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ChaosFoxCostuming
01-26-2012, 01:51 AM
I have a simple question for all you people who take commissions. What do you do to promote yourself and where do you find customers etc? I've been taking commissions for awhile now and I have to say I haven't been very successful at it and I can't imagine that it has something to do with the quality of my work. I have been cosplaying and sewing for quite awhile now and my example pictures are nice. I just have issue's where people tend to ask a million questions and never message me back. Then I left wondering did I do or say something wrong, did they decide not to cosplay the character anymore, are my prices unfair, does my work not look good enough etc. Now I have gotten some wonderful customer's which I'm grateful for but still I'm looking to expand so tips anyone?

Celcia
01-26-2012, 02:08 AM
I've been having the same problem too lately. I think people just don't want to pay the prices I'm asking (because you get what you pay for). Probably the economy or they're just not serious in the first place. I promote my stuff here, on Etsy, my deviantArt account, and blog. So far the majority of the messages I've been receiving were emailed to my via my blog.

x-Steffi-x
01-26-2012, 06:46 AM
I've had quite a few people asking for prop commissions, particularly regarding Tokyo Mew Mew which mainly get asked about on Deviantart.
But yes, it's best to just get out there and keep advertising on various sites o promote, also don't forget, it's January, so people might be more interested in January Sales and stuff and rather spend their money there.

I think during late spring - summer - autumn is probably the peak time for commissions, so expect some around those times.

Don't worry so much about it, some people ARE interested, but just haven't got the money yet and are saving up or want to get it another time.
It might also be a good idea to vary what you offer as well, and be prepared to take on a request that's different but do-able to your standards (of course you can reject any).

Mehdia
01-26-2012, 10:02 AM
I have had this problem, but at the same time, I seem to have a steady stream of commissions. I tend to just talk casually to the people that message me here or email me because they saw my site (it's still rough since the person making it is in the process of moving^^). When I befriend people, it seems to get me better commissions. I also try to set reasonable prices that they can afford but I can still make a little extra cash off of. Also, to help with the money issue, I allow them to make payments so that they don't feel like they are paying too much up front.

Also, in the past, I've gotten commissions because people have seen my costumes at conventions and want to commission me. I have printed out business cards with my name and email address on them so that they can get in touch with me after the con.

Some commissions aren't meant to be, I've had plenty of those. But just be patient and it will work out in due time, especially because there are so many commissioners out there.

Elleyferranis
01-26-2012, 01:16 PM
It is a little frustrating when people leave you hanging. I get curios too. Things that can help promote yourself besides for stuff already stated is that you can tell them why although your prices may be higher(if they are) what are they getting? Although you sent them pictures of previous works, you can advertise yourself too. For example, instead of sending a portfolio, I send them certain pictures that has something to do with their costume to show them that I have the skills necessary to make that costume like boning or something. That way, someone else might have sent them a portfolio but they will notice that that person did not have anything that included a certain skill. Then they wonder if you are better able to pull off the costume.
I remember everyone I commission even if a little and send them a business card with their outfit to help them remember me and let people know about me. Word of mouth is very powerful. Sometimes, I offer promotions to people when I have no commissions lined up where I offer it extremely cheap. Tell them that tips are nice too. They tend to tell their friends that I am making cheap costumes at the time and I end up getting many commissions at the same time. Although it does not sound like you can make much from this, people tend to generally tip nicely if you do a good job and are friendly so you don't really make that much less and word gets out more this way.

Gummibar
01-26-2012, 04:08 PM
Most of the work I get is through Facebook, and it's people within traveling distance. I only do work for people I actually know, because friends usually are good at spreading the word. I do a few things here and there for free, and whatever stuff I did for a friend travels mouth to mouth so to speak. So point of comment...be willing to accept commissions from friends and do something free on the side if you must. Your friends are most likely the ones who'll get you work =3 Or at least it works for me. XDD

shushuwafflez
01-26-2012, 04:48 PM
Hi everyone,
I've recently started my cosplay commission based business, and have been very successful now doing it full time.

I do however would like to put my name and face out there more so people are familiar with me and I can continue to grow.

I would like to know what are some ways I can successfully market myself?

so far I have accounts in couple of places like cosplay.com, but I also have a DA account, a site, facebook page and others. Also I've been suggested to go to more cons and give out business cards. Does this really work?

