I was really hoping that this week, I would have a new dress to review for you guys, but that didn’t happen.
Violet Fane and the Enchanted Town
In late September, lolita indie brand Violet Fane announced a new print, the Enchanted Town, a spooky print just in time for Halloween. They said that they hoped to have it in time for Halloween (October 31). I placed my order and crossed my fingers.
Dresses began shipping and the adorable dresses and skirts began appearing in other people’s coordinates on social media. On Tuesday October 19, I got a notification that my order had shipped via FedEx. I had the faint hope that it would arrive in the next week and half. Unfortunately, my package has been stuck in France for several days now.
Violet Fane is a small brand in Spain. They made this dresses and filled my preorder less than a month after I placed my order. They shipped my order with a reliable, speedy shipping service. Despite this, I probably won’t get my dress in time for spooky season. Violet Fane did everything right. I knew when I placed this order that given supply chain issues and delayed shipping, I might not receive it by the end of October. I’m totally fine with this. I had several occasions to wear the dress this week, but I also had back-up plans because I knew this was a possibility. That’s because I value indie brands for different reasons that I value larger companies and brands.
Indie brands aren’t the same as mainstream brands
I love Violet Fane’s unusual illustrations and excellent print quality. This isn’t my first Violet Fane piece. I think that their ongoing engagement with the community (including their Halloween costume contest) are valuable. In order to make sure they keep making the things I love, I’m going to keep buying from them (even if I don’t get my items precisely when I want them.)
Independent brands usually have a small staff and more limited resources than bigger brands (to say nothing of corporate giants and big box stores). Their smaller orders and limited budgets mean that they don’t have the power to throw money or time at problems like other companies can. They don’t have a fleet of delivery drivers to ensure their packages arrive within two days.
While consumers can certainly have expectations of indie brands (including clear communication about production delays, accurate sizing charts, and friendly customer service), it isn’t realistic or fair to expect indie brands to behave like Amazon, Forever 21, or Shein. Their businesses are entirely different.
Shipping delays aren’t their fault
This problem is only being exacerbated by an ongoing global pandemic and the looming holiday season. In the US in particular, packages are already being delayed as more and more mail is being shipped by USPS. Indie brands in particular rely on first class mail as an inexpensive way to ship items within the United States. Even though a company has no control over a package once it leaves their hands, shipping delays can greatly impact indie brands. These delays mean that shipping deadlines imposed by third party vending companies won’t be met, leading to poor reviews, unnecessary refunds, and additional work on the part of the indie brand.
Have some patience
So as you continue shopping into the end of the year, continue to support indie brands and recognize what elements they do and don’t have control over. Do your shopping early and extend some patience when it comes to delays. Personally, I can’t wait to receive my Violet Fane dress, whenever it gets here. Halloween is just one day a year, but spooky season can last all year.