Hello again dear friends of Loom Tree! Once again I greet you from the beautiful Antigua Guatemala. As I have said many times before, Loom Tree wouldn't exist were it not for the amazing community we were established in. However, being a Guatemalan company still has its hurdles, and today I would like to go deeper into one specific hurdle that affects many of our international friends, shipping. Yes, this month I won't delight you with my musings on textiles, culture, or dreams, but rather I will speak on the very practical issue of how we can interact with the world of online sales and international shipping. Hopefully this will help you, our international friends, understand how to best bring a little bit of Antigua into your home abroad. If you're reading this from within Guatemala, then perhaps this month's post will be boring to you, as you can easily pay for and receive our goods already. However, as many of our international patrons might already know, we cannot offer the easy "one-click" purchase many of us have become accustomed to in this modern age.
As I write this we are four days away from what may well be one of Guatemala's most consequential elections, the outcome of which might drastically change how Guatemalan products are exported to the world. As it stands at the time of writing, small businesses such as our own are largely incapable of a. receiving payments from abroad via credit cards, and b. provide expediated shipments via regular postal services. However, do not let that dissuade you! We have done our research, and we are still able to provide you with all the benefits of remote purchases and deliveries, it just takes a couple extra steps. Ever since COVID 19 first hit, we have been putting in every effort to make online sales a reality. We tried the typical online sales model, but due to the ever-changing and large diversity of our product line, it was simply not feasible to maintain that model. The same goes for keeping an up-to-date catalogue. How can one keep such things when you produce one of a kind items? Or products which can take anywhere from one to three months to restock? At our size we simply could not keep up, so instead we came up with our own alternative. Rather than bring our store to you, we are using the wonders of technology to bring you - from wherever you are - to us, right here in the beautiful Antigua Guatemala! We do this via our virtual tours, within which we aim to receive you with the same attention and care you would get were you here in person. It's very easy; you can book an appointment via our online platform at: www.loomtreeantigua.com/contact .
Payments are also quite tricky for us here in Guatemala. Platforms like PayPal, which have become ubiquitous in many parts of the world, are not offered in our region (at least not for receiving payments). Many people are, understandably, weary of putting in their credit card information into sites they don't trust, and PayPal is a great workaround. As I said, we hope that in the future this will change, but for now we are only able to accept remote payments via bank-to-bank transfers. While it may not be as immediate as PayPal, this is very safe and has worked well for us in the past. As for shipments, we offer shipping to every corner of the world, and we always provide tracking information and protections. This is because our shipments always go out via a private currier such as DHL or UPS. The down side is that we can only offer whatever prices these curriers set, and we do not offer shipping via the regular postal service. On the up-side this means you are guaranteed a fast and reliable delivery!
In our line of work we stand in sharp opposition to the unsustainable and fast-paced business models that are prevalent in the consumer-driven world of online sales. As I always say to people: true artistry takes time, patience, and conviction. Remember, when you buy handmade you're not just buying some interchangeable 'nick-nack', you're buying a unique something that a real person put hours of their life into making. While we will continue to try to streamline our abilities to sell online, we here at Loom Tree will always count on your understanding that we are a small business, rooted in maintaining a business model that is fair, sustainable, and caring towards not only our customers, but our employees and collaborators as well. Therefore, dear friends, I thank you for your understanding in these matters, and if you have any further questions on this subject, or anything else for that matter, please do not hesitate to reach out!
Until next time!