Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Process

I worry a lot that people wonder why it takes 2-3 weeks, and sometimes longer, for their sunglasses to be done, and I wanted to address that.
1 // As a small business, we rely largely on suppliers for our wholesale frames, adhesive, and finish enamel. We have tested hundreds (okay, maybe not hundreds) of different products and now that we have perfected our process, we only use the products that have met our high standards. In turn, that means sometimes we have to wait on getting those products. Because we are a family run business and work out of a small make-shift studio in our home, we don't have the means to buy in bulk and keep our stock plentiful. We purchase supplies as we go and often times, that means we run the risk of running out of something. We do our best to keep our supplies as plentiful as we can, but it isn't easy, especially when we are often waiting on a supplier to get their product to us...
2 // There is only two of us! Shawn, our business partner still lives in Arizona, so he helps when he comes out, but 98% of the time, it's still just us. We usually end up working 18-19 hour days. And honestly, there just isn't enough time for us to meet the demand we have been faced with. We are so thankful everyone loves our sunglasses, but with that, we only ask that our customers understand how hard we are working. And it is so easy to get behind. We are about a week behind right now, which means some sunglasses are taking a month to get in the mail. It breaks my heart to know that, but at this point, we are just making sunglasses in the order that they come and ask kindly for understanding.
3 // Life happens. The blackout set us back. Doug has been sick with the flu (and still working 14 hour days) and sometimes, I have to take a break to do laundry, or make dinner. That's just life. These are just sunglasses. We can only do so much.

4 // Would you believe the weather has anything to do with how fast an order gets completed. Well, it does. It gets humid in SD and we are slowly learning that veneer just wont adhere in the humidity. So we leave them in the press longer, sometimes 5, 6 days. It's the only way. Nobody is doing what we're doing. Most veneer craftsmen will tell you it's impossible. But we figured out how to make it work. It just takes a lot of time.

5 // Unfortunately, in today's economy, this isn't our only job. We now have a store front to maintain and I still work 3 days a week at the bakery. We strive to make our sunglasses affordable, but we still have to pay our bills and buy groceries. This isn't a hobby. Doug does this full time. And for the amount of hours and love I put in, I do too.

Now, speaking of, I'm getting back to work. Now that we got our enamel, the glasses that should have gone out Friday will finally be in the mail tomorrow and maybe, just maybe we'll get caught up before this weekend.

Talk to me folks, how do you deal with your handmade to-order items and managing a small business. Are you a customer? Did this help? Let us know!!

Beca (& Doug)


  1. These are just the wonderful details of handmade goods. It's so encouraging, in a world of Walmarts and Amazon, that real craft hasn't disappeared. Your sunglasses are so beautiful that they're worth the wait!

    xo, Mel.

  2. Ah! Beca, I love this!

    I work with a friend of mine who is a fashion designer and we sell mainly through Etsy (seller: Imyourpresent).

    Many of our designs are custom orders and you wouldn't (actually, you really would) believe the surprisingly prevalent attitude of "I ordered this 2 weeks/yesterday/10 minutes ago WHY ISN'T IT IN MY HANDS RIGHT NOW!!!" We are, at the core, a 3 lady operation working out of a double parlor in an old house and we've sold something like 7000 items in two years that I have been working there. That is an insane number for 4 hands to make and 2 other hands to package!!! This post covered the topic of why handmade goods take so long in manner far more gracious than I could have ever managed. I might have to send future grumpuses here to check out your wise words. More power to y'all, Beca and Doug!

  3. this is a great read! would love to hear how you are doing now!


  4. You guys are amazing. I own three pairs of your sunglasses and would have waited even longer. Keep on keepin' on.