Well I hate for my first posts here to be about a negative experience, but this was to be my introduction into Cosplay.
Not very long ago I was typing things into Google in an effort to find someone that could make a costume for Dragoncon. Eventually I landed myself on the following page.
I spent a great deal of time looking through all the projects Mandy had completed. Along with checking out several other ads and websites. In the end I thought this was a sure deal due to the sheer volume of items on the users photobucket page.
That night I sent out several emails. One to Mandy and two more to other similar costume makers. Mandy was the first to reply to my email.
I told her what costume I wanted, how many days away it was and what Con I was going to. We agreed on a price, I sent pictures and measurements... Along with a 3/4s of the money upfront.
Work began and there were a few follow up emails. I was sent pictures of the costume and to me (a newbie) it looked fine. I paid the rest of my fees and she promised to ship it out soon as possible. This was on Aug 17th.
Here is where the problems begin.
Even though she promised to ship it asap. I was not provided with a tracking number until the 23rd. Which is obviously several days after the 17th. At this point I discovered the items were being shipped from China.
While I have no issues buying things from other countries, this obviously left me with great anxiety about my item arriving in time for the con I was going to. There were multiple follow up emails, checking the tracking several times a day.
Ultimately, you guessed it. The item failed to show up before the con, during the con and ultimately did not show up until the week after the con.
That was bad enough, but I was willing to forgive that particular blunder.
I unpack everything very carefully, while being very disappointed in the packing material. The costume was folded up and wrapped only in black plastic. It had no protective box to speak of.
I examine the outfit and find damage on the front, almost in the darn middle of the chest. It wasn't terrible, but it was extremely easy to spot on the gold fabric.
With a sigh I moved on to my boots. Which were to small for me. My toes were squeezed and no amount of break in was going to fix it.
With a sigh I moved onto the outfit itself. I spent several minutes looking it over and determining the best way to get into it. Which wasn't as bad as I had expected.
I walked out of my bedroom and over to a mirror on the wall. I looked it over and it fit snuggly, but well. At this point I returned to my bedroom and carefully removed the costume.
At this point... devastation -cry- Just from walking the gold fabric had tore in two different locations. One near the zipper and in another spot near the crotch. I felt the fabric and it was almost paper thin. It didn't have the elasticity to stretch in the least. Almost any material would have held up better.
At this point I contacted Mandy. We went through all the steps. Checking measurements, rechecking the costumes dimensions. Ultimately it came down to one simple thing.
The golden fabric she had used was NOT up to the task.
We went round and round for a few emails. Her telling me I must have torn it. Me telling her that I did not.
When the smoke cleared. She offered no replacement. No repair. Not even a refund of 50%. Instead she offered to refund 50 out of the 500 dollars I had paid for the item.
At this point I want to point out a few more things. During the emails between us Mandy admitted that she had her doubts about the gold material. That it obviously was not as strong as the blue material. Yet, when I confirm the obvious she is still pointing the finger at me.
She stated that it was hard to find good material that was the right color. So instead she went with weaker material. Material that failed. I think most of us would take no costume at all over one that is going to fall apart.
I am going to post several pictures of the damage and I am going to host the entire email conversation we had for everyone to review.
You can find the full email conversation here
Front Tear (on arrival)
Damage after trying on for a few minutes