I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this unrelenting global pandemic!
It's been almost a year since this blog was updated so I thought I should take a few minutes to explain the impact of Covid-19 on WithAPast, and how new inventory items are being safely added to the online store.
During the first few years of our operation, much of the inventory listed for sale on WithAPast has come from downsizing and estate sales, many of which have been within a 200 km radius of our location in Hamilton, Ontario. As is the case for many other small businesses, this past year has brought changes to the way we do business and in particular, how we acquire inventory. Although there are still a great many estate and downsizing auctions taking place, I haven't attended one since March, 2020.
This change in our supply chain would would normally lead to a significant shortfall in new product listings. Fortunately though, I've had a rather large backlog of items waiting to be cataloged, researched, photographed, edited and posted onto the site. There are many reasons for such a significant backlog and procrastination is just one of them :) Primarily though, I don't like to post new items unless I have a fairly good idea of what it is, where it comes from, and what its original cost might have been. Researching works of art is one of my biggest challenges.
As I make my way through the backlog and new items are slowly being added to the site, you can be assured that all of the items listed for sale have been safely stored in my home storage room for at least the past year. I wrote an earlier blog post about how to safely open and clean delivery packages during Covid-19. I feel very fortunate to have been working from home since early March, 2020. I expect that to continue into the Fall of 2021.
Hopefully this post will give customers some peace of mind as to the origins of all items listed for sale on WithAPast. If you have any specific questions about our process, please feel free to reach out via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The majority of orders processed through WithAPast are shipped via Canada Post and the US Postal Service. International orders are most often shipped via Canada Post or DHL Express Courier.
When orders are picked up, we're given an estimated delivery date. At the moment, delays are being experienced with all shipping companies, due to necessary extra precautions being taken for the COVID-19 pandemic. We've experienced delays from one day to two weeks and don't honestly see that changing anytime soon.
We will continue to ship orders out by the most efficient and affordable means possible and follow up with the shipping company when delays are encountered.
Part of what makes the coronavirus pandemic daunting is how, even for those of us lucky enough to be healthy and safe, many daily routines have completely changed. There are all kinds of things we took for granted before that we now realize we have to pay extra close attention to.
One such thing: receiving deliveries.
I'm not sure where the time has gone, but WithAPast was launched, very softly, just about three years ago. No longer a start-up really. While the business was registered and this website was launched in January, 2015, the planning and organizing began much earlier, in late 2014.
This venture was based on the very simple idea that there is value and much life left in many of the things we acquire and collect over the years. Particularly true when those items were created or manufactured with quality materials and workmanship. The challenge though is matching those quality items with someone who is looking for that particular item. Which is where an online store comes in. The entire world is your customer base.
There is a flexibility in online retail that brick and mortar stores simply don't have. Low overhead costs allow an online retailer to stock many different products to test the market. WithAPast has ventured into the sale of many different products that I would not have anticipated when I started three years ago. I expect to focus on fewer overall product categories in the next few years, now that I have a good amount of data on what customers and potential customers are looking for.
The amount of time that goes into each and every listed item on the site would likely surprise you. I know it continues to surprise me! That time spent on product research and listings, along with site optimization and ongoing maintenance is at least in part, my excuse for not updating this Blog more frequently. I'm hoping to dedicate a bit more time in future to updating more regularly. We'll see how that goes.
For now though, I'm taking this three year benchmark as an opportunity to thank those customers who have supported WithAPast these first three years. I hope we will continue to be of service over the next three. Thank you!
We've been asked why this store sells in US Dollars given the fact that it's a Canadian store. The simple answer is....Pinterest. The majority of traffic to this site originates from Pinterest and translates into a large percentage of our sales.
Last summer when Pinterest announced the launch of Buyable Pins, one of the requirements for implementing their new initiative on Shopify stores was that stores had to sell in US Dollars. So, we converted this store over and at the same time, tried to convert our prices to reflect the change in currency.
The exchange rate from US to Canadian Dollars has jumped recently and it has been fluctuating between $1.31 and $1.35 in recent months. Rather than continually amending our prices to reflect the currency fluctuations, we've decided to offer free shipping on all orders over $50.00 shipped to a Canadian address, while the listed exchange rate is over $1.30. Hopefully this small change will help to offset the conversion shock.
Shipping charges will automatically be discounted from your order on checkout, when entering the discount code ´Ship Canada´ along with a shipping address in Canada.
Canada Post is offering free shipping for parcels delivered to Canadian addresses, every Tuesday in October! This option is available to all Small Business Solutions members so I'm able to pass it along to Canadian customers placing an order on WithAPast.
I'm thrilled with this initiative by Canada Post and, coming after the recent labour uncertainties, it's a great good will gesture.
So, if you're thinking of placing an order, and you don't mind waiting until the Tuesday after you place your order for it to be processed and shipped, you may want to take advantage of this offer. Simply type in 'Canada Post Free Shipping' in the Discount Code option during checkout, and shipping costs will be deducted from your order.
Please note that there is a good possibility of a labour disruption at Canada Post by July 2nd, 2016. As the majority of purchases on the WithAPast website are delivered via Canada Post Expedited Parcel Post service, any labour disruption will have a major impact on our operations.
In the event of a strike or lockout at Canada Post, we will be shipping packages to their destination via UPS, DHL or Purolator Courier. This is a more costly option than Canada Post however, so please e-mail us for an accurate quote on shipping before placing an order on our website.
We apologize for the inconvenience and remain hopeful that employees and management at Canada Post are able to come to an agreement before July 2nd. If that's not the case, we're hopeful that the issues will be resolved as quickly as possible.
It seems as though 'Fabric or Textile Arts' are attracting much more attention lately. I myself have a somewhat new found appreciation for this often under-appreciated art form, so I'm quite happy to see the Textile Arts seemingly enjoy a resurgence of sorts.
I wonder if the past disregard for these beautiful pieces is because they were created almost entirely by women and girls and they were used by women in the day to day running of the home. I really have no idea but I'm certain there is a women's studies thesis out there somewhere that can link this theory.
Needlepoint, weaving, knitting, embroidery, tapestry....all examples of skills that have historically been passed down through generations of women. The imagination, creativity, level of skill, and attention to the smallest of detail are evident when you look closely and try to imagine the time it would have taken to create these truly one of a kind works of art.
The era in which women were expected to have and to devote the time and effort in creating these pieces is long past but that doesn't in any way lessen my own appreciation for the lovely pieces they were able to create. From the simple stitch samplers young school girls worked on to practice and perfect their stitches, to hand tatted lace, elegant embroidered fabrics, and stitched/woven works of wall art, these pieces are becoming scarcer as the years go by.
The fabric arts for sale from WithAPast range from vintage to antique. Each is a beautiful example of a bygone time and an important historical nod to the work of women who came before us. Look closely at a sample of this creative and skilled art form when you have a chance. You'll likely be as blown away as I am when you pause and try to imagine the time and skill required to create these one of a kind treasures.