Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Month is too long...

Hello from San Diego!  It's been a long time since I posted--I have been relatively busy, and it's all for the good, but it's kept me from posting things for a while...

Not only did my show open at Moxie Theatre (Expecting Isabel), but the holiday season hit, and I had my hands full with some projects that weren't previously on my plate.  The time I've taken to move forward on Relished Artistry hasn't been much, lately...  But things are settling into a routine now and I feel much more secure regarding time and attention to my work, so this is an attempt to bring things back into focus.

A lot has happened.  Not only did I design a show, but I also constructed several vests for my sisters and mother for Christmas, realized the instructions I was following for my smoking jacket tutorial weren't going to result in what I desired (meaning I took a giant leap backwards but I'll get to that later), and I took at job with the San Diego Opera for their upcoming season, which started this week.

On top of that, I had my first Relished Artistry quandary that I'd like to expound on with this post.  It regards the nature of returns...  Now, I've only been doing Relished Artistry for less than a year, and my sales haven't been quite what I thought.  In a way, I'm still contemplating my future directions, and the impetus to mount new projects has suffered as I've languished in a bit of cloudy thought...  I made a big sale a while ago that I was really excited about, and sent my prized piece off to the lucky customer in the mail.  It was to end up being a Christmas gift for someone in the northwest.

Well, it didn't fit.  It was a gift from a gentleman to a lady friend, and it was too small.

So I was presented with a quandary--do I stick to my policy of no returns nor refunds (as stated in my store policies on Etsy and Artfire) or do I try to make the situation right so this charming woman who sincerely wanted to wear the coat (she loved it) could actually wear a piece of my work?

Well, she emailed me, and asked if I had a larger size she could exchange it for.  And of course, since all my pieces are one of a kind, I didn't...  So I'm making her a new one that will fit her a lot better, no charge.

Now that may/may not be wise, and it's certainly not a good business policy to adhere to in the future, but I had made too few sales to alienate any customers--especially those that genuinely liked my work!!

And that's what I've been working on currently instead of finishing the smoking jacket tutorial...  I don't have it in my heart to say, "Meh.  You get what you paid for."  It simply didn't fit, and the while the coat was constructed from a pattern size that was commensurate with her own size, it was still snug enough that she requested a significant size upgrade--making me think that the pattern isn't accurate, and cursing myself for not personally double-checking all the measurements before cutting it out...  So much for trusting "industry standard" for measurements...  hehe...  Rookie mistake--I shoulda known better!

So, I'm learning.  And it's gonna keep me busy for a bit.  And I'm excited about making another coat that's specifically for an already satisfied customer.  It's been paid for, and now I can resell the first one, changing the listing to a more accurate indicator of size.

This happen to many of you?  What would you suggest to new business owners just starting out?  Is maintaining a policy at this juncture of a business something that needs more looking into?  I certainly don't think this is a precedence at all--I'm happy to do it and I have the time.  But maybe this is something I should reconsider for the future?

Ah, small business!  Gotta love it!

More on the Opera, Expecting Isabel, and the smoking jacket tutorial coming up!  Until then, Live Life with Relish!


  1. I'm glad you are making another piece that will fit your customer. Makes me wanna buy one of your items! But I live in S'pore and it's hot here...I sell bags so the problem of fit is not a major issue. But I've altered the length of handles even though it meant taking the bag apart! This customer went on to buy 2 more bags from me. A happy customer is worth the trouble any day for me.

  2. That makes me feel better, Jane--I feel I made the right choice and your kind words of advice are very confidence inspiring. If I want to survive as a businessperson that believes in what he crafts, there simply isn't another choice. I'm not too worried about what this means as a precedence for the future--I'm in a unique position where I *can* actually do something and how many businesses are able to do that? Thanks for your thoughts--I'm gonna have to start thinkin' about warm weather attire sometime soon, too! :)


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