by Virginia Vivier.
(Tucson, Arizona USA)
“I recently received an unusual “custom” request to enlarge one of my pendants to 4 inches in diameter! Whoa Nellie!
At first, my instinct was to say “no” since the customer could return it if she didn’t like it. Then, I would be out $$$ for expensive materials, plus my time. But, I decided to tell her I WOULD do it.
Next, I had to prepare a realistic quote to cover my time, materials, cc fees, shipping, etc. Since the pendant was 2 inches in diameter, I doubled the price, thinking that would be reasonable.
Initially, she thought my quote was too high, but I stuck to my guns and she finally agreed to pay upfront. I stipulated that I would send her photos of the finished product for approval, but there would be “no refunds, or returns, once it was shipped.” (How on earth was I ever going to sell this HUGE pendant if she returned it?) And, she agreed!
As soon as I started working on it, I realized I had underestimated the amount of Silver for this larger size. As I increased the diameter, I had to increase the thickness for strength. By using 4 times the Silver I was losing quite a bit of my profit!
A day later, I sent her photos of the finished product. She loved it! But, NOW she wanted me to include a necklace, scaled to fit the huge pendant. I asked her what she envisioned and she said, “You’re the Artist, you decide!” Oh my!
So, I shopped around locally and put together something that she liked. I didn’t have time to order wholesale, so I put together some materials that I had on hand. I sent her an invoice to cover the cost of the necklace, but, SHE THOUGHT the necklace was to be “included!”
Again, I stuck to my guns and quoted the original agreement for “pendant only.” She wanted the pendant so badly that she quickly paid for the necklace. I printed out a shipping label. But wait! NOW she wants me to include a gift box with Southwest designs and also, a cute Southwest pouch. What????
Since my gift boxes were designed for much smaller pendants, I again, shopped locally to find something that would fit this HUGE necklace. Luckily, I found what she wanted. I painted Southwest Indian designs on them and was ready to ship! I had to reprint the shipping label because, by now, the package was much heavier than I had previously anticipated. More $$$ spent on this order – my profits were dwindling!
Upon receipt, she replied how much she LOVED IT! I was SO RELIEVED! She let me know that she was telling ALL HER FRIENDS where she got the gorgeous necklace. I replied that if anyone asked what she paid for it, to DOUBLE the price!
I explained what a really “good deal” she got because I barely broke even after I figured in all my time, extra materials, extra shipping costs, higher fees, etc., etc. I thought sure that this would be the end of our relationship!
But guess what? This morning she requested 3 more “custom” pendants enlarged to 4 inches in diameter! (“Oh no!” I say, as I slap my hand to my forehead!) What have I gotten myself into? I increased the price for each pendant by 400% as I had learned my lesson from her last order!
It DOES pay to be nice, and do the best you can! But make sure you are prepared to realistically price an unusual “custom” order!”