Hi Canadian Cysters!

CysterWigs.com has updated their international shipping policies effective June 1, 2018.

We are no longer shipping directly to Canada.

We want to be transparent and candid with you about why we’ve done this, because the impetus for this change was something that speaks volumes about the industry we work in.

CysterWigs.com has always been very blissfully square. I (Heather) am personally a huge stickler for doing things by-the-book and in a way that is ethically and legally sound. A lot of our competitors, however, are not following suit. This puts us in a very uncomfortable position, particularly with our Canadian clients.

Let me state the facts first: It is ILLEGAL to mark a package for international sale a “gift” or a “sample” when that item is purchased as merchandise. Many people have requested this as a means of dodging duties, customs, and VAT charges – primarily because it is de rigueur at other, less ethical wig stores – and we have always turned them down.

While it may seem that the stores that engage in this practice are doing you a favor, they are putting both of you at risk of fines, penalties, and jail time. (For references, see this government website and this one here. ) It would be entirely irresponsible of us to follow suit just because people request it. And, just because some customers are willing to take that risk, that doesn’t mean that we are comfortable doing it with them.

We’ve lost quite a bit of business over the years due to my position, but my staff and I are in total agreement that the ethical way of doing things is the ONLY way we want to do things.

We have a difficult time competing with stores for international clients when both parties are happy with the tax dodge. This is one case of if we can’t beat them – we’re definitely NOT going to join them.

We’re not leaving our Canadian clients in a lurch, though!

I have been a longtime subscriber to MyUS.com, my favorite no hassle parcel forwarding service. I use MyUS on my frequent international trips for business as well as longer trips when my husband and I visit his mum in the UK. This service allows me to order from multiple suppliers that don’t sell directly to international customers – such as Amazon.com, Zappos, New Balance, and CysterWigs. Orders from multiple stores can be consolidated into a single shipment (per my request) to help me save on shipping charges.

MyUS offers fast shipping that is much cheaper than the international shipping rates available from most stores directly. MyUS.com offers very good tracking and shipping updates on every order as well as the option to insure your packages. Plus, they give you a USA-based mailing address as part of the service. This is wonderful, because it allows you to take advantage of any free shipping offers available in USA-based stores! The savings overall can be quite considerable – and often make parcel forwarding a better deal for international customers than direct shipping anyway!

We have partnered with MyUS.com to offer 20% off the shipping rate for any first-time subscribers. Click our affiliate link here to learn more.

This, of course, does not discount duties or VAT. Those are charged by government agencies and have nothing to do with the actual shipping or product purchase prices.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We appreciate your business and will continue to do our best to operate in a way that is both transparent and responsible. We wish you a beautiful afternoon – with many more good hair days to come!

 

 

 

 

Heather in the upcoming Bay style by Estetica, color: R30/28/26

In case you missed it or are not the social media type, here is Estetica Design’s interview with our very own Heather and the new Estetica Summer 2018 Collection! Jett – an open-capped adorable pixie, Wren – a curlier version of Violet, Blaze – a gorgeous long curly style (the longest shown), and finally Finn – a mid-length, layered, curly style that is right on trend!

Still searching for last minute holiday hair? Here are some tips to help you out!

  1. Buy from our clearance site, www.wigcloseouts.com. These can often ship next-day and typically arrive about 5 days (or less) after you place an order, provided you live in the continental USA.
  2. Stick to smaller brands with tight distribution networks. The fastest tend to be (in no particular order): Tony of Beverly, Jon Renau, Henry Margu, TressAllure, and Envy.
  3. Likewise, avoid larger brands with wider distribution, such as Aderans Hair Goods (Amore, ROP, Noriko, Revlon) and HairUWear (Gabor, Raquel Welch, HairDo). Like any large organization, there are more people involved with every step of the fulfillment process and this greatly slows them down this time of year.
  4. Specialty products – such as Clary’s, Ellen Wille, or imported wigs – will typically experience shipping delays even in slow times of year. This should definitely be expected during the end of year holidays!
  5. Shop from stores that keep current inventory listings on their site to help avoid backorders. CysterWigs.com is a site that does this! Plus, you are always welcome to contact us if you need precise inventory numbers for a particular style or color. Our email is: support@cysterwigs.zendesk.com.
  6. Consider giving the gift of good hair! CysterWigs.com sells gift certificates that make it easy as pie to help a friend in need of a good hair assist! This is an easy way to earn yourself some loyalty points and spread some holiday cheer. Best of all: They are instantly deliverable, so no worries about shipping delays! Your friend will receive their gift card via email, thus eliminating any worries about it arriving in time for Christmas!

(Final Installment)

Preface: This is a nerdy discussion about supply issues and logistics, but without the jargon. This is a discussion of the matter from a retailer/store owner perspective. So while this may shed some light on things you’ve experienced, please take note of the fact that things will be a little different for both of us in this situation.

This is an investigation and speculation about the possible causes of some of the problems we’ve seen on the supply end during first quarter 2017.

  • One prominent product line pushed their spring collection launch date back by two weeks only for all of the items in that collection to go on an extensive, six-week backorder after finally coming to market.
  • Another prominent product line pushed their spring launch date back by a week and, when the launch date arrived, only had about one third of the colors offered available for sale, resulting in extensive backorders. They are still waiting for the rest of the colors to be delivered to their warehouse as of the date of this blog post.
  • Yet another of our suppliers sold out of their spring collections in one week and has been on back order in most styles and colors from that collection now for about two months.
  • A common problem for all of our suppliers is that regardless of demand or willingness of the customer to pay premium prices for the products, the supply is chronically low for almost every supplier in almost every style and they are not replenishing stocks rapidly enough to match consumption.

