It's Christmas Eve Eve and we're nearing the end of another Holiday season. We've added a lot of team stores this year; bunch more coming in 2017.
Thank you for the trust you place in us to produce your team's "look." As always, with every piece we make, we're striving for the highest quality and work hard to achieve that.
So on this Christmas Eve Eve morning, I'm still awaiting a Christmas present that I ordered from a huge company on December 14th. Let's just say their name begins with an M and ends with a Y'S. Nothing custom about it. Completely stock piece. Theoretically they should have inventory tracked for it. Someone pulls it off a shelf (or rack) and ships it out. Simple-ish, right?
SIDE NOTE - I will give them some slack because like every major retailer, they have a boatload of orders this time of year. We are talking about a STOCK item with zero customization though...that I ordered 9 days ago.
Okay, I admit it. I'm jealous. The ability to go to a shelf, pull an item and ship it....awesome. Heck, I get happy when you folks purchase a stock item. Find it, pack it, ship it. Relatively quick and simple.
BUT (there's usually a "but" isn't there), most of what we do is on-demand custom team apparel. That means we're taking a blank piece and decorating it specifically for your team. And we're doing that, quite often, AFTER you order.
What we do isn't easy. Don't take that as a complaint. All that know me personally, know that I'm not scared of hard tasks. We're pretty frickin' good at what we do....and pull off what most people couldn't (or scared to try). Your head might spin if you saw the logistical operation of making your on-demand apparel (and for a hundred other teams).
You'll see that most custom-made team apparel has "please allow 2 weeks for item to ship" posted twice....in the item's description AND next to the "Availability" field. You haven't seen/read that? Whelp, you wouldn't be the first. Trust me, it's there and always has been.
As much as I would like to have every size, of every item, for every team readily available to ship, it's not practical. Quick conservative-estimate math....1768 SKUs (currently).....average of 6 sizes per SKU......couple extra of the most popular sizes......that'd be about 14,144 completed pieces (roughly $450,000) sitting here collecting dust (speaking flippantly....we avoid dust accumulation) until you order it. JUST in team apparel items and not counting stock items (jerseys, shorts, socks, etc).
Some might be okay with us holding $450,000+ in inventory just so their [insert choice of size YS to 5XL] pullover ships 5 minutes after it's ordered.....hate to say it, I'm not okay with it, nor could afford it. If it was their money, doubt they'd do it too.
Which would be why we make your stuff AFTER you order it. Makes sense, right? I'd tend to think so. Sure it MIGHT take two weeks for your completely custom-made piece, but it keeps your cost down.
We do try to keep the most popular sizes of popular items for your team in stock. But, if we don't have that pieces (completed or blank), then we have to order the blank piece and decorate when it gets here. No offense meant, but trust me when I say we want your order out of here as quick as possible. As soon as it's done completely and correctly, that bugger is headed to you.
So, while we say "please allow 2 weeks for item to ship" we're always aiming for quicker than that. Apparently still faster than someone from M--Y'S getting my mom's gift off a shelf, throwing it in a bag, and slapping a label on there.
Just kidding M--Y'S, I know you've got a lot on your plate right now.
If you happened to read a good portion of this, thank you....even if you took a nap or two along the way. If you didn't (but happen to see this part), thank you for the opportunity to support your team. We truly appreciate the work we do, love the challenges that come with making gear for hundreds of Clubs, and strive to further the growth of the Game.
From all of us here at Steamroller Rugby Supply, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Looking forward to a great 2017,