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Tue Nov 15 2016 20:09:15

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

By: Ina Steiner

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Recently I was looking for an item that would make a good gift for two family members and came across quite a few items on Etsy that were close to what I wanted, but not quite. I asked two sellers if they could see any way to modify their items based on what I wanted. (Since I wanted to order two, I figured there was no harm in asking two sellers.)

One kindly declined, while another not only accepted the challenge, but took the time to work up a prototype and run it by me.

Etsy makes it very easy to communicate with sellers, and it encourages custom order requests. I saw the latest example of that today in an announcement board post. Excerpt follows:

"You may have noticed that for the past few weeks, we've had a thread pinned to the top of the Promos section, allowing folks to request specific items that they are looking for. 

"We're trying this as a way to help connect buyers who have custom item requests they want to pitch to a wide audience all at once and the sellers who can make those items."

The announcement linked to the thread where shoppers were posting examples of items they wanted, and sellers were responding.

Clearly there's a demand from shoppers who want items to be customized, and Amazon also makes it easy to contact its Handmade sellers with custom requests.

Sellers of vintage and commodity items may look at it as a hassle - you may wonder why anyone would want to deal with extra emails from looky-loos. But I can imagine cases where artisans might be inspired by such requests.

Are you amenable to requests to customize items you sell? What are the pros and cons of doing so?




Comments (11) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 15 21:59:51 2016

I used to do this a lot, but the rub is that the time issue is incompatible with the defect policy. The work around is to offer and sell it as a sevice rather than a product.

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

by: Just Plain Irritated This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 16 00:05:58 2016

We don't sell so called custom made items, however, we do sell a glass item that can be made in lots of different sizes. .

Since about any size could be needed by our customers, we added a message to our eBay listings, telling customers that if we don't have the size they need, to please ask us, that we can get it and list it on eBay for them.

It turned out to be an excellent knowledge base, to help us build our inventory with the most asked for sizes, while also providing the seldom asked for sizes to those who need them.

It has worked out very well for us, and out of hundreds of requests, only a couple people have not followed through with the purchase. Someone else comes along and buys it later, so isn't really a serious issue.

Successful sellers will always be open to requests and suggestions.

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Nov 16 01:58:27 2016

"Successful sellers will always be open to requests and suggestions."

No necessarily. I think most small/medium sized sellers would consider my monthly sales "successful" in today's depressed sales climate, yet I stopped taking customs orders when The Ho transformed ebafia into a scammers' paradise. Too many reneged on orders no matter if money was collected up front oron the back end. Now getting special orders made is very problematic. And, no, there were no quality or appearance issues - just bad liar buyers.

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 16 06:31:33 2016

No, Never Ever.....Why kill yourself trying to make something special to find out the buyer just gave you a negative for some stupid reason.

Ebay caters to the unknown. If you sellers haven't learned this you are in for a rude awakening.

Besides we don't have the time to cater to the elite. Let them buy somewhere else.

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 16 10:46:39 2016

I used to in the old days, not on ebay anymore. I will tell them how to do it themselves but not many requests anymore either.
I used to do minor things, send them a photo for approval, etc... and then sometimes some problem buyer arose. The last straw was when I told a person they can do it themselves or I will do it for 10.00 includes materials (Because by this time sales were good and I had no time for it). They paid the money, I did it, then they complained they could have bought the stuff cheaper at Walmart and done it themselves cheaper with a nice negative. I had also let them return it and sold it promptly for more money without issue.

Sadly, etsy getting a lot worse than it used to be. Too many people I guess randomly asking for customized product but never hear from them again, just yes or no on my end usually, but it is getting annoying to the point of seeming like spam, that and all the flea market - craft fair types asking me to come and sell my items there.

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Nov 16 16:33:59 2016

The eBay sellers that I've contacted don't want to be bothered, not even if you're looking to buy a few dozen.  Their loss.  I just go to real businesses with real websites instead if I can't make it myself.  You're free to run your business that way but don't blame Obama or Trump or the IRS when your numbers fall short of expectations.

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Nov 16 19:53:06 2016

Anyone who does custom orders should request a non-refundable deposit (I would say not less than 50%) before they start the work. That way the seller can immediately find out who is serious.  

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

by: ORourkecut This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Nov 16 22:46:46 2016

Yes, We make custom glass gifts and it has worked very well for us. Just make sure you add enough time to produce.

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 17 12:31:16 2016

I started my small business career importing and selling handmade rugs from China in the 1980's.

As I was a small under funded business, I could only afford a small inventory.  Potential buyers liked my rugs but not for their homes.  Not wanting to lose an order, I would offer to special order a rug for them.  

I did that a few times, but then I realized few were buying the rugs that I had in stock. And dealing with the manufacturers in China before the Internet was a pain.  Plus the time delay in making a special order.  No way to run a business.

And that is great advice from ''JackSparrow'', secure a 50% deposit from the customer when they place an order.  Better to lose an order, then to be stuck with a custom order that maybe impossible to sell for a profit.

If a seller can make a good business out of custom orders, GREAT!  But with eBay stifling communication and inflexible rules on quick shipment, eBay is not the place for a custom order business.  

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 19 08:52:25 2016

I am always happy to consider any offer, request, or customization. If I can get a sale and a happy buyer then everyone wins.

Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?   Are You Amenable to Requests for Custom Orders?

This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Tue Nov 22 11:41:46 2016

You make money by giving customers what they want - eBay excluded.



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