I’ve been handling Mailchimp’s merch production for a few years now, so I have an idea of how long it takes to make things. Our vinyl Freddies, for instance, can take up to a year between concept and finished product. On the other hand, we can get stickers in 5 days. I knew our Freddie and Co. product would fall somewhere in that range, but I was still surprised by how fast the deadlines snuck up.
Even when our vendors give us a timeline, we still have to pad it with extra time. After all, we can’t launch new items as soon as we have them in-hand. We need photos for the website, emails, and social networks. We have to make sure we’re organized and ready for fulfillment when orders start coming in. And then there are all the unseen delays that inevitably happen — hold-ups at customs, manufacturing receiving the wrong color, etc. These things happen.
It feels crazy to plan so far ahead. We actually wrapped up the design and orders for all of our collections through 2016 this week. We had to get into a wintry mindset for our holiday collection, which feels impossible when it’s 100 degrees outside. But allowing for that extra time is crucial for business. E-commerce pros can’t be procrastinators!