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Topic: Custom Orders  (Read 1281 times)
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« on: August 13, 2008 10:51:18 AM »

I make hemp jewlery and knit. I plan on selling custom order things, but not too sure how to do it. Is doing custom orders even worth it, or should I just sell things as I make them? If I list every color and material it will take forever. If someone could help I would really appreciate it.

~*Army Wife*~
Dolly Mixx
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008 12:47:43 PM »

It's probably easier to just have contact details, and a notice saying you can do custom orders, and let people cntact you on a one to one basis, as opposed to listing all different colours/materials/options. Smiley

« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2008 06:40:01 AM »

I make jewelry and I find custom items frustrating. It seems that no matter how many beads I have someone always wants it in a color I don't have. Once I special ordered items for a friend (paying shipping, etc.) only to have her change her mind, she just didn't want the necklace at all. Ugh! I was very upset, but since she is a good customer I did not say anything. Another time I had a lady insist she wanted a necklace done a certain way, I personally thought it would be ugly but did it anyway. She took one look at it and said, "Oh, that is not how I envisioned it, I don't want it". I learned my lesson. Now if someone wants anything custom made, they will have to put up a nonrefundable down payment up front. This way if they don't want it at the last minute at least I've covered my cost of supplies.


« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2008 10:48:59 AM »

I don't have any personal experience with custom work but I know that at my job we require a 50% deposit to cover our costs/get material in and then they can pay the rest when the work is done. Sometimes we work with people and can make it a little less than half, plus you can obviously decide this for yourself and your situation. It really encourages people to be serious about their order!

« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2008 04:27:02 PM »

I do some custom handbags on a limited basis.  I usually limit the choices to fabrics I have in stock but I do sometimes offer to shop for something particular someone wants.  That being said if I can't find it I offer them something close and let them decide if we will continue or not.  I find that alot of people are not so much concerned with the details of an exact match of what they want but just so that they get the general feel of what they're looking for.
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2008 04:44:02 AM »

For me, if something I have to make special is under $200, I want it all up front or I simply don't start work; chasing someone down for $50 or less would be unbelievably tedious and I won't do it.

For my soon-to-be bag shop I'll put up examples of different styles, but the actual bags will be made from a choice of material, I pick or they pick. Since Joann and Hancock are the local outlets for me, I'll take pics inside their store to give folks an idea of the materials they'll have available. So all they have to do is pick a style, pick a color, then I'll send them pics of the material available; they approve, they PAY, then I work.

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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2008 07:04:08 AM »

I'm here to wave the flag for custom orders - in fact, I recently changed my business model so that I only do custom orders now!

There are unique challenges to working this way - you need to be very clear about what is and isn't included in your price, for example, and make sure you and the customer both understand exactly what you're going to be doing - but there are also unique rewards. For a start, people are willing to pay good money for a beautiful, one of a kind item that's been handmade to their design, and there's nothing quite like the lovely warm feeling you get when someone really loves something you've made just for them!

If you're prepared to spend a lot of time emailing people (accounted for in your fee, of course) and don't mind sometimes having to work on things that you personally wouldn't have chosen to do a particular way (there's always one person who wants a really odd colour scheme!), then it may be worth your while. If that's the case, I'd suggest working out what you'd have to charge, and seeing if it fits your market.
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