How to Deal with Product Errors

enhanceBeing a perfectionist in the crafting industry is dangerous. I consider it a blessing because it means that I care about the quality of the work I produce, but it can also be painful when I have moments that remind me I’m human. Which are much more frequent than I typically care to admit! There will inevitably be times when something doesn’t go as planned, however, and you’re going to be frustrated. Quality control is extremely important, but take it from me, letting those frustrations get you down can be even more detrimental. Even if you weren’t planning on selling the item!

When I find an error with a product (keeping in mind that I create a majority of my projects to sell), I’ve established four basic ways to “resolve” my frustration with it:

1. Start over. I do this much more frequently (and successfully) with knit or crochet pieces. When you’re working with paper or fabric, it can be difficult to start over and salvage your materials. While I certainly don’t want to waste anything, for personal sanity and customer satisfaction, sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Many times I start over because I’ve learned a thing or two about my process, and the end product is even better than I imagined it the first time!
2. Change it. There is nothing that says you can’t change your plan while you’re creating something. That’s part of why you’re doing it – to be creative! So you start out with a plan to make an infinity scarf and you don’t have enough fabric or yarn. The police will not come knocking on your door if you alter your product to be a beautiful cowl instead! Stamp not come out clearly? Maybe the missing portion is “hiding” behind another layer of your paper craft!
3. Keep it. 
Since I design most of my items within the realm of my own personal taste, many of the items I don’t deem worthy of being on Etsy make their way into my personal collection. Doesn’t earn me any money, but it keeps me from spending money on new items when it feels like I just gave myself a gift! (Fantastic logic, right?!)
4. Discount it. Not the best option in the craft world, but especially if you’re tight on resources, it may be best to at least recoup the cost of your materials if the final product still functions. Just remember to use this as a last resort as you don’t want to diminish the perception of your work. On the other hand, you also don’t want to lie about the quality of the work or deceive a buyer into expecting more than they will receive.

This entire post was actually prompted because of a scarf I made recently. I was trying a new technique on a cotton scarf and silly me, did not think to change the color of my bobbin (the bottom or “wrong side” thread). So I’m trucking along and suddenly realize that while my white stitches look great on the top – which is white – the underside that’s still visible is dark gray, and the white stitches don’t look so hot. Does that ruin the piece? No. Does it make me less than thrilled and consider it below my shop’s standards? Yes. Solution? I will sell it in person at a lower rate, but not online. This will provide a great way to be honest about the product’s “flaws”, while still promoting the quality of the material and craftsmanship that went into it.

The next time you find yourself disappointed with the quality of your work, I hope you’ll consider one or more of these solutions! Or maybe you already have a go-to method for beating the blues. I’d love to hear how you tackle these human moments! I promise it happens to us all!

Outdoor Style Addition

2014-05-27 18.22.04I bought my fiance a pair of Adirondack chairs for Christmas, and he had fun assembling them and giving them a few coats of protective finish.    We’ve used the chairs almost every evening since the weather improved, and while they are comfortable and beautiful on their own, I’ve been itching to add a couple of pillows for a pop of color and style.  My friend Joli gave me a beautiful collection of fabric remnants as a gift for my birthday, and there are so many fun, bold patterns, I knew I could find a couple that would look fantastic.

2014-05-27 18.22.37Putting a pillow outside with the humidity, pollen, sun, etc. made me a little nervous though.  Plus, the fiance didn’t want to take away from the natural comfort and simplicity of his chairs.  After convincing him that it would be a small addition and wouldn’t take away from his chair, I had what I am dubbing a stroke of brilliance.

Recycling is something we try to do a lot of, but plastic bags pile up in our house.  I never remember the reusable shopping bags like I should, and my solution is to recycle the plastic from time to time.  For this project, rather than putting those bags into the recycling bin, I put them into my pillow cases!  You’d never know by looking at them.  They aren’t meant to add comfort, and since I don’t have to worry about mold, mildew or other things growing in my pillow, it seems like a brilliant idea!

I’m sure there’s a downfall, but as of now, I’m just enjoying the feeling of having added a bit of style on the porch. What do you think?