Friday, February 19, 2010

A Clump Of Wrinkly Ivory

#108. A commissioned piece.

This piece has already been shipped, a week ago, but I've been finding it hard to write about it here.

It is a really pretty piece, all nude-y, textured with a bit of lace for fastening - one that I would have happily kept for myself. But it has also got quite an angry story behind it. A story which I was deliberating to share or not - it won't be very professional of me if I was to bitch about my customers, would it?

Then I thought, "Hell, why not? Potential customers, people who are thinking of getting a piece custom-made for themselves should know how we go about doing things here and how I feel about my work. The customer-in-question already know how I feel about the whole episode anyway through all the emails that we've exchanged. It's not like I'm talking about her behind her back."

So here goes...
I didn't have a very good feeling about her when she first emailed me out-of-the-blue (I get these feelings about people and things and most of the time, they are pretty spot-on) but hey, business is business.

She requested for a piece similar to #103 - in nude-y neutrals and easy to wear with everything in her wardrobe. I said, "Colours like cream, beige, off-white?". She said, "Yes!".

Then I asked if she'd like it in the same Clump "setting". If not, she can look at my back-catalogue and pick one that she likes. She got back to me and said that she doesn't like any of them because they are all too big and clumpy! (See, told you I had a bad feeling about this one.)

I wrote back to say that she might be looking for a necklace at the wrong place because all The Empress Dowager's New Jewels are MEANT to be big and over-the-top. Not for shrinking violets. I know that making commissioned pieces is a two-way thing, exchanging of ideas, but all the "settings" are the way they are because I have tried-and-tested many and these are those that work best.

It was apparent that we are not in the same team so early in the game so I said that we should stop wasting each other's time because it was very obvious that what I do is not what she's after. She wrote back, apologising profusely and said she wanted the Clump.

I accepted her apology and went about looking for suitable fabric. Found this lovely textured number and sent it to her. She wrote back saying she had black, grey or white in mind!

What?!!!!!! When she confirmed that she wanted nude neutrals in earlier emails! That was it for me. A sale is a sale but this was causing me more grief than the pittance I charge for a unique one-off piece that I put a lot of love and time into making. I told her to take her business somewhere else.

She wrote back apologising again but it made me wonder if she really wanted a piece of New Jewels at all when she doesn't seem to know what she wants throughout the whole process. I don't want my hard work going to people like that.

But I'm a softie. I said that I'll make the piece when I have the time and put it up in the blog shop. If she get there before someone else does, she can buy it. She wrote a few weeks later and asked if it was ready. It's done, I said, just haven't had the time to photograph it to put up. She said she wanted it anyway so I said "yes", thinking that's the end of it. But, man! The payment and shipping is another hassle-filled episode altogether! I'll spare you the details.

So there, that's the angry story. I am not a prima donna when it comes to my work. The more I sell, the better it is for my pockets but it pains me to see such a good piece going to someone who doesn't really understand it.

No comments: