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Topic: It's my shop - don't I call the shots?  (Read 4607 times)
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little me
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« on: August 15, 2009 10:04:31 AM »

I had a request from someone who wanted something custom made from my shop Ė it was a little bigger than what I sell, which meant altering my pattern. Right off the bat - she didnít know what a bag lining is (she thought it was the topstitching), so I had to explain that to her. She wanted a certain fabric from another Etsyer (sent me a link), I wanted her to buy it & have it sent to me. At 1st she balked, but then decided to do it after a couple of emails. Because she was buying the fabric, she wanted to know if I was going to give her a discount on my price. I said no because I have to make the pattern bigger plus thereís still other supplies Iím using from my stock (ideally, the price should've been higher because it's a bigger piece - stupid on my part). She said that she didnít understand ďwhy this was all complicated, she didnít want a NEW pattern, just make one like I have in my shop.Ē I had to explain (several times) that the ones in my shop wonít fit what she wanted it for Ė mine were smaller. She also wanted to pay now, but I always have my customer pay after Iím done upon them looking at pics & approving. She finally relented, ďOk, weíll do it your way, but you have to buy the fabric.Ē I wrote her back & basically said I couldnít continue because of all the differences. There were other frustrating things in her emails. I knew it wasnít going to end, & my heart wasn't in it anymore - I felt that I wasn't going to produce a good product. I havenít heard back from her.

She also explained her other transactions & how other sellers were & I had to tell her that not every shop is the same - every seller has their own policy.

Itís my shop, donít I call the shots? I know weíre out to please the customer, but what if they are just picky & frustrating. I had to explain myself to this person in every return email - she just didn't get it. Was I right to cancel the transaction? I've done custom orders before, but this one was too much.

I didnít have a Custom Order Policy before, but I do now. I didnít think I had to spell things out, but I guess in cases like this, itís necessary. I may not do custom orders any more if I get frustrating requests like this one.

Sorry for the story, but I'm frustrated.
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2009 12:04:13 PM »

I think you did the right thing. It's very feasible that she had no idea what she was asking of you.  Sometimes if people don't make things also, they just don't get the effort involved.  Undecided
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2009 02:27:49 PM »

I did get the feeling that she had no clue what was involved in the process. Thanks for your validation, jungrrl - I feel better now.
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cbsews
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2009 11:36:37 AM »

Sometimes it's hard to deal with custom orders, its a fine line. I will tell you one thing though, in the future and you'll find this all over etsy's forums you may want to ask for a deposit like 50% or for them to pay for full for the item in the future. You'll find sometimes even though you have had multiple conv's with someone when it comes time to pay they walk away and are never heard from again. Meaning you have a custom order and no customer or money for your time.  It's sad to say but it happens.

Smiley hang in there not everyone is difficult!
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little me
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2009 06:08:41 PM »

Quote
. . . you may want to ask for a deposit like 50%  . . .

I don't like asking for full payment in the beginning, but I suppose a deposit would kind of commit them so they wouldn't walk away. I was just not liking that this girl was telling me what to do when it's my product & my shop. Thanks for your advice cbsews.

**edit** Went to check out your shop & you make cute stuff - I love your felt items & your aprons.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009 06:18:24 PM by little me » THIS ROCKS   Logged

endlessxhorizon
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2009 09:10:07 AM »

I do a lot of custom orders and I used to always do it your way (have them pay for the full thing at the end when I'm finished), but after reading on the forums that most people take at least 50% up front I changed my policy. No one has complained and some people have just said they wanted to pay for the whole thing right up front (and did).

However, even though I take 50% now, I still have had one person ditch me and a big order of 6 slippers that cost her about $90 total. She paid the half and when I told her they were finished, she told me she was in a financial bind right now and would pay as soon as possible. That was back in June and I have not heard back from her since - looks like she's dumping the slippers and me. But at least I got the half up front for my time and effort. It's her choice if she doesn't want to come back and complete the transaction. It makes me sad, but at least I didn't do all the work and get absolutely nothing.
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2009 02:10:52 PM »

Yes, I am starting to realize that maybe I need to at least have the customer pay a deposit. Even tho my stuff is not personalized, meaning it can be re sold in my shop, it would still suck to have someone bail after taking the time to make something they wanted.

I'm sorry about your custom order, I hope it's not a total loss for you (well, you at least got her deposit). Can you re sell it in your shop? I love your shop btw, everything is so pretty - your slippers are very cute (too bad I have flat feet).
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endlessxhorizon
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2009 05:23:09 AM »

Thanks!

I can resell them, thankfully! I just have 6 slippers all the same color of blush pink, but different sizes. Ack! They were supposed to be for her bridal party, which I thought was a very cute idea. Oh well.

And my slippers don't have a fixed form to them. They form to your feet. So I'm sure you wouldn't have any trouble with them. Wink
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2009 10:33:42 AM »

The customer is NOT always right.

