I love doing custom orders. Not a lot of sellers enjoy it, but I do. Each and every one is a learning experience; the opportunity to step out of my norm and change things up a bit. A few months ago I was contacted by a buyer who wanted something way out of my norm… a memory board that was 2’ x 4’! I was confident I could do it but had to work out some issues first. First there was the math. I have spreadsheets all formatted for the sizes I normally make but now I had to add, multiply and divide - many times to make sure I did it right! Since I don’t buy that size canvas on a regular basis I had to figure out if my supplier could get me just one. I drove to the beach to pick it up and decided since I was going that far, I should make a day of it. Two girlfriends came along and we hit all the fabric and yarn shops in town.
Did I mention that the canvas was 4’ long? We were quite a sight in the parking lot - three of us trying to fit this into the trunk of my Volvo. I ended up taking my son’s car seat out so that I could put down the back seat and stick it through the hole one would use for their skis. Except… I don’t ski and therefore have never used this feature of my car! When we finally got it sorted out we had the car seat and one stroller shoved to the side in the trunk and one friend shoved to the side in the back seat. Next up was a trip to P.F. Chang’s and much deserved drinks!
Once everything was ironed, stapled and sewn, it was time to pack and ship. Hmmm… this seemed easy enough. The U-haul website said they had a great box that could be adjusted to fit this memory board. Great! Except, when I hit my two local U-haul shops no one seemed to know what I was talking about. They ended up selling me two boxes that was supposed to do the trick with little effort from me. Sure! You know how the toy never fits back into the box the right way? I think I went through an entire roll of tape getting everything secure.
The shipping was the biggest adventure. I had entered the measurements and weight into both the USPS and UPS websites. UPS had a price of $25. That made sense for a package this size. Except… the lovely girl at the UPS Store quoted me $111! No matter how hard I argued she held fast that it had to be $111 or nothing. I picked the nothing. A quick stop off at Fedex Kinko’s secured my business for large sized items forever. They stood by their price, were kind, courteous and they delivered in less time than quoted!
So, if each custom order is a learning experience, what did I learn from this one?
1. Communication between seller and customer is priceless.
2. Have every single price in hand before you make your estimate. From a seller’s standpoint this will help keep you from losing money in the end.
3. Measure the trunk before I head out to buy canvas!