13 minutes. From click of a button to package at the doorstep. That’s how long it took Amazon to deliver an order to a customer by drone, back in 2016.
Same day and next day delivery are the new e-com norm. Why wait for a product when you can already start to enjoy it within a few hours of your purchase?
There’s instantaneous. And then, there’s us. An online, sustainable brand where the time between clicking on checkout to unboxing your package can take 5 weeks. Yes, 5 weeks. To those indulged by instant gratification in these times, it can seem like eternity.
‘Why does it take so long to receive an order?’ we get challenged on social media; or ‘I can’t imagine it really takes that long’. But we will come back to that in a moment.
First, let’s acknowledge the reason why so many garments are ending up in landfills. 21 billion tons each year to be precise, many of which are unworn, according to a 2018 report released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Globally, more than 100 billion garments are produced each year. Many bigger retailers are not only getting new designs on their shelves each week, but they are also sitting on high stock levels, which even after being discounted, may not sell out.
The UNECE report also states that the average consumer is now purchasing 60 percent more items of clothing compared to 2000, but each garment is kept half as long and on average 40 percent of clothes in our wardrobes are never worn.
In 2017, luxury brand Burberry met with harsh criticism after it destroyed £28.6m worth of unsold goods. Soon after, they committed to re-using, recycling, donating and repairing all unsold stock.
So let’s get back to why it takes us 5 weeks to deliver. Or let us put it this way, why do we choose not to keep stock? Here’s where KARIGAR is quite similar to many emerging, sustainable brands. We believe that our manufacturing process must reflect our commitment to the environment and also the welfare of our partner artisans, both by keeping a longer turnaround time and producing only as much as we need. We make to order.
While there is an old-world charm to tailor-made clothing, one that elicits associations with high quality, we also realise that each piece deserves undivided attention.
In the process of handmade, the scale of production is unlike that of a factory. Garments aren’t mass produced, each as perfect as the one before. In our production process, there is a human element. We call it the right amount of human imperfection.
Crafting is done in batches per colour, based on the number of orders we receive. Farmers shear the sheep, women spin yarn in their village courtyards, weavers set up the warp and tailors pore over the details of the armholes. Each of them lends their signature to your Cape.
Sure, 5 weeks can seem like a lifetime to many. But in the world of handmade, it’s called worth the wait.
Text: Kanak Hirani Nautiyal
Image: Jabbo Smulders