Well, here’s something I never thought I’d live long enough to see – a letter from one of our suppliers (the largest in the Country) explaining that many of their products were going up in price immediately – some by as much as 50% – due to the recently imposed Tariffs on goods from China.
My first reaction was a chuckle, thinking back on when I started in this business some 49 years ago, and how this type of thing would take months and perhaps even years to impact an industry such as ours. The family-owned framing supply companies of the past would probably have “eaten” those cost increases – hoping that after a short time things would normalize and they could make up their losses then. Better this than to risk alienating shops like ours, perhaps sending us looking for another vendor.
But over the years, like so many other industries, the “family held” supply companies have been taken over by larger “corporate” entities that are more bottom-line focused, and frankly would never embrace a strategy that might put them in a situation that was less profitable for even a week! They are much more comfortable asking us to either absorb the loss or to pass it on to you, our customers.
So, here we are. At our own Tariff crossroads. What do we do?
Simple, we find alternatives that have not been affected by the Tariffs, either because they are not manufactured in China, or because a particular vendor has ample supplies on hand that was purchased prior to the Tariffs. Sure, it takes more time. But we recognize that custom framing has a cost associated with it, and anything we can do to keep that cost as close to what you are used to seeing, will be worth the effort.
Hopefully, this stand-off will be short-lived, and we can get back to a more sane way of doing business. In the meantime, rest assured – our prices will not be changing due to the Tariffs!