By now, your pretty little heads should be filled to the brim with hair-styling fantasies. What's the next step? Finding a shop to purchase your dreads from! Now, some of you may decide to buy factory-made or give making them yourselves a go, and that's fine too, but in this blog, we'll be focusing on the ins and outs of purchasing from an online maker and seller. :)
Take your time with this step. Build up a whole wish list of artists who's work you enjoy. Spend some time getting to know the community (and even said artists) a little!
1. Budget. This is obviously a number one defining factor in nearly everyone's shopping experience. You're going to want to find someone that fits any restrictions your wallet might have, for sure. Comparing prices should be a breeze, as most reputable sellers will have that information readily available. We REALLY appreciate it when you do a little sleuthing on your own, but if you really need help determining a quote (it can be complicated, we totally understand!), go ahead and shoot the artist a note including all your specifications on length, style, and dread count, and ask politely if they can give you a rough estimate.
2. Availability. Many artists, myself included, are not consistently open for custom orders. We just don't have enough hours in a day, nor enough arms (read: enough of a profit margin to afford an assistant) to meet constant demand. Check up on whether or not the artists you're considering are currently accepting custom orders, and also inquire as to the approximate turnaround time (the amount of time it will take for your order to be created). If you're after pre-made extensions and you don't see any available, you can just shoot the artist a little message enquiring about the next time they'll be listing sets for sale. Most of the time, there's a bit of a wait, and if you're an impatient person or have an event you need to be ready for, it's always good to have several backup artists in mind.
3. Reviews. THIS IS IMPORTANT. It is absolutely ridiculous how many horror stories I have read that could have been avoided by taking the very simple step of checking for reviews. Etsy has a built-in review feature. Use that. If you're buying from a Facebook or other social media page, do a little sleuthing to see if people have left reviews on the timeline. Check facebook groups like HES which have polls & reviews for lots of well known sellers. Youtube is also a resource. Reviews are a very important tool!
- Currency conversion. Familiarize yourself with this. Just because the numbers are the same at a glance, doesn't mean they hold the same value. It is really easy to enter a contract for twice what you thought you would be paying if you aren't being attentive.
- Shipping costs. International shipping is EXPENSIVE. Make sure you get a quote on that and factor it into the final cost of your dreads. I also always recommend adding insurance for international shipments, but that's up to you.
- Customs fees. These are a very real thing to be prepared for, and it is ALWAYS THE BUYER'S RESPONSIBILITY. Border control in almost every country we ship to has really been cracking down on this over the last year, and it isn't likely to let up any time soon. It is 100% illegal and very unwise for sellers to lie about the value of a package, or to send it as a gift. Please don't ask us to do this. Instead, please understand that it is up to you to visit or call your country's Customs & Border Protection department to find out what you can expect to pay in fees if they decide to tag you. Tack that, as well as your shipping, onto the "final cost" of your quote.
- Shipping times. Obviously, ordering internationally will add some waiting time as your dreads will need to travel further to reach you. Most sellers have a good idea of what to expect, but always contact your country's postal service to double check.
- Language Barriers. This is really only a minor thing, and I've never had much of a problem with it in the past. :) Just always remember to keep a little extra patience and a good attitude handy, and take it as a given that obvious things might be gone over more than once, just to be sure. Do your best to be clear, and photos are your friend! We'll have a whole segment on how to communicate with your artist coming up, so stay tuned for that. We'll definitely touch on this again.
- You might even be able to find someone in your area, who can install for you!
If you want a specific style, find an artist who fits your requirements, and send them pictures of their own work as reference. They will love you, and things will get off to a great start, I promise.
Additional questions and comments are welcome below. Thanks for stopping by!
CREDITS: Illustrations by Briena Segundo
Links courtesy of all the amazing oldschool dreadheads
who have been around, sharing knowledge and passion for over
a decade. You guys are the fuel to my fire!