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Unread 05-22-2011, 12:43 AM   #2075
Papier-Crane
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3
This is REALLY late, as this transaction took place months ago. My time has been entirely overwhelmed by schoolwork, but I now finally have time to give her the review she deserves!

Name of Commissioner: Phantom Legacy Costumes / CelestialShadow
Website/C.com gallery: www.phantomlegacycostumes.com / http://www.cosplay.com/member/17019/
Character commissioned and series/video game: Ciel Phantomhive, Episode 15 outfit – Kuroshitsuji, Full costume, including a fully tailored coat and capri style pants, hat, pendant , and braided cord.
Links to picture(s) of your commissioned item: Picture she sent me. And just a quick test shot, sans eyepatch here. (Apologies for the low quality + messy room, haha; I’ll edit with more pictures when my con takes place.)
Timeline: Made first contact on July 22, 2010. The costume wasn’t needed until June 2011, but she assured me she would be able to do it within about a month, and so the due date was set to September 15. Because of an issue with the jacket lining, we extended the due date but honestly this was not a problem at all, considering that I didn’t need this until June. I believe I got it by the end of November.

Describe your Experience:

A few friends of mine already had a Kuroshitsuji group going on, so I decided to check out the series. Several episodes in and I already knew I wanted one of Ciel Phantomhive’s outfits for sure so I immediately started looking for someone to commission. I am new to the whole commissioning scene but I am still extremely picky when it comes to things like this—especially with the detail level of Ciel’s outfits—so I was especially looking for top notch craftsmanship. Pretty much everyone and their mom is cosplaying Ciel right now, and I wanted mine to be perfectly made. Additionally, the outfit I chose was a bit on the obscure/barely done side and only had one episode’s worth of references and a model sheet to work from. I’ve seen CelestialShadow around the Marketplace before and when I saw she had opened slots for the next coming months, I practically jumped at the chance.

Start of Process: This was my first cosplay commission, so I was a bit nervous. I PMed her and got a detailed response within hours. Not only was she quick, but she was also informative and very personable and friendly. She offered two price quotes—one including the hat and one without—that were both, in my opinion, very much within reason for the quality of her work. She doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re looking for real quality and amazing work, you’ve come to the right place. She even offered to send progress pictures and fabric swatches, free of charge! As a first time commissioner, I felt very comfortable working with her and communication between us felt open and I thought she was very patient towards my typical newbie ignorance~ I sent her my measurements soon after, then the money for a down payment (half the price upfront) on July 30. She was set to work on it at the beginning of August for a September 15 due date.

Pros: What can’t I say about her? She was just awesome to work with and downright friendly, while still maintaining an air of professionalism. Though there were a couple of problems sending fabric swatches, she corrected it right away and expedited them to make up for lost time. In the meanwhile, she assured me she would still be working on it, asked me a few questions about certain preferences before she went about constructing, and even set deadlines for when she would send my progress pictures. Through this, I wasn’t left in the dark at all and I knew what to expect and by when. There was never any vague “I’ll send you some progress pics soon.” If that isn’t indicative of true professional qualification than I don’t know what is.

I received the fabric swatches on August 17th and they were all nicely placed alongside a printout of the reference I sent her, telling me what fabric would be used for each part of the costume and what parts she was still waiting for/ordering. All the fabrics seemed to be perfect and of good quality. It was very informative and got me ridiculously excited for the final product. Oh, and on a bit of irrelevant side note, she has nice handwriting. :’D

On August 19th, I received the first set of progress photos which were of the capri pants that she had just finished. They looked FABULOUS, well tailored, and well made. She also gave me a report on what she was working on then and what more she had to do. From then on, we set a weekly date for progress pictures and so around every week (I think there was one week she skipped, but I believe real life circumstances got in the way. Understandable, and it was fine considering how good she had been with it before.) I would open my inbox on the designated day and have a new email from her with a thorough update and more pictures. It was seriously awesome and like a little treat every time I opened an email from her. Not only that, but it allowed me to quality check and let me know exactly what I was to be getting in the mail so there would be no unpleasant surprises. Honestly, having seen first-hand how beneficial this is, sending weekly (or at least consistent) reports should be common procedure for all commissioners. It allowed me to basically see the process unfold before me, request changes and ask questions about the costume immediately and, again, let me know that I was getting my money’s worth and precisely what I wanted.

On the Costume: Upon receiving the costume, I was pretty much amazed by the quality and craftsmanship of it all. The fabric is high quality; It doesn't give off the costume-y kind of feel, but rather looks very professional. As I said, it was pretty much exactly what I had seen in the pictures she provided. I mean, a button had fallen off along the way, but it’s an easy fix and everything else was perfect anyway. The only real problem I ran into was the fact that I had gained a bit of weight since the beginning of the commissioning process and so the pants didn’t fit me—this, however, has nothing to do with CelestialShadow, as the pants were made from the measurements provided. Luckily, I commissioned this costume early enough and as of now, the pants fit fine and are wearable for my upcoming convention. So, really, this whole process worked out wonderfully and I am the proud owner of a really nifty Ciel outfit.

Cons: Well, honestly, any errors she made along the way were immediately remedied by her before they became a huge problem and she always informed me of them as well, but I figure I should just mention them anyway. I already mentioned about the swatches; basically she had addressed them wrong from the original address I gave and they were sent back to her which caused a delay in my receiving them. Again though, she corrected it ASAP and expedited them to make up for lost time and I did receive them so I don’t really consider this to be a giant problem. I had also requested a teal jacket liner when I first started the commission with her but she accidentally purchased a black liner and sent a swatch of it to me. She informed me once she realized this though and told me she was going to go return it and buy the right fabric the next day, which was actually perfectly fine because she hadn’t started the jacket yet.

Another problem we had with the liner was based on a color error that I take the blame on. I requested a teal liner and so she gave me a teal liner. When she showed me the progress picture with this liner, I realized that I would have wanted it darker and so I should have clarified the color. I asked if she could possibly change it to a darker teal, and though she had a few problems finding one she offered several options to remedy this problem. We eventually came to a painless solution and long story short, I like the liner color it eventually turned out to be.

If I'm being frank, there honestly are no cons. She really is a great problem solver and communicates well with the customer.

Overall, it was honestly a relatively painless process. As someone who does artsy things myself, I know that NO process for ANY project is ever going to run perfectly smooth. Despite the little problems along the way, the final product turned out awesome and I would HIGHLY recommend CelestialShadow to anyone who wants great communication and an awesome costume to boot.

Final Grade: A+ but I would surely go higher if I could!
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