Tag Archives: custom

Custom Creation Complications

Some other artisan sellers may consider my approach to taking custom orders as “too nice.” I beg to differ. I try to handle my custom orders exactly how I would want them to be handled if I were on the other end as a buyer. I do not require a deposit of any kind, and I show the customer pictures of the finished pieces before they have to commit to buy. After all, I want to make sure they will absolutely LOVE their personalized creation before having to shell out their $$$. To me, it just seems like poor business taste to force someone to buy something that wasn’t what they thought it would be, or perhaps isn’t quite what they were looking for. I’m not exactly hunting down reasons for negative feedback, to say the least.

A result of this method does leave me with some trial and error pieces. Sometimes the finished product isn’t exactly what the customer was looking for, so I chalk it up to experience, list the item in my Etsy shop for the public to decide on, and create a different version for the original customer. If I’m lucky, it won’t matter that the original customer changed his or her mind, someone else will fall in love with the piece and purchase it for his or her own. Being a custom creation, it wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

Some of the “rejected” custom creations in my shop right now:

Does this discourage me from taking custom orders? Nope. Do I answer my own questions? Yes.

I’m even not at a point where I would consider taking a deposit or a down payment yet. The majority of the custom work I do get purchased by the happy customer, and I love making that something extra special just for them. Some complications may result, but most of these will simply end up getting picked up by someone else, so I’m not too worried about it.

Have you ever ordered anything custom made? Were you happy with the results?


My 2 Biggest Christmas Gifting Secrets

Not to brag or anything, but I do a pretty SMASHING job of buying people awesome shyte for Christmas. I am basically the queen of gift-giving on a not-so-spectacular budget. There are 2 major resources I use to accomplish this goal. (Aka: my 2 biggest gift giving secrets.) Okay, so maybe neither are very much of a secret, but I got your attention didn’t I? Now read. And LEARN.

Secret #1: Buy Handmade

Artisan handcrafted items are unique, many can be personalized, AND you can feel good about buying them because you are supporting “poor, starving” artists (such as myself!) Between crafts fairs and online marketplaces such as Etsy.com, there is more than enough variety to find something for everyone on your list. Even if you can’t find what you are looking for, chances are there is a line of artists a mile long just waiting for you to ask them to make that certain something! Many artists and crafters take custom orders, and relish the inquiries!
















Secret #2: Buy Local

Local, small businesses are fantastic places to get gifts. In my local city of Spokane, WA, there is a plethora of antique shops, novelty shops, clothing boutiques, 2nd hand shops, and art galleries. During these tough economic times, many of these small businesses are hanging by a thread, and need all of the support they can get. And besides, the unique gifts you will find within their selections will generally guarantee that you won’t be buying the same thing for your nephew as your aunt Ruth is (hooray for avoiding awkwardness!) I’ve purchased everything from vintage estate jewelry to Star Trek memorabilia from these places, all of which made much-loved presents for my family and friends. Take a look at your local business directory before hitting the big-box department stores this year. Chances are, you’ll discover gift ideas that will inspire you (and save your budget.)

Small Town Craft Show Experiences

Yellow Headband - $19.95

Yellow Headband - $19.95

I think I prefer small-town craft shows to the bigger ones in the larger cities. There’s something very community-oriented about a small town show that makes a big difference with the vendors and the customers. And frankly, in small towns there really isn’t a whole lot else going on to do (or places to shop) that just about everyone who lives there will stop by to see what new vendors are there and what great deals they can snatch up for Christmas gifts. For these reasons my last two shows were in very small-towns. One went well, the other… anything but.

On the 19th I did a show at Loon Lake Elementary show. I thought it was a little too relaxed from the beginning. When I had called to reserve my space ahead of time, the coordinator wrote my name down, and told me I could pay the fee the day of the show. Wow, I thought, I’ve never done a craft fair where full payment or at least some kind of deposit isn’t required up front. Interesting…

Gah! Such an empty gym!!

It turned out that this was the coordinators first time putting on the craft fair. Obviously, they didn’t realize that an upfront payment ensures one very important thing: the vendors will show up.

We ended up having a show where literally less than half of the reserved spaces were filled. Many of the other vendors either found other shows to attend, or opted not to travel in the snowy weather. Either way, the gym we were in was pretty sad and sparse looking as a result.

Also, with so few vendors, you get a lot less foot traffic coming through. Most craft shows I have done rely on word-of-mouth advertising as its main source of advertising. I know as a vendor I’ll usually post on Facebook where I’ll be and beg some of my friends and family to come and visit me and the rest of the vendors to help support the show. Well, with so few vendors, that tactic didn’t pan out very well. So between the lack of booths, the snowy weather, and the minimal advertising, this small-town craft fair was a complete flop. I think I just BARELY made back my booth fee, and several other vendors reported a complete lack of any sales whatsoever. I felt bad for them, and I also felt bad for the coordinators, who were young high school kids running it for a volunteer project. I’m sure they were bummed about how the show turned out too.

Pink Circles Barrette - $14.95

However, one dud is not enough to make me lose faith in all small-town shows. The following weekend (last Saturday) I did a small church show out in Suncrest. It wasn’t super busy, but I did fairly well sales-wise, and promoted my ability to do custom orders like crazy. I honestly think I’ll be hearing back from some people about special projects in the near future. This sale confirmed my belief in the heavy community support for local small-town shows.

I also got to do some trading with the other vendors. A smaller, friendly environment tends to promote such things more. I exchanged one of my beaded barrettes for a couple of adorable wooden heart ring boxes. I think they are super fun! (Amused easily much?) I’m excited to use them as part of my display at my next show at The Service Station.

I ♥ Custom Creations

Custom Headband

There is something very satisfying for me as an artist to bring someone’s idea to life. This last week I was able to make a custom headband for someone who saw me at my SCC craft show and thought I would be able to make the perfect headband for her sister. She described what she wanted, and in what colors, I took notes and I spent the week working on it. I had it finished and ready by the next weekend, and she was able to pick it up from me at my show at Mead H.S.

“It’s perfect! Exactly what I wanted!”

Words I love to hear. They go right along with “even better than I imagined” and “the pictured did not do this piece justice!” Such exclamations come dangerously close to giving me a big head. I have a small car people, such an enormous upper body will make it hard to fit! *wink, wink*

Custom Barrettes

Custom, personalized orders are what make handmade special, I think. Want a beaded bracelet with a zombie design and your cousin’s name on it? I can do that. Need a unique, one-of-a-kind hair clip for your upcoming wedding but haven’t been able to find exactly what you are looking for? I’d love to give it a try! Haven’t found a matching headband for your prom dress? I do special order headbands, no prob.

Working on personalized, unique orders is my favorite. With Christmas around the corner and that list of people you haven’t gotten gifts for yet, feel free to ask me about making something custom just for them! You can either contact me through my Etsy shop, or shoot me a direct e-mail at megabgirl@yahoo.com. Even if you think your idea may be impossible to implement, I’d love to hear it and let you know what I think can be done! (You just might be surprised!)