If you look around the Kikoh website, you'll probably notice a higher the usual number of products out of stock. Such is maintaining Japanese incense during a global pandemic. This has affected our business in several ways:
First, supply lines are stretched thin. With the resurgence of COVID, Japan has closed its border through at least the end of January:
In light of a surge in coronavirus cases, Japan is closing its borders until Jan. 31, 2021 to all foreign arrivals except residents of Japan, according to the Consulate-General of Japan in Hagåtña.
The measures come after a detection of cases with the new strain of the coronavirus, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom.
With all flights in and out of Japan severely restricted, the number of flights available to carry cargo have evaporated. Most business that ship out of Japan use EMS for shipping, and without flights to ship on, EMS has suspended most deliveries outside of Japan making keeping regular inventories very difficult. It has also put on hold plans to expand our product offerings as well as several business agreements that were in the works.
The pandemic has also affected shipping domestically. We ship primarily using the USPS as it is most often the most economical. With the unprecedented volume of parcels being shipped as people shift their purchasing to online, delays in delivery times are occurring as USPS dealt with the onslaught of mail in ballots and per-holiday crush. We always strive to ship all orders within 24 hours of receiving them. Once the package leave our hands however, we have no control over the USPS.
Second, and most importantly, we are all in the middle of a global pandemic that, as of this writing, has killed almost 400,000 Americans and over 2,000,000 world wide. This is a stressful environment to exist within both as a business and personally. Kikoh is a small family business. We have lost relatives and friends to COVID and have had several close calls with other relatives who were hospitalized. My wife also had the virus - fortunately a mild case of it. This gives some perspective to what is important in life no matter how much we love and respect Japanese incense.
We will get through this together. There are several vaccines now available. I feel there is hope for a return to some semblance of normality. We fully intend to restock all the fragrances we are currently out of and expand to carry other well known brands and fragrances.
But first, we must take time to heal from the difficulties of living through a global pandemic.
Stay safe, healthy, and fragrant. We will get through this together.