Commissioning Designers for Custom Work

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Have you ever looked through pieces by a Designer and thought " I really love the silhouette of this piece but wish it could be the colors or fabric of this other piece over here?" I know I have and it's prompted me to contact them and ask if the piece comes in other colors or if they do custom work.


Commissioning someone to create a piece for you can go a little deeper though. You might just see someone's work and love the overall style. You might also have a special occasion coming up or simply want to treat yourself. You also don't know exactly what you want the piece to look like but you know you love the Designer and want them to create something custom for you. 


I've been on both sides of this. One of the favorite things I ever commissioned was for my wedding. I had a friend that created one of a kind headpieces. I knew I wanted her to make the pieces and I had an idea in mind and a few vintage things I had collected for the wedding. I also knew I wanted to give her the creative freedom to be inspired by my idea and work in her style.


As a Designer, I've been working on a custom piece in a gorgeous color palette. This commissioned piece is exciting because of the material freedom the client gave me as well as the sparkle I saw in her eye as she talked about the feathers she envisioned me using. Here's a sneak peek:  



Successful commissions have a few components that I've identified over the years working both as the Designer and the Customer. Here is what to expect when working with me to create a custom piece:


Deadline: This is pretty straight forward but when I accept custom work I want to know your deadline if there is an event or even if there is a time of year you are hoping to wear this piece. Once you give me that date, I make my deadline about a week before because sometimes life simply happens and I want to honor your time. I also want to give you progress pics along the way and ease some of the stress that may come with certain types of events like weddings, etc.


Colors: What is your color palette? I ask clients to give me some inspiration by looking through images of my work, showing my the invitation to an event, finding something on pinterest, or a piece of clothing or accessory they want to wear with my piece.


Style: Why me? What do you specifically like about my work? Is there a certain piece I posted two years ago that stuck in your head? Do you like the fringe on this piece but the neckline on another piece? I also ask for any other images of pieces that are similar to what you envision. Pinterest is always my go to place for that. If I'm able to meet with a client in person, I ask them to sort of describe the piece as they can see it on their body. I'm currently working with a client on a millinery piece to wear to an event. I asked her to imagine herself taking the piece off her head. That simple motion let me see the size and placement of the piece she wanted me to create.


Event: I want to know where you want to wear this piece. It can be for a very specific event or maybe its just a treat for you for a lot of recent hard work. In talking to clients about the events or what prompted them to approach me, I often get a more in depth idea of what they specifically like about my work. It also gives me a better idea of their personality. 


Budget: I like the the way a classic bridal show asks this question " Is there a budget I should be mindful of?" This gives me an idea of how much time I can spend and the materials I can use. I'll ask this toward the end of the conversation so I can consider everything we've talked about and give a clear picture of what will be included. Sometimes this equates to the size of the piece, details, or materials. 


Are you interested in commissioning a custom piece from me or another designer? If I can help you in any way please comment below or reach out via email at

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