Friday, May 18, 2012

Pagan Festival!

Well that was a lot of crazy fun!

I have to give some legit props to the people who organize the Berkeley Pagan Festival and The Pagan Alliance. Things got kind of hectic, but it all worked out.

Initially when our booth placement was emailed out, Oak Myth Masks and Leathercraft was somehow listed in three separate locations, despite us only paying for one. Noelle at Firebird had been emailing us and we kept asking for our booths to be next to each other, but we ended up with 2 booths between us. Ah oh well. We certainly still had plenty of time to visit, chat, and give lots of love to each other.

Numerous times, people wandered into the tent to tell us how wonderful and magical the masks are. "Best masks I have ever seen!" was heard a few times too!

A few authors as well as a famous advocate for religious equality walked in as well, with more praise to give.

Sales were better than expected. All costs were completely covered and Eve and I went home with a good chunk of change to split between the two of us. Very close to the amount we made at FaerieWorlds! Hooray!

Last but not least, our delightful and beautiful friend, Carmen, showed up! She really gets animated when she wears the masks. This time, she put on the fox mask and ran around, dancing like a sly little graceful canine. Scored us a number of sales ♥♥♥ Needless to say, she's now invited to travel with us up the coast during all of our vending adventures.

Here is a short video of the festival:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to be a great customer with custom orders!

Hi folks! Today we're going to go over how you can help us with the process of making a complete custom order!

1. Do you have a very clear and specific vision of what you want?

No: It's okay if you don't! Sometimes we just love running wild and free with a vague concept. Freedom is usually better, because we are creative people with a distinctive style. If you trust us, we can make it great! If you know of a general color scheme, animal, creature, or style, we can work with that. Concept sketches will be provided so you can let us know what design you like the best.

Yes: I hope you're contacting us very far in advance, because this will usually take a lot of back and forth. In order for us to match your vision to the best of our abilities, we can send progress photos which you can approve or request changes. However, some changes are complicated (especially after the leather is shaped! Painting changes usually aren't so bad.) so what you can do to help is give us AS MUCH references to work off of as possible. Possible references can include:
  • A sketch or drawing of what you want the mask to look like
  • Photographs of animals/plants
  • Any sort of art or music you think will inspire us*!
  • Color swatches! Got specific colors in mind? Send them over!
 *Note that we will never directly copy another artist's design. 

2. Tell us if you want accessories like feathers, rhinestones, etc.

It is very important that we know this in advance so we can give an accurate price quote! If we've already quoted you a price, and somewhere in the process you decide that you want the mask to have something that wasn't told to us from the beginning, we'll have to charge more to cover the cost.

3. I don't like X & Y on the mask! Can it be fixed?**

If there's a problem with something in one of the progress photos, please tell us [nicely] right away! Problems are easier to fix if they're caught right away. This is especially true for those of you who have a clear and specific vision of what you want. If you are very descriptive with the references, this usually isn't a problem.

The problem is with the shaping: Sometimes this can be fixed, but please note that the more a piece of leather is wet and shaped, the weaker it becomes.

The problem is with the tooling: We will show you a tooling pattern before any of the cuts and bevels are made, so you DO have time in advance to tell us if you like or don't like something. However once the cuts are made, they are final, unless you want to pay for the supply cost of a new piece of leather (we can give quotes).

The problem is with the painting: No worries! Paint can be painted over! Painting is the easiest part to fix.

**If you are so picky and there are too many change requests, we reserve the right to cancel the order. It's pretty exhausting going back and changing things again and again, despite offering tons of progress photos. At a certain point, the supplies and work time costs too much.

4. I have a deadline!!

Cool! TELL US. And please give us the exact date or week. Five weeks is the absolute -minimum- unless you want something supremely simple. 
Here's how YOU can decrease the time it takes to make your custom item:
  1. Fewer changes = faster mask
  2. Be easy to get in touch with (etsy, email, etc.)
  3. Read this entire blog post! 
  4. Be nice! Seriously. If we like working with you, talking to you, bouncing ideas off of each other, then making your mask will be so much more pleasant. 
  5. Stick to your deadline. Don't give us a zillion different dates. We need to know exactly how to pace ourselves.

5. The mask doesn't fit right!

Well, this doesn't happen too often but it's not impossible. So, if you care to tell us exactly how it doesn't fit (eyes too small, nose too narrow, doesn't sit well etc.) we can fix it. We'll happily carve out bigger eyes, wrestle with the nose, tweak things here and there.... you get the idea. 

You may be able to fix it yourself!
So I know you payed a lot of money for your mask and probably [hopefully] want to protect it, but the fact of the matter is that leather is flexible! You should be able to wrestle with the nose area to some degree and make it submit to your face. We've never experienced paint cracking, but if it does happen, send it back and we'll fix it for you.


Okay, I know that there's this popular concept of "the customer is always right," and yeah, we DO want to make you happy and make sure you have a really great piece of wearable artwork, we aren't going to sit back and accept abuse, passive aggression, or any sort of nastiness. We're here to work WITH you, not under you! 

And again, if you're a nice person, we'll probably put extra love into your mask! ♥

Thanks for reading!

Further information: