Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wedding March




This LIFE magazine illustration from the 1960s is one of the great vintage paper items in my cousin Lise’s Etsy shop, Dusty Digger Lise.  (By now that couple could have celebrated their 50th anniversary!) And I thought this vintage gem would be the perfect lead-in to today’s Shameless Commerce Tuesday post.

Although the "peak" of wedding season is noy until June, plans are clearly underway! I was pleasantly surprised to find my oven mitts turning up in Etsy wedding registries last year.  And this week I had orders for three custom oven mitts in ---- ummm ---- interesting wedding colors.

Coral and Deep Purple
Coral and Navy
Black and Tan

These custom mitts are still works in progress, but here’s a peak at the fabrics. 

Coral and Deep Purple

 Coral and Navy

Black and Tan

I bought extra yardage of the Michael Miller black and tan chevrons and dots.  I can think of a zillion things I’d love to make with those fabrics!  And the coral (Riley Blake medium chevrons in rouge) is a gorgeous color in real life (not so much in the photos--taken at 1:00 am with no natural light).  It has bright peachy pink undertones.  

Fun as these orders have been, I tend to have a love-hate relationship with custom Etsy orders.

LOVE fresh perspectives, the challenge of creating something totally unique, and the joy of co-creating a project – often as a special gift.

HATE the incredible amount of time and energy custom orders require – the search for special fabrics and coordinating threads—countless convos to try to get the specifications worked out, and sometimes totally unrealistic demands. 

It’s that HATE list that makes me seriously consider changing my Etsy Policies to add a 10-20% surcharge for custom orders - OR eliminating them altogether!  But I  don't want to totally stifle reasonable custom requests, even though there are (many) days when I'd like to say, "What you see on my cyber shelves is what you get.  Like it or lump it."

I’m happy to say these wedding registry mitts were a relatively non-stressful custom challenge and the customer has been a joy to work with.  

Any tips on navigating wedding registries on Etsy?  Or custom orders?

TTFN
LeAnn




13 comments:

  1. We have 4 weddings to attend this year...yikes!
    I'm usually more of a color person, but I really like the black and tan fabrics!

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  2. My wedding shop was about 50% custom orders, so I'm well versed! I found that it helped to limit the number of options. Most of the time I only stocked 6 pearl colors, for example, and that tended to be enough for most people. I would do other colors if people asked, but they had to buy a minimum number of items. Maybe requiring a larger purchase first would make your life easier? If I had to spend the extra time involved with special colors, then at least I'd be making good money off of the order.

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    1. Thanks for the tips, Paige. I like the idea of requiring a larger purchase (or maybe a minimum of say $25 per custom item).

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  3. Custom orders sure can be a pain! My biggest 'custom' items are actually just different quantities of the same item, which isn't so bad. Finding particular fabrics and thread colors would be annoying, and thankfully I haven't done it so far. A couple special orders actually lead to regular items that have turned out to be good sellers, but many customizations are just annoying. I currently don't have enough business to make me so annoyed I don't want to do them, though! If custom orders were making fulfilling regular orders difficult, I'd definitely consider a custom order surcharge.

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    1. I also hate to turn away business! But I need to find a way to recoup some of my costs -- like special threads and minimum yardage for fabrics I wouldn't normally pick.

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  4. I understand completely! For, me, making aprons is one thing, but the custom orders do require more time to find fabrics, etc. I charge more for custom.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. That helps. I'm seriously considering a custom order surcharge or a minimum order amount (say $25). I spent $12 on thread for one custom order, trying to match colors I never use.

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  5. I totally understand your love/hate relationship with custom orders. Although I don't officially offer them I get 2 - 3 requests a month. I ONLY offer the fabrics as seen in my shop, and depending on amount of time involved I add a surcharge :)
    Good luck with your mitts! I have a pic of my mom wearing similar shoes like in the photo :)

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    1. So good to know I'm not alone in my mixed feelings about custom orders.

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  6. That is so cool that you get wedding requests! I agree that custom orders are such a hassle. They almost always require more supplies than I have and sometimes they aren't worth it $$$ for me. But, I usually get amazing ideas after I work on something so I guess that is worth the time. Good luck with wedding orders!

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    1. Thanks, Ayla! I agree-- I sometimes get new product ideas from custom orders, so I guess that offsets some of the frustration and extra out-of-pocket costs.

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  7. I hear you on the customs. although a good bit of my business is custom--at least to a degree.
    That's a pain about your custom thread.
    If someone wants me to dye a type of item I don't usually have in stock, I will order an extra in case I mess up. Then I have that extra...
    It is true that I have received some good ideas from customers over the years. But it's difficult to do custom work at a distance.

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