In Chinese, there’s a phrase for the unusually hot autumn weather that strangely occurs as the last bit of the season fizzles out: 秋老虎 (qīu lăo hǔ), or the Autumn Tiger. In fact, there’s another tiger on the way: the 2022 Year of the Tiger!
The beauty of globalization has allowed us to work with suppliers and manufacturers across many different countries. However, what many indie brands and other newcomers in the industry may not realize is how much of an impact cultural holidays can have on business everywhere else as well. For example, Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year) begins Februrary 1st, 2022. While it may seem far away, it's important for brands to prepare way ahead of time to avoid production and shipping disruptions— and the Autumn Tiger period of November is a great time to be proactive!
Before getting into the holiday's impact on business, it's best to first get some context as to how significant the celebration really is. While often referred to as CNY or Chinese New Year (春節), the holiday is not just celebrated by China. In fact, it’s observed by many “Overseas Chinese” communities, as well as numerous other Asian countries, each with their own festivities and names for it, like Vietnamese Tết and Korean Seollal (설날).
In China, the new year is no quick affair— it's traditionally a 15-day celebration, with additional days of preparation preceding the festivities. Each day has its own respective event, with its own regional differences: a deep-cleaning of the home in the days prior, a family reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve, loud festivities on the first day, numerous temple visits on the days after, and so on.
Naturally, many factories and businesses close for at least 1-2 weeks in preparation for and observance of the holiday, greatly affecting the supply chain and product development process.
Factories and businesses often shut down about a week prior to the new year to allow time for workers to travel home. Consequently, the massive rush of shipments leaving ports can often lead to increased freight costs and delayed transit times. Retailers and brands that rely on imports from Asia, especially China, must plan ahead to get their products shipped by the new year— because once the holiday arrives, absolutely nothing leaves the ports... for an entire month.
Even after the holiday, it takes an additional few weeks to return to business as usual: fulfilling piled-up orders, resolving issues, answering questions, and so on. Don't forget about lead times, plus other delays and supply chain hardships brought on by the pandemic. Indie brands already making massive efforts to learn everything about the industry may find themselves in a storm of delays upon delays.
It's absolutely imperative to place orders now, so that you can guarantee that what you need will ship before the new year. At Novi, we can help expedite the process. Browse, sample, and purchase sustainable packaging options with our marketplace, where we feature upfront lead times, MOQs, and pricing.