Day 7 - COVID19 stole more than our freedom

Alita Du plessis

Posted on April 03 2020

A couple of my clients approached me to import masks for them since Im in the importing game.

Its like people think importing is like a huge supermarket where you pick whatever you need from a shelve and then it magically appears in DHL boxes at your front door.

 

Importing is difficult. You can find millions of suppliers on different platforms but you have no guarantee that the quality or quantities will be correct when it arrives.

I personally visited the factories that assist me with manufacturing some of our key components. They are all upper class ones where there is at least aircon and lunchbreaks for staff in the manufacturing lines. Quality control is strict and prices are a lot higher than the sweatshops where the workers are treated like animals. The one didn’t even have windows and some parts of the roof was missing as well. The sun burnt down on the shirtless guys sitting in an assembling line,  silently polishing products.

I believe in fair trade. Where every person deserves the right to enjoy their workplace. A good culture is also the main ingredient for success. Its not about staff alone , or products or how you treat your clients. It is what you stand for. The Purple Carrot slogan for the year is “Quality”

People, Product, Price,  Process. This is the 4 pillars of business that I follow.

This means we treat each other well. We encourage and assist. We play hard and work hard. We put out good quality products in a process well thought through.

Clients come first but not if my staff is shouted or sworn at. And as such my suppliers have to also align in my vision. It doesn’t help that you have all the integrity in the world locally but your suppliers are manufacturing it in bad energy.

So back to the masks. I started sourcing locally to assist clients in need. I came right up to a point. This was when the lockdown was announced. At that stage every single person on Facebook turned into a medical rep. I made sure that I got in touch with factories that actually manufactured the goods, in order for me to deliver guarantees to my wholesale clients. I dipped my toe into advertising and was overwhelmed by the requests.

Suddenly the whole pyramid collapsed. Factories starting signing orders with buyers that are buying millions at a time, and smaller buyers like myself was cased aside. Left for the hyenas to sort out.

I started to see people in a different light.

During this last 7 days Ive been looking into this fishbowl of madness in the mask and hand sanitizer industry and I realised a few things.

  1. Most people’s integrity is directly connected to how desperate they are or the amount of money involved in a deal. The ones that are doing things according to the “rules” are not making the big bucks
  2. People will lie to get deals through. I have chased “ghost” stock so many times this week that it is actually ridiculous. In my case when someone says “Stock in hand it”, it means my supplier, supplier’s , supplier might have some boxes left after the corporates took the what they needed.  It is never in a warehouse for you to access and it is definitely not a done deal if you have a buyer and a supplier in a deal.

To lie is not the biggest sin, but surely there must be some proof or plan in place for you to avoid make empty promises.

  1. There is no trusting anyone. Scammers are stealing, wheeling and dealing. If you are not careful you will lose your money. If something is too good to be true, it usually is.
  2. Inflation of prices are not always due to people pushing prices up, but due to opportunists that buys bulk and reselling it to desperate buyers at an inflated rate and therefor creating a profit margin for themselves and not for the scavengers.

 

I got out after observing the shark feeding frenzy. I sourced a legit importer to assist my clients and I will be enjoying the rest of my lockdown period not thinking about masks, or taking one more call that takes up time that I could have spent smelling roses or strategizing the rest of my year for Purple Carrot.

I beg you today to not let this craziness of COVID-19 get to you. I heard on the radio that you have to stay positive and only see the good things, otherwise you will lose your mind. I beg to differ . Yes try to see the good  but also have a plan.

Plan your menu around the food you have in the house. Don’t go out and buy on a daily basis. Who says that meat has to be part of your daily menu? You can go vegetarian every now and again. Nothing wrong with Mac and cheese. Save the money that you can for now, because you don’t know what the future holds.

Don’t be too negative either. There will be life after COVID-19, your actions during this lockdown will influence the outcome there after.  Make your lists. Do your chores and enjoy your family time.

 

On a lighter note . This virus got something right that all women have tried doing in the history of this earth.. That is to stop their men from drinking and smoking. J

Stay safe..Stay healthy.  

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