June 2, 2022
If you’re an online shopping fan, chances are you also love a good pre-order. Early access to new product offerings always piques my interest, and I’m excited to announce that hernest is launching two new pre-orders later in July - date TBD.
So what constitutes a pre-order, and where’d they come from?
Pre-orders are orders for items that haven’t been released yet. From electronics to sneakers to vehicles, pre-orders are everywhere now. They can help brands test new products and minimize financial and resource risks. But pre-orders also give customers a voice in helping to communicate what they want.
A pure pre-order model is more sustainable because you’re only producing items and quantities that have been ordered through the pre-purchase process. But the logistics of a pure pre-order are considerable (see below) and require customers to be extra patient to receive their orders when we’re so conditioned to receiving things at lightning speed.
Another great use case for pre-orders is the minimum viable product (or MVP), which helps validate a product idea before committing to it. It’s common to see this in other industries like software, but mocking up new products for testing is becoming more accessible for brands to do.
Lastly, perhaps the OG of the pre-order concept is the pay later model or crowdfunding approach. Made famous on sites like Kickstarter, crowdfunding has allowed many innovative brands and products to list new designs and variations ahead of time (without committing to production) while harnessing early investment dollars to support production.
But aren’t pre-orders kinda hard to organize?
Yes and no. While a true pre-order is the most efficient in the end, it can be complicated to navigate because there are potential sourcing issues that make it nearly impossible not to invest in raw materials up-front. For example, our design process typically involves doing 3-4 prototypes to continuously adjust details (which means we are communicating with our vendors over hundreds and hundreds of emails before we get a style to exactly where we want it to be).
** from sketching to 1st prototypes to final fit adjustments, the time and effort is considerable, sometimes requiring 100's of email and months to perfect.
Another example, fabrics need to be sourced and dyed up to SIX weeks before cutting and sewing. Pre-works are time-consuming, to say the least, and before the item arrives at a customer’s doorstep, it also has to get packed, warehoused, and shipped out. Typically, it can take 8-10 weeks from placing an order with a supplier to having a finished product in the warehouse ready to mail.
It’s a bit of a miracle if production happens on schedule, so juggling a pre-order’s logistics adds unique challenges to the operational process.
Why is hernest offering a pre-order?
Our goal in tapping into the power of pre-orders is to help reduce unnecessary waste from overproduction so our customers can get new items to their doorstep more efficiently.
In fashion, it’s really easy to generate waste—financial, physical, and resources. Developing a product costs thousands of dollars to generate an inventory that may or may not sell. And, quite frankly, product development can often be driven by a gut feeling or anecdotal evidence, which means that even the most sophisticated brands and analytics can still orient product development into creating items that don’t sell.
You can literally see this type of waste piling up in Chile with mountains of clothes that haven't been sold.
New pre-order styles will be available in July (date TBD)
First up on the hernest pre-order model will be the Lucille Crewneck and Edith Jogger. We’re using a pre-order system to introduce new colors and also help bring back some of the best-selling colors (both things requested through customer input).
From there, keep an eye out as we begin introducing new styles and asking for your feedback to help us design and develop exactly what you’re looking for. It’s going to be a learn-as-you-go process, but we are so excited for all the enthusiasm and support we’ve received as we work to stand up this exciting new functionality to test and refine our collections.
Drop us an email or a DM and tell us what you’re loving or what you’d like to see.