Wednesday 4 July 2012
Thank You For Your Custom......
Custom orders....mmmmm. You may remember this post I did back in March declaring no custom orders....well I reneged again. Over the whole of Winter till now I only managed to knit 6 ready to ship hats for either one of my online stores....some would say how fantastic that you have so many loyal customers that want to buy your hats that it keeps you that busy....others would say different.
It's a fine line trying to balance a business such as mine......reality is I could take it up a notch, and start employing people to help me knit, I have the custom for it, but personally I don't think I want to.....I'm not that driven. For me it's all about the creativity, design and the colour and just doing something that makes people happy...something that I've created that can be shared with others.
So that's where custom orders can and often do put a stop to the creativity. By doing 4 to 5 months of custom orders with repeat customers, my little hats don't often get to anyone new. I've had many many people stop by my Facebook page or send me a message through Madeit or Etsy asking how they can get a hat, but due to being tied to custom orders these people don't get the opportunity or even get close to ever buying a hat because there ain't ever going to be any ready to ship stock because I'm sitting on 50 custom orders that need to be completed.
Please please don't get me wrong I am thankful for every one of those purchases but the time it takes to email colour selections, assist them, guide them, sometimes chase them for non payment takes a huge amount of time that all goes unpaid....one order earlier this year took 26 emails back and forward so the customer got what she wanted. On arrival of her hat she still wasn't happy....26 emails equated to around 2.5hrs of unpaid work....that's what a lot of people don't realise, the work behind the custom order that in some instances could be put to better use. A lot of others have advised me that I should be charging a surcharge for custom orders and it has crossed my mind but I have till now not charged and don't want to.
So what to do.....the dilemma. I think in my heart of hearts, the custom orders as much as they bring in the money, creatively I'm often stifled....I don't get the opportunity to express myself colour wise, and sometimes I do have to knit colour selections that if left to me they wouldn't be colours that work with dover & madden....and by no means is that a criticism of other peoples choices, they just would not be mine and each to their own.
So from now, dover & madden will be a ready to ship hat business....this also gives me the time to step away for a day or two if I choose without having to say...."I've got to fly I have to get a hat in the post tomorrow" a saying that I'm well known for around these parts. This also allows me to knit yarn colours that often get overlooked by customers and that I've been itching to get on my needles....my accountant keeps telling me I'm sitting on way too much stock!!
I'm interested to hear from anyone who may be in the same boat with their business, how do you cope with it, do you charge extra to do custom work, do you sometimes feel a little bit bogged down with customs, or is your business just exclusively customs, or did you stop customs and your sales slowed down...would love to hear from you.
And lastly thank you to every single customer of dover & madden your support, patience and purchases have got me to where I am now, and no custom dover & madden hat has ever been rejected by a bad colour choice!!
Let's all look forward to some exciting new colourful additions to the dover & madden family soon.