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    Locale: the impacts of Canada Post's strike on Invitation Designers

    One of our core values at Palettera is to relate to our community and local narrative. Serving clients locally in the greater Toronto area and internationally on the stateside and abroad, we are certainly not exempt from the happenings in our community. In fact, from raw materials to fuel prices, everything affects what we can offer to our clients and the pricepoint at which we can offer them, while maintaining utmost quality. Over the years, the price of paper and envelopes have escalated, but nothing like the price of delivery and shipping. Aside from the professional creative service of graphic design, we also execute in the production of design artefacts. Each piece requires materials which don’t just magically appear at our door. Fuel prices, inflation, cost of labour — these are all things that heavily influence what we do as a design firm.

    80-90 hour work weeks are here for a reason! The consequences of the postal workers’ strike at Canada Post are still being felt, especially by our team at Palettera. We were requested by two television stations to provide insight on the strike. On May 27th, reporter Naomi Parness from CTV interviewed one of our brides Lesley Robb on-site at our studio, which was aired on CTV news, Palettera’s second cameo on CTV.

    In a panic, some of clients getting married in August and September were stressed about the possibility of a strike in May and June. The stress level was still manageable, as humans tend to be optimistic in our own favour. People also thought to “prepare for the worst.” A few of our clients actually made plans to drive to Buffalo to use the US postal service to mail out the American and International invitations.

    Throughout the period of the labour disruption, much of our international shipments were put on hold. We definitely didn’t miss our bills, but we did find it frustrating as many of our beautiful supplies from local and international suppliers were held in transit. One of our clients waited over 5 weeks for a delivery of swarovski crystals of a specific make, which would normally only take 10 days to arrive. During this time, we tried to get our suppliers to use couriers, but not every company has an account or are willing to use a different system. After all, if you are a small business owner in Europe, what are the chances that you would care if Canada had a strike? There’s not huge volumes of goods being sent, and so understandably, a few slower deliveries are not a priority.

    On top of the delay of delivery of materials and supplies, we also had clients who had invitations completed during the process of the strike. We had to contract staff for emergency deliveries — a valet service for invitations. Some of our clients normally use our luxe delivery service, but in this case, some clients were forced to ask us to deliver for them. Couriers were running behind, some addresses were ridiculously expensive, and in some cases, they wouldn’t deliver to certain cottage areas at all. Seems easy to drive around and deliver a couple hundred packages, but not in the traffic gridlock of Toronto and surrounding areas, or when the guest has relocated without telling the bride and groom.

    When the problems seem to be ending, they are actually just beginning! There are two streams of problems: 1. Some invitations got stuck in the depots, which means guests are only receiving invitations now. 2. Some replies got stuck in the depots, which means that our couples have not completed their guest lists and therefore have no firm idea how many pieces they require for day-of stationery. Some couples are experiencing only the first, some only the second and then some who got the “double whammy”!

    As we continue to create awesome designs for our couples getting married in the fall, our schedule is being stretched and stressed by the last-minute accommodations for all the July & August weddings. For instance, we had one couple getting married last week and we had to work on their placecards and stationery 2 days before their wedding. Naturally, their order must be placed in priority. (It would be absolutely too stressful to leave our clients stranded a week before their wedding, as they have many other pressures to deal with).

    We still have a line-up of weddings in July, which we must still take care of. Information for these weddings have yet to be received on our end, most of which are past the deadline which was originally promised. Needless to say, we will be at the studio for countless hours in the days ahead! We are picking up the slack that was caused by the postal strike and last minute guests who failed to reply earlier. On top of this unavoidable crunch which we are managing as gracefully as possible, we must still take utmost care of our clients with events in August, September and October. They need their projects too!

    This post-strike situation will be a true test of our team, but we are determined to help our clients find relief and still fulfil the wedding of their dreams. A shoutout to the PALETTERA team – you guys rock!!! That’s why we’re going to Yorkville for a team dinner tonight – let’s keep the awesome momentum!

    And THAT is our Canada Post 2011 strike experience in a nutshell. It never felt this good to see our Unionville postman in the morning.

    A special note to one of our really sweet brides: Kendall, we’re so glad those crystals finally arrived yesterday!! =) They are gorgeous! See you later today.

    Tags: Yorkville Toronto

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