Sunday, September 18, 2011

Requesting Special Orders on Etsy

One of the advantages to purchasing directly from the artisan is the possibility of customization. Many Etsy shops already offer listings that are made to order, with color, wording, sizing, or other options. With Christmas approaching, many people like to request custom projects for their most important gifts.

A past custom order for a tatted necklace - the buyer wanted purple thread with a turquoise stone
Etsy's Alchemy feature was popular before it was discontinued earlier this year. You could list a request for a handmade item and sellers would send you bids with information on the price, timing, etc. There were definite problems with how Alchemy worked, but the basic concept was a good one.  

When Etsy took Alchemy off the site, they said it was just temporary. Nothing further has been said about the progress of changing it and when it might come back, if at all.

Some sellers have created their own substitute by organizing teams that take custom requests. I'm not sure how successful this has been for buyers or sellers, but it's one option for custom ordering on Etsy. One advantage so far has been that some of these teams accept requests for vintage items or supplies. That's not really the same as requesting to have an item made. It's more like a matchmaking service.

tatted necklace by Native and Pilgrim
Another option for custom orders is more time consuming, but more likely to result in success.  When you have a item you want somebody to create for you, try doing a search on Etsy to find something similar.  Once you find an artisan who sells items similar to what you're looking for (and in the price range you're looking for), send them a message asking if they do custom orders. Keep in mind that the more details you give, the more likely they are to give you what you want and be accurate about the price. The seller can then put a listing in their shop that is reserved for you so you can pay for the order. While some sellers are willing to accept a deposit or delay payment until the item is completed, a good customer will pay in advance.

Buyers - are you looking to order custom made items?
Sellers - are you taking requests for custom made items? Let me know if you'd like me to add a linky list for shops taking custom orders.

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