Unfortunately armouries as a group do not have a stellar reputation for reliability. In many cases the qualities that make an individual an excellent artist or craftsperson are the same qualities that make them terrible at the business component of running a commercial armoury. In addition to the inherent flakyness that often comes along with the artist personality type, armourers are rarely paid what their time is actually worth compared with other professions and our community, for better or for worse, is very forgiving in terms of poor business practices in part due to greater demand than supply for cudtom armour.
This is not to say that there are not exceptions, there are many fine craftspeople who are very reliable to do business with and many fine businessman who have made a name for themselves on their cusomter service and reliability. I am merely pointing out a trend I have observed over the years.
Folks who have been around the community for many years have watched dozens of commercial shops do the "death spiral" or failure cascade. The death spiral entails an under-capitalized shop using funds from a new order to pay for materials, shipping or other costs of a previous pending order. The spiral begins when the armourer suffers a hardship or financial squeeze elsewhere in life or if an order goes bad or a customer cancels or demands a refund. The armourer then lacks the funds to both complete a promised order OR refund the customer's money and must take on new orders to attempt to plug the gap. In despearation to make good or to pay the rent, generous sales are often attempted which simply result in an unmanageable backlog. The short-term influx of cash soon falls victim to the systemic failure of the business model and the armourer finds himself deeper and deeper in debt to customers until his repuation and business are in tatters. The destroyed reputation puts an end to new business and the armoury fails, often with customers unable to obtain their order or a refund. Some armourers spend years making good, others disappear.
My goal is to serve the middle market. I am not a world-class artist. If you want a masterpiece of armour I will happily point you to those whose work inspires me and you will part with a year's salary for a harness that will be worth every penny. As my pricing indicates, I am also not a munitions armoury. There are plenty of those out there and there are also the import armour-marts and I am not interested in competing with them. I am a decent craftsperson who intends to run a reliable, sustainable business. I am the middle ground.
This all brings me to my point. My promise to you as a customer is that WTC will not commit the fatal flaw of so many armouries. Every sale that we make, every deposit we take is placed in a separate account and that money is not released to the business or to myself until the order is complete, shipped, received and a waiting period passes to ensure the customer is satisfied. We always maintain sufficient capital to refund all outstanding orders and always have sufficient capital and material on hand to complete pending work. That money is not mine until you are wearing your armour and smiling. This is a properly capitalized and organized business. We have all our paperwork in order, we even have insurance. I pay myself a living wage. While this raises our prices it also means you will never get hung out to dry and we will be around for a long while. That is my promise to you.
I am not just looking to make a sale, I am looking to become your armourer. When you buy from me, that handshake or the business cards included with your web order is a promise that I'll take care of you as your armourer, be it a gorget or a full harness.
- The general "don't sue me" clause: WTC items are all sold as COSTUME PIECES for display only. While they do also happen to meet SCA and WMA requirements for protective qualities their use in this regard is solely the responsibility of the wearer and we are not responsible in any way for any damage or injury caused by the wearing or other use of our equipment. WTC is also not responsible for any misuse, abuse or subsequent failure of our products. It is up to the wearer to ensure the safety of their equipment and to receive equipment inspection by authorized persons within their particular group should they choose to use this armour for purposes other than costume.
- All Items are guaranteed against defects in workmanship. We are not responsible for damage due to misuse, abuse or accidents. So basically, if something breaks during normal use, ship it to us and we will replace/repair at our discretion. If you run it over with a truck, thats all on you. Please contact us prior to shipping an item back for repair/replacement. Leather straps, rivets. etc are wearable components and will eventually wear out. This wear and tear is not covered by our warranty. However if something fails before its reasonable lifestime is over, we'll take care of it.
- WTC is not responsible for damage to items incurred during shipping or for items lost during shipping. Customers purchasing high-value items are STRONGLY encouraged to purchase shipping insurance. Once we drop it off with the shipper, our liability ends.
- If we make a mistake and send the wrong item or an item damaged prior to shipping we will refund/replace the item and ship it at no cost. However, the customer is responsible for shipping the original item back to WTC. If the customer orders the wrong item, changes their mind or makes a mistake on their end then they are responsible for all shipping charges both ways.
- In-stock items will usually be shipped within 2-5 days. Out of stock or custom items will be given an estimated delivery time at the time of the order. Delivery dates are ESTIMATES only. WTC is a one-man shop, life happens.
- Any refunds not related to defect or error are subject to a 5% re-stocking fee. (Covers my CC-transaction costs and time)
- Delivery times are ESTIMATES only (this bears repeating). I am a one-man shop, injury, sickness and life happens.
- E-mails and phone calls are usually returned within 48 hours. Often I am quicker, other times I am slower. Don't panic, if you don't hear back just send another e-mail or a call. Some days I have to run with the muse and make things in the shop rather than be glued to my desk. Allow the craftsman to do his work. I'll get back to you shortly.