Original article published on Nov 23, 2021. Read it here.
Satya Organic Skin Care founder Patrice Mousseau has been having a hard time sourcing certified organic calendula flower, a key ingredient in some of the plant-based products she produces in North Vancouver.
Although the plant can grow in many parts of the world, it has become nearly impossible to come by during the pandemic.
“We looked into getting them from Egypt, India and anywhere we could … and we were out of luck,” says Ms. Mousseau, who runs her business from her home on Tsleil-Waututh First Nation.
Eventually, she found the product in France – for nearly four times the price – which put pressure on the company’s margins and cash flow. “It was so expensive, but we had to do it,” Ms. Mousseau says.
It’s one of many supply-chain issues her company has experienced in recent months: Ms. Mousseau says there’s less warehouse storage space, the price of the jars her products go in has risen by 50 per cent and shipping costs have also increased. Shipping has also become less reliable, which has forced her to order supplies well in advance, creating a cash-flow crunch.
These factors combined have given Ms. Mousseau little choice but to increase the price of her products by an average of about 30 per cent – just as the holiday shopping season kicks off. She’s planning to offer a 20-per-cent-off Black Friday weekend sale, incentivizing people to shop early, and typically runs another smaller sale on Boxing Day.
“It’s just been really key to be as transparent as possible with our consumers and let them know why we have to do price increases,” she says. “All we can hope is they’re not too mad.”
Many small businesses have been pushed to the back of the line with suppliers amid global supply-chain challenges, says Shannon Pestun, the Calgary-based co-founder of the Finance Cafe, which advises female entrepreneurs on financial literacy.
This holiday season, she’s advising her clients to sell as much as they can, when they can, as opposed to ignoring Black Friday in favour of saving products for Christmas. Still, she says the key to success for entrepreneurs this holiday season will be maintaining their inventory while sustaining cash flow.