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The LaetiLocs Lateness of 2019

The Past Few Weeks

The past few weeks have been very eventful for us here at LaetiLocs. One of us is currently out of the country for a while, and the other has been working tirelessly on getting things caught up. You’ll know if you ordered in July and August, chances are your set is either late or behind schedule to be shipped according to your order date on Etsy or our website. This is a first for us as we have never been this late on this many sets before, and we’ve even had to lengthen our processing time temporarily. We have run behind a few days on some sets in the past, but we know that some of you have been waiting weeks, and we want to sincerely apologize for those affected, but rest assured we are working very hard on getting your set to you as soon as possible. If you would like an update or need a rough shipping date, you’re welcome to email us or contact us however you’d like. In addition, you may have seen our new dreadwaves option in our store. If you’d like to switch your set into this new style, you’re welcome to do so as this new way of making sets takes half the time it does to make a regular set. Simply contact us if you’d like to switch styles. We also wanted to note that while we’re still happily accepting all orders, we are not running ads anywhere until we are caught up.

The Next Few Weeks

Within the next few weeks, and most likely before October ends, we are planning to be all caught up on sets and sent out to you. This is the primary focus of Laeti (Vera), our dreadmaker. Caleb is currently out of the country and is working remotely on things like the website and answering messages. He should be back on location in around a month or so. We will also be working on some website changes during the next few weeks, and we have a few new things coming that anyone who makes dreads of any type may be interested in, so stay tuned for that. One last thing that will be changing in the next few weeks will be our processing times. Once things are caught up, we will be drastically reducing them to be more reasonable. We will also start adding an option for expedited shipping at checkout. Our expedited shipping option takes around 7-10 days to arrive anywhere in the world, which means some types sets could be in your hands within 2 weeks.

Our Autumn sale has been postponed slightly this year compared to the time we ran it last year, but it will be returning soon, sometime in October. We aren’t quite ready for that, and we don’t want to run a sale while our current schedule is so far behind.

The Rest of the Year

After we are all caught up, we will be doing some pretty big things behind the scenes. Firstly, we plan on adding some new members to our dreadmaker crew. We would like to have one person come aboard, but we may have more depending on what’s next for us. More dreadmakers mean you get your sets in half the time. Secondly, we’re planning on adding more dread options to our site and expanding beyond synthetic dreads. With that said, synthetic dreads will always be our specialty, regardless of what else we decide would fit in our store. We hope you have a fantastic October, and we once again want to apologize for the lateness of our current orders.

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Ecologically Conscious Dreads With LaetiLocs

Opening

This is a bit of an unconventional post and not the one I intended to release this week, but this is something that is very important to us here. If you’ve ever purchased one of our sets, please take a couple of minutes to read about what you can do with your old LaetiLocs materials.

We Love the Earth!

Protecting the environment is something that most people care about, and here at LaetiLocs, we are no exception. One of the things we love about our dreads and the materials we use is that the vast majority of them are re-usable, right down to the packaging we use. If you’ve ever received a package from LaetiLocs, you’ll notice that the packaging material we use is either recyclable or reusable by you. Our planet is precious to us, and it’s on us to ensure that it stays that way.

The Earth Loves LaetiLocs

The first and foremost greatest thing about synthetic dreads is their re-usability. The sets that we make are high quality enough to be worn over and over again without the need to trash them and order more later. We design our sets to last nearly a lifetime. Even better, if your set is destroyed in some way, the material is synthetic plastic. This is a recyclable material that you can put in your recycle bin at home.

We encourage you to recycle all of the materials that our sets come with. This includes our classic paper wrap paper and our rope/thank you tag. It’s all recyclable, and we’d hate for it to end up in a landfill somewhere!

Below are two of our three birds, Lucy and Elby, and they also wanted to remind you of how important it is to recycle your LaetiLocs materials, just like they do!