I've dealt with these types while in standard retail, I'd never last doing custom work -.-
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2009 08:10:01 PM »

Quote
The customer is NOT always right.
Yes, I agree w/you shewolf about the customer not always being right - in any circumstance. Sometimes they just push the issue because they think they can.

Quote
. . . I'd never last doing custom work
I'm going to try again to do custom work & if I continue to get grief from customers, I'm stopping & just sticking to making & selling. I do have a custom request & it's my daughter's friend, so far, the prob has been communicating. We'll see. Thanks, shewolf

Quote
And my slippers don't have a fixed form to them. They form to your feet. So I'm sure you wouldn't have any trouble with them.
The prob w/my feet is that I wear orthotics & I need shoes w/structure. I will keep you in mind for Christmas for my 2 daughters.
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navyfamily4
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2009 12:21:27 PM »

Oh I know those kinds of people. I had a lot on eBay too. I just think they do not realize how long it takes and what detail goes into your making a bag. I hand paint my wings with images in several layers so a discount is not usually something i can do.
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little me
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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2009 04:53:25 PM »

I am finding out that non crafters have no clue about what is entailed in making a product - I kind of find that shocking almost. I seem to take my crafting for granted a lot of times, that's prob why I under price my stuff. That still doesn't excuse the rudeness we all encounter from time to time. Thanks for your comment navyfamily4.
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Tootie22
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2010 09:56:07 PM »

I've taken a few small business classes at my college and all of them agree that the customer isn't always right. Being a good business person means that you stand by your product and support your customer. It sounds like someone was trying to take advantage of you and a smart business person knows that there is a line that you don't let the customer cross. A handmade object is a piece of art. She needs to respect the work and love that goes into that. Since she didn't. It sounds like you correctly and respectfully declined to let her take advantage of you. GOOD JOB!!!
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2010 08:09:46 AM »

Quote
It sounds like you correctly and respectfully declined to let her take advantage of you. GOOD JOB!!!

Thanks Tootie22 (sorry this is late), I appreciate your response.
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2010 09:47:01 PM »

I'm a Etsy buyer only. I totally side with you on this one. Whenever I have made a special request, I let them know basically what I want and then say something like: "I"ll leave the rest to your artistic perception" since basically I have none.  Smiley  Once I have browsed a sellers shop, I usually have a pretty good idea of how they make things. Check their feedback and if I'm comfortable with that, than I don't have a problem with their own interpretation.

You were probably more patient with this than I would have been.
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2010 10:44:27 PM »

it has been my experience that unless a customer already knows exactly how your craft is done, it's best to try to keep things simple. clarifying a term is totally fine (like topstitching vs bag lining) if it will impact the product design, but if you know what they mean, then don't bother with correcting terminology. try to use layman terms when possible (like ask what fabric she wants "on the inside of the bag" instead of asking what "bag lining" she wants). it's generally easier to just not even mention things like creating a new pattern. if you overload them with information about the complexities of the project, you can actually end up confusing and aggravating some people instead of just coming off as the knowledgeable crafter that you are. (this is not always true, but it's easy to go back and explain more when asked, where it's not easy to go back and take away words that have led to confusion.) if they don't know that a certain part of the product can be changed at whim, they won't ask for it.

i used to work at a jewelry store that offered jewelry repairs, but there were some repairs that we just weren't able to do for various metallurgical reasons. invariably, when a customer would come in wanting the type of thing that cannot be done, i'd always manage to get into little arguments with them over it by trying to be helpful and explaining why the thing they wanted done was not physically possible. eventually, my boss told me that the problem was that i explained too much, giving them the opportunity to try to find loopholes in my logic. so the next time, i just said that we couldn't do it, and offered no explanation as to why. the customer accepted it as fact straight away. funny how the human brain works Tongue
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MinnieMay9
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2010 07:38:49 PM »

I just have to add...you are awesome!
Maybe I've been in retail too long, and seen too many whiny people get their way.

I think you had every right to do exactly as you did.  Even if she bought the lining fabric for you, I would have pointed out that she might have recieved a small discount, but that the amount she would have saved would have been used to pay the shipping, or even (as the case probably was) that it would have personally cost you more to buy fabric from somewhere that wasn't your regular source.
Not that you could do any of those things now...

Anyway, I still think you did the right thing.  More power to you.
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2010 06:58:21 AM »

I totally agree, the customer is not always right and when it's your shop, you call the shots! I recently had to decline a request, I didn't want to do it, but when you know it won't end well, there's no sense it letting it get that far. I take a lot of requests and just play it by ear each time.
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babyphunk
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2011 06:57:14 PM »

oh the horror...

it gets abit funny when it comes to custom orders, so if you dont want the hassle maybe refuse custom orders... at the end of the day, it is indeed your shop and you make the calls.

i know i certaintly wouldnt be buying someone elses fabric.. thats the customers job if she wants that particular fabric.

frustrating.. worst thing if u did get the sale, then she left bad feedback. so maybe not worth it, but not all etsy buyers are like that..

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