Global Challenges

Currently there is multiple different challenges that we are faced with which are out of the ordinary and pose a risk to normal life both at home and at work. Despite their impacts we are trying to work through them to ensure that we fulfil all ongoing orders and where possible improve the service we provide and work on new products, but these issues are having an impact and we are trying to make sure they slow down progress to new things and not customer orders where possible.


Summary

Covid-19

  • The UK is currently in a new national lockdown as of Tuesday 5th January
  • We are working remotely to each other and communicating online 
  • No new photo shoots for a while but plenty of photos to sort through still
  • We can currently buy all materials required but some suppliers are operating reduced hours leading to longer delays than usual 
  • There should be no issues getting any externally made products and all named suppliers are currently working
  • UPS is taking a few days longer than usual, causing minor delays for skinsuits and international orders
  • Add on system on the website is here to stay, to reduce number of parcels we send out and our contact with delivery drivers


Brexit

  • A free trade deal between the UK and the EU has been agreed and is in effect, but still requires final EU approval 
  • There may be delays while UPS adjusts to the new paperwork required to get through the UK border
  • EU customers may need to pay import fees for skinsuits due to them not originating from the UK or the EU
  • We may need to change our prices if the value of our currency decreases, UK government changes our import fees, UPS change their shipping fees to account for more paperwork or any of our suppliers change their prices
  • We got an EORI number on 21st January and have successfully shipped products to the EU again
  • Our breast form supplier is having supply issues caused by Brexit, so we have temporarily marked them as out of stock


Details

Covid-19

The coronavirus or covid-19 has been impacting many different countries around the world in different ways and have played a large factor in 2020 and we predict will do so for a while longer. Here at DAME we are trying to make sure that it does not impact us in our day to day operations as much as possible by a combination of preparation and planning.


People

We are lucky that we are made up of 3 people who have mostly worked from home since we started the company and we continue to do so currently, we are well practised at communicating online with each over and each have our own set responsibilities which meant that not much change in the way we work was required to make things "covid secure".

The main thing impacted has been our ability to meet up for things like photo shoots to show off some of the things we have been working on and we predict we will not be able to do so until the second half of 2021. We still have plenty of unseen photos to sort through, but this lack of seeing each other is helping to demotivate us and removing some of the main times we would collaborate with each other over a project. To get around this we have been holding more catch up meetings online to discuss everything happening and plan what we want to do next.


Products

Mask wise we originally had supply issues in the first UK lock down as multiple of our key suppliers that we use for their speed and quality decided to close or had supply issues during the lock down period which delayed our plans to release masks earlier this year to after the first UK lock down was over and our suppliers reopened. Currently the UK is in its third lock down and some of our suppliers are operating on reduced staff or reduced opening hours which is adding some delay into getting the materials we require but none of our suppliers are closed so this is not preventing us from working currently but may introduce some small delays. 

Fiberglass work is usually done in a local workshop, this is being done in batches to ensure that we will have shells that we require ready to use and allows any trips to the workshop to be more planned to ensure that correct precautions can be taken and anybody at the workshop is aware in advance of us being present.

Skinsuit wise we experienced some delays at the very start as China went into lock down and the manufacturers stopped working on orders, but this backlog of work has been worked through and the manufacturers appear to be more motivated than ever to get the job done.

We use UPS to get skinsuits back to the UK and this use to take 2-4 working days but with covid and the reduction in air traffic we have seen this raise to around 5-6 working days instead which is slightly slowing down the skinsuit process.

Hip pads are produced by Alpeia designs who has set up their own private workshop where they work by themselves and usually has some materials in storage ready to work, they have also been experiencing some delay in getting materials but nothing major that is stopping them from working and generally it is not slowing down orders.

All other products that we sell are brought directly from suppliers for sale, we are keeping an eye on the status of our suppliers and have already had to change suppliers for some stuff due to restocking issues, for example the Velcro for breast forms. Currently none of them have any issues that we know of apart from reduced working hours so should not impact the same of their items.


Orders

We took the conscious decision earlier on in the year to try and reduce the number of items that we are sending out, originally we removed items from our website while we made a new system for add-on items and when we thought the time was right we added items back but as an add-on so they must be brought with a main item. We think this system is working well and for now do not intend to change this, as we see fit we may change some items so they can be ordered by themself but other items like wash bags will always use this add-on item system as this makes sense for them products and helps to give customers more control over their order.

