Thank you SO much for the feedback-I really do appreciate it.
I went back and looked at all of the pre-order correspondence. What
happened is that we discussed “me making the bracelet,” but there was
nothing specific said about the chain except that it needed big links
(which I initially thought would be the 14gge). We talked very
specifically about the mokume part and how I would construct that,
but nothing about the construction of the chain. That was the gist of
the specific language used. That said, I am known for making about
90% of my chain by hand, so the unspoken expectation was that I’d
make this as well.
Because I just KNEW the bracelet design would work out at 14gge, I
hadn’t thought of needing a Plan B disclosure/disclaimer in the
beginning. From that I erroneously assumed "designer’s prerogative"
a) because I was running out of time and ordering 10gge wire to
fabricate from scratch meant I had to wait, and b) I had already
undercut the price AND I was giving her more silver in the end (i.e.,
I saw undercutting the price as something of a limited-time sacrifice
to gain continued business).
The price for the bracelet was an average of prices that I had seen
elsewhere for comparable commercially-made items. I averaged that
all out and took into consideration the actual cost of materials and
my time. For me, the final price was the final price, so I figured if
I went a little over on time/effort/materials, fine, if I went a
little under fine. I should mention that my price also included
shipping, tax, etc. [And, on Friday, I physically drove an hour to
pick up the bracelet for adjustment because it turns out it was a tad
too big-it’s no longer a surprise so I wanted to go measure for
myself. I’ll be mailing it back to them at no extra charge. All of
THIS I had anticipated-the handmade chain question, not so much.
Handmade expectations were one thing, but I also realized that,
generally speaking, I hadn’t communicated in detail what else the
price included-a huge mistake on my part. I have a much better idea
of how I want to handle custom orders going forward. It’s funny
because I can now look back critically at all of it and say “DUH,
Tamra, --well why didn’t you do/say that???”.
I totally agree that handmade can be way overrated, and I hate to
have to play the “handmade” games-as someone mentioned, there is
great handmade jewelry, and there is not-so-great handmade jewelry.
My focus is always on the design and quality of what I do whether
it’s 100% handmade or otherwise. In my case, it looks like I will
have to continue to play the game because I am known for making my
own chain for most things I sell, and as I’ve found out in this
situation, human expectations seem to require that I disclose when I
don’t. On the other hand I do think there will be some times when
it’s not necessary to say anything.
It all worked out nicely in the end after they saw it/held it. I
think I might have over-emotionalized the issue, especially with this
being one of my first few truly custom orders where I got to figure
out everything, including the complete design, from scratch (again,
which is kind of why I assumed so much “designer’s prerogative.” I
guess the question kind of made me feel like she thought I was trying
to “pull one over” or something (you know, that whole thing of–well
if it’s not handmade it’s a scam!!!), which speaks to issues of
integrity-integrity being very important to me. Maybe my nerves and
tolerance for customer feedback (of all types) will get "steelier"
with more c-o’s and more experience.
Thank you SO much for the feedback-it really helped me put some
things in perspective. I’ll be checking the comments in case others