I just finished up a really fun project. I haven’t made a custom Chemex Cozy for a while and received this note from a customer about a week ago. She asked….”do you have one that is more Wonder WOMAN and less super Man?” Clearly she wanted some female superheroes to grace her kitchen. After a very quick search, I found this fabric.
My customer thought it was perfect so I placed an order and waited for it to arrive from an Etsy shop in Texas. As soon as I got it, I cut into it. I must have been terribly excited because I cut these girls out upside down. Not once, but twice. Considering I only had one yard of fabric (it takes about 1/2 yard to make a set) I was seriously frustrated. It didn’t take me long to decide to try some improv work to save the fabric.
I started cutting out Wonder Woman (she was the key player for my customer) and laying out pieces with black fabric framing off the individual pieces. I was really liking the way she looked and felt like the black fabric calmed the craziness of the fabric down a bit.
Once I got one cozy put together, I sent off a progress picture to my customer. I was honest and told her what had happened. Asking for her honest opinion, I explained I would be happy to purchase more fabric. She immediately responded that she missed all of the action and wasn’t too wild about the black in between the clips of Wonder Woman. She suggested I take the fabric scraps and just sew them back together ‘like a patchwork’. Ok then, on to round two. (I was not at all disappointed that she was unhappy with my first rendition as I knew I could list it for sale in the shop.)
Drawing on my practice with making fabric Victoria Findlay Wolfe style, I played with the scraps I had. Luckily, I still had a lot of scraps.
I only needed to have enough for the outside as I planned to line it with a solid fabric. Again, I tried to keep Wonder Woman as the main super hero and began laying pieces next to each other. I needed to end up with a wide strip of pieced fabric, enough for the large curve I cut for these cozies.
It came together so fast! I showed Judy another progress picture and she was thrilled. Having both a bright yellow solid and a deep purple solid, I let my customer choose her lining. She went with purple and I finished everything up soon thereafter.
I think it was a great lesson for me. Where I wanted to calm everything down and add the drama of the black frames, she wanted the chaos that DC Comic shows on most of their licensed fabric.
I suppose what I am trying to say is, it is such a trick to stock my shop with items (both handmade and fabrics) for my shoppers. I buy and make with my personal tastes reflected in my choices. I need to keep perspective on what the customer is going to like as well. At any rate, I loved creating both of these pieces and have no doubt the other one will sell swiftly.
If you make for others or for customers, how do you get that perspective? It is only natural to have a bias toward the styles, colors and themes you as the maker prefers, but we need to be able to figure out what the customer wants. Any input?
Just a quick note – I want to let you know I have begun a newsletter to keep readers posted about my fabric shop. I will be sending it out about every eight weeks or so and it will contain information on new arrivals and fun promotions for my newsletter subscribers. If you are interested, there is a sign up form on the right side of the page.
Linking up to a few places this week. Please take a look at the choices I have listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
The only thing I know to do is exactly what you did here: frequent and open communication with the customer. I try to ask before a decision point, but honestly sometimes they don’t know until they see it if they like it or not.
This worked well with this particular customer. I really enjoyed the give and take between us and when she finally said she loved it, that felt great. I actually appreciated her telling me she didn’t want the calmer version. It sort of upped the challenge for me. Making something and subsequently getting it to the point they wanted, or pictured in their mind was very satisfying. Very cool. 🙂
Is the hot pad a microwave pad. ? ?
My sis makes microwave bowls.
Hi Reta, these coffee pots are glass and if put on a counter without a hot pad, the coffee cools off very fast. So placing a hot pad under it and that cozy around it helps to keep it warm for a bit longer. It is just a regular hot pad, but I make it to match the top part. Nice to hear from you!?
When I worked with my niece on a pattern and fabric for a baby quilt for a friend of hers, we had a lot of back and forth emails. Ultimately you want to please your customer, but I told her frankly that I couldn’t find the theme she wanted in the colors she preferred, so she gave me permission to do whatever I thought was best. Because she placed her trust in me I tried extra hard, and ultimately I went with colors and not themes. She just sent me a text yesterday telling me that her friend works in the fashion industry and is very hard to please and that she thinks the quilt is great and that she LOVED the fabrics and thought they were very cool.
So each customer is different, right? And keeping the lines of communication open is the key to it all. I think you have that down pat! One thing I love about you is that you are easy to “talk” to and when I was working with you on choosing fat quarters, I felt absolutely comfortable telling you what I wanted because you just exude friendly customer service!
Linda, isn’t it the best when a project you put so much time, thought and energy into is appreciated and loved by its recipient? I bet this new mom is so pleased with your work.
This is probably the kindest comment I have received. Thank you for the wonderful compliments. This business of providing customer service via the internet is certainly a new thing for me but I am really enjoying it. What a community of friends we have!
Way to work the probem, Bernie. The cozy turned out great and the cutsomer is happy, so what you are doing must be right. Remember when Wonder Woman was on TV? I always wanted that golden lasso.
Haha Mari. You could probably make great use of that golden lasso at work some days. I had fun visualizing that! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your process with this! I definitely lean towards calming down “loud” prints! It’s a whole new level of challenge to meet the wants of a customer! Thank you for linking up to TGIFF!