Recycling Centers Map

Click here to find recycling centers near you

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Progress Pictures

I am making this post as a response to one of the most frequent requests, and that is to show progress pictures. 
The thing about dreads, or rather the way I’m making mine, is that up until the moment when they’re all done and finished they don’t really look like dreads. I’m using synthetic hair (or fiber), that feels and looks a lot like natural hair, and – just like natural hair – needs to be teased and backcombed a lot before actually becoming dreads. After that happens, crocheting or steaming is what turns the fiber into dreads. Finally, for some types of dreads, even more sealing takes place. And once the set is made, it immediately goes onto my special “white board” for a photo shoot – to be then posted on Instagram, Facebook, various social media and in the shop. 
Most people are – naturally – very excited to receive their own custom set of dreads, and wish to be involved in the process as much as possible. Sometimes (and that is also understandable!) a customer needs reassurance that the set is, in fact, being made, and is up to the schedule. These are all very valid reasons to ask for progress pictures while the set is being made. However, as I’ve explained above, up until the dreads are pretty much ready to be shipped out, they look like a fluffy blob of hair and don’t resemble actual dreads (nor can they show how the dreads will look when they’re sealed). 

These are progress pictures of the set in the making. Doesn’t look like much! 
Below are the dreads that this kanekalon chaos has turned into. 

As you can see, all the progress pictures are good for is seeing the colors you chose for your set in a form of one very thick floof ball. One thing worth mentioning about this example is that I specifically chose a set with contrasting colors for displaying. In case this is a one color set, or a common combination such as blonde and brown ombre, a progress picture will show even less. In case the set is braids – there wouldn’t even be any, as those are done without any “in between” steps, I take kanekalon and turn it into braids (magic!). And don’t forget that our monitors and even light conditions during the photoshoot can make the colors look a bit different from the original – that makes it pretty much useless for matching colors or seeing if it’s the right one you chose. For example, the set above looks “warmer” on my tablet’s screen due to its settings. I hope this little article explains why I don’t take progress pictures and why they wouldn’t be useful if I did. If you have any questions or would like me to add anything – please feel free to leave comments below or contact me via links on the front page!

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To Dread or not to Dread?

In my personal experience as both dreadmaker and dread enthusiast, there are two main questions people ask themselves before deciding to get synthetic dreads: 

  • Will they look pretty on me? 
  • Is it safe for my natural hair

Now while the first one is completely a matter of personal tastes and opinions on what’s pretty or not, the second one is actually very important to consider. I have been making dreads and braids for a pretty long period of time (I’m celebrating 13 years of braiding this Summer). I’ve also been wearing all kinds of dreads and braids for as long as I’ve been a braider and dreadmaker. Over the years I’ve had long hair, short hair, dyed hair and naturally dyed hair, I even went bald couple times because I got tired of hair and wanted to know how it feels to not have it at all. However none of those changes were a result of having braids or dreads in. Not once over the years have I experienced any issues related to wearing synthetic dreads or braids. So, to answer the second question – yes, it is completely safe to wear synthetic dreads or braids!  There are, however, certain rules and guidelines that must be followed to keep it safe for your natural hair. 

  • First of all, do not install too much synthetic hair! Whether you’ve purchased your dreads online or contacted a local dreadmaker to make and install them, you need to make sure you’re only installing one full set (or less, if you only need an accent). Pretty much any quality dreadmaker knows how much synthetic hair is needed for a full set of dreads or braids. If your hair is extremely thin, simply go for shorter dreads, since the shorter they are, the lighter their weight is.  
  • Don’t go styling your dreads tight after you’ve just installed them! Styling dreads and braids is one of the most fun things to do with them – and you will be able to do it anytime you want; however it’s best to let your dreads loose at least first couple days after you’ve installed them. Normally, when they’ve just been put in, your hair is already braided tight into the dreads, which is fine – that’s how they stay in your hair for a long period of time. But it’s best to not add to it, so styling the dreads or braids too tight in the first few days of wearing them is not recommended. After a few days, you’re free to style them the way you like!
  • Don’t wear the dreads for more than 3 months at a time! Normally, every case is individual – people with thick healthy hair can afford wearing synthetic dreads for the whole 3 months without having to worry about it; those with thinner hair (and I’m one of them) should cut this time to about 1,5 – 2 months tops. Generally my advice is to consider your individual traits and see for yourself, especially if your local dreadmaker isn’t there to provide you with recommendations. After you’ve had your dreads in for a safe period of time, you can take them off, give your hair some rest (a week is recommended), and then you can just install them back in! The great thing about synthetic dreads is that you can wear them for as many times as you like, it’s not a one-time purchase – it’s a nice investment in your personal style allowing you to change things whenever you like!


