Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2010 Pre-Planning

Well, I'll be honest with everyone. This Halloween season kicked my rear. I've never felt more inadequate, stressed, defeated and beaten as I did for the whole month of October. I never want to repeat another month like that in my life....EVER. It wasn't the volume of orders that we had (good glory! I'll never complain about that!) or the two festivals that did it to me. I think we just need to figure out the best way to take orders so there's as little confusion and frustration as possible. I've talked about this with the midwest branch of my company (my brother and his wife) and we decided that for next year, we would have a "rewards program" so to speak for customers that followed some guidelines we're going to come out with. It will be based on things such as-how early they order, how quickly it's paid for, and how and when you send us the measurements for custom orders. For instance, next year, near the end of September, we will feature lots of really fantastic Halloween costume corsets, HOWEVER, the price on the items will go up each week until Halloween, when they will be at the highest prices that we would ever sell our items at. The reason is that the procrastinated orders nearly killed us. I totally understand procrastination, I'm guilty of it, and I'm trying to purge it from my life, but we're just saying that we're going to REWARD the smart girls who plan ahead. So, essentially, you could pay $100 for a corset at the end of September, of you could pay $140 for the same corset at the end of October. We'll also be sending out really fantastic coupons along with the early orders, so you can get splendid discounts on your next purchases.
I'll be coming out with an official list of "guidelines" for getting customer perks, but we want you guys to know that we're not just doing this to save our own skins. I'm trying to make it so when people order from us, it's pleasant, painless, well communicated, and that you guys end up getting a perfect product and looking spectacular. And I'll let you in on a little secret. There's lots of odds and ends type of corsets laying around my sewing shop that haven't been listed on etsy or artfire for whatever reason. When I get customers that I really like working with, I generally look around my shop to see if one of those corsets is the same size as the one I'm sending them, and I'll throw in a free corsets. I know there's a handful of you who have been beneficiaries of totally free corsets, and I want you to know that it's because you made my job easier and were just beautiful to work with.....oh, and I happened to have another corset in your size (that's the biggest factor).

Oh, one last note, completely unrelated! Lots of you have noticed that we haven't been listing on ebay. We're really trying to run our business without having to do business through them. They are not a seller-oriented website, and when we give them 16% to 18% of each of our sales, and they still aren't willing to work with us ...it makes us feel that maybe we don't want to give them our money. I might change my mind on this, because ebay has been a good way of promoting our business, but they have also been, for the most part, a great big corporation that doesn't give a dang about little companies like me. Bleh. So, PLEASE check out our artfire and etsy stores. We purposely put better stuff on there anyhow. ;)


  1. So glad you survived the season!

    Just another "wow!" note: I purchased my second corset (black weave hooded courtier) and decided to wear it to a big halloween bash up on Killington mountain (Ski resort town in VT). I can honestly say that despite the DROVES of girls in hoochie costumes (some with very nice figures), I felt like one of the HOTTEST ladies in there for the first time ever. Also, even with all the high-quality spring steel and fiberglass rods, it was still exceptionally easy and comfortable to dance in :D
    I even wore it to the Six Flags Halloween Fright Fest, and rode a moderate roller coaster while wearing it! AAAmmaaaazziiing!

    This bodice gets more compliments than any costume I've worn, mostly from complete strangers who just can't help but comment.

  2. I think those are great ideas given how your products are definitly time factored and that I know people can forget to given information timely and then wonder why things take longer...

    eBay really has done their sellers great disservice. I have sold on there for over a decade and I realize their attitude and comments about how bad sellers are, and that they are going to punish sellers by not allowing them to leave negative or neutral feedback really have made it so much more difficult to sell. I have no idea if they realized how anti-seller they have been.

    From not updating their listing page so it loads faster and without errors to continuing to make general comments about how bad sellers are, they have bitten the hand that feeds them. I can only hope that Meg Whitman does not make it to Governor of California and that maybe eBay realizes how badly they have screwed up.

  3. "This bodice gets more compliments than any costume I've worn, mostly from complete strangers who just can't help but comment."

    This. I've taken to wearing Michelle's creations around the campus and average three-to-four 'omg, where did you get that?!'s every time--not bad, considering I'm only outside for 20 minutes. One fun day I was strapping my friend into the blue-striped Vixen by the Inverted Fountain, and we got a little crowd watching around the edges.

    And the circus and parties I went to Halloween week? 'D***, you've got the best outfit here. Where /did/ you get that?!'

    "Damsel in This Dress. They're on Etsy and Artfire, and they're great to work with!"

    Of course, the next question is always "Can you breathe? That can't be comfortable!"

