were shut down for months.
In the article “Why the New Sofa You Ordered is Still So Delayed, “Petersen states, “One fabric supplier recently adjusted its lead times from 6 weeks to 24 weeks overnight- proof that manufacturers feel your pain when it comes to waiting for your goods to arrive.”
With the highly sought after Italian leather experiencing delays during the lockdown in addition to flooding, it has been difficult for manufacturers and shipping companies to get through these challenges making it even more difficult for customers waiting for their orders.
Lack of Master Craftspeople
Due to the pandemic, there has been a decrease in skilled laborers and master craftsman. We handcraft items from start to finish. Our Makers have years of experience hand-weaving webbing, carving wood, blowing glass, sewing fabrics, and everything in between.
As stated by Petersen, “Just as factories were beginning to come back online, orders exploded. Meanwhile, factories were inventing and implementing safety procedures that slowed down the pace of work.”
However, not everyone was able to return back to work due to illness, quarantines, COVID exposure. It’s important to note that this isn’t just Cisco Home, but the furniture industry nationwide. We value our customers, but we also value the safety of our Cisco employees.
Things You Can Do While You Wait
Wait patiently. We know you’re excited and looking forward to the comfort expected by Cisco Home. But good things truly do come to those that wait. With the rising cost of lumber and shortage of metal, we refuse to cut corners and compromise your health, safety, and comfort with our process.
Petersen ends her article stating, “these challenges will make the whole industry faster down the line, a long term payoff thanks to operational improvements. In the meantime, knowing that you’re waiting for something good will hopefully make it feel worth it.”
Our goal at Cisco Home is to create products that are good for you and the environment. There’s a journey within every piece we construct. We hope you can drop into a Cisco Store to take part in that journey. If you’re considering purchasing a new, custom sofa, we may have some available and ready for you to take home in store.
We invite you to read a great article in HouseBeautiful.com by Kaitlin Petersen detailing the obstacles we are all facing.