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Why small businesses run pre-sales, and why you should support them

Online shopping has become an incredibly efficient process. You see something you like on Amazon, order it with one click, it ships within the hour, and it's on your doorstep within a day or two. It's simple, elegant, and convenient. One of the differences between Amazon and a small business like myself however, is the fact that Amazon spends millions of dollars a year on logistics in order to maximize efficiency. 

Lineagewear is run by me, just me. I have people that I contract for manufacturing, fabric designing and printing, etc, but the day to day stuff is all me. (For now, at least.) It's impossible to be as efficient as a massive online retailer like Amazon when I am juggling every email, every phone call, overseeing production, and hand packing and shipping each individual order. If I had millions of dollars, I'd be a lot more efficient as well! 

One way small businesses get around a lack of cash is by offering a product for "pre-sale". Large retailers will often offer pre-sales of things like albums and movies, but that's just to reserve your copy. When a small business runs a pre-sale, it's to fund production of a product. It's low risk for the business, as they don't have to come up with the money via a loan, and in the end, the consumer gets what they paid for. This is exactly the same purpose as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. However with Kickstarter, if a project is not FULLY funded, it's not funded at all, and everybody loses. 

Pre-sales suddenly look like a really good idea, right?

There is one problem with pre-sales though. When a product is out of stock, it doesn't matter how long it's out or for what reason, people will patiently await its return. With a pre-sale, people get tired of waiting REALLY FAST. Doesn't matter if you are bending over backwards doing quality control, or if you've been given the wrong information, or if there's some problem in your supply chain that you have no control over- it's your fault. And that's really frustrating to me, especially when I am working my ass off to bring high quality goods to people and support great causes. I am on track to have donated almost $20,000 to charity this year alone. If there's a hiccup in my supply chain, trust me, I want to fix it immediately. This is my livelihood- why would I intentionally blow that?

So the next time you pre-order from a small company, and your order takes a long time, try to be patient. It's probably for a very good reason.

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