We are also expecting UPS to be slower to ship orders to customers, as seen with the skinsuits from China to the UK this should only add in a few days delay at best to international orders due to the reduced number of flights.


Brexit

As many are aware, the UK voted to leave the EU back in 2016 and started a long withdrawal process that has been called Brexit where we officially left the EU in January 2020 and entered the transition period which ended at the end of 2020. With 1 week to go a free trade deal was agreed upon and has been put into UK law and provisionally agreed upon by EU ambassadors but still required final EU approval by the end of February 2021.


Shipping

The UK government is implementing a new documentation system for goods on our borders and it will take companies some time to adjust to the new and mostly untested system which is causing fears of lorry's queuing up at the borders waiting for paperwork to be checked.

Anything that we order to get delivered to the UK or that we ship out is delivered by a currier, usually UPS and it is up to them to handle the paperwork for entry or exit apart the standard customs declaration that we are used to filling out for non-EU countries, we are expecting that they will adjust to the new system fairly quickly and hopefully will be able to deliver parcels both to us and ones that we send out in a speedy manner.

Due to an issue with UPS and the system that we usually book parcels through, UPS was not available to us for over a month, so we were forced to use other companies at our own expense. We believe that we now have a way to book parcels with UPS again at a similar price to before and plan to be using this going forward.

As part of the changes to paperwork we are now required to have an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number for anything that we ship into Europe. We have applied for this number on 19th January and got it on 21st January. This has enabled us to ship all outstanding orders to the EU again and now ensure that we can ship to the EU or Norther Ireland without any delay in the future. Where we work with other people, we have advised them to all register for an EORI number as well to ensure they are set up ready.

Just as we may be expecting delays on importing of goods from abroad, we also expect some of our suppliers to have similar issues to us. Where we can we have brought extra supply of materials that we feel are at risk of being impacted to ensure that our suppliers have a couple of extra months to sort out their supply chain again. This cannot be done for everything, most notably wigs due to the large variety of colours and lengths so if there are any delays for materials, we expect it to be for wigs where we know our supplier imports them from another country.


Tariffs

The EU-UK trade deal is a free trade deal with country of origin conditions, this means that anything produced in the UK or any EU country can cross the order without any tariffs or charges, but if the product originated from outside of the UK or the EU then it is likely to have a charge when crossing the border.

All of our masks and hip pads are made by us or Alpeia designs in the UK, they will not be subject to any import fees but as our skinsuits are produced in China there is a chance that they will be subject to fees, but this is currently unclear as the trade deal was announced short notice and has not been in place for long so we plan to keep an eye on this to see what happens as we ship to our European customers.


Prices

With all of this happening and many changes we do not know what will happen to our currency, a change in the value of the pound against the Chinese Yun or US Dollar will impact the cost to us when buying skinsuits and may impact the cost of goods to our suppliers causing materials for masks to cost more, which will force us to raise our prices. If the pound is worth less, then people will get more when converting to GBP which may mean costs internationally may stay the same but costs to people within the UK will just go up instead.

While we were part of the EU then our import fees into the UK and our taxes were set by the EU, now we have left the UK government can change these which could result in us paying extra when doing stuff like importing skinsuits into the UK. If we are charged extra import fees, then we will need to adjust our prices to account for this.

We are unsure if currier companies or our UK based suppliers will keep the same prices or not, but if they decide to charge more than I am afraid that it is likely that we will have to follow or risk not earning a profit, which with a predicted higher cost of living this will be ever more important to us here at DAME.


Products

Just as with Covid-19, Brexit may also impact the different products that we can offer on our website due to long delays or changes in the import process. Our breast form supplier is having such issues currently with importing the breast forms from their manufacture in China to their warehouse in Northern Ireland, they have agreed to give us advance warning on when they will have new stock arriving but there is currently no estimate on when this will be. We have decided to mark them as out of stock for now so people can still read the information about them and when we hear back from the supplier, we hope to make them in stock and available for people once again.

We are not aware of any other issues with products or materials caused by Brexit.



Last Edited: 02 March 2021