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THE UPHOLSTERY CHALLENGE: MATERIAL & LABOR SHORTAGE

The material and labor shortage that has followed the pandemic has caused challenges for upholstery makers. They share how they’re addressing the issues. By Gianna Annunzio 04/26/2022

The Amanda Sofa by Bellini Modern Living is made in Italy. Made with Maya leather in a pacific blue shade. Comes in Sofa and Loveseat

The material and labor shortage following the pandemic have caused challenges across the industry, and the world as a whole. In 2022 shipping containers are costly, raw materials can be hard to come by, and companies are finding it difficult to find/retain artisans. While the upholstery segment have not been exempted from these challenges, manufacturers have seen continued – and in some cases, increased – demand for product. Against all odds, they have pushed through these hardships in ways that work, providing consumers with the products they need in as timely a manner as possible.

While shipping from overseas has had its ups and downs, manufacturers say domestic upholstery has been similarly impacted. In some cases, supply can be a bit quicker when switching to local sources. In others, parts and materials needed to complete domestic assembly are still sourced overseas.

Some customers have begun opting for furniture pick-up in North Carolina to avoid high prices and long lead times.

“The faster they can ship it to the customer the quicker they get paid, so they’re picking up their own goods now,” he says.

    At Bellini Modern Living, most inventory comes imported from Italy. Hossein Azimi, the company’s Founder and CEO, says it has been much easier to source product out of Europe than Asia during the pandemic.

“Even though the market wasn’t as hot, we never slowed production,” Azimi says. “We just kept receiving merchandise over and over. We continued that trend even though the cost of freight went sky high. We paid the extra cost just to satisfy our dealers, so they didn’t have to wait nine months to get a dining table or sofa.”

At the end of 2020, Bellini also purchased and pre-ordered massive amounts of raw materials, just for the better price. To combat rising prices today, Bellini implemented a freight surcharge to cover the cost of the container. Azimi says this is a temporary measure and expects to reduce the charge down the line.

The Upholstery Challenge: Material & Labor Shortage | Furniture Lighting & Decor (furniturelightingdecor.com)

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