Made to order.... May 18 2015

Long post alert!

I had a very interesting discussion with a client over e-mail, the other day, and I think much of what we discussed would interest some of you as well....

Essentially it was a conversation about our recent trend of going "made-to-order" (it started with Mukta Carita last year, then Coin collection re-bookings, followed by Kinner Kailash and now the Greek and Mughal collection re-bookings).

"Made-to-order" involves a 3-4 weeks wait, offers no quick gratification of having your purchase land at your home on day 2, increases our time spent on customer e-mails and communication (first when we take your order and then when the order is ready for dispatch)......quite a few cons actually- so why are we doing it?

For one, made-to-order ensures that everyone and not the fastest few get the designs of their choice- no compromise and no frustration of missed opportunity in case you took your time to decide.

Two, business-wise, with a catalog of about 20 odd Lai collections now- most of which are kept current and available- we are looking at a range of 250 odd designs to choose from (at an average of 12 designs per collection)....that is a deep catalogue and a rather large inventory to maintain. As a self funded company- locking up so much of our working capital in silver can get tricky and we really need to find smart ways to maintain a healthy flow of funds while maintaining certain level of stocks.

"Made-to-order" helps us in offering you new collections and funding them with the pre-booking capital raised. You get what you want and we do too! Win-win, we'd say!

Economics apart, when we think of our brand philosophy- the kind of brand we are, want to be and the practices we'd like to subscribe to- my thoughts are increasingly aligning to the “lean method” manufacturing- which means that an item doesn't get made until an order is placed- resulting in producing only what’s necessary and using the involved resources (human or material) as judiciously as possible. This also weaves in wonderfully well with the 2 other ideologies that we absolutely believe in- 'slow fashion' and 'thoughtful consumption'.

With every collection we open as "made-to-order" we always get a few extra pieces made- just so that we are able to fulfill orders that continue to come after the closing date. We hope this has helped some of you get your desired design(s) even after the collection had been closed for bookings.

Our sales figures and my gut says that this method is working. But I'd really like to know if any of you dropped making a purchase because of the wait period involved? Do you think "made-to-order" is a good idea? Or in the days of instant gratification are we asking for trouble?

Comments and suggestions will be most appreciated! :)

Originally posted on our Facebook page on 18th May, 2014.