The 3D printing community has been a source of hope throughout this challenging year. We want to share how we realigned Hatchbox’s operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hatchbox, like many other companies, has faced challenges as we worked to keep our staff safe and healthy. But with the changes outlined below, we are better positioned to provide a consistent supply of 3D printer filaments during the evolving crisis. Even as the economy begins to reopen, many businesses and makers will continue to sustain frontline workers by printing personal protective equipment. We want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to safely serve your 3D printing needs.

Everyone at Hatchbox appreciates your patience and understanding. More importantly, we hope you and your families remain safe through these challenging times.

How COVID-19 affected Hatchbox

Many of you have no doubt wondered why we closed the online store. Hatchbox’s offices and warehouses are in Los Angeles County, one of the epicenters of California’s COVID-19 outbreak. On March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order to bring the spread of COVID-19 under control. Some of our employees could work from home. But there was no way to keep our warehouse operating safely. Without a way to fulfill direct orders, we had no choice but to close the online store. Unfortunately, the financial impact of this shutdown also forced us to make the difficult decision to reduce our overall staffing levels.

In the months that followed, we received numerous questions from our customers. Naturally, we received questions like “When will Hatchbox reopen?” or “How can I get more filament?” But we also fielded a new kind of question: requests for donations to projects making PPE for essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. Our team has been hard at work, from home, finding ways to meet all the needs of Hatchbox customers and the broader 3D community.

Hatchbox’s response and outlook for 2020

A limited number of Hatchbox employees were able to fulfill requests from the 3D printing community helping essential workers. To date, we have provided more than 500 rolls of filament to projects around the country to help them create face shields, ear saver tabs and other PPE.

But we quickly saw that resuming full commercial operation would not be the right call. There is too much uncertainty surrounding the progression of COVID-19. Returning to business-as-usual at our California warehouse would place our employees at too much risk should a “second wave” of infections begin to spread.

Given these risks, our remaining team has worked to re-align our operations with Amazon. Hatchbox filament will ship directly from our production facilities to Amazon’s fulfillment centers without passing through our warehouses. At least through the end of this year, almost all of our filaments will be available exclusively through Amazon. This stronger partnership will ensure consistency in Hatchbox’s inventory flows and minimize any potential disruption to our customers.

The online store will reopen, but in a way that will let us adapt to the evolving crisis with our present staffing levels. It will no longer offer the full range of Hatchbox filament for direct order. Instead, the store will be a showcase for new filament materials and colors and will continue to fulfill the promotions we offer through our Hatchbox newsletter.

These changes ensure that our customers, whether in industry or the maker community, have access to a large, consistent supply of Hatchbox filaments. At the same time, you have the benefit of Amazon’s fast, efficient fulfillment system. Meanwhile, our warehouse team can fulfill smaller-volume direct orders while following the distancing practices needed to keep them and their families healthy.

We are proud that Hatchbox filaments have earned your trust and loyalty and want to thank you for your support. As our response to the COVID-19 crisis evolves, we will provide updates through the Hatchbox newsletter. You can subscribe HERE to get the latest news as well as first-looks at the new filaments and exclusive promotions we offer in the coming year.