* T as in “Truth” (As the young people are saying on the social media.)
I almost named this post “We are the clothing designers, and we are the dropshippers of dreams” but that is WAY too long.
When I started my business I planned to have a warehouse in my basement. I wanted to do this so I could measure garments to create my own size chart and take pictures using plus-sized mannequins. I quickly discovered that this was not efficient or affordable for me. So I started investigating dropshipping suppliers.
Dropshipping is a business model where an online store does not stock their products in house. They take your money and use it to buy the product from another company. That other company sends the product to you with the dropshipper’s invoice in the package. In some cases, the second company creates the product to the first company’s specifications too. THIS is my current business model.
I work with 3 suppliers. Two based in the US and one in Hong Kong. If you turned your nose up after reading “Hong Kong” then it’s time for the T. I have searched high and low for a dropshipping supplier offering clothing in our listed size range: Small to 5XL. In 5 years I have found TWO. Both in Hong Kong. And one of those companies was so unreliable I have stopped working with them. All of the US-based companies I’ve contacted either don’t offer products larger than 3XL OR they only deal with companies willing to buy thousands of dollars of products. Considering I don’t want most of their product line because it’s covered in rhinestones and flowers… it’s just not economically sound for us to work together. I’m not going to buy a palette’s worth of one dress and HOPE I get enough customers to order it.
SO that leaves me having clothing made on demand and shipped to you. I’m not a seamstress. Hell, I don’t even keep my fabric and paper cutting scissors separated. Making my products myself is not the best idea. Finding products for y’all in our size range became much easier because NOW I was at least in charge of what each item would look like.
We started with t-shirts and hoodies because those vendors were easy to find. The “print on demand apparel” started as a way for businesses and sports teams to customize uniforms. Companies like Red Bubble and Zazzle changed that. NOW we have started working with a print, cut and SEW supplier. This works great for everyone involved. I have creative control and no one has to deal with overstock.
That brings me to the current state of the world. Covid-19 is wreaking havoc all over and dropshipping businesses are feeling this in two ways.
1) Overseas suppliers’ warehouses are shut down.
2) People are freaking out about ordering things that might come from Asia. (Which frighteningly includes the local Chinese restaurant for some people.)
I’m telling you all of this because I was anxious about posting a notice about possible shipping delays. I shouldn’t be but people have made some crazy comments to me about using overseas suppliers in the past. But also there was TikTok drama about a dice dropshipper recently and I don’t want to be associated with that kind of asshattery. (My other website, Strange Child Productions, will have a blog post about that soon.)
As of writing this post, I have contacted my three suppliers to ask if they anticipate delays but no one has replied yet. Valkyrie Apparel will continue to process orders but our turn around times may be longer than usual. Please be patient and place any time-sensitive orders sooner rather than later. If things change, y’all will know shortly after I do.
Stay healthy everybody!