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Dreadstyles

There are tons of ways to style your dreads, and in this week’s blog article, we’ve got a treat for you! We’ve produced a video instead of a blog post to show you some popular dreadstyles. If you like this one, we’ll continue this series periodically for you guys so you can see all of the awesome ways you can style your dreadlocks.

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LaetiLocs Etsy Changes

What We Are Doing

One of the defining factors of LaetiLocs has always been the ability to build any set that you can imagine. We are well-known for being one of the few online dreadshops that allows complete customization of a new set. We have always loved offering this service as many of our most gorgeous sets have been made for online clients. With that said, it’s no secret that we do not get on well with the lack of customization allowed on Etsy. We simply can’t create the type of listings we can here on laetilocs.com. This is why we’ve decided that within the next couple of weeks, all custom listings on Etsy (with the exclusion of a few) will be replaced with designer sets and most custom sets will be site-exclusive. This allows us to better control the prices so you don’t overpay, to add as many options as we’d like, and for you to checkout with your preferred method, not PayPal and ‘Other’, as Etsy puts it. We know this is a pretty massive change, so we’re ready to answer any questions not covered in this post. Head on over to our contact page to get in touch!

If You are Coming From Etsy for Custom Sets,

then the process will remain the same for you. The only difference is that you’ll be contacting us via Email instead of Etsy conversations. If the conversations are more comfortable for you, we’re still happy to use them as a form of communication, but the actual order will need to be placed on laetilocs.com. This is actually much more convenient for you, as you won’t need to deal with a severe lack of checkout options that Etsy does not allow us to have access to (US only methods). Additionally, our site has a much simpler and clearer product page with all of the options and information at-hand, not hidden in sub-menus or excluded due to “max characters reached”. You’ll also have access to our rewards program, where buying just a single set is enough to garner an awesome reward or two.

If You are Wondering Where to Buy Designer Sets,

the site and Etsy will continue to have identical prices. While most sales are going to be site-specific, the prices will not change. Designer sets available both here and Etsy will have the same options for the same prices as before. It’s up to whichever platform is more convenient for you. Please do note that purchases made on Etsy will not be included in our rewards program unless you have an account on our site. We still have to put that information in manually, so you may need to remind us if you’ve ordered on Etsy.

If You’re Waiting to Receive Your Custom Set From Etsy,

don’t worry! It’s still being made or on its way. All orders of custom sets will still of course be fulfilled. Everything will continue to run as normal on Etsy. The only difference will be the listing overhaul. Existing orders won’t be affected in any way.

Closing

We still love selling on Etsy and want to be sure that we are able to provide our services to the best of our ability. We just know that our pricing structure doesn’t work too well with Etsy’s current system, and we realize that sometimes we tend to overcharge or undercharge simply due to Etsy’s limitations regarding variations and customization options. Designer sets will remain on Etsy as will a single custom listing set. That listing will function the same way our site does, with length and color count determining the price.

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Dreads Are For Everyone

Your Style is As Unique As You

One of my favorite things about making synthetic dreads for my clients is how beautifully unique every set turns out. I make one set at a time, and the same amount of love and care is put into each one to ensure they look and feel their best.

