Why the Long Shipping Times?
I get this comment frequently enough I thought I would explain in detail.
My shipping times are 2-3 weeks for several reasons. First, all of my shirts are custom made for the purchaser. Since they are custom made, the customer can make decisions about dog colors on the doodle designs, or purchase a shirt and have the vinyl match the shirt, etc. The customer can also decide the image size pocket or full front or back. But this is only part of the picture.
Process from Order to Shipping
I order shirts on a weekly basis only (except for Christmas), usually on Sunday night. I do not get enough orders in a week to order more frequently. I need to have as compact and complete orders as possible to avoid over paying for shipping. Unfortunately the vendors do not offer free shipping. If I ship more frequently, I would have to raise prices to compensate for the extra shipping charges.
Shipping can take anywhere from 3-5 business days. If I want quicker shipping time, shipping costs go up, I have to charge more… You get the picture.
Once the shirts arrive they have to be checked against the packing slip, and then the actual order. After checking the order, I need to check each and every shirt to make sure there are no stains, holes, and all the seams are sewn completely. If anything is wrong, I need to contact the vendor and get a replacement or find out why something didn’t ship.
After the shirts check out it’s time to apply the vinyl. Hopefully I’ve had time to have the vinyl pre-cut. But, if I’m dealing with a Dog in Words, in a color I’ve never work with, it has to wait, so I can match vinyl to the shirt.
It’s pretty down hill from there… printing out shipping labels, bagging and mailing.
Inventory is also a big issue. I want to offer as many colors and sizes as possible. If I consider just the short sleeve unisex t-shirts, there are 70 colors in the Comfort Colors brand. If you multiply that by basic sizes (S, M, L, XL, 2XL) that is 420 on ONE kind of shirt. Then you have to consider that I also have women’s crew neck, women’s v-neck, unisex sweatshirts, unisex hoodies, ladies crew necks, ladies hoodies, tank tops, long sleeve shirt… You get the picture. I could fill my house with inventory and still have to have a storage unit.
With inventory also comes managing it on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Lots of paperwork… Yuck.
Paying for the shirts is another nightmare. I would have to raise my prices just to be able to afford to have an inventory.
Why So Many Colors?
I offer the complete array of colors that Comfort Colors produces. One of the reasons is not everyone can wear the same colors. There are so many varieties of blues, greens, purples, pinks. Cool colors, warm colors, etc. I know how I look in certain colors… I look good in reds, pinks, purples. In blues, I have to be pickier, certain blues look bad, etc.
I’m going to try and keep a small inventory of popular colors (black, white, denim or blue jean, hemp, pink, maybe orange) in sizes Small to 2XL. It will take me a little while to build up some inventory, as I can’t afford to buy them all at once. This will enable me to fulfill last minute purchases a little easier. Customers won’t have the complete range of colors, but hopefully this will help.