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Why the Wait: What’s Up With Our Processing Times?

What the Heck is a ‘Processing Time’?

If you’ve been shopping for custom items online for more than a few minutes, you’ve probably noticed that they all have a processing time. These times can range anywhere from 5 days to 10 weeks or more depending on the complexity of the item. What entails ‘Processing Time’ differs from store to store. Some retailers such as Wal-Mart have a small processing time of a few days. During this time, they are preparing your order for shipment by finding it in a warehouse and packaging it up for you. Some sellers on sites like Etsy and Amazon have processing times of seven to fourteen days, or one to two weeks. During this time, your order is being received, planned to be made, and then brought to life by the maker. Processing time encompasses the time from when an order is placed to the date that it is shipped, regardless of what is happening during this time.

It’s no secret that our processing time isn’t the shortest on our custom items during the peak times of year, typically early Summer or late Winter. While we do try our best to meet estimated shipping dates, sets can sometimes still ship a few days past them (Hence why we always try to stress that the processing time is approximate). Instead of giving some vague answers as to why this is the case or trying to ignore it, we feel it is better that we walk you through what exactly is happening here at LaetiLocs while your order is ‘processing’.

An Order: From Placement to Delivery

We always reach out to each one of our clients once a custom order is placed unless we’ve discussed a set beforehand. Every set is handmade uniquely, and we want to be sure your set is everything you want it to be and more. Once payment is received, the processing time begins right away. At the time of this article, our processing times are approximately 4-6 weeks for custom items, but this fluctuates depending on my workload at the time.

What Happens Next?

  1. An order is placed on our online store and entered into the queue.
  2. Details are worked out with the client.
  3. I work 10 – 12 hours each day making sets in the queue in order.
  4. The order placed is next in queue. Materials are purchased.
  5. Work begins on the set in the queue. This can take anywhere from 1-4 days.
  6. Once the set is ready, it is packaged and shipped the very next morning.
  7. Pictures are posted on Instagram of the set and a tracking number is sent to the client.
  8. The order arrives to a happy client!

Ye Ole’ Assembly Line

You’ve seen several mentions of a ‘Queue’ in this post, so I want to clarify what this is referring to. We keep records of all orders here, offline and online included. These records are kept in a Google CSV file and ordered by date. Orders are copied from the CSV to a handwritten notebook so they can be taken to the kanekalon store and post office. They are then made in the order they’re written in the book. Don’t worry, we only record your address and set description to make sure we get everything right.

Sets are not made over the course of 4-6 weeks but rather 1-4 days. This is why the LaetiLocs’ Instagram gets new sets almost daily. The lengthy processing time here at LaetiLocs is to account for the queue of orders that need to be made. This allows our processing times to change whenever the workload is less. For example, when our shop was first opened, our processing time was as 1 week on full sets as we had no other sets in line to be made. Over the past couple of years, we’ve adjusted our processing time several times, most recently last Autumn. Now that we have newer, smaller custom items like mini sets, we can reduce our processing times more regularly!

What’s This ‘We’ Business?

The ‘We’ in this post refers to the people of LaetiLocs, Caleb and Vera. This is the other main factor for the lengthier processing time. We only have one person who is a dreadmaker. Other shops that have shorter processing times may have upwards of 5-15 dreadmakers at any given time. Caleb is in charge of online support and online business jargon, while Vera makes the dreads and runs the Instagram. We would love to get your dreads out to you sooner, but with only one worker and online/offline clients, we can only do so much with our 10-hour workday. Maybe one day we’ll have a full crew to work with.

Can I Have My Order By This Date?

Yes!! … Maybe. We understand that when you are looking for a custom set, you most likely want it by a certain date and not “Whenever within the next 7 weeks or so”. This is something we’re always trying to improve. We’re always happy to give you updates or let you know if things are going to be a little late. If you need a set by a certain date and are unsure if it will arrive in time, you are always welcome to ask us. We can give you a more definite answer as we are used to the shipping times in most countries now.

One thing we would like to add to our website (Etsy won’t let us add this functionality) is a delivery date estimator that would let you know approximately when your order is going to arrive. This isn’t ready yet and is probably a couple of months away, but it is definitely something we’re looking into.

Why Trust Us?

We know that a long processing time may hurt our credibility as it probably seems incredibly likely we’ve forgotten all about you after a few weeks. 100 reviews on Etsy with 5/5 stars still isn’t enough, especially when other stores are able to pump sets out faster than us with even more reviews. We believe that it’s not any of that that lends us much credibility; It’s our communication and personal touch. We’re always happy to hear from you, even if you aren’t planning on making a purchase anytime soon, if at all. One of the benefits of having an American and a Russian working together is that we are able to communicate in native English as well as simple English if need be. You don’t need to be nervous or shy to message us on our communication channels. We’re always ready to respond and help you any way we can in any way we need to. We love to reach out and talk about freshly ordered sets, and we sure love having new sets to show off!