Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Custom or Not to Custom

In this journey I've been on with my business some opportunities have come up here and there to do custom work.  Early on I declined any requests to do custom work because, well, it makes me crazy.  There is so much more pressure whens it's custom.  You know what I mean?  It's easier to just make what I want to make knowing someone will see it complete and either buy it or not buy it.  On the flip side it sure is nice to know you have a buyer ready for what you are working on. 

So I can't help but wonder (I miss Carrie Bradshaw) is it fear, lack of confidence, or am I just not cut out for custom work?

Well when it rains it pours and I recently took on three custom projects.  You know what, I enjoyed all of them.  The thing that surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed having someone else make the final choices once in awhile.  What fabric to use, what paint or stain color.  The finishing details.   

For instance.  I built and upholstered this custom ottoman.  The fabric, trim and paint color were all different then what I would have chosen but I love how it turned out.  It was fun to give her what she envisioned.

( ottoman in clients home)

If you've been reading for awhile you know I pick neutral fabrics.  I even bore myself sometimes.  The fabric she picked is very bold.  I loved it.  I never would have picked it.  I think it looks great in her home with her neutral furniture.

Next project was a custom upholstered headboard.  Loved the fabric from the get go, probably never would have picked it out though because again if I make it to sell without knowing who's buying it I always go with neutral.

The last project I just finished was a custom entry shelf.   (she will add hooks herself) I never stain anything but she wanted it stained.  First thing I thought was oh no, can't use any caulking if it's stained.  Must be careful.  I put on my big girl pants and I think it turned out great.  

I guess what I'm saying is I am now open to custom work.  I won't just automatically decline anymore but it has to be something I am excited about doing.  I did one job I've never mentioned a while back that I wasn't into and it was t.o.r.t.u.r.e.  Don't get me wrong I appreciated the work it just wasn't really my thing and I struggled with it.  In the end it all worked out and I learned a lot and that made it worth it.  

So how do you feel about custom work?    

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  1. wow you did such a beautiful job on that footstool the fabric choice is so the detail, the entry shelf is so pretty...I love doing those kinds of projects, such a before and after thrill...

  2. They all look great! You have a wonderful talent and do such a good job! Blessings!

  3. All of those projects turned out beautifully-especially loving that ottoman. You do great work Mimi.
    Have a wonderful Easter.

  4. What beautiful projects! That ottoman really brightens up that room. I'm sure you had very happy customers all around! ... I have mixed feelings about custom orders. It's nice to make a customer happy and give them exactly what they want. But the process is stressful. I think I tend to overthink custom orders. And I often put in extra time in the process.

  5. Lovely work you've done there. I do do custom work but must admit I fret a little over it but that's probably because I'm quite a perfectionist and whereas what I'm making is probably more than good enough, it never seems quite good enough to me.....I drive myself crazy at times with it, lol! x

  6. You do such great work!!!!! Welcome to he wonderful world of custom work!!

  7. I like custom work because it means it's sold once it's finished. I have so many things in my shop unsold because I find it hard to guess what people want, what size, what colours, etc. The hardest thing for me with custom is knowing what to charge, I often spend a lot of extra time consulting, usually by email to get everything just perfect.

  8. Sorry I forgot to say how great you projects are, all of them!

  9. I love how your custom items turned out. I always yes to custom orders and I've done a lot of them, even when I haven't wanted to do them. I'm currently working on one that I hate and yes it is torture when you're not into it, but then again, I can't afford to turn down custom orders. In the end, I'm always happy I did them even when it hasn't been my favorite thing. But I've found that the ones I really don't want to do, I charge a little more for them because I know they are going to be more difficult on me to do.

  10. You go girl - everything is beautiful and perfect. Your work is excellent so don't be so hard on yourself.

  11. Sweet! You are doing so fabulously well!! I'm so happy for you xox

  12. Mimi, those custom projects turned out amazing and beautiful! You do such great work! :) Custom can be fun because it can help get creative juices flowing and force us out of our comfort zone.

    Mimi, you do wonderful work. Know that. :D

  13. I don't even like doing my own painting stuff! But I guess if someone wanted to pay me I would paint, stain, can't sew, or do whatever as long as it wasn't chairs.


  14. How wonderful to find someone who feels the same way I do, albeit about a different type of job. I used to make a lot of cards to send to family and friends, and then several people suggested that I should try and sell them, so one Christmas I made up about 20 designs, and got my daughter to show them to her friends, colleagues and dance friends, I got loads of orders, and that was fine, but then ........ people started asking me to make cards for them, and it scared me rigid. Never once did I enjoy making them, because it was ALL down to me, unlike with your projects, at least your customers tell you what they want, and choose the materials etc, with card making, they just tell you who it's for, and leave it to you to come up with something. I still HATE it, but just occasionally fall for the flattery of being asked, and then live to regret it!! I think I would find doing furniture for someone easy after that, lol.

    Have a great Easter

    Judi in the UK


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