Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Custom Orders… blessing or just stressing August 4, 2012

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 9:21 pm
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Do you offer custom orders as a part your business?  As a rule, I really love offering this service to my customers. Collaborating can be exciting and challenging. I love going bead hunting for those special sea-foam green pearls in three different sizes to match a mother-of-the-bride dress. Admittedly, it can sometimes be frustrating when a deadline is looming and you just can’t get the design right or the local bead store is out of the particular gauge head pins you desperately need now.

In the end, there’s nothing like satisfying a customer by making their ideas and desires into a beautiful reality.

I am very interested in hearing about your experiences with custom orders.  Just curiosity on my part.  Care to indulge me on this?

Do you currently offer custom orders?           Any sage advice to those who are considering it?

If you don’t, why not?       Any particular reason?

Have you stopped offering this service?         Care to share why?

I just completed this bracelet at the request of one of my daughters.  A gift for a very good friend of hers, who is of Dutch heritage. She loved the blue and white theme and adored the tulip beads.  She even had fun arranging and rearranging the beads to suit her own sense of design. A lovely collaboration and a happy ending!


9 Responses to “Custom Orders… blessing or just stressing”

  1. Okay, first – love the bracelet, it’s very nicely done!

    And, in regards to you custom order questions – well, here goes:

    After doing custom orders, including Bridal jewelry and wedding parties, for years, I tend to shy away from them because it’s not as fun as it used to be for me.

    Custom orders can be a challenge, but it’s not so bad if the customer is willing to come to your studio/home and sit with you for a consultation where you can show them ideas/colors/beads, etc.

    Internet orders or phone orders are more challenging because of the back and forth thing that must happen,…drawing up pictures, laying things out to photograph, etc. and then rearranging things to suite their requests several times and going back to get even more photos can really consume a lot of time.

    Not to mention the issue of payment – How do you work the cost of your time and how many times you’ve re-arranged things per their requests, photos, etc. into the piece so that it covers your work/time AND the cost of the piece? Do you require payment upfront or after everything is said and done? And, if prices go up after you’ve quoted an estimate (say silver, gold for example) how do you handle that tactfully?

    Plus, with so many different designs and mixed media options out there, people can usually find something special they like that’s priced similarly to what I would create and if they see something that’s less expensive it can be challenging to educate them in a nice manor as to why your time/energy/experience and efforts are worth more, even though your materials/design may not be.

    Does that help at all or not? 😉

    This is a great post and definitely something worth thinking about!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shel. You bring up several good points to consider. Especially about the time, extra effort, and difficult challenge of estimation the cost. Think..think…think…

  2. Actually, Lynda, I’m at the stage where that is mostly all I do. (By that I guess I mean I’m not yet ready for the big girl responsibility of selling.) Yeah, I get the usual “You should sell on such and such a site”, mostly from folks who don’t have a clue of the effort involved (I’ve done my homework). But, back to your question… I’ve always liked doing custom and that was 90% of my business when I was a seamstress. Feeling the customer’s genuine pleasure and appreciation at receiving something unique, which often they had a hand in designing: something about that is irresistible. I’m not sure how easily that slow, considered process blends in with production work, though. I admire all you creators who balance both.

  3. Oh, I meant to say, I love those little tulip beads; they really make the bracelet unique and must have been so personal to your customer! Did you make those yourself?

  4. I still offer custom order service because I think it’s an invaluable service to others and gives the customer a chance to express what they are looking for in a piece of jewerly.

    • Hi, JoAnn. This is why I started offering custom designs to customers and still enjoy working with them on their ideas. Maybe I’ve been lucky that all of them have been kind of easy to work with too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Appreciate them very much.

  5. I love doing custom orders. I have people bring me their outfit for inspiration. I then get to the torch and start creating. It’s a great way to get out of your color for every one

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