bladespark: (Default)
So the move is on again. Just a note for you customers out there. :)

This means things are going to be delayed. Sometimes stupidly. I just now was planning out the two or three things I was going to try and sew this week, only to realize that I'd already managed to pack up half the stuff I need for them. *sigh* I'm good! It only took me one day to pack something I shouldn't have! So this week is probably not going to be very productive, even when I do have time in between packing and driving things over to the new place. Very sorry!

Next week should be a bit more like normal and I will be clearing off my small projects list and starting in on things for November.
bladespark: (Default)
I'm closing new fursuit commissions. If you've already discussed a project with me, don't worry, we can still go ahead, but I'm not taking any completely new fursuit projects right now.

I am still taking plush commissions, as well as ears and tails. I could probably be talked into doing paws. But no more full suits, heads, partials, or bodysuits for the time being.

I will definitely open them up again though, don't worry.

Tails

Aug. 31st, 2011 12:02 am
bladespark: (tard)
This week I start making tail stock for Rainfurrest. I'll be making tail stock every minute I can spare between other projects for the next three weeks, in fact. I just have to figure out what sort of tails to make, is all!

Here's the current list:
fox
husky
wolf
tiger
snow leopard
cheetah
bunny
bear
deer
dragon
skunk

Are there any major furry species I'm missing here? I'm sure there are, though I'm also sure that as long as I have fox, husky, wolf, and big cats I have more than half the fandom covered. XD

AUGH

Jul. 25th, 2011 09:15 pm
bladespark: (Default)
I cannot leave comments or send PMs. Very irritating!

espeon_lover I got your plushes today. Also the vulpix is about half done, I might finish it next week,though I haven't started the costume bit yet. I tried to PM you, but lj is being a pain. If you need to reach me you can try e-mail, spark.costumes@gmail.com
bladespark: (Default)
Gotta say that while sometimes trying to order from minkydelight.com can be annoyingly frustrating, and their shipping is annoyingly slow, their customer service is really excellent. I get the impression that they're a bit disorganized and/or overworked over there, but that they do actually give a damn about their customers.

Case in point, after being able to order on their website (urgh) and unable to reach them by phone (they keep short office hours and I sleep through them usually) I managed to place an order by e-mail. The order came... and was wrong. (Eesh) But when I e-mailed them about the mistake, they responded first thing the next day by saying I should just keep the incorrect color and they'd send me the correct one.

About half my orders have gone without a hitch. The other half they've screwed up somehow but they always immediately make it right. :) So I'm happy to recommend them to anybody. Just maybe not if you're in a serious deadline-crunch sort of hurry.

Price bump

Jun. 15th, 2011 09:52 pm
bladespark: (Default)
All my costume prices will be going up at the end of the week. So order now if you want the current prices on heads, partials, full suits, or quad suits. (They're not going up by very much, but it's been several years since I last raised fursuit prices, so the time has more than come.)
bladespark: (Default)
If you are the person who adopted a lightning egg, from here: http://www.sparkcostumes.com/artwork/albums/userpics/myth_eggs.jpg PLEASE CONTACT ME. You can comment here, or you can e-mail me at spark.costumes@gmail.com I tried to e-mail you, but it bounced back as undeliverable! Your art is done, I'd like to send you a high-res scan or mail you the original, but I've nowhere to send either one, and I can't find whatever message you originally sent me about it.
bladespark: (Default)
I'm booked up through October, and depending on how long some of these take possibly through the end of the year. So for the moment I'm closing new fursuit commissions.

I'm happy to give quotes and discuss options, but I won't take any new ones for at least a month or so. I could maybe be talked into it if your project is something I'd love, but those are few and far between these days. :P

Plush commissions, on the other hand, are still very much open, and in fact tomorrow is your last chance to bid on one of my relatively rare pokemon commission slots. http://bladespark.livejournal.com/1236750.html <--auction and more info there.

