COMMISSION A COSTUME
- NEED: Special attention to sizing or fit. A costume that isn't already premade and available.
- WANT: Someone that is skilled in an area you are unfamiliar with.
- The person you approach with a commission should have a good amount of experience in a particular area or several areas: sewing, fabricating, leatherwork, thermoplastics, foamsmithing, etc. How can you tell if they have experience? Well you basically have to vet them and make that determination on a case-by-case basis, which leads me to....
- Ask to see their portfolio. If they're taking commission work on a regular basis they will have a portfolio. If they don't, they should at least have photos of work they have made for themselves, friends, or family. If the commissioner can't provide any proof of prior work, look elsewhere.
BUT HOW DO I FIND SOMEONE TO APPROACH WITH A COMMISSION!?
- Join some FB commission groups (please let me know of other more so I can expand this list!) Lots of people there are able and willing to get you what you need!
- Alternatively, open up Etsy.com and start doing some smart searches. Use short phrases or a combination of keywords. Since Etsy is one of the best handmade markets out there, the choices are many. An Etsy seller that is willing to take on custom work will have a "Request Custom Order" button on their shop's landing page. Also if viewing from a listing, a similar button will be under the listing's product photos. The best part of this is that you can browse many people's shops which also doubles as a portfolio of their work!
- Custom work can get pricey. The more experience a person has (in any industry if you think about it) the more they value their time. Wouldn't you? They have spend thousands of hours honing their skills and that's why their time and handiwork is worth more then the next person. Cheap commissions can be found, but they are far and few in between. If someone with good cos-cred picks up cheaper work it may be because they have found materials on sale, have them in bulk already, or even simplicity of design. Even then it could still be well above some budgets because there's no *sale* on time. TRUTH.
IS IT OK TO ASK THEM TO MAKE THE THING AND THEN IF I LIKE IT I'LL BUY IT?
- No. Just no. Because the nature of commissions are customization, wanting to see the end result before you really invest a bunch of money is natural. BUT spec work is spec work and we just can't invest the time AND materials into making something you'll hopefully want to pay for when it's finished. This kind of, shall we call it "payment plan" usually gets turned down for those reasons. A very reasonable approach to this is that the commissioner ask for a down-payment or starting deposit to cover materials and time for beginning the commission. This also weeds out the serious commissionees from the non-serious ones, and it really protects both parties by having just enough to be invested into a pricey commission and seeing it to completion.
- Other than that, you have to trust that your commissioner is capable. Remember when we talked about researching them? Yes. If they have a large portfolio of historical costumes with a variety of angles, shots, close-ups, and their work looks good, then you can trust they can make you something just as clean and seamless along with all of your other needs met.
THEY OFFERED TO DO IT EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVEN'T WORKED WITH THE TYPE OF MATERIAL BEFORE
- Do not take on a commissioner who cannot show previous work with a certain material. Most of us crafty people are skilled in more than one medium, and chances are we can provide proof of that. If someone says "I haven't made anything out of X before but I'm excited to make this for you," just respectfully decline. There's a learning curve for working in a new medium for everyone, not to mention the cost that inevitably comes for buying the needed related tools and supplies specific to that thing.
SO I SHOULDN'T COMMISSION MS. STRICTLY SEAMSTRESS TO MAKE ME SOMETHING OUT OF WORBLA?
- That's right!