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Unread 05-16-2011, 09:37 PM   #31
kuroi_shi
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I do comissions once in a while.. I've never missed a deadline.. But, I also won't take on more than one costume at a time.. I just don't have the time to do more than one, with a full time job..
I stop taking comissions all together when I'm working on my own costumes.. I won't do another comission now until Sept, because I have 3 costumes that I'm making for myself and my BF due at the end of August.
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Unread 05-16-2011, 11:47 PM   #32
Yazoo_the_Kazoo
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This is my two cents as a commissioner:
I always feel self conscious about not sending enough progress photos, because a lot of the time I get super wrapped up in making the costume and forget to take pictures as I go along, so I'll have finished the costume for the customer without sending them any progress pictures at all. ^^;
Like just today, I had a client PM me asking for progress pictures, because she's worried that I haven't sent any, and I'm so close to finishing, I'm just going to take pictures of the thing tomorrow after I finish the last couple of details. And I feel terrible about that, because I made her worry. It's not like I haven't been doing any work, but I still feel bad.
For me, the money I take in advance is the cost of materials, and I literally order the materials the moment I get the payment into my paypal account. So it's not like I'm just sitting on the money, or spending it on something else. I also very strictly work on costumes in terms of due date. A costume due next month gets more attention than one with no specific due date.
Anyways, that's just what I have to add, take it as you will.
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Unread 05-17-2011, 03:26 AM   #33
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This is going to be a long rant. I think one of the biggest problems is that most commissioners who offer their services are simply not yet ready to be commissioners. Cosplay is a hobby until you start charging for what you do. Then, it's a business. You can have years of experience making your own costumes but that does not mean you are ready for the challenge of starting a business. I think many commissioners either forget or simply don't realize that when you take payment for your services, cosplay is no longer something you do just for fun, but something you do for pay.

As someone who has started a business based on a hobby not related to cosplay, I know the business side of things can ruin a hobby fast and lead to a lack of motivation to get things done. Time management becomes increasingly important as good commissioners will only get busier and busier. And not even with actual construction, but with answering inquires and keeping people up to date on their orders. It takes so much more time than people realize to quote and respond to so many people everyday. It always seems to me that good commissioners go bad when they start getting to much work and cant keep up. They need to start saying no before they get too busy to handle things. If a commissioner takes on too much work, all of a sudden, your paid for 6 months in advance costume that they say they can totally get to you by your deadline is either just not done or put together in a rush at the last minute. As more and more costumes become late, the work keeps piling as does the stress from disappointing people (assuming they care) and from being rightly hounded by people who have not received their stuff. It may not be that they want to screw you over by missing your deadline and what not, but that it what happens whether it was their intention or not and they need to take responsibility. Too many times they simply disappear or stop contacting people back instead of facing up to their failures and telling the truth about the situation.

From a buyers point of view, I think there is a big problem is with how payment works. Paypal is a really risky payment method because most costumes cannot be finished in less than 45 days. And even paying only half up front and half later still means you will be out money if you get nothing. Scammers can easily work that to their advantage and do. I'm curious if commissioners out there would accept a system where, before the 45 day period is up, a refund minus the cost of materials purchased up to that point (with pics/receipts to prove the purchase) would be returned to and then repaid by the buyer and then repeat until the costume is sent. Later refunds sent could also include labor cost, but only if previews that labor was done are provided. That is the only way I see to get around the 45 day problem. You also cant always rely on recommendations either as a person's work quality will vary from outfit to outfit depending on all sorts of factors. Many times, if a commissioner gets behind and their work quality changes or they start delivery costumes late or not at all, the complaints don't appear until its too late to help others considering getting a commission done.

All in all, its simply important to realize the huge risk that exists when commissioning. And, sadly, for some, the high risk means they will pass on the hobby or stick with Chinese factory work because, while you may not get quality, at least you get something.
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Unread 05-17-2011, 07:11 AM   #34
kuroi_shi
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edit: crisis averted. I overreacted too quickly.
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Unread 07-01-2011, 12:01 PM   #35
Fallnmemrys
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ok so normally some commissioner that ask for half payment upfront is so they can actually buy the materials....i know that it seems kind of wrong to people but without that money they honestly can't get started on it. Some people are just barely making it by with bills and all. So please try to understand that is why they ask for it. Now if they ask for the rest of the payment before they finish it then that is something you should worry about.
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Unread 07-01-2011, 08:45 PM   #36
kiratsukai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallnmemrys View Post
ok so normally some commissioner that ask for half payment upfront is so they can actually buy the materials....i know that it seems kind of wrong to people but without that money they honestly can't get started on it. Some people are just barely making it by with bills and all. So please try to understand that is why they ask for it. Now if they ask for the rest of the payment before they finish it then that is something you should worry about.
A good deal of commissioners are taking that money far in advance with no intention of purchasing materials or beginning the work until farther down the line. Some of them then use that money for their own entertainment or projects...

