Im feeling really cross and I’ve decided that I won’t be doing any more special orders. I had a request from a customer to make a rag doll from a pencil sketch that she did and I have spent weeks trying to source the right fabric and sew it exactly as I thought she wanted it. I thought the finished doll was very sweet and certainly very detailed. However the lady says now that it is not what she wanted, which is fair enough. I would have felt a bit unhappy but would have accepted it if she had said she was really sorry for putting me to so much trouble but it wasn’t quite what she wanted. Her messages were not like that at all and never again am I going to go to so much trouble. My other customers all love my work - I’m feeling really really annoyed!
oh no I do hope you took a non refundable deposit for all the time and materials.
Do you think you might be able to sell her?
So sorry this ‘customer’ wasn’t more understanding about all the time and effort and talent you’d put into her order.
No, foolishly I didn’t. I’m sure I’ll be able to sell the doll. She’s lovely - she had lots of extra detail and I won’t have any trouble selling her. I just feel that people don’t realise all if the time and effort that goes into hand made items.
I hope you manage to sell her, I bought one of your dolls a few years ago for my niece and she was a lovely doll (and perfect for my niece as the doll was more of a ‘tomboy’ just like my niece)
Always get a 50% non refundable deposit, that way your time spent researching/resourcing is covered(a bit).
Wow, you have every right to be annoyed, I think that’s pretty terrible.
I agree with others who say you should take a non-refundable deposit in future.
Your dolls are lovely, I think you should charge a lot more though …
You have a beautiful shop Martine and your dolls are lovely. I also think you should charge more - can see how much work has gone into them. I cannot understand how some people ask for a custom item and then casually say no thank you without any apology - totally rude.
Oh no how awful that you have been “used” that way. Your shop and your dolls are beautiful
What a shame you had a customer like that. I too love your Rag Dolls, just don’t let people like that get to you, that’s what I say.
I too love your Rag Dolls. They are gorgeous.
It’s such a shame you’ve been let down like that when you’ve spent a lot of time sourcing materials and making the doll to someone’s special requirements.
I’d take that as she’s helped you design a new doll, and forget that it was supposed to be for her. People like that are shocking. At least it wasn’t something personalised and you can still sell the doll, looking on another bright side.
I totally agree with the others that have said you should up your prices. Your mice, at the moment you’re charging under the hourly minimum wage for most of them (£6.50 an hour), and that’s before any materials costs, listing and selling fees come out. I know not everyone can charge what things actually take to make because they would become uneconomical, and some are just happy to take a bit to keep their hobby ticking over, but even I can see, as a non-sewer, the work that’s gone into those mice, and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be around half an hour, which is roughly where you’re pricing at + material + fees. You should try adding at least a couple of quid on, I bet you’ll still sell them.
Sorry to hear that you feel cross @MaisyMuffin Don’t give up on doing special orders though, as they can often become new products of the future. If it was me, I would get full payment up front in future, after all a special order is essentially the same as a personalised order. All my orders are personalised and are paid for in full before I start work, I think special orders should be treated as a personalised order.
Thanks everyone. I always try really hard to please customers and I just felt fed up that this customer hadn’t realised the hard work I’d put in. You’re right that I don’t get much profit from my dolls but I enjoy creating something that is going to be loved. I always use best quality fabrics and do a lot of time consuming hand sewing and I don’t think people are prepared to pay for that but I love doing it, so I don’t mind.
How inconsiderate and unfair of them. Except for one or two customers who have been with me a long time, I always take payment in full up front. For anything that takes over an hour and a half to do I email photos as I go and wait for approval before moving on to the next stage. Seems to work so far * rushes off to touch wood *
I think that (and the CE testing) is why I got out of doll making in the end. Many people don’t appreciate the hard work that goes into a making a doll! I remember someone at a fair holding one of my dolls priced at £20 and exclaiming how expensive it was. Funnily enough though I’m now looking into doing art dolls…must be a glutton for punishment LOL!
Hope your rag doll finds a new “forever” home soon.
That’s a shame. I fall in love with all your dolls Martine, so I don’t know how your customer resisted her!
Non-crafters can underestimate how long it takes to source the right materials, you can put in hours even before starting the making bit. I used to offer to custom-make and personalise, but now I try to steer clear. Too stressful!
Thanks everyone for your comments and advice. I’ll certainly be much more cautious in the future.
I have had a really good look at your shop, because of this thread and I would like to order a custom doll, if your still doing commissions. My daughter is a Girl Guide leader and I would love a doll dressed in that uniform - are you still doing customs and would that be something you would consider and yes I will gladly pay up front. Rachel
I suppose I do it differently from everyone else. Whenever I get a custom order for a doll, I always know that the doll will sell if the customer doesn’t like it or it’s not quite what they wanted. I usually send them lots of photos of the finished doll from all angles etc and then if they are happy they go ahead and pay and I post. It’s not a lot of extra work for me as I would have made the doll anyway to stock up my shop. People have offered to pay up front but I refuse because I don’t want them to feel obliged to have a doll they don’t really like. Fortunately all my custom orders have been sent to very happy customers.
The problem is people don’t understand sometimes how much time items like that take to make.
Sure it will sell and a very loving child will love it.