I'd like to do more plushes and fewer fursuits anyhow. Plushes are much more my cup of tea these days. :)
bladespark: (Default)
I've said many times that haggling is a lost art. These days the vast majority of people just don't bother, and those few that do tend to go about it very, very, very badly. I've had less than half a dozen customers in the five years I've been doing business successfully haggle with me. People just don't know how to go about it!

Now there are, of course, many different individuals out there, and not all of them are going to respond the same way and I would, but I think I'm pretty typical as an artist, I've got an ego, I want to make what my time is worth, and I want to get as many paying projects as possible. Many artists aren't going to accept haggling no matter what you do, but these guidelines should help with those who do, and hopefully avoid pissing off those who don't.

First. Go into the haggling understanding what haggling is. Haggling is an attempt to persuade the artist to accept less money for their work. Persuade is the key word here. You need to give them a reason to accept your offer. So let's talk about persuasion and reasons.

Persuasion requires that the artist be in a good mood towards you! They're not going to accept less money to deal with somebody they dislike, they're more likely to demand more! Don't make the artist hate you!

So if you take nothing else away from this, for the love of fuzzy things do NOT insult the artist's work or prices! Do not say "You're way too expensive" or "Your work isn't worth what you're charging" or anything that could in any way be construed to mean something like that! This is the most common attempt to haggle I get, and it STINKS. "Holy crap that's so expensive!" isn't much better. Nor is "I don't think X item should ever cost more than Y amount." Think about this! You're trying to put them in a mood to accept less money than they normally take. How is telling them they're Doing It Wrong going to put them in any sort of good mood at all?

Also do not compare them to other artists! "So and so does this for X amount." That's nice, why aren't you hiring so and so then? They're either not taking commissions, in which case their prices are irrelevant, or they're in some way inferior to the artist you're trying to hire, in which case their prices are, again, irrelevant. Or maybe you don't like them personally and don't want to do business with them. Well then, their prices are... guess what? Yup, irrelevant!

If you do want to bring another artist into it, here's pretty much the only polite way to do it. (And it's one of the most successful methods, imho.) "I'm trying to decide between commissioning you, and commissioning so and so. Their prices are cheaper but I like your work better. Could you maybe give me a small discount? That would make my decision much easier." There. THAT is a good haggle. That has praised them with "I like your work better" and given them incentive to make a deal as well.

Even if you're not considering another arist, buttering up the one you're after is a good idea. Just don't go overboard, you'll come across as insincere. A simple "I really admire your work and would love to own some of it" is plenty. "OMG you're the best artist in the whole world and I love you and want to have your babies, you rock so much I just love you to death you are the best ever!" is kind of creepy. Also, there is a difference between real praise, and passive-aggressive manipulation. "You're a great artist, but I don't have much money, can I get a discount?" is one thing. "You're so good that surely you can do this in just half an hour, so for half an hour's work I'd pay you this much, because you're just that good and I know you can do it" is manipulative and annoying. And so what if I can do it in half an hour, you're not just paying me for that half hour, you're paying for all the time it took to develop the patterns I use and the skill it takes to use them.

Now let's talk about sympathy. Getting an artist's sympathy with a sob story is tempting. Be careful though, because artists hear a lot of sob stories. "My boyfriend is in the hospital, it would just cheer his poor, dying self up if you made him a plush for free." (I seriously had somebody say that to me! Well, I don't remember if they said he was dying or not, but it was WAY over the top, and WTF no, a small discount yes, for free, NEVER.) Sometimes it gets to the point where a sob story i s actively annoying to an artist, they're so sick of hearing them. So don't over do it. One that worked on me in the past: "I'm flying to visit my boyfriend, and the tickets are expensive, so I'm trying to save every penny I can. Can you give me just a small discount on this?" Why yes I can! Once again you've given me a reason without annoying me, so I will be happy to oblige.