I'm really new at this and I'm hoping to hear from some people about this

vegsrus
01-26-2012, 05:13 PM
well...i dont do any type of commision work or anything but...when i go to cons or where my costume somewhere..people always ask me..OMG..where did u get that...and i tell them i made it and they say can u please make me one...so by me walking around in what i make i drawed the attention of someone who wanted me to make them something...

so my advice would be to showcase your best work and let people see how awesome it is and ask you to do stuff for them...going to cons and other events and displaying your work would get you some more customers im sure...

good luck my friend :)

Marshall Lee
01-26-2012, 05:59 PM
Firstly you might want to consider setting up a legit website for yourself where you can post galleries of your work, your business policies/practices and where people can contact you for quotes.

Definitely carry around business cards! If you're cosplaying yourself and someone asks where you got your costume you can tell them you made it yourself and tell them you take commission work. Vista Print sells business cards at super cheap prices.

Also put links to your website/cosplay account/ etc. in your signature on forums that you post in. You can also advertise on cosplay.com's Marketplace If you go this route you also might want to upload more pictures in your gallery so people can see more examples of your work.

Hope that helps!

mokulen22
01-26-2012, 08:08 PM
I get a lot of my commission work after a con. Either from people who have bought from my table or taken a card from workshop I was teaching. I think you need to "get out there". Attend as many conventions locally that you can - host panels or run events highlighting your skills. People will respond, trust me!

CapsuleCorp
01-26-2012, 08:08 PM
I get a lot of my business from here, actually - Facebook has been useless for me and so far Etsy isn't doing much good either. But being able to chat one-on-one with me is, I think, why people choose me sometimes.

But yes, I have the same problem. People leave you hanging for lots of reasons. The primary one, I think, is that they expect private commissioners to have the same dirt-low prices on full costumes as Chinese sellers, and are surprised when we don't. The other is related - they're shopping around and just decided to go with someone else. It would be nice if every customer who inquired would let those commissioners they didn't choose know (not necessarily a why, but just "thanks but I went with someone else"), but I don't expect them to. Instead, I focus on the negotiations I still have going on and make sure I'm giving the customer accurate information so they can make their choice.

Consider getting an artist's table at a convention in your area/region sometime, if it's one where getting into the artist's alley isn't a fight and a half for a small selection of tables. You may not make many direct sales unless you have accessories and small pieces on hand, but it's a good way to advertise.

mokulen22
01-26-2012, 08:17 PM
I get most of my commission work from DA or from meeting people at conventions (either at my table in AA or when I teach a workshop).

I love face-to-face requests. Talking to a person using your voice is SO much better than with words in an E-mail.

MochaValentino
01-26-2012, 10:15 PM
I do most of my promoting at cons. I let my work speak for itself, basically. And if someone asks, I tell them that yes, I do commissions and give them my info.

I don't really try to get more than a few commissions a year, though....I keep it completely as a side thing.

shushuwafflez
01-27-2012, 01:55 AM
Thanks everyone! This helped direct me To the right direction. Really appreciate it ^^

tarinalove
01-27-2012, 02:30 AM
I like this thread, I feel it's useful for all newbies to commissioning. :D

tarinalove
01-27-2012, 02:38 AM
I did one commission and had a bad time. :/ Just a bad person/buyer.

I would love to take on local jobs, but not sure if my skills are up to par, and not sure how to base my prices. I usually do hourly and think 6$ an hour (under minimum wage here) can be fair, though this doesn't include the price of materials.

Anyone else had a bad first time that made them judge their own skill level?

Right now I'm busy with other adventures and getting ready for my own conventions and costumes, so I won't be doing any commissions until later, if ever. :3

secretxagent
01-27-2012, 03:09 AM
I'm not a commissioner but as someone who has gotten many things commissioned my advice is to be aggressive. The last person I commissioned actually saw the ad I placed and messaged me. She got right to the point about this is her past work, customer reviews, material suggestions, price, how she sends progress photos, etc. The fact that she laid it out on the line of what she can do and how she works made me hire her :D

x-Steffi-x
01-27-2012, 03:58 AM
I did one commission and had a bad time. :/ Just a bad person/buyer.

