Alternate title of this story: "Why You Will Now Need to Pay Me Up Front for Custom Orders..."
I was really excited to get a "convo" (that's a message via Etsy) from a user named "knadaskai" at the end of March, requesting a custom mini top hat. She said, "i love the feathers and how you have the blue skull one layed out, but i would love it with a small cupcake instead of the skull. with some pink and turquoise feathers :) and for the background flower a yellow daisy." (copied directly from the original message)
I didn't have any hats in stock, and the first hats I made were purchased via a clearance sale. I searched on Ebay, found the original hat design (lucky!), but had to pay twice the original price I had paid. I explained this to my customer, stating that the end price of the hat would be $40, plus $5 shipping within the US. She agreed.
I told her that it might take me a while to both acquire the supplies and make the piece. She said no problem. Well, I was actually able to get supplies and assemble her order within seven days of it being placed! I was happy to have a quick turnaround for my customer, so I excitedly sent her the reserved listing, with photos of the hat.
Two days later, she writes me to tell me that she LOVES it, will have money by the end of the week, and will send payment via Paypal. Sounds good! So I wait patiently... and wait... two weeks later I convo to see if she's still interested in purchasing... no answer...
ONE MONTH after the original order is placed, I send her a professional, yet firm message that I was upset that she had not followed through on her end of the deal:
Hi - This situation has now become quite awkward for me. I special ordered supplies to make your custom design (and put my own money up front to do so), but you have yet to purchase the item. I have gotten the impression that you do not intend to follow through with your purchase as we had previously agreed upon. This is disappointing.
I am going to open up the item for general purchase next week, and hopefully I can recoup my money. Should you decide to follow through with our agreement and purchase the item, it will be here at least through Monday, so please do so.
Please be aware that if you should choose to not follow through with this transaction, I reserve the right to refuse service to you in the future. Understand that I regret having to take these steps with a customer, but feel that it would be necessary in this instance.
I hope that we can work this out in an amicable way. Thank you for your understanding.
Three days later, she writes and tells me that she had to go out of the country unexpectedly, and that she had no access to a computer to let me know. She feels sorry about the situation, blah blah blah... and I actually start to feel bad! So I write her back, stating "the listing is still there - not too late to make good."
So, the point of my story here is... that if you'd like to purchase this hat, please help a girl out. If it doesn't sell, I will probably deconstruct it and re-work it to more of my tastes.
Oh yeah, and custom orders need to pay me up front before I will make your piece. I'm sorry I have to be that way, but you can thank knadaskai for that. Grr.