But that leads us to the "small discount" bit. Be reasonable. If somebody is asking $100 and you offer them $20, you might as well have not bothered, they WILL turn you down. $50 isn't a very good offer either. $80 is more like it, though I might still reject it, depending on how you ask and how close to the margin that particular item is. $95 is almost guaranteed to be accepted unless it's something that I run right AT the margin (in my case that's most of the cheap stuff like Loonakits and pillows and chibis. They're already as cheap as I can make them, they're just not getting much lower.)

Frankly, if you're making a reasonable offer, you don't need to bother with anything at all but "I have $x amount, would you accept that much?" The buttering up and the sympathy are completely optional. (And yes, that does include a reason! If you only have $x, the artist knows if they turn that down, they won't get your business.)

In the end realize that not all artists will haggle, and not all items can be made any cheaper and still make a profit, so don't be offended if your offer is turned down.

And when it comes right down to it, you have to decide if haggling is going to be worth it. Artists are not machines. The work they turn out is not identical in any case. An artist who is grudgingly doing something on the cheap just may not give you the quality of an artist who is enjoying their work. If money is really tight, and that's what matters, haggle away. But if quality product is what matters, you may just want to pay full price. Or even tip! A little extra can go a long way to getting you the best possible artistic results. :)

Time flies

Feb. 26th, 2011 06:31 pm
bladespark: (Default)
It feels weird to be saying this, but if you want a guaranteed fursuit, partials suit, or head for Halloween, you should order soon.

You don't need to worry about hands, feet, tails or ears yet, but the big stuff needs to be ordered pretty far in advance to be sure you get it!

Belatedly

Dec. 11th, 2010 06:28 am
bladespark: (Default)
I finally updated my measurements page with proper diagrams of the measurements I actually need, and not generic clothes-measuring diagrams. Of course I drew the proper diagrams about two years ago... *cough* I even scanned them in once, and got them all prepped... and then never got around to re-making the page, lost the scans, and generally was absent-minded as usual. But they're up now. XD I changed a few other things as well, and hopefully the end result will be easier to use.

http://www.sparkcostumes.com/measure.html

Augh

Sep. 11th, 2010 09:56 am
bladespark: (Default)
This year just gets better and better. (That's sarcasm there.)

I've updated my project list, which can be found on the home page of www.sparkcostumes.com If you don't see your project there, that means it's either a trade, something small like an ear set or tail, or I'm a spaz and you please need to contact me.

As you may notice "ETA: May" projects are still up there. :( I'm seriously trying to catch up, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere. I was going to get at least the May stuff done this month, but once again it doesn't look like I'll quite get there. As always, if you have a deadline that you need something by, and you don't see it noted next to your project, please let me know. I may be running months behind on the soft estimates, but I really don't want to miss anybody's hard deadlines!

Woot!

Sep. 9th, 2010 03:32 pm
bladespark: (Default)
For some of you my site my actually be up now! :D I expect by the end of the day it'll be fully functional once more.

*snarl*

Aug. 31st, 2010 01:31 pm
bladespark: (yin)
A few of you may have noticed that sparkcostumes.com doesn't seem to exist at the moment.

That's becauase Serverpro are the worst, most awful, horrible, useless, failures of a registrar and host to ever exist. (That's why I bailed on my bladespark.topcities account, because it was irrevocably associated with them.) I'm trying to sort out the complete clusterfuck that's going on here, and the end result SHOULD be to finally free me from their incompetant clutches, but it may be a day or so before the site is back. If it's longer than that I swear somebody is actually going to get sued. Or murdered. Whichever I can managed to do first.
bladespark: (Default)
Hi folks.

