Casual conversation – Customization

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I was talking with a friend the other day, about the work I am doing, and the shopping cart I am building.

As I started to explain to here why the shopping cart is taking me forever to build, as with any customization service, there is quite a bit of ‘construction’ of the order flow. 

Very quickly, she picked up that I offer quite a fair bit of customization service for my products. She liked the idea of customization as she thought that the buyers today have a strong identity and preferences. The topic then moved deeper into ‘Customization’. She also asked why would I bother to include all other sample works since I offer customization, the buyers can just choose their own color combinations.

There is a common concept that is shared amongst our fellow Singaporeans about customization. My friend asked if I would mock up the item as per the requested color combination for the dolls; or the idea of wedding artwork.

This is something most of us fail to comprehend. Instead of replying directly to her question, it’s easier to build a similar scenario for her. 

I asked her if she was preparing for her wedding, she stepped into a bridal studio, browsed through the portfolio, or the actual sample dresses showcased in the wardrobe, she liked the style of the designs, she particularly loved the gown tailored to a mermaid tail, however, she would love to have a pink color satin material instead of the off-white color in the showcase. She would also love to have the trail line shortened since she tripped and fell easily. 

Now, clearly, customization is required for her. Would the bridal studio mockup the dress for her without her committing a deposit placement? 

Moving forward, when she has placed a deposit for her dress, specifying the design, style, and specs of the dress she imagined to be, and the dress is made ready for her first fitting. The designer followed her requirements and made the dress as per her requests, she decided she didn’t want the mermaid style anymore, and decided to have a princess dress instead. Would this be reasonable? 

As we discussed further into this topic, we arrived at the point that customization is not meant for everyone. 

That is precisely why I try to include all other sample works in each listing, to allow the group of buyers who are strictly visual, and has lesser capability to visual customized work. 

We have to understand that not everyone is able to imagine the final output, they are better with ready work, because they are more confident that they get what they see. These buyers are less adventurous and not exactly up to being surprised. 

While on the other hand, there is a group of people who are highly imaginary, they know what they want, and are better equipped with fitting the colors into their mind structure of the possible output of the final products. They could better imagine what it may be like when the dress is changed to pink etc. With customization, we ought to keep an open mind, be amazed with the final output. Always give allowances for reality differences from imaginary expectations. 

There is no classification of better group or worse group in this case, we are just different. I know many buyers who have problem with visualizing the yet-existent. Mike, and my mum belong to this group. They are not able to visualize the yet-exist concepts. Mike would ask me to make the real thing first, before he could even say if it’s feasible. 

Architect will not start building a real house just to show the client.. ‘hey, this is what it’s going to be like, you like it? no? Ok, I will tear it down, and build another one to show you.’ They do blue-prints, sketches etc, they may mockup a model scaled to size etc, depending on the trade.

So to speak, it’s not reasonable to me when buyers asked me to make a doll according to their color selection, they will look at the few combinations and decide if they want to place the order. Remember, customized order is made just for you, so we don’t make several in order for you to decide if you are even buying it. Most customized service is charged with additional fee, and that is for a reason. CHOICE is luxury. As with individual preferences, there may not be another person who has an exact liking of what we do, therefore, each customization is unique. 

After all I had said, my friend wanted to confirm if I would not consider it at all if a buyer was to ask me to come up with several variations in the wedding artwork; or make the dolls as presentation to their color selections, just so that they can decide if they should order with me. Otherwise, how would they know what they will be getting?

My reply is not all that favorable, but I will be honest and frank, I said, ‘Don’t even bother to ask’. The reason to build a gallery to showcase the style and adaption of my designer, is clear enough that you have better like her style, because you can’t exactly expect a dress-maker who specializes in making female dresses, to make a stunning male outfit (if she has already make known that she specializes in female outfits). The image of my dolls is already a sample of my work. 

Especially with handmade items, labor cost is high, unless some mass produces, they may promise to design and produce before you even commit to order, and if you don’t like it, you may not take up the order. Honestly, I don’t know many of these.

My friend seemed to be liking my explanation and has accepted well of the notions. She agreed that she hadn’t considered all these before, and only wanted to safeguard her own interest just so that she doesn’t lose out. 

She is a good friend, and we have always been frank with each other, I told her, she wasn’t the right candidate for customization service with that kind of mindset ingrained. For each customization work, there is always a risk involved, so she ought to keep an open mind, and also be more adventurous to explore on creativity works. She was glad she spoke with me though.

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