There’s something else equally unique and beautiful in this world, and that’s you. Your clothes, your hair, and your style are the parts of you that you can customize to your heart’s content to make you you. In online games, people spend a plentiful amount of hours and money customizing their characters to their heart’s content.

A Brief History Lesson…

Hair styles have been used as a sign of leadership, to make social statements, and even as art since the dawn of humanity. Dreadlocks are no exception to this. From the Ancient Greeks, to the Viking Age, to the Plains of Africa, to even the hippie movement in the US during the 1960’s, dreads have been one of many amazing hairstyles with deep cultural roots.

Spartan Hoplite in Locs

More than half of the Greek statues found from 615 – 485 B.C. wore their hair in dreadlocks according to “Athens and the Peloponnese” by Rick Steves. In Ancient Africa, different styles of dreadlocks were worn by different tribes to distinguish from each other. The Hindu Veda, their scripture, provides the earliest known evidence of the existence of dreadlocks. In the 1960’s – 1970’s, dreadlocks were worn as a social statement by thousands in the US.

The point I want to get across with this post is that dreadlocks, like every other hairstyle in existence, isn’t specific to one culture or sub-culture. Their existence is comparable to that of the pyramid design. Pyramids were built by The Mayans, the Aztecs, in Egypt, in Eastern Europe, and more due to the strong and large foundation the pyramid shape provides.

But… My Vodka!

Russian Vodka

My culture is famous for vodka, a strong alcoholic drink from the 14th century. The name, “Vodka”, is derived from the Russian word for “Water”: “Voda” or “Вода”. Everyone who’s adopted vodka into their culture of alcoholism is adopting something from Russian culture whether they want to admit it or not. Sorry, Westerners, but vodka is ours!

This mentality clearly isn’t sound and doesn’t hold up very well, but this is essentially the same type of argument we’re hearing about synthetic dreads, with some of our clients being harassed in PM’s about getting them. Claiming a monopoly on something such as a hairstyle doesn’t just cause rifts where they don’t need to exist, it also sends a message that using anything from anyone’s culture is off-limits, and that doesn’t make a ton of sense in today’s world as long as it’s not meant to be offensive.

In Closing

One of our clients in their new hair

Globalization is a beautiful thing and suppressing the cultural blending it creates could be more of a hindrance than we realize. Many parts of American culture that we’ve grown to love in Europe wouldn’t exist here if we were barred from enjoying them. The same can be said for the hundreds of European cultures that the US adopted from its immigrants during the 20th century. Dreads are for everyone around the world, just like they were for their ancestors.

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LaetiLocs Etsy Shop Vs. LaetiLocs Website

November 2016 & August 2018

Before Etsy, LaetiLocs didn’t exist. All of our services and products were made and sold on the online social media platform known as “VK” under a totally different name, hence why you’ve probably seen a “Pandora” watermark on our oldest images. Our Etsy business was created in November of 2016 in order to start selling our products internationally and without the limitations of a social media platform. From then until August of 2018, we struggled with slightly looser yet still strict constraints of a third party platform. From increasing advertising costs to decreasing visits for seemingly no reason, we needed a better solution for the world to see our custom sets. In August of 2018, we (mostly Caleb) developed our webstore at laetilocs.com. This site included all of our products along with our ever-growing color palettes. It’s still being updated almost daily and makes ordering custom sets online easier than ever before.

If you’ve perused both our Etsy shop and our site, you’re probably wondering why you should use one over the other, and that’s a perfectly valid question that we’re here to answer. Our website not only offers MANY more customization options, but it also allows us to add a plentiful amount of products that we cannot bring to Etsy, including more designer sets, more pre-made items, and even cheaper sets such as our ombre products.

Why Our Website Works

Many people may choose Etsy simply due to the consumer protections Etsy has in place, and that makes sense. With that said, it’s important to note that due to our online payment platforms, Square and PayPal, the same if not better protections are active for each order. For more information on our policies and your protections, you can read our short terms and conditions page. Our website is built with security in mind, and we care very much that everyone feels safe ordering from us here. We have an SSL certificate courtesy of Siteground, our hosting provider, and Let’s Encrypt, a world-renowned https provider. Every page forces https, so your personal information is always safe. Additionally, we always try to remain responsive from the time the order is placed until it is delivered to you. We know that a 6 week processing time is long, and we don’t expect you to wait until your set is delivered to message us. You’re welcome to message us any time for updates, to change details, or simply to talk about synthetic dreads. We won’t ignore you, and if we don’t reply, it’s because we haven’t seen your message yet. Our previous customers can attest to this fact as well. Many of the feedback we receive is about our customer service, and it’s one area where we really try to give it our all. We know how hard it is to trust smaller businesses on the internet, especially when they’re on their own website, and we definitely want to be seen as a trustworthy brand.

Etsy doesn’t play nice when it comes to custom items, unfortunately. We are very limited in how many questions we can ask and even how long each question can be. That’s one thing we LOVE about our new website. We always love to hear from you, but it shouldn’t take a lengthy exchange of emails for someone familiar with synthetic dreads to know that they would like their set to be single-ended or to have curly tips. These are questions we are able to ask on our website, which means less typing for you (especially on mobile devices) and more dread-making for us.

One of the worst things about Etsy in recent years is the sheer amount of fees associated with selling there. At the current rate, almost 1/10th of your money spent on a new set on Etsy goes straight back to them in some way and not towards actually making your set. Our payment providers also take a small percentage, but it’s much less and is one of the reasons we are able to have cheaper products on our website, such as our listing for extensions or our listing for ombre sets. We are already selling ourselves short with these, and it’s quite possible we could be selling these items at a loss on Etsy.

Of course, we are always grateful for Etsy allowing us to grow our business in such a way that no other platform would, and we are happy for clients from both. Our clients’ sets are made with just as much blood, sweat, and tears whether they are from Etsy or our website. While we don’t put in quite as much effort in maintaining our Etsy shop as we used to, it doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere anytime soon, quite the contrary. Once our website is up and running with all of our planned features (An article on that is to come later), we will devote our attention to both equally.

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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!

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Substances Do’s and Don’ts on Synthetic Dreads

You’ve just purchased and received a beautiful new set of synthetic dreads in a pleasantly wrapped package. You open the package, take them to your local stylist, and have them installed. After about a week, you realize that you need to clean your set. You embark to Google, but you can’t seem to find a general consensus. Now what? Below is a small list I’ve compiled of substances I’m commonly asked about. If I’ve missed any, or you have a suggestion, you’re welcome to let me know, and I’ll be happy to update as soon as possible. Stay Lovely! <3

Safe / Recommended:
Water – Obviously, your dreads will need to be washed. While excessive washing can wear and loosen the hairs in each dread causing a frizzy look (Washing once a week or so is the best way to go about it), water itself will not damage the dreads or decrease their lifespan in any way.

Shampoo (ANY Brand, NO Conditioner) – Do not be fooled by anyone claiming that you must use a certain brand of shampoo on your dreads when you wash them. As long as there is no conditioner included, a simple store brand bottle will not have any adverse effects on your synthetic dreads.

Apple Cider Vinegar Solution – A very diluted solution is used as a method for cleaning natural dreads and can be used on synthetic dreads as well. This solution is a deep cleaning method and requires following directions online to a ‘T’. It cannot be used very often due to its nature and can decrease the lifespan of your set, making it stiff and brittle.

Neutral / Untested:
Essential Oils – While I understand the apprehension to using essential oils near your new dreads, I see no harm in doing so as long as very little is applied. It may be beneficial if you would like to cover up certain smells or simply want an interesting fragrance.

Not Safe / Not Recommended:
Conditioner (ANY Brand) – Conditioner is not safe to use on your new synthetic dreads due to its oily and slick nature. It can cause many problems for your new set and should be avoided.