Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Custom Orders? How to ask for them?

Afraid to Ask?
Customized Products
Once you fall in love with Hand Crafted products you may go to the next level and ask
some of your favorite artistʼs to customize for you. Customize can mean, something
similar but in a different color, size or design. Or just adding a Personal message to a Card, special lettering etc.

It is vital to keep in mind these tips when working with people who create. As they are
putting their heart and soul into their creations, and will need you to make it very clear
what exactly you want. What a artist sees as blue may not be the blue you have in
mind. Your idea must be translated correctly to the Artist:
#1 Know exactly What you want before you ask something to be made. You may not
be able to change your mind after the artist has already started a project. You should
get a letter detailing what you are responsible for, once a project is started.

*I ask for a small non refundable deposit before beginning a project with my customers.
#2 Does the artist guarantee customer satisfaction upon completion or will you
have to pay for at least the material used if you change your mind and decide you donʼt
like it. Ask a lot of questions, so you are not surprised later. Maybe the artist will redo it
until you like it, but you will not know until you ask and get it in writing.
#3 Details Details! Show the artist the exact color you are looking for. Can it be a
shade lighter or darker? Tell them. Keep a scrapbook of things you can show the artist
for a visual . Write every detail down. Words you want exactly, size exactly. Even a
“feeling” should be conveyed. Like “Make me a doll that just makes me smile and
want to show it off to everyone”.
#4 Pre-Approval? Ask them for a photo of what they are working on for pre approval if
they can before the product is finalized. I did this on a number of occasions and one
person, after I laid out the color of fabrics for a doll I was going to do. She had told
me which colors she wanted, and I sent her a photo of how they looked with the focal
laid out  BEFORE I sewed them. She then decided she did not
like that arrangement, and we redid the color of the fabrics. Good thing we did this
before the doll was made !
#5 Ask about how much time to expect the item to be completed, what mailing service
they will use. Allow extra time for unforeseen delays. Sometimes supplies run out, a
piece needs to be redone etc.

#6 The best way to utilize a artistʼs creative style, is to just tell them to create
a product any way they want! Tell them your favorite colors, what you want the
item for, (home decor, jewelry for wearing with blue jeans, earrings for a evening out, etc) a gift to your mother who loves to
garden, and loves Pink and yellow. Get the picture? You are giving them guidelines but
let their creative juices flow into a one of a kind product!
These generalities are the perfect grounds for a artist to use their own style and make
you something that is a genuine part of the artist, designed just for you! They may still
need to know, the exact neck size for a choker, or proposed functions of the item.
However, I really believe that we love art for the artist that creates them. Every artist is
so unique and their style comes out if allowed the freedom to be who they are.
So if at a craft fair or online, donʼt be afraid to contact some of your favorite artists and
see what customized products you can have made for gifts this year. As long as the
communication is clear and upfront you both will be pleased!!

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