Lead Times for Custom Furniture: Why the Wait?

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08 Oct 2020

Ordering custom furniture always indicates a lead time. And that's simply because handcrafted furniture takes time. But how long will it take? And is it worth the wait?


We're always aiming to be as transparent as possible so you can be an expert when it comes to making decisions for your home. 


We're breaking down what we mean by lead time and what happens in the time elapsed from custom furniture purchase to arrival.


What is lead time?



Once you've made all of your selections, your designer will put your order into motion, and they'll tell you the lead time. 


What exactly is a lead time? 


The "lead time" describes how long your purchase will take from start to finish - from the moment the order has been placed to the delivery and assembly of a piece in your home. 


The lead time will depend on how and where the piece of furniture is made, but will usually take between 6-10 weeks. (Read our update on why lead times are a bit longer at the moment).


Here at Circle, the vast majority of our products are made here in the United States. The more localized the options, the better for the environment with less shipping distance traveled. 


Our upholstered products come from Ohio, Texas, and North Carolina, the hub of the furniture world. 


First, comes the crafting of each piece, then items are carefully packed and sent off to our warehouse in Acton. 


Why does getting furniture take so long?



The design process itself takes time, and it's only after you've finally made your decision and placed an order that another process starts: the construction of your furniture! 


We source from quite a few locally-owned, family-run, sustainable businesses; and their devotion to an incredible finished product is impressive. There are a lot of details that go into making a perfect piece of furniture. 


So sure, shipping a cheaper, quicker, mass-produced product may ultimately be cheaper (and faster), but we're proud of the hand-crafted products you'll find here.


What goes into making hardwood furniture?



When it comes to hardwood furniture, there's a lot that comes into play. This item is made for you specifically. And there's a human element to the production of these products. Craftspeople evaluate the lumber for visual approval and evaluate each piece to ensure a smooth finish. 


Natural wood will always have flaws, but having a pair of human eyes helps to make decisions on wood grain look and placement. 


While, in some cases, standard size lumber may be pre-cut, the overall production is not set in motion until you order. That means the lumber is selected based on each item. The wood will have to be cut, assembled, sanded, stained, and packaged for safe transport. 


Again these items are hand built, so each drawer is constructed, each leg is cut, sanded, quality checked, hardware applied, and finished by craftspeople who are constantly checking the integrity of the piece from start to finish.


What affects the time frame of your custom upholstery?



As with the wood furniture, these items are not coming off a rack somewhere, they're put into motion the day you make a purchase. 


We work with a variety of upholsterers and have established these relationships based on their design aesthetic, quality, price points, and environmental stewardship. 


Again, there is a human element to this process as well. Bench-made means that one craftsperson is building the piece from start to finish. 


How will you know when it is ready?



Your Design Consultant will follow your order from purchase through delivery. During the lead time, they'll reach out with periodic updates on the expected arrival date and address any additional needs. 


As soon as your furniture arrives at our warehouse, our Delivery Coordinator will call to schedule your delivery. 


In a nutshell:


  • Know what time frame works for you and be upfront with your Design Consultant about your needs.
  • Plan ahead! If you're ready to design the perfect room, make sure you allow the time needed to create those unique heirloom-quality pieces.
  • Your Design Consultant will be with you every step of the way to keep you informed and prepared.


Interior Design Consultation

Author: Julia Maiman

Julia is a writer, blogger, and believer in the smell of old books. She has been crafting stories since she could put pen to paper. She is also a lover of dogs, traveling, and Led Zeppelin.