Trial Pre-order Process


Background and Introduction

In consequence of early experience gathered from late 2014 through mid-2015, with only a few exceptions based on very special circumstances, we haven’t accepted pre-orders for Paladin® shaving brushes since July of 2015. But some things have changed, and we’ve decided to see if we can put a pre-order process in place that could be made to work satisfactorily on a limited basis.

This will be an initial trial. If the results are encouraging, we’ll extend it, most likely with some modifications as suggested by what we learn from the experience. We thought about limiting participation to established customers, whom we might more confidently expect to cut us some slack if/when we encounter challenges, but an important consideration in support of this experiment is the fact we need to find ways to make buying one of our brushes less daunting for new customers.

To date, we’ve produced Paladin shaving brushes in about 600 variants (style/size/material combinations), not counting Ebonite. That range represents 20 different handle styles, four sizes, and 32 materials. Another 75+ variants (including three new handle styles and three new materials) are presently in the works. Our goal for this year has been to make and sell about 80 brushes per month, i.e., 960 in total. That’s about 2.6 brushes per day on average over the course of 365 days in a year. And it’s less than 1.5 of each variant on average per year (which number is steadily decreasing as diversity increases through addition of handle styles and materials). These evolving numbers make production planning a significant challenge for us. That challenge is exacerbated by the fact that given the configuration of our shop in Kansas and how we work, even though we cut and turn individual workpieces, it isn’t efficient to run batches that comprise less than about 12 handles. A typical batch size is probably closer to two-three dozen handles. Consequently, we often don’t get around to turning a particular style/size combination more than once over the course of a year, and in many cases it happens less often than that. Production scheduling has tended to be highly ad hoc, often based mainly on what we’re in the mood to make. It would be very helpful to develop more reliable ways to gauge current interest in the styles, materials, and sizes we offer in order to line out production accordingly.

So, what we hope to accomplish with this trial is 1) test the viability of adding a pre-order process to our existing production and sales models, and 2) identify one or more ways to gain better insight into what our customers would like us to make next. Key success factors will include 1) establishing and maintaining efficient communication, 2) minimizing administrative burden, and 3) avoiding issues related to indecision and change-orders.

Composition of the Current Offering:

We are presently lined out to produce a small batch of 26 mm
Samurais in tandem with one of 28 mm Lotuses. Only 2CLNJ6 knots are being
offered for pre-ordered brushes at that this time. The materials currently
available for selection are listed in drop-down menus under the two photos
below. Examples of each material, with the exception of three that have very
recently been added to inventory, can be seen by visiting the Paladin Brush
Shop at https://www.paladinshaving.com/collections/brushes,
making sure In Stock is de-selected, and then selecting materials (e.g., Somerset)
of interest. (Note that images of handles made from the same material may
appear to be different due to different lighting, composition, camera settings,
and/or variation in the material.)

Pricing:

Depending on the selected material, 26 mm Samurais will be
priced at $190 or $210 and 28 mm Lotuses will be $250 or $260.

Caveats:

1.) Production starts with turning handles in our shop
Stilwell, KS. The handles are then sent to Cody in Clark, CO, where he hand-finishes and engraves them. After that they’re sent back to Kansas for knots,
photographs, and order fulfillment. The cycle takes a few weeks minimally. We
hope to have these brushes made and ready to ship within about a month from
their respective order dates, but we’re not in control of everything that can
bear on that happening. If we encounter any significant delay, we’ll
communicate promptly with customers holding affected orders.

2.) We’ll make one brush per order and won’t offer alternate
choices for substitution. Please take this into consideration when selecting a
material with high variability in pattern. If you tend to be very picky about
that sort of thing, we completely understand, but this pre-order process
probably isn’t best suited to you.

3.) Pre-orders will require an advance payment of $40.00,
which will not be refundable upon order cancellation.

4.) Pre-ordered brushes will not be returnable for a refund
except by reason of a defect in material or workmanship.

5.) All pre-orders submitted pursuant to this process will
be subject to availability of knots and handle material. We may have to cancel
and refund orders if they accumulate to exceed existing inventory or production
capacity. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet worked out a way to automatically
discontinue acceptance of orders when one among several limits has been
exceeded. We’ll do our best not to disappoint anyone, but this is a trial, and we
hope all who choose to participate will be willing to afford us some patience
and understanding in the event we encounter obstacles.

6.) The process and, therefore, these instructions and the
pre-order form will be subject to change in adaptive response to experience we
gain from doing this. So, please review this page if you return to submit one
or more orders.

How to Order:

1.) Use the form below to select the handle style and size
you want (i.e., 26 mm Samurai or 28 mm Lotus).

2.) Next, you’ll be taken to a page where you can select
your preferred handle material via drop-down menu. Again, please note that some
materials have high variability from handle to handle. Note also that the image
that appears after you select a material will NOT match the selection (unless
you chose an Ivory Samurai or Somerset Lotus).

4.) After you’ve made your material selection, continue to
checkout, where you will be prompted to checkout with $40 down payment. Be sure to use an active email account so that we can
contact you when the brush is complete.

4.) Once your brush is made and ready to ship, we will send you an invoice (via email), payment of which will complete your purchase. Please only place an order if you are certain you’ll be able to pay for it. That said, if circumstances change subsequent to submission of a pre-order that giverise to doubt regarding your ability to complete payment, please let us know as soon as possible. We’ll do our best to work with you.

Shopify secure badge