I appreciate all these little reminders on Orchid of why I don't
do custom work.
I don't take all the precautions others posters have mentioned. I do
take 50% down and I meet with the customers at various steps along
the way. My skill at listening and my skills at creating custom
pieces over the last 12 years at my present location would indicate
I am doing something right I have no problems with unhappy customers.
Creating pieces that are treasured and are heirlooms is something
that I am very proud of. I am meticulous and obsessive about
casting, finishing, setting, and the quality of stones used.
To have reached the level of skill in communicating , and to have the
skill to accomplish the work, including using other craftsmen to
achieve the standard of quality that is acceptable to me has taken me
30 years to learn.
The gift I was given was to be able to learn how to be precise with
people and with jewelry techniques. And to recognize my limitations
and find someone who knew more or did better at some skills that
would take me to long to learn, or I was not going to get good at.
I do not advertise. I have months of custom and repair work at this
point. And my customers are patient, and willing to wait, as I
prioritize wedding, engagement, birthday, anniversary ect. and put
other work off for 4-6 months if need be.
I had a customer come to me to do some work for her and she
apologized for having had a ring made somewhere else, and she
regretted it because of what they went through, and it was not done
I put myself through a virtual college of hard knocks to get where I
The rewards of meeting the challenges I created for myself is like
feeling like my heart is singing and my soul is dancing.
My wife has been in the hospital three times in the last year. It has
been extremely challenging to manage my wife's health care and run a
retail business. In that order.
I have had to let go of fear, anxiety, and stress and live in the
moment and see every challenge as an opportunity. I did not know how
things would work out, but I knew the task was larger than I could
manage, and I had to develop trust. Trust that I needed to be open to
solutions I could not perceive at the moment.
And what happened was, fewer custom jobs; but higher ticket ones. A
new employee, extremely capable, jewelry arts major in college and in
love with jewelry, came to me as the one I had for 8+ years was
moving to another state because of her husbands job, and patience and
understanding from all my customers this last year.
I did bust my --- to organize, delegate, meditate ect. as best I
could, but you know, it seems like, I had help. Some things "fell
into place. like it was luck, or coincidence, or.....?