Those of you who are potential customers & friends, (I hope) this is a little food for thought when it comes to choosing whether to buy handmade.
So, we craft businesses owners decided that we loved creating things so much & people loved what we made so much that we'd turn our hobby into a business. We have gorgeous products, lovingly handmade with painstaking perfectionism, often with slight imperfections leading to the whole thing going in the bin because that one stitch out of place that nobody but us notices, or the bit of glue that dribbled slightly, covered up but still there all the same, just wasn't good enough for our customers. We've spent years honing our skills, reading, learning, questioning those more experienced, practising until we are the experienced, then practising some more. We work through illness, pain & fatigue to meet deadlines. (See part one) Every item we make is passionately born of love for the craft, for making each person smile when they receive it, for the people who have to have one of our items, for the "Wow!" & the tears & the speechlessness.
But what happens as we near the finish of our project? When onlookers are amazed & impressed by our work.
Head squirrels! Mind Monkeys! Doubting Dora! Aargh!
What if she doesn't like it? What if it doesn't fit? What if she wanted these flames different? What if she hates the fabric? What if I take too long? What if she wanted thinner bones, or a more rigid busk? What if she wanted it looser, or tighter? What if the shape isn't what she had in mind? What if she doesn't want to pay that much? What if she tells all her friends how terrible she thinks my work is?
All this & more whizzed through my head this week, as well as feeling guilty for every nap I needed to take & every hour I should have been working on the corset but was stopped by my health. This week I put that corset & the customers wishes before my own body's requests in order to make sure she was happy with her purchase & the experience of getting a Miss Red corset.
Am I feeling worse for wear? Yes. Do I regret doing it? Hell NO!!
Why not? The first word out of her mouth when she saw the finished corset:
She loved it, she stroked it, she adored the fabric & knew it would look amazing under the lights at the event she was wearing it to. She tried it on & was pleased with the fit, impressed at how it moulded around her bust rather than indecently exposing her if she moved her arms too much or dared to bend over, like all the corsets she's had or tried on previously. She looked absolutely stunning in it, even just over her everyday clothes, & the smile on her face was utterly contagious. The sizing & cut was perfect with room to lose a little weight - this was intentional on my part as I know that's what she's trying to do, & has been doing successfully over recent months. She's looking fabulous & my corset accentuated her beautiful curves wonderfully. Not a single negative comment was uttered & I lost count of the number of times she said thank you & complimented it. What's more, she handed over the amount I'd asked for (albeit mates rates) without question & I dare say she may even have paid more if asked. She headed out of my door literally hugging the corset with that smile still across her face & with a hand full of my business cards to hand out to anyone who complimented or asked about her corset because she was so convinced people would. On top of all that she can go out in her new corset safe in the knowledge that not a single person out there will ever be wearing the same one because hers is completely unique. Sadly, having finished it last minute I don't have any photos, but hopefully will be getting some after the weekend so you can check out my work ;)
Head squirrels, mind monkeys & Doubting Dora - thanks but no thanks for your input. As always everything you said was a load of rubbish so kindly take a hike!
If you're considering buying hand-crafted but see something similar in the shops that costs less I hope you'll consider all the effort, time & consideration that goes into making those perfect, non-mass-produced, beautiful items offered by small businesses like mine.
Give the little guys a break & buy hand-crafted.