Artistic Integrity

Forum: Jewelry Making

How far are you willing to go to make a sale? I’m sure all of us get asked a lot to customize pieces. Have you ever had someone ask you to take apart a piece you already made and redesign it? Then ask you to change it again? Do you ever feel like you’re compromising your integrity as a designer just to make a sale when people keep asking you to change stuff? I’m dealing with a picky customer who keeps changing her mind, and my first thought was ‘if you don’t like what I have for sale, why not go find someone that makes what you’re looking for’. We put so much of ourselves into our creations…at what point do you become more of a salesperson than a designer, or vice versa? Just curious if anyone else here wrestles with this…

Tags: custom order difficult customers

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7 Replies

Terrie ...

For my own personal wear, I make what I want, of course. For a customer, I would be willing to make a custom design, even if it was not my taste. But the bigger question lies herein: are you incorporating all these multiple changes into your overall cost? These changes take time, to re-do and tear out, and so forth. Are you losing money, in the long run, by trying to accommodate someone who you will never make happy?
I remember, specifically, that Becca Ross had a situation very much the same. She might have some real insight into this situation. If I remember, it was not a pretty outcome.

Cheryl Lojewski ...

I have to say I’ve never had that happen. I would be willing to change clasps, but not the whole piece. At that point, I would tell them I can try to get new supplies and make a new one the way they wanted it, but the cost may change. My guess is they will never be happy. I find it hard to give a firm price without knowing what the beads will cost at the time. And then like Terrie said, every time you make a change, tear out, re-do…that eats into your cost. I wish you luck with your customer!

Cindy A. ...

Thanks ladies. I was just curious if anyone else gets frustrated when someone wants to change your stuff. I don’t mind doing commissioned/custom pieces, but it’s having something I already made get picked apart, it’s like what I made wasn’t good enough, you know what I mean?

Becca Ross ...

I have actually used that line on someone. I do try and be accommodating, but nowadays I will only change it a little bit. I once remade a bracelet 3 times to try and satisfy a customer. Never again. This is totally why I have a non-refundable clause in my custom orders. 1/4 of the total is non-refundable for those times when people decide they don’t like the finished product, so I still get paid for my time and effort. It’s 100% on completely custom things that I couldn’t resell if they decided they didn’t want it.

kimberly newman ...

Having a retail shop and dealing with the public everyday is trying enough but when you have a picky customer it can be a nightmare! I have a “Rules Of Custom Work” notice posted on my wall where I talk to my clients. I start with a pad and pencil and quickly sketch what the customers wants right in front of them writing notes of everything they want done. I date it and have them put their name and phone number on this sheet. I keep this sketch with the project and when the customer comes to pick up their item if they have any concerns I pull out the drawing and show them I did exactly as they asked. This stops a picky customer right in their tracks! Plus gives me a giggle when they pay and walk away. Can you tell I have been burned one to many times? LOL!

Cheryl Lojewski ...

Good idea, Kim!

Amazing1 ...

Good responses. Dated and signed pictures have saved me extra (free!) work several times.I have made custom pieces, and so far made changes only to accommodate a customer’s personal difficulty with putting pieces on.
Customers must pay for what you make or not take it as is. You can then make a whole new piece, which they must pay for, and sell the first piece.
My sister is like those customers, but she backed down and accepted the finished product when I showed her the original pictures.