    "Other than forcing great posture, imagine being hugged around the middle. I want /all/ of my clothes to feel like this now."

    I'm too much of a germaphobe to let everyone try it on who wants to, but I told them you /do/ allow exchanges, 'cause you're that amazing.

  4. one day...one day I will own one of your pieces. And then I will probably buy more.

  5. OMG, yes. I got so many complements when I wore your corset to not only owrk, but also to TRF. I got mistaken for a MORESCA worker in it, which was to me the most awesome thing ever.

    Also, all day at work was talking about my corset and how lovely I looked and how awesome it was and my boss wants to borrow it. I told her how affordable you are and how she should check you out. :/ She's going to borrow mine and I'm afraid I'm never going to see it again.

  6. I think my favorite compliment from the Halloween season was, "Pretty isn't the word. You look RAVISHING!"
    Thank you. All because of the pretty corset.

  7. I think your ideas about discounts for early customers is a great idea!
    I've been trying to think of a way to reward customers in my Etsy supply shop for paying at the time of order. I'm soooo sick of having to track people down, sending them convos and PayPal invoices just to get paid. Argh! I can only imagine how it must be to try and communicate about sizes and pre-ordering with disorganized people.
    And someday, I really will own one of your fabulous corsets! Maybe I should even be doing a little early 2010 Halloween planning of my own. ;)

  8. 1) Michelle, you look fabulous in your photo on this blog.
    2) Ordering with discounts? I'm in!
    3) Every single child who came to my door for trick-or-treating this year stepped back in alarm (I had a very dramatic mask on with your bodice and skirts) and EVERY single adult accompanying the kids told me I looked great! The power of Damsel in this Dress...

  9. OMG- i loved the corset i recieved. I wore it to the queen mary and a ton of people thought i was part of the cast. i passed along your refferal to everyone who asked about where i got it.
    I hope you and your family are feeling better. Thanks so much for putting in all the hard work to ensure we all got our corsets in time.
    Thanks again,
    Crystal S

  10. I think the quality of both your merchandise and customer service is amazing - but sadly, people will always look for a reason to complain.
    I think all your plans for dealing with being swamped next year are great!

  11. I can't believe the transformation that happens when I wear one of your corsets. I get so many compliments! I feel so empowered! Mostly the compliments are from other women who just want to know WHERE I got that gorgeous piece of sexy engineering.

    You should really ship a dozen business cards with each corset because I would hand them all out in one DAY. :)

  12. i LOVE that outfit that you are wearing :)

  13. Oh! I also wanted to say, that it's because of you that I FINALLY decided to go into business for myself. I've been sewing and attending Renaissance faires for years, but was afraid to jump into the business side of it. I've made items for friends and such, but to put on a full store. I've been afraid. But after reading about you and how you enjoy what you do. I figure, what is holding me back? Nothing! So thanks to you, I've been working to get my online store up and putting items into my store. Thanks again for being awesome!

  14. I second the notion of throwing in about a dozen or so of your business cards with our orders. I had three people ask me where I got mine and the reactions to it were astounding. I also was the one who let everyone over on sf_drama know about you and the lovelies. :) I love them ever so much.

  15. Michelle,

    I needed a cool corset for a gypsy dance I am performing at a museum here in Kenosha, WI in December, and OMG!!! What I found on ESTY, with your corsets are the single coolest collection of custom fantasy corsets I have EVER SEEN ANYWHERE, and being a belly dancer who loves to look for and buy cool stuff, and am always at faires and festivals where the vendors bring such glorious goodies, I HAVE NEVER SEEN SUCH CREATIVITY AND FEMININE CONSIDERATION AND I CANT WAIT TO GET THE TWO CORSETS I JUST ORDERED FROM YOU! That's right - I could not for the life of me decide between the 2 and had to have them both and will probably be ordering more, and telling all my fellow dancers about you. What a goddess, a creative goddess you are, blessed with the ability to ,ake us (especially well endowed) women feel beautiful ! THANK YOU

  16. Hello!
    I'm so excited to get my custom blue Neo Victorian outfit from yoU!! :D

    Thanks again for making plus sized ladies like myself feel like a gorgeous woman with style!!

    Have a wonderful day and thanks to you and your family for sharing your gorgeous artwork with all of us!

    Amara (of AmaramaArt on Etsy)

  17. can't you use amazon.com?

  18. Had to tell you: the bonus ones you sent my way have all found good homes with a happy bellydancer and two fellow pirates! Even in your "spare" corsets the absolute love and devotion shows through and we love them just as dearly as we love all our others. Yay! Thank you so much again! :)

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