That's what the complaint is about.

If enough people do this, the practice of paying in advance itself becomes undesireable and a good way to get ripped off.

I'm out $187 because I paid for "materials" that surely didn't cost that much on a costume that wasn't begun until months after my deadline.

I have no problem with paying for materials... but in light of this shit going down. I expect to have a realistic estimate of when my costume will be begun and recieve pictures of materials and progress soon after I pay for it.

I'm no longer willing to pay someone up-front, in the dark, for a costume 5 or 6 months in advance. Because I know from experience that I'm likely not to see a single progress photo until a week before my deadline -- if I recieve a costume at all.

I'm ready to stop using commissioners I don't know personally.
Buyers don't have enough leverage against them in the current system to see that anything is done about fraud. The time periods involved are too long, the contracts too vague and ~always~ worded by the comissioner to protect the comissioner.

Every transaction I enter should not be a high-stakes gamble.

I don't think it's unreasonable to pay for materials in advance.
I think it's unreasonable for that money for materials not to be spent on materials soon after I provide it. That, after all, is the deal. I would appreciate a photo or some receipts to prove that materials have been furnished ~before~ the paypal protection terms are up. From now on, I'm not going to deal with comissioners who can't do this for me. I can't afford to be ripped off again :/
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Unread 07-01-2011, 10:02 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiratsukai View Post

I'm ready to stop using commissioners I don't know personally.

this one line is the solution to this whole problem.
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Unread 07-01-2011, 11:01 PM   #38
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Everyone has an opinion whether to work with a commissioner or not, but the reason a outfit is commissioned by a customer is usually because the customer can't do it themselves or in some rare cases, they do not have the time to make the costume. There are commissioners that have given the designer/seamstress/commissioning trade a bad name by taking customers money up front and then not fulfilling their responsibility to make the costume or piece they commissioned to do. For those commissioners that have done that, then those you have to be careful with. You can't put those that are responsible into the same category, that is stereotyping the person. When you commission a person and you send a deposit, this deposit is like a signature that binds a contract between you and the commissioner so that the customer is saying that he/she is serious about going on with this project and on the commissioner's side -that he/she will be responsible to make this costume on time for the customer. The deposit also guarantees that the space on that commissioner's schedule will be held for you, the customer. The commissioner can purchase fabric in advance and work on the costume in portions, sometimes at the same time as he/she is working on other costumes, that is their choice. The reason you commission in advance (months prior to the deadline) is to give the commissioner time to make your costume without rushing. Normally, the customers that have problems with their costumes are those that wait until the last moment (sometimes a month is not time enough to put an outfit together) or those that are constantly bothering the commissioner about getting pictures. Taking pictures and sending them out takes time and especially if you are working on other projects, it seems like a burden. I have been responsible and serious with all my customers. I work hard to get all their costumes done on time and my steady customers have learned to book in advance or if not, I may not be able to help them. Quality workmanship requires time and dedication. I take pictures of a the final costume, when it is finished, ironed and looks great.

Taking pictures prior to finishing brings problems because sometimes you have to deal with an undecided customer that is PMing you or emailing you a change of design or complete outfit everyday. This is a problem. Changes, bring delays and confusion. Once you decide on a costume and you go over it with the commissioner, I personally do not want to accept a deposit until all the designs are finalize and accepted by both the customer and myself. Once decided, you go on straight to the project to get it done.

So the advice is to do your homework, research the commissioner, work closely from the beginning with the commissioner to explain your ideas and what you want. Give the commissioner good reference pictures and details. Any changes have to be done at that point, not later. Be serious about getting the costume done. Negotiate price, send a deposit only when you are ready to get the project started and just send a communication to the commissioner now and then, but not to hound them for pictures. Good communication normally results in quality work.

Wishing you the best with your next commission.
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Unread 07-02-2011, 11:51 AM   #39
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^ This is why contracts and a clear understanding of what is expected from both sides are integral to a smooth transaction. The buyer should not be demanding changes to every little thing unless the commissioner has done something so far out there that it needs to be said. On the other hand, the commissioner shouldn't take on a commission/take money until they have a clear understanding of what is expected from their client.

You said it in your last paragraph; it's a two-way street that both parties need to be aware of what is expected from the other. With progress pics, you can see what's going to work and what's not and it can be changed before it's too late (i.e. when the costume is done).
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Unread 07-04-2011, 04:21 PM   #40
her_oathkeeper
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It's like. My thoughts were posted in this thread exactly.