I would love to take on local jobs, but not sure if my skills are up to par, and not sure how to base my prices. I usually do hourly and think 6$ an hour (under minimum wage here) can be fair, though this doesn't include the price of materials.

Anyone else had a bad first time that made them judge their own skill level?

Right now I'm busy with other adventures and getting ready for my own conventions and costumes, so I won't be doing any commissions until later, if ever. :3

I've currently just finished my first commission ever and so far it's been ok, however the buyer isn't so sure on a part that I really cannot change. Basically I put interfacing in the main bow to make it more accurate to the reference pictures, whereas my own prop had a floppy bow. Personally the bow with the interfacing looks 1000x better than my own one. She's requested photo's of it being held up and the bow still flops slightly and sent them to her.
This doesn't make it a bad experience, but it just comes to show you need to work with your buyer, if you're really wary for the next time, draw up a contract that you both have to sign making agreements, so say if the buyer wasn't coughing up payments or something, you have every right to refuse work on his/her commission and not offer a refund, dependent on the rules you've set. If it's a big commission, require a certain amount of a deposit up front before you start doing anything to the commission which will be non-refundable, etc.
I hope my buyer still likes it, as it's ready to be given a box and then be shipped!

I'd really love to make more commissions in the future, may be taking cosplay commissions in the summer (basic ones only to begin with!)

AndiAndi-chan
01-27-2012, 11:01 AM
If you're going to start marketing yourself, you've gotten the first step done by signing up to various websites. Now that you've done that, you should really flesh out these profiles. For starters, I suggest setting up an avatar with an image of one of your finest works for the boards here and changing your personal message to something related to commissions. Also, make sure to change your signature to a link with commissioner information. I recommend setting up your own website to link back to. You should also set up some sort of place for your customers to place reviews.

In conventions, make sure you do your best to talk to people. It should also be easy to spot people who have bought costumes, so talking to those cosplayers are probably your best bet. Carry business cards on you--and make sure they look professional! The very design and quality of your business card is important since you're a commissioner. A good design tells us that you've got a good eye for detail and you're a professional.

Good luck! Your work looks lovely and hopefully you're popularity grows and you'll find more customers :)

Elleyferranis
01-27-2012, 12:42 PM
I've currently just finished my first commission ever and so far it's been ok, however the buyer isn't so sure on a part that I really cannot change. Basically I put interfacing in the main bow to make it more accurate to the reference pictures, whereas my own prop had a floppy bow. Personally the bow with the interfacing looks 1000x better than my own one. She's requested photo's of it being held up and the bow still flops slightly and sent them to her.
This doesn't make it a bad experience, but it just comes to show you need to work with your buyer, if you're really wary for the next time, draw up a contract that you both have to sign making agreements, so say if the buyer wasn't coughing up payments or something, you have every right to refuse work on his/her commission and not offer a refund, dependent on the rules you've set. If it's a big commission, require a certain amount of a deposit up front before you start doing anything to the commission which will be non-refundable, etc.
I hope my buyer still likes it, as it's ready to be given a box and then be shipped!

I'd really love to make more commissions in the future, may be taking cosplay commissions in the summer (basic ones only to begin with!)

I take on a lot of commissions. Sometimes buyers can change their minds about things a lot. I save every email and send thing pictures of every part of the process (so I have record of it to) in case they ever decide they didn't say something they did. For example, one person told me they were xL and sent me measurements. I asked what kind of measurements they used and I told them the measurements matched a size m. They told me they were dieting so I just went and made it, took pictures of the measurements and sent it and later they said it didn't fit. Although they will probably not want to work with me again, at least I can defend myself if someone ever were to try and use that against me.
However, I do give people the cosplay they want since they want even if it is not accurate so I will change anything they want as long as it is in reason, not like a whole complete outfit that they suddenly decide they don't like the fabric anymore. That never happened though.

elij_takahashi
01-29-2012, 04:54 PM
You need to be bigger and better for people to want what you're selling

What's your DA account?

Fairy Tales
03-02-2012, 07:57 AM
Tnx for this tips, really helpful! and elij, you are right, they become respectful to people if they are.

tehkukikookie
05-18-2012, 02:24 AM
These tips are great! I'm not sure if I have the time to do a panel, but that sounds like a fantastic idea. *considers this for Otakon*