September 27, 2019
When I first learned about these plates I had no idea I would eventually be importing them from India, nor did I know how difficult it would be to get them here. From the minute I saw these and learned about them, I knew I had to bring them to the US.
The Areca Palm grows abundantly in India and naturally sheds it’s beautiful leaves, creating piles of natural waste. Rather than sending them to the burn or trash pile, the people of India are employed to collect them from the ground, wash them and heat press them into a variety of shapes and sizes (creating the Areca Palm Plate). No chemicals are used, and they are 100% compostable and biodegradable. These plates will hold up in the refrigerator and microwave, and can be reused when used with dry foods. Because they are made from 100% natural materials, each plate is like a snowflake; unique in its patterns, colors and variations. They make a beautiful addition to any home, party, wedding, BBQ or event, and you can feel good about disposing them. Add them to your compost bin and in 60 days, they will again become a part of the earth.
Six months ago I was preparing for my wedding and looking for ways to avoid creating waste; I knew I wanted Areca Palm Plates and started looking to buy them. I found that not many people offered them and when reading reviews on Amazon I noted some complaints in the reviews.
“There were tiny bugs all over my plates”
“Some of the plates were covered in mold”
I already started a small shop offering eco friendly goods and decided that maybe I would order direct from the manufacturer and get enough to have for my wedding and also to sell in my shop. But I wanted to make sure there were no tiny bugs or mold- gross!
I found that you could only order these from India, and I began my research. I contacted over 30 suppliers and ordered a ton of samples from 10 of those 30. While the samples were free, the shipping from India was very expensive and slow. Once I received all the samples I compared the quality of them and analyzed the price differences. I found that they had three separate price options. Domestic quality, International quality and mixed. The domestic Indian quality “would have some molds or imperfect shapes”. The mixed would combine international and domestic. BAM! I found the reason why people were complaining about their plates. Obviously the domestic and mixed were cheaper, so distributors were purchasing these to save money.
I had some savings and decided to invest it in International quality; while a bit more expensive, the quality assurance was worth it to me. I finally decided on a supplier and began the order process. Initially it seemed pretty simple. Place the order and find a shipping option. Because of the size of the packaging, air was not an option (much too expensive), so it was recommended I ship by sea. It seemed doable so the supplier assisted with finding a shipper from India to the US (specifically the Houston port) and I just figured I’d make the 3.5 hour drive and pick them up when they got here.
Easier said than done.
Shipping by sea requires much more than anyone ever explained to me. I had to purchase a bond and hire a customs broker. There were additional warehouse and port charges and of course duty tax. And then, what I wasn’t prepared for- the delays.
After two months, the shipment finally arrived in LA. But then customs decided that they would X-ray my cargo for contraband, delaying the shipment to the Houston port. Once it was cleared, for some reason they were determined to find some sort of contraband in my 38 boxes of palm leaf plates and further delayed it for an “extensive exam”. Apparently this means that they unload all your cargo and do a physical exam of everything piece by piece. The best part? Not only is your shipment further delayed, they make the importer pay the cost of the exam.
Anyhow, there were a series of complications and the plates didn’t arrive in time for my wedding. It has been a Lonnnngggg, complicated and exhausting journey, but they are Finallllyyyy here. They are beautiful. They are sustainable. They are compostable. They are everything I believe in, and I truly hope that you will love them as much as I do. I wanted to share a bit of this story because I hope that you will appreciate the long journey and miles they have traveled to be here- in your hand and on your table.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, the Areca Palm Leaf Plates are now available in our Amazon and here on our web store.
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