I commissioned for a Charles Grey costume to be commissioned early spring (February/March) about 2 months before the con. It was considered a rush-order, I know. So I sent in my first payment of over $200. And it was all going swimmingly, at first. I got emails that were usually a few days apart, but I figured that was normal.

o__o But by the time the con came by, the vest was the only thing finished. So I was like, OKAY I can deal with that. That's okay, it was a rush-order. So I said I wanted it ready for a con in July (since the con is 8-10). Since then, I sent $80 more dollars, since I wasn't seeing a lot of progress. Anyways, I showed that I was ready to send payments when needed.

The emails are less frequent and I'm not getting as many updates. In fact, I haven't seen anything else but the vest finished. And I've been emailing consistently, asking for updates.

I just want my costume done. I really do.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 11:11 AM   #41
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I have also had better luck with Chinese sellers, and everyone gives them crap for being rip-offs? =/ I ordered an outfit from cosplay-fu.com, they told me when it would get here, kept me updated and it even arrived early! And it was sewn well and looks great!

I will never work with cosplaymandy, blackmoon cosplay, dream-angles.net or a few others ever again. I'm paying you to do a job, so I expect it to be done on my terms, especially if you agree to those terms! >.< so don't give me a ton of excuses, don't ignore my emails for months and months, and don't take all my money and then just work on it last second, because I'm not paying you for a last minute rush job, and I'll be furious if that's what I receive in the mail.

I just go through my friend Renee now, she's the only one I can trust with my outfits anymore.

Also: The review thread honestly does sh*t for me anymore. I find people with A's and they're still very horrible commissioners. Like blackmoon? I wanted a Rinoa wig done by her, she had all A's so I was like "perfect!" Well, she showed me a picture of the base wig she FINALLY got (even though my wig was due at the end of June...-grumble-) it was almost blonde! It was light light brown. She thought we agreed on a dark brown and they sent her a bad wig -shakes head- I said, "No, like I've told you before, I said I wanted BLACK with reddish highlights, apparently that was missed, even when I sent about 8 pictures of how I wanted it to look." She said she was going to fix it in time for Otakon but I'm not holding my breath...especially since it's looking to be last minute...ugh!

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Unread 07-08-2011, 09:47 AM   #42
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I've had okay experience on this site but of course I always did a contract that showed what happened if they don't deliver the product. Right now I'm under two people without a contract (and one other that is under a contract) one is Sutie who I have not heard from since I sent her the money. I check her account after the last time I PMed her (last week) and she hasn't been on and I can just hope that she comes through. Another person says that I there are other people in front of me and that I will get my item by August which I hope because I need it for painting (have to match my armor colors to it.)

In the past people that were under contract did send me photos, costume a little late (because I allowed it to be, always set my due date about a month before the con just in case) One person gave me a refund of course took the material cost out of it which I had no problem with.

Needless to say I had problems with a scammer in the past and due to that years ago I didn't commission people for a while. I made my own but due to the complex of one costume I needed to get my other cosplays commissioned. Plus I dont' have a sewing machine anymore due to my move, my mother took it.

Me and my brother were scammed out of a total of $280 and I'll tell you if you pester paypal about it and explain that costumes take more than a month at times they'll give you the money back. Also you can talk to your bank if it comes out of your bank and they'll be more than happy to get your money back for you.

As far as Chinese seller go I never had the problem of the costume "falling apart" I still have my first one I ordered and still looks like it did when I bought it. So people need to stop giving them so much crap.

With emailing your commissioner over and over some don't like that and they see it as being pushed and not giving them the space they need to work. Even in one of my past contracts I got "please don't keep sending emails the time it takes me to email you back I could be using it to work on your costume." so I suppose I can see why some stop emailing but a simple. "Hey this is bugging me" works just as nice too.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 11:20 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Missha View Post
I have also had better luck with Chinese sellers, and everyone gives them crap for being rip-offs? =/ I ordered an outfit from cosplay-fu.com, they told me when it would get here, kept me updated and it even arrived early! And it was sewn well and looks great!
Yeah but just because a couple of people have had good experience with Chinese sellers, others may not. It's the same with commissioners, for example, Limebarb, some people like them and others avoid them.

I've had nothing but positive experience with Chinese sellers also, but that doesn't stop me from being weary for the next time.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 11:59 AM   #44
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As a commissioner, I do require full payment up front. This is because I (usually) don't have the extra cash to buy the client's supplies. I'm a student and I'm working as many hours as I can, but I don't have a million dollars. I've never scammed a client, they've always received their product. The majority of my clients have been happy, when only a very small percentage have been unhappy.

You can't say that ALL commissioners who take money first are trying to rob you. We're people too with bills and lives and jobs. We do commissions because we love creating things in our spare time.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 09:52 PM   #45
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I always give my commissioner without a contract a benefit of the doubt. I do want to trust them at all cost, there is a lot of trust. I'm not jumping to conclusions with Suite or the other two that are contract less right now. The point is not to jump to conclusions before the due date. They are indeed people.
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