Siesta / News
- 09/07/2020 News From Our Suppliers and a Big Thank You
As lockdown tentatively begins to ease in the UK, we have been asking our suppliers around the world how the pandemic is affecting life where they are.
In Bali, whilst everyone is still worried, almost all businesses are starting to reopen. Our suppliers were fortunate in that many of them have home workshops and could continue to earn during the lockdown. The tourist industry, upon which Bali’s economy is reliant, has been very badly hit with virtually no guests at the moment. However, bookings are expected to resume in October.
In Thailand, some sense of normality has now been restored with a very low number of new cases. We have just received a shipment and currently have another on the way.
In Nepal, people are starting to work again. Our main supplier has been paying all his workers during the lockdown as well as helping others in need by distributing food parcels which Siesta made a contribution to. In addition to the large order we placed back in March, we have now placed an additional order.
In India, we are told that despite the situation not being good, the lockdown has eased and things are slowly opening up. Our clothing supplier has started work again but with extra precautions for staff over and above the mandatory requirements. Every person entering the premises is temperature checked and sanitised. Throughout the working day, they are also washing hands, socially distancing and wearing gloves and face masks. In addition, the building is cleaned twice a day. They also paid all their staff a salary during the lockdown period.
In Peru, the government has said that businesses can reopen and people are returning to work with only vulnerable people still under lockdown. All the artisans are OK but as shipping has been put on hold there has been an overall downturn in orders and some artisans are now looking for different work. We have placed orders and sent funds in the hope that freight will commence sometime in August and that we can order again.
In Mexico, our Baja supplier and main ceramic supplier are both getting close to completing our next shipment. We agreed with both of them that the container would be delayed in order to make adjustments for the staff to be safe whilst working.
In Guatemala, things are very slowly starting to ease after more than 100 days of lockdown. With government restrictions on movement and shop openings, many of the remoter communities in Guatemala have had little work and have experienced increased difficulties with provisions of food and healthcare. Our supplier has bases in the highland towns of Panajachel and Chichicastenango which usually rely heavily upon the tourist industry. They have told us that clients like us are now very important as they are currently the only way to provide work to their artisans. An order we placed before lockdown is now ready to leave.
ALL of our suppliers have said how important it has been for them and their workers to have orders to work on and in some cases, this has been their only source of income. There have been many stories about big clothing companies cancelling orders around the world, and it is, therefore, all the more important that Fair Trade companies continue to place orders. Never before has the phrase “the more we trade, the more we aid” been more relevant.
Siesta has been placing orders around the world, and will continue to do so – but this is only because we have customers like yourselves who have continued to order from us.
On behalf of Siesta, and our suppliers we want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you.
We, and all of our suppliers, wish you the best of luck in the months ahead.
With thanks from all of us at Siesta.
- 03/06/2020 Service Update - Very busy!
We are currently experiencing a very high level of orders and are working flat out to try and get them to you as quickly as possible on reduced staff. Please try and take this into account when placing orders and allow some extra time for us to pack them.
- 06/05/2020 Fair Trade and Our Response to the Pandemic
We have been hearing unsettling reports in the news that many large clothing companies have been cancelling their orders with suppliers and that this has been resulting in unemployment problems for many workers around the world.
At Siesta, we will never cancel orders with suppliers. We never order from our suppliers on credit and we pay for goods on the suppliers’ terms.
We have been emailing all our suppliers around the world to keep up to date with their respective situations and also to ask how we can help. Their answers have unanimously been to continue ordering products from them so that they can keep getting essential money to their workers.
In Nepal, the lockdown was swift (trust us, we nearly got stranded there!) and seems to have been effective. However, Nepal’s economy is heavily dependent on both tourism and remittance pay from overseas workers, two sectors that have been essentially wiped out because of the coronavirus and there are fears that Nepal will suffer greatly from the economic fallout. Our main supplier says that most of the essential items are still available in Kathmandu and that there is going to be some lockdown easing there soon. Their producers are very eager to get back to work and would appreciate orders when they do. We have a container of goods that we ordered in March expected in a few months but will be ordering more on top of that.
In Bali, almost all shops closed their doors and a huge number of people employed by hotels and the tourist industry find themselves without work. For many of the handicraft makers, who typically work from home using traditional techniques, production can still continue albeit on a smaller scale. For our main clothing manufacturer, it is more difficult. Due to restrictions on travelling to work, they currently have a minimal workforce. In addition to this, a lot of the rolls of fabric are produced in Java and then sent over, so they have limited fabric too. We have asked for a list of what fabrics they already have and are working on designs and variations that mean they can still work.
In Guatemala, many of the artisans live in small villages and work from home however, the restrictions have meant that our supplier has been unable to visit the artisans to provide payment and orders. As easing there begins, our supplier has requested special permissions to move back and forth from Chichicastenango to provide them with work. We have heard that a large number of friendship bracelets we had on order are nearly finished and we’ll be placing orders for other items, and paying in advance, although currently, it is difficult to tell when shipments will be able to leave.
In Peru, the lockdown prevented movement of supplies for many of our artisans and created very worrying and difficult circumstances with limited government help. However, there are plans to begin easing the lockdown soon and some level of work can then be restarted. We currently have orders for instruments, retablos and earrings and will order more to provide them work. Our supplier stated that “a new order and money will also mean extra reserves of food and medicines, the basics.”
In Thailand, it has now been 28 days with no new cases in Chiang Mai province where the majority of our products are made and the government are reporting low cases throughout most of the country. However, people are desperate for work with 2km queues at food donation banks in the centre of Chiang Mai. Our main supplier was able to furlough most employees so that staff can receive social security payments however as the lockdown begins to ease, we will be sending orders. We will be particularly trying to provide our smaller producers orders (like Martha, who makes our Thai Weave range) to help them get back to work as they are self-employed and would usually have a market stall twice a week in addition to our orders.
In Mexico, some socially-distanced work has restarted and our Baja hoodie supplier has been operating, albeit at a lower capacity due to increased hygiene measures. We are still expecting a large shipment from them late in the summer. Our earring and pottery suppliers are both very small family suppliers and are able to continue working from home. We sent a pottery order at the end of March and will be ordering more earrings soon.
In India, factories are still closed although the government are beginning to ease the lockdown gradually and it is hoped people will be able to return to work soon. One supplier reports an unusual improvement in air pollution. We have paid for all our outstanding orders there.
Our Kenyan items are sourced by a UK supplier, Zuri Design, and we received a shipment from them last week. They have started a Just Giving campaign to help provide hand sanitation and basics to communities that lack them and are now at more risk than ever. Their page is full of information on how they are helping.
We aren’t sure at the moment when all these orders will be finished as many of the producers will be working with limited staff and materials. We are even less sure of when these goods will arrive as international shipping is patchy, to say the least at the moment. However, we feel that it is essential to extend our trust and support to our suppliers and we will continue to help wherever we can.
For our wholesale customers, there is some extra information in the logged-in area to try and help you trade during this challenging time.
- 14/01/2020 Plastic Free Mail Orders
We are pleased to announce that all of our mail orders are now sent with no plastic packaging. We've now made the switch to using a paper-based bubble wrap alternative, paper mailbags and paper packing tape. We will continue, as we have for many years, to collect and re-use cardboard boxes from other local businesses in the area in a bid to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible.
On a side note, we have also introduced a choice of two new tiers of mail-order delivery. Standard delivery (Royal Mail Second Class Signed For) at £3.50 will be kept the same. However, should you need to get your items quicker, we now offer Royal Mail First Class Signed For and DPD Next Day services. Simply select the service you wish in the drop-down menu in the basket.