As we roll into a new year, we can’t help but reflect on the last one – and on how the international ups and downs of Covid and Brexit have affected our business. We have been fortunate as a small artisanal business to have had the support of our clients and community throughout these strange times.
However, the unprecedented uncertainty of the past year has inspired us to revisit our waiting list, which has certainly been pushed about more than we anticipated this year. In striving to maintain transparent communication with our customers, we’re rethinking how the waiting list can best serve us – and you.
When we add a new order to the list, we are giving it a place in the queue. By paying a deposit, you claim a right to that space, and the guarantee that no one can “skip ahead” of you. However, defining the queue in terms of months is not always as possible as it would be for a larger company. The best we can give is an estimate, based on our current workload and circumstances.
As a two-person company, we’ve discovered that a number of things can have a knock-on effect on the list. Chris may be ill or injured for a few days, a difficult-to-find machine part may need replacing, or a certain detail of an order may take longer than expected. Any of these affect not only the timescale of the piece Chris is working on, but the entire waiting list.
As such, we’ve found that estimating a particular month for completion isn’t always helpful to our customers. From now, we will instead give broader estimates in terms of seasons, and update customers with a more specific timeline closer to the time of production.
While we love the idea of making swords for special occasions, the way we work means we can’t guarantee completion by a certain date – no matter how far in the future it may seem. If you’re looking for a sword for a particular tournament, event or celebration, we’re unfortunately not the forge for you. Any orders placed with a specific date in mind are done so at your own risk.
Because of the way Chris works, it is often most efficient to heat multiple blades at once in the forge. Therefore, if you are ordering a bare blade rather than a complete sword, there is a chance we will be able to fit it earlier in the list without affecting the timescale for other orders. Get in touch with us to find out more!
Once we’ve given an initial rough estimate for completion in Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter, we’ll issue an invoice for 50% deposit to secure your place on the list. After the invoice has been paid and confirmed, we will have time to further discuss any details of your order.
We’ll issue a balance invoice a month before work is due to begin, taking into account any increases or decreases to the price agreed in our discussions. At this point, we’ll be able to give you a realistic estimate in terms of weeks, and any further delays will be explained personally via email.
When the second invoice is paid, we will send you a document containing all the specs and details we’ve discussed for your final sign-off. Once you give the go-ahead, we will get your sword on the bench and send one or two work in progress photos to ensure you’re happy with the final design.
Once the sword is complete, we will send a separate invoice for shipping based on the actual weight and measures of the final piece. Tracking information and an estimated date of delivery will be sent to you as soon as the sword is booked in for collection.
As a small artisanal business, we’ve been steadily working out processes as we go along to ensure each order goes as smoothly and transparently as possible. We’ve had a lot to learn, but our core values have always been integrity and communication, earning the trust of our clients and building real working relationships with fencers around the world.
We’re always happy to answer questions about the waiting list, or about the ordering process – just drop us a message.