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I gave things a lot of thought at the start of this year. If the past few years have taught me anything, it’s that adapting is key, both professionally and personally.

One of the biggest challenges for my company Clothes & Roads is inventory management. Sales are sometimes unpredictable and so is demand, even more so since the pandemic, its aftereffects and inflation. One minute a certain size is flying off the shelves, and the next a color suddenly becomes trendy overnight.

Believe me when I say that even timeless basics have their trends!

So, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my values and the direction of my business. As you know, minimalism is important to me. With my simple cuts and neutral tones, I love creating pieces that easily match with anything.

The thing is, though, I noticed while decluttering my workshop recently that my inventory is anything but minimalist! I’ve somehow managed to collect a huge inventory over the years in order to be able to cater to everyone’s tastes.

The problem is that I often have a lot of products that are out of stock! I guess that’s a good problem to have…

 

My challenge is to restock all the sizes, colors and models that people want in a reasonable timeframe. But as demand often varies, it's sometimes hard to keep up and decisions get tricky. Which products should I prioritize? Should I make more or make less?

Keeping inventory minimal while meeting demand is a tall order!

I have to order the fabrics, elastics, threads, etc. Suppliers sometimes have additional delays that I have to deal with (oh hey, COVID, did you teach us to slow down a little?). Then, I have to do all the cutting, the manufacturing, and everything that entails in terms of steps, time, and management. In short, I am not Amazon (and certainly don’t want to be), so my production times are naturally longer than I’d ideally want them to be when restocking products.

Since time is so precious, I thought to myself, “Why not stop always wanting to have everything in stock, and make what people really want, on demand?” It’ll be a whole different story for me in terms of inventory management, but I think it may be worth a try!

 

So, I told myself that for 2023, I’ll try out this new way of doing things and start taking on-demand orders for out-of-stock items.

No worries if an item is no longer in stock, I will be able to sew it for you from A to Z! I will create products based on YOUR needs and YOUR tastes instead of trying to restock my entire inventory in record time.

On a personal level, I hope this new way of working will allow me to slow down a bit and find a rhythm that suits me better. In entrepreneurship, life can be a whirlwind, without you even realizing it. So, I am eager to go back to my core values—slow fashion, slow everything.

Whatever is in stock can be ordered as usual. What made-to-order changes for you is that you no longer have to wait long for a restock of your favorite products.

Made-to-order is a new concept for me that I will be testing in the coming months. I'll see how I like this way of working and see how you like it too!

So what exactly do I mean by made-to-order? And how does it work?

 

 I am sewing at small batch of underwear

 

What are made-to-order items?

“Made to order” means you can still order items that are out of stock, and I’ll sew one just for you! I offer this option only for items in my collection that are currently out of stock but for which I have all necessary production materials.

It will take a few extra days to ship your order (compared to in-stock items), but your clothing will be made just for you!

 

Can any product in your shop be made-to-order?

The made-to-order option is only available for products that are sold out or when the ordered quantity exceeds the current inventory (e.g., if I only have one left in stock but you would like to order two).

 

Made to order does not apply to:

  • Clearance items
  • Discounted or promo items
  • Products for which I currently do not have materials in stock (e.g., a camisole may be available on made-to-order in ivory but not in plum if I am out of stock of the plum fabric)

Is the made-to-order option always available?

No, not always.

Since I need to be on-site to sew each item, production of made-to-order items is put on hold at several points of the year, for example, when I am away at events to meet you in person.

If I do not have the required materials in stock to make certain products or colors, I unfortunately cannot offer the made-to-order option.

 

Salon des métiers d'arts de Montréal

At the Olympic Stadium for the Salon des métiers d'arts de Montréal

What are the shipping times for orders with made-to-order items?

Here are the shipping times:

  • In-stock items: 3 to 7 business days
  • Made-to-order items: 10 to 15 business days

Orders that contain in-stock items and made-to-order items will ship at the same time, once your made-to-order items are ready.

To view the shipping policy, please visit this page.

 

How do I know if an item is available in made to order?

Product listings specify when a product can be made to order in certain colors and sizes. When you attempt to place your order, instead of the “Add to Cart” button, you will see a “Made to Order” button. Simply click on that button to add your color/size of choice to your cart.

 

Visit the website regularly to see if an item can be made to order or, better yet, subscribe to my newsletter to find out when I am accepting on-demand orders.

 

Can you do custom-made items?

No, I don’t do custom-made items.

I offer a made-to-order option for items in the collection that are currently out of stock but for which I have all necessary production materials.

 

What do you think of the “made to order” concept? Do you prefer to shop for in-stock items or are you willing to wait a little longer to get the product you really want?

Marie-Eve Bournival-Paré

Allô! Je suis la designer et fondatrice de Clothes & Roads. J’adore le thé, les plantes succulentes, le yoga, le chocolat et les bébés animaux. Entre le design de nouveaux items pour ma boutique en ligne, la gestion de la production, des réseaux sociaux et les finances de l’entreprise, j’aime partager sur le blogue des sujets divers comme la mode lente, le voyage, le zéro déchet, les produits locaux, le minimalisme et le vanlife! 🚐

2 Responses

Clothes & Roads
Clothes & Roads

February 27, 2023

Thank you so much Monique for your feedback! I’m glad to read that you appreciate my creations and the on demand concept. Yes! Waiting for items to be back in stock can be really long sometimes so I hope that this helps!

Monique
Monique

February 27, 2023

Thank you so much for offering on demand! I have waited for items to he in stock, then forget, then order a year later. I rather be able to order and wait a bit longer, but definitely being able to receive the colors and sizes I was hoping for. I appreciate you and all of your creations 🙏

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