Ranok Plush Update
[May 12, 2022] This update is for customers who have yet to receive orders containing the Ranok Plush.
Since our last update on the Ranok Plush in January, we have unfortunately made little progress towards the fulfilment of plush orders due to a variety of factors stemming from the inconsistent and harsh COVID lockdowns across China. While we wished to make more regular updates, considering our inability to change the situation, we didn’t want our words to fall on deaf ears by repeating the same statements over and over. We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and support while we’ve been dealing with this delay and preparing this statement. As such, the following is a recount of the production events leading up to today with full transparency:
As you may already know, the Ranok Plush is the most ambitious product we’ve brought to life, with nine unique components manufactured by five separate factories. While we were behind schedule for a few parts along the—mostly due to the back-and-forth directions caused by small-scale quarantines and lockdowns—our plans were essentially still on track for a slightly-delayed release and fulfilment in early 2022. We were confident that we could begin sending out the plushes beginning mid-January as many of the components had been in our hands since December. However, we were working with a time constraint as the couriers in China would stop accepting parcels 1-2 weeks before the Spring Festival, which began on January 31. If we didn’t make this deadline, it was estimated that we’d have to wait another month for logistics operations to return to normal after the weeklong national holiday.
Our plan at this time was to assemble the plush in its entirety at our original Shanghai warehouse (now out of commission indefinitely) as it would’ve been too risky to appoint factories to pack these delicate components. This would double as a good opportunity for us to perform an in-house quality check as well. On January 11, we received the final batch of parts for the Ranok Plush—the leather pieces. Much to our surprise, we discovered that the metal belt buckles weren’t fastened to the leather belt like we had agreed upon (photos here). We contacted the factory immediately in an attempt to resolve this issue, but we were told that right after shipping out our batch of goods, all of the employees left for the Spring Festival holidays. With no way to affix the buckle onto the belt, we needed to wait until the end of the holidays to send the pieces back to the factory for correction.
Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to execute our plans in a timely manner, our warehouse manager—the sole member in Shanghai—also departed for the holidays to their family on January 31. The third-party logistics provider we appointed in late 2021 would assist in sending out the majority of orders from China during this time (more details about the 3PL in our Coach Harold Plush notice).
Once the week-long national holidays were over, complications from the Spring Festival had arisen as companies began to resume operations. On February 10, our warehouse manager encountered a family emergency and had to stay in their hometown in northeastern China instead of returning to Shanghai as planned. Misfortune struck again as a mandated COVID lockdown in that area followed soon after. As information on these developments reached us, this meant that we were effectively cut off from our Shanghai warehouse.
Due to the circumstances with the family emergency, our warehouse manager was completely confined within a hospital they were staying at. Communication was scarce, and we weren’t able to have them mail out the warehouse key to another person. It wasn’t until the end of February that a different relative was able to relieve our warehouse manager from their position, and they were able to help salvage the situation by sending the Shanghai warehouse key to a trusted individual. The key was sent on March 2, but before it was even delivered, we were informed that the plan had to be postponed due to the region surrounding our warehouse being labelled as an “At Risk” area. This label marked the entire township by mandating any travellers to be placed in quarantine, and as a result, our current keyholder couldn’t enter the premises.
Despite waiting a week to see if the status would be lifted, there were no indications of any change. Neighbouring communities and townships were going down one by one, along with it the area in which our keyholder was staying in. Eventually, the entire city of Shanghai was placed under a government-mandated lockdown, much of which has been covered on world news outlets.
Even until today, the lockdowns in Shanghai persist with no end in sight. For the time being, we’ve been able to relocate much of our inventory to Los Angeles, and we’re looking into the possibility of production in other countries as the unstable situation continues in China. In short, we’ve been unable to secure the Ranok Plush stock in Shanghai, and the components subject to be remade remain untouched as well.
Another issue concerns the recent reports among Chinese netizens and global media discussing the possibility of government personnel intruding on residences for the purpose of disinfection. These incidents are a significant cause to bring to attention since our Shanghai warehouse is accommodated by an apartment located in the same region as the outbreak. We currently don’t have any way to verify whether or not our warehouse is safe, and the conflicting information being provided online only complicates matters further. All we know is that if our warehouse happens to be encroached upon, the high-pressure nozzles coupled with the dousing of chemicals would likely irreparably damage the inventory stored there.
We want to reiterate that we don’t hold any of our customers responsible for any of the current events across the globe. As mentioned in our other recent updates, customers who have ordered the Ranok Plush are still eligible for a full refund on the product, and this offer will continue to stand until fulfilment commences. We understand that many of our customers will continue to remain patient, and we thank everyone again for your acceptance. We’d like to sincerely apologise for this unavoidable situation on top of being unable to keep our past promises.
It’s not our place to judge the policies and protocols placed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak; only time will tell of the events that unfolded. With the metropolis coming to a total standstill, a DHL business representative we used to collaborate with let us know that many areas in Shanghai were severely short on food—and yet, despite its questionable competency—heavy reliance on government-administered food relief was needed across the board. Against the dreadful turn of events, we’re just glad that all of our team members at Pawprint Press have been relatively safe from the fallout of COVID-19.
It’s truly unfortunate for us to have encountered so many uncontrollable adversities, but we’ll take these challenges as lessons moving forward. To bring the Ranok Plush into existence has been a pleasure, and if you’ve read this far, we genuinely appreciate all of your support in making this creation a reality.
Here’s to some good news once and for all.