As I've mentioned before, I had some struggles this past year or so with depression and other personal life problems. The worst of that is past, thankfully, though I still have a few issues. (Don't we all?) I'm finally catching up, but during that period I got a pretty scary backlog going. Anybody who's looked at my site lately may notice that stuff I was supposed to do in May is still sitting there, not finished. I have been treating projects with a hard deadline (ie. a convention, birthday, or other important date they're needed for) as my first priority, and I'll continue to do so, so hopefully I won't miss too many deadlines, but the soft deadline stuff is still pretty much anybody's guess when it'll get done. So do please let me know if there's an event you need your item for.

I've updated my page at www.sparkcostumes.com with medium projects, such as hands, small plushes, and so on, so people can now see when their ETAs are for things like that. :) Small projects still don't get listed, I have too many and they go by too fast to keep things updated on the site.

Most trades are also not listed.

None of you should hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the status of your projets, whether they be commssions or trades, small or large. So long as you're not harassing me on a daiily basis I don't mind giving progress updates, though I'll be honest and say a lot of the time the only update I've got to give is "still not done."

In any case, things probably aren't nearly as dire as all that makes them sound. I'm steadily making progress on the stuff that should get done this month, and hopefully will soon be at least mostly caught up.
bladespark: (Default)


Meet the solution to my price point problems. XD I'm calling them Finger Fuzzies. (It sounds vaguely dirty, but honestly any name with "finger" in it sounds vaguely dirty, so eh.) Their materials cost is very low, since I'm using scraps I'd otherwise throw away as useless, so the only actual cost is the fleece liner, the tiny pinch of stuffing that goes in them, and the eyes and nose. Probably less than a buck total. They take around 20 minutes to cut and sew one, so if I sell 'em for $5 each, that's a respectable hourly wage for making them.

*bounce*

And of course for the furry market I can add itty bitty ears and teeny tiny tails, to customize them to people's characters.

Thoughts?

Jul. 5th, 2010 03:25 am
bladespark: (Default)
I'm going to be selling plush, tails, ears, etc. at a local Saturday market. I figure mostly I'll bring Loonakits, but Loonakits run $20 a pop, give or take a bit. I suspect they will sell, but there's going to be a lot of people who have <$5 on them and would buy something if I just had something cheaper.

But honestly... what on earth can I make from fabric that would be worth selling at that price? I'm completely drawing a blank. Loonakits are about as simple as it gets. Any ideas out there?
bladespark: (Default)
I keep having to explain this. Maybe from now on I'll just link to this post.

People ask me sometimes if they can get a volume discount. They've ordered half a dozen plushies, or several tails, or something of that nature, and they want to know if I can give them some kind of discount because of how much they're buying.

I pretty much always turn them down, and this is why.

When you commission something from me you are not paying for an item I'm selling. You're paying me for the time I spend making whatever you bought. You pay for materials too, of course, but the majority of the cost is the time. Basically you're paying the hourly wages of my job, as if you were my boss.

Now if your boss came up to you and said that he had extra work for you, and he wants you to work extra hours this week, but instead of paying you overtime for those extra hours, he wants a bulk discount on them, he's going to pay you less money per hour than your normal working wage. Would you do that? Would you take a job where the more hours you worked, the less you got per hour? Of course not! You'd be insane to take a job like that.

And I'd be equally insane to offer a bulk discount to people. I don't care to get paid less for doing more work. That's just the long and short of it.
bladespark: (Default)
I know it seems a bit absurd, but the simple fact of the matter is that my commissions queue is full until September right now, so if you want a full suit, partial suit, or head for Halloween, order soon or you may not get it in time!
bladespark: (flamebusy)
Taxes happened today, and were rather more painful than I'd hoped they'd be. :(

So this is just a reminder that my commissions are open. And while I do have a waiting list for fursuits and large plush, there is no waiting list for Loonakits, tails, or ears. I'm also taking drawing commissions, bead sprite commissions, and pretty much commissions for anything you might have ever seen me make. (Except Pokemon plushes, still no copyrighted character sewing commissions.)

If you're lucky enough to be getting a tax refund, well... there are worse things to spend it on! :D

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