Why are all my favorite items in your store sold out? When will they come back?
I get this question many times per day and I'm unfortunately unable to answer everyone individually anymore! So I'm writing this blog post to try to help clear things up.
Firstly, thanks so much for your interest! I don't operate like a normal store. I only do pre-orders of clothing to avoid surplus. I'm not sure if you're aware, but the way retail stores currently operate is super wasteful. This article talks about how H&M has $4.3 billion dollars in unsold clothes from not accurately predicting how well certain pieces would sell. I don't want to be wasteful and don't have room to store inventory, so I periodically open up pre-orders so I know exactly how many people would like to buy a particular design and only manufacturer exactly that amount.
Pre-orders also help Bubblesort offer size-inclusive clothing. The tail ends of the size range are less likely to sell, and so if I were trying to predict how much clothing to stock, I would buy less of the plus sizes. But, I also don't want to understock those sizes becuase I want everyone of all sizes to be able to wear Bubblesort clothing if they want. By doing pre-orders, I order exactly as many of each size as there is demand for and no size is left out.
How often do pre-orders happen? When will [Git it Gurl, Hello World, Purr Programming, some other design] come back in stock?
Print on demand shirts and digitally printed shirts tend to be lower quality than I prefer. To put in a screen printing order, printers prefer large batches for shirts and often have a minimum quantity. Also, the cost per shirt goes down drastically for larger orders. If I ran a pre-order every month for every design, I don't think that I'd be able to put in a large enough order for it to make sense. So, I wait until enough time has passed between the last time a design has been printed for enough interest to generate to be able to put in a larger order. This means about a year since the last time that shirt had pre-orders open.
Jackets are very limited edition. They're custom made and embroidered, and the manufacturing process for them is long and difficult and the minimum order to make them feasible is very large number, much larger than the shirts. When a pre-order for jackets goes out, that's probably the only time you'll be able to get that jacket, for those reasons. I hope to do a new jacket design every year, however! So, follow along for updates and announcements, either on social media or the mailing list at the bottom fo this page.
Some of my designs are seasonal. The Sailor Moon shirts, for instance, first came out for Sailor Moon's birthday in June. Byte Me pins come back every February. Shell script pins come out in May for Mermay. Hex pins come out every October. And so on! If you'd like to get notified when certain designs will come out, you can sign up for the mailing list at the bottom of this page!
I know that running a store this way is slightly inconvenient for you, the customer, and for that I apologize. I probably lose sales by not keeping things constantly in stock. However, I feel like retail as it currently exists is broken, wasteful, and irresponsible, and want to do my part to change it. I'm willing to make the tradeoffs that I do in order to run a less wasteful business. Thank you for understanding!