All of this creates massive headaches – and near existential crises — for ecommerce retailers like me, who require high volume sales in order to stay in business.

I am convinced that all of these are related and due to problems with production and/or trade. Clear answers are hard to come by, so I am just going to regurgitate some data for you so we can try to explain some of these issues.

Location, location, location: I think the first rule of business is also the first part of the problem.

Most of our products are made in Malaysia due to their strong trade policies, weak currency (a Ringgit is worth $0.23 USD as of the time of this article), and the strategic importance its location along the Strait of Malacca, which is a major sea-route connecting the Far East to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The currency issue is one of particular importance because it has recently fallen quite a bit and, though it has always been somewhat unstable, the recent downturn is very worrying to many Malays because it is part of a continuing trend in their country of rising costs and rampant inflation.

Compounding the issues that are problematic within Malaysia, we also have to take into consideration a gigantic elephant in the room that has a pretty profound influence on global trade: UNCERTAINTY.

For example, more Malaysian women are entering the workforce as the country on the whole attempts to raise to the ranks of a wealthier industrialized nation. There is also a lot of fundamentalist push back from religious groups who want this to stop. This causes a lot of uncertainty and tension economically and politically inside Malaysia.

As interesting as this dynamic is, the uncertainty involving macroscopic global trade may be making these matters even more difficult.

You have my sincere apologies and maybe even a potential political trigger warning right now.

Regardless of your personal opinion of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the fact that we no longer have a clearly defined trade agreement that positions us in a key role ahead of China in this region makes all Asian markets kind of uneasy. It’s difficult to nail down pricing and stabilize production costs, particularly in the case of global trade, when your trade agreement is nullified without adequate replacement. Many economists speculate that the major role of the TPP was to position us as the main trade partner for most of the countries on the pacific rim. Without that agreement, China will now replace this dead-in-the-water trade deal with one of their own, resulting in a massive shift in global trade.

If this happens, this will have a negative impact on everything we sell. All of our suppliers will have to raise prices, relocate or find new outsourcing for their factories, or other major changes. No matter what, the end result will potentially be a massive restructuring of their entire supply chain that ripples all the way down to the consumer end.

All of this is speculation. That is my point.

The UNCERTAINTY is the problem. Markets like it when things are nice and stable. It makes trade and production so much simpler. Uncertainty keeps you on your toes and always involves a certain amount of added risk.

So, my theory for why my suppliers are always so shallow is fairly simple. They are not willing to bet that the cost of production will be higher today than it is tomorrow. They are only making things in small production cycles to minimize risk. This results in long backorders and wait lists, delayed launch dates, and lots of headaches all around.

It’s shamelessly practical, though, and makes perfect sense.

That is why I am fairly certain it’s true.

Thank you for reading my little exploration on what the heck is up with all these backorders. 🙂

Preface: This is a nerdy discussion about supply issues and logistics, but without the jargon. This is a discussion of the matter from a retailer/store owner perspective. So while this may shed some light on things you’ve experienced, please take note of the fact that things will be a little different for both of us in this situation.

This is an investigation and speculation about the possible causes of some of the problems we’ve seen on the supply end during first quarter 2017.

I’ll start with the easiest one.

  • A supplier completely abandoned the idea of developing any new items with inexpensive builds, instead opting to focus on luxury styles. This results in sluggish output and lengthy backorders.

Any associated price hikes are easy to explain. They most likely just raised the prices to offset increased production costs (Occam’s razor).

I blame the backorders and slow production for this supplier on good old-fashioned style-over-substance and short sightedness.

We sell wigs in my store. The company I’m referring to can charge more for wigs with luxury hand-knotted and hand-made components, so they are emphasizing this to position themselves as a luxury brand. The problem with this, though, is that it inherently causes supply problems because these are much more resource-intensive to create and much more time-consuming to bring to market.

Hand-tied, hand-made wigs take a full 30-40 hours of work PER WIG. That’s for ONE wig. The art of knotting a wig is called ventilation and it is a skilled trade, involving a 14-month apprenticeship and a lot of practice. Another problem is that this trade involves a lot of repetitive motion, so these tradespeople cannot do this job indefinitely. All of these factors make these items extremely difficult to mass-produce, particularly when compared to the relatively inexpensive machine made wigs this brand is all but abandoning in order to focus on their brand image.

This is short sided because it is unsustainable. This company is a relatively small player in the world of alternative hair. They’re already having trouble keeping up with the demand for their existing luxury products, so adding more to their brand places more pressure on them to source MORE factories, MORE tradespeople, MORE EVERYTHING. This is something that they have yet to do in a meaningful fashion. I don’t even need to ask them. It’s self-evident because they’re always low on stock. While there is something to be said for wanting to avoid unnecessary warehouse surpluses, it’s another thing entirely to continually operate on lengthy backorder lists because your output cannot match demand. Developing these products without a clearly defined production and supply solution is akin to magical thinking and ultimately leads to lapses in quality control and repetitive delays.

But, if you’re a retailer like me, you are already familiar with the fact that too many suppliers focus on their image at the expense of production. The trade-off makes sense, since the marketing machine is what keeps the wheels of commerce in motion. However, it’s all just smoke and mirrors if you don’t have a product to sell.

One more installment to go — and it’s a doozy! Stay tuned for part three!