June 13th 2020: A personal message from Dr. Anthony L. Willis, Founder of ISLAND GIRL® Products:
As stated in our March 2020 Newsletter we had entered negotiations for transfer of ISLAND GIRL® Products to third party investors and participating long term customers. This summer, I had planned to semi-retire to the Marshall Islands where I would continue participation with regards to online promotion via the Newsletter, and website maintenance but would also be involved in formulation and invention of products. Product Manufacture and sales would be done by the new partners in the company. I had planned to meet with the
principals involved in late April 2020 in Oxnard California, where some product mixing would be done and training in online sales procedures.
Then, I would move onto my boat in Honolulu, while transferring most inventory to the US mainland. I would be sending office items to my new home in Majuro (Capital of the Marshall Islands) and then briefly visit by air to set up my office.
Finally, I planned to sail my boat to Majuro, later in the summer. Well the Covid-19 Pandemic interfered with these plans!
Becauseof flight restrictions and quarantines, the group meeting at Oxnard was not possible. Flight restrictions to Majuro were even more severe since there are presently no cases at all in the local population.
Thankfully, the US Postal Service to these islands is still efficient and we use Facebook Messenger for daily communication.
I have modified original plans and tried to follow those that are still feasible. Progress is described below:
Office Relocation to boat:
At the end of April, as planned, I left my apartment (with home-office
and cable internet) and moved onto my Gulf 32 Sailboat. It is very roomy for its length and has a nice galley and a hot water shower. Although still in chaos from the move, I set up the computer
and printer, using the 4G LTE signal on my iPhone to generate a WiFi hot spot. I could then generate orders and pre-paid postage, send e-mails etc.
Product manufacture and order fulfillment.
Recently, new batches of IG Pink™, NEUTRAL CLEAR™ & SEA GLOW™ have been manufactured at our storage facility that is walking distance from the boat. With one exception (a large wholesale order) we have been able to ship most online orders within a few days of receipt). A new experience was hand bottling on a rocking boat!
Shortages of product ingredients, ancillary suppies & packaging material
We had difficulties obtaining raw material for product manufacture. For instance, solvent for manufacture of more IG Pink™ and SEA GLOW™ ordered in January 2020 did not reach Honolulu until the end of April!
Fulfilling a (very welcome) large wholesale order (175 bottles of SEA GLOW™) exposed previously unprecedented shortages and expense of obtaining materials that were previously obtainable with little effort or delay and at reasonable cost.
3M “synthetic steel wool” scuff pads have always been freely available at a local chain of hardware stores in Hawaii. They were out, and are only now becoming available again. To obtain hydrogen peroxide (for our O.xiboost™ product) we had to hunt through several drug stores in Honolulu. In the one store that had stock, we were limited to only two small bottles per customer. I hope people are not drinking this stuff!
Plastic bottles, dispensing caps and spray heads. We usually have sufficient stock of these items and buy them in “as needed” to avoid sitting on lots of inventory. To our surprise, one of our online suppliers limited the number of 4 Oz bottles we could buy (they are now completely out of stock) and larger or smaller bottles were totally unavailable. Our local supplier of zip lock plastic bags was also out of stock.
Then, I remembered that I used to buy bulk packaging material through the packaging department of TAP Plastics in California. Through them, I was able to online order small quantities of bags, bottles caps etc. but at a high price with high shipping rates to Hawaii . Hopefully our regular suppliers will soon have adequate stock of these common packaging supplies as the Covid-19 disruption of international supply chains is alleviated.
Resin-based products (MIRROR HARD™, ELIXIR™ and NON-SLIP Superglaze™) temporarily out of stock
As of June 10th 2020, we are totally out of two key resin ingredients which are on order. We are also out of
one key ingredient of the anti-oxidant solution used both in our Cleanser/Conditioners and (especially) ELIXIR™. This ingredient is in short supply and at greatly increased cost. Purchase of these ingredients requires over $4,000 that we are still trying to raise, in part through offering
After very slow sales from January to March 2020 (living off savings and credit), sales income during April and May was very good but not sufficient to surmount the accumulated expenses of buying materials and supplies, moving, taking on additional storage, shipping office supplies to Majuro and helping to support my adoptive family there.
Direction over the next 2- 3 months As of March 2021 ( to be updated)
RE-OPENING OF MAIN BUSINESS OPERATION
Our main operation was closed from Jan 1st
2021 to give us time to restock with fresh product.
From April 5th we can take online orders for our Cleansers (IG Pink™, SEA GLOW™, NEUTRAL CLEAR™) & our protectants (SILKENSEAL™, SLICKSEAL™, CLEAR HORIZONS™).
By the start of the boating season (April-May) our resin- based coatings (ELIXIR™, MIRROR HARD™, NON-SLIP Superglaze™) should again be available alone or in comprehensive kits.