Why your custom furniture is ‘still’ being delayed

Ever placed an order for custom furniture that never got in at the time you expected? This is for you.

Nobody likes waiting, and in the case of custom furniture, this seems like an endless loop in our expectations.

I’m not here to talk about how you fought it out, to get your furniture at your place, or the heartbreak that came as a result, but to expose you, lift up the hood and show you what really happens in the back end after your order is placed.

In this post, we’ll be talking about the enormous wait times it takes for your furniture to come out, and why this is almost non-avoidable to some extent.

First of all, let us establish that making good furniture takes time, especially if we are looking at having a good finishing. The devil is in the details – they say, and it takes one with a keen eye, good attention to detail, and ample time to rework what needs to be corrected in order for the finished product to look super amazing.

For example, there are a lot of steps that go into furniture production. This starts from the wood selection to drafting and cutting to the pattern, and then joining and trimming with all the steps in-between in order to achieve the right frame.

Then the frame gets sprayed where necessary and allowed to dry before it’s taken to the upholstery section where it is fitted with the right foam and fabric.

The industry standard for this entire process for our counterparts in the US is about 8-25 weeks, but this isn’t close for custom furniture makers in Nigeria.

The prevailing challenges for making custom furniture in Nigeria range from having a poor artisan attitude to work as well as fabric and accessories availability to customer expectations on the timeline.

The major challenge on which when solved would greatly improve the value chain for custom furniture makers is that of the artisan attitude to work.

Let us examine the condition of these artisans closely.

A lot of artisans have a very biased way of thinking about work in that they come in to learn and as soon as they feel they are okay with what they’ve learned at the factory, they disappear, giving no notice to their supervisor or boss.

When confronted, some of them disclose that they feel the factory owner would not let them go if they disclosed their intention.

The mindset a lot of them have is that they would feel tied down and not be able to take on other jobs at will. They all want to be their own boss at the detriment of whatever previous commitment they have with factory owners.

When they finally establish a workshop for themselves, they get patronage from a lot of customers who patronized them for their ‘cheap’ costs. Following this, the artisans keep collecting these jobs without considering the timeframe needed to complete a task and this ends many expectations in tears.

The customer’s joy of having his furniture done cheaply quickly fades away as he soon realizes that the artisan has abandoned his project for other new project entries and only works on a customer’s furniture when he goes to the workshop to sit it out.

This is also the case for furniture makers who subcontract the project to an independent artisan. He has to sit there to ensure it’s done in the timeframe agreed else he should be ready to also disappoint his own client as the furniture would never get out as planned, not even if you mark up the timeframe given by the artisan to allow for excesses.

Now you can see the reason why many custom furniture orders get delivered after the expected time frame given for it.

But that’s not all.

Most manufacturers get their fabric, fittings, and accessories imported and with the COVID restrictions, wait times are increasing rapidly for these items to come in and get cleared at customs.

While we can do nothing about it but hope, we can work on the customer end of the deal so everyone stays calm during this period.

A lot of customers are unaware of the timeframe it takes to achieve good results on custom furniture and come in somewhere way too close to their deadline.

Some come in as little as 3-4 weeks and expect magic to happen and the furniture at their place.

Even when explained to and they agree to be patient, the moment the initial timeframe they had in mind elapses, they become agitated and throw tantrums about their furniture being delayed.

As said earlier, the industry standard for our counterparts abroad is 8-25 weeks, and it’s not even close for us in Nigeria as the artisans who play a very vital role must be micromanaged and could still disappear at any time, leaving us drying out in the sun.

While we aren’t giving any excuses for the delay in your furniture orders, we thought its best you look under the hood yourself to see what it’s like at the back end and fully understand the process for delivering awesome furniture pieces.

Here are some tips for how to plan ahead amidst delivery delays and continue living life comfortably in the meantime.

If you are moving, don’t get rid of your current furniture just yet …

Moving is an exciting process. It is a time of new beginnings. In preparation for a move, many people decide to be out with the old and in with the new!

If you plan on selling or getting rid of any old furniture before your move, hold onto it for now. The last thing you want is to be uncomfortable while waiting for your new furniture to arrive.

Before placing a furniture order, be sure to double and triple-check that the piece is the right color, size, and style.

Also, ensure that the furniture you order fits perfectly in your home by taking accurate measurements.

Our team of architects at Oeuvre Designs is always ready to help you with a consultation to ensure you’re left with no errors from start to finish.

Given current delivery delays, it is recommended to start planning for these purchases even earlier. If you want to change the furniture for your living room next year, start shopping now, and order as soon as you can.

By planning ahead and ordering ahead, you are more likely to receive your purchase by the time you need it.

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