I know, I know - it's everywhere these days - price increases! You hate them, we hate them - yet here we are. Given what we know about the current global climate, here's a brief update on where this lands in our industry.
Despite the challenges posed in 2020 and the global pandemic, we were able to keep almost all of our pricing relatively flat. There was certainly a great deal of difficulties in acquiring products amidst supply shortages and distribution disruptions - partly as a result of changing consumer demand during lockdowns - but we were able to maintain fairly steady inventory levels and access fair prices on our product lines. We do not engage in price gouging at Brighten Up, and it's against our personal and professional philosophy to engage in 'make a quick buck' pricing. This is something we are very proud of.
Enter 2021. The strains on global supply factors are catching up to us, and the supply chain needs to readjust. This can be very jarring. Throughout the past few months our industry (and most others) have experienced unprecedented cost increases across the globe related to Raw Material costs, a strained global supply chain, and 700%+ increases in ocean transportation rates.
At Brighten Up, this means we are seeing our input costs rise anywhere from 5%-10% at the lowest-end to 25%-30% in some cases. This began early in the year with many of our premium quality jigsaw puzzle manufacturers, typically with increases in the 10% range. As many of these manufacturers - like our popular Cobble Hill Puzzles brand - had held pricing for years, they no longer had the space to continue without price increases. The next wave included many of our classic toys - such as the children's favourite Melissa and Doug - which were significantly impacted by the skyrocketing costs - and limited availability - of materials like wood and paint. Melissa and Doug recently announced another 10%-15% price increase on top of those earlier this year, set to take effect this summer. While some of our product categories have not yet been significantly impacted, we do anticipate most will bring forward price increases at some point over the next few months as key product components of plastic, paper, corrugate and wood have all seen significant cost increases this year. It is also expected that shipping costs will remain high throughout 2021.
The good news? We have been working very hard behind the scenes to stockpile popular inventory, collaborate with our suppliers on 'pre-buy' opportunities with lower price increases, and to monitor the anticipated price change dates to access inventory at the lowest prices that we are able to. We are doing what we can to bring these price increases to you, the consumer, at the slowest pace we can absorb. However, we do appreciate your understanding that often these increases come with little or no notice. For instance, this week two of our major Canadian distributors announced increases that will go into effect on June 1st - just a week away!
At Brighten Up we remain committed to bringing you quality products at fair, affordable prices. Thank you for continuing to support us, and we cannot wait to see you IN STORE in the coming weeks. More on that in my next post.
Enjoy the long weekend, stay safe and have fun!
Chris, Stephanie, Cassandra and the Brighten Up Team