WE ARE ONE COMMUNITY
MarketPlace has always been about caring for our community. In these difficult times we continue to be committed to you and to the artisans in India. This challenge brings us together as human beings as we try to continue our mission, satisfy our customers, and keep everyone safe. The situation in India continues to change, and staff and artisans there must accommodate both new restrictions and new opportunities. We are striving to maintain safe and consistent production, but the difficulties in India will most likely affect your orders. We are in constant contact with the artisans and staff in India and will keep you informed. Click here to visit our blog for updates. Click here to visit our blog for updates anytime.
TAKING YOUR ORDERS
Customer Service representatives are still mostly working from home and will be available during our regular business hours to help you with your order or to answer any questions you may have. Call 800-726-8905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Customer Care hours are Monday through Thursday 9 am to 6 pm, Friday 9 am to 3 pm EST. You can also continue to place orders on our website at any time.
SHIPPING YOUR ORDERS
Our warehouse is currently shipping in-stock orders. All the appropriate safety measures are in place in accordance with CDC guidelines, including frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, social distancing and disinfecting common surfaces. Warehouse staff shifts have been reduced or staggered and work stations are far apart to allow for social distancing and decreased contact.
If your order is out-of-stock, we urge you to place your order so that this can be communicated directly to the artisans. This way, the artisans will be making the products that you want.
Returns may take longer to process, so please bear with us.
THE SITUATION IN INDIA
Last March the Indian government enacted one of the world's strictest stay-at-home orders. Most everything closed, including the cooperatives, most shops, and public transport. Compliance was enforced by the police. The artisans had to remain with their families in their small homes.
Six months later, the situation has changed a bit. As long as they live near their cooperatives, the artisans are now able to (cautiously) go to work. The women are thrilled to be working and earning again. For anyone unable to work now, MarketPlace will continue with emergency provisions.
Many major obstacles remain. Public transportation is still shut down, making it very difficult to travel around the city and move goods. A lot of mills are still closed, interfering with our ability to obtain and deliver the needed raw cotton to the dyers. Every single step of production, from overseeing color and print to checking embroidery placement, is complicated.
In response, the staff and artisans have come up with ingenious ways to get things done. Google Meet calls have replaced in-person meetings as the women have embraced new technology. Staff members are making judicious use of Uber, and smart phones have become an essential tool.
International flights are still few and far between. In spite of this, we have been getting shipments in, smaller but more frequent.
Finally, an update on the artisans' children. Schools have not reopened, and there has been little, if any, material sent to students. The MarketPlace social workers have stepped in to act as instructors. They have worked up schedules of all levels' curricula and are using a variety of media to contact and supervise the children. Some private tutoring classes have restarted, and we are helping to cover costs for the students. While the all-important national tests have been postponed, the aim is to keep the students engaged and more prepared for when they return to classes.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE, SUPPORT AND GOOD THOUGHTS
The artisans are ready to get production back to earlier levels. Please give them the opportunity to do so by ordering now, even if your garment is back ordered. Although you will not get your purchase right away, we will be able to concentrate on making the products that you want and getting them shipped to you as soon as possible.
Please be well and take care of yourself. The artisans and staff in Mumbai and Chicago send their very best wishes in this troubling time. Together, we will get through this and make a better world.