Response to an unhappy customer

Hi all,

A post was recently made about me with feedback from a customer, and I would like to respond to the points made. Some of them are plain wrong, and others require re-iterating of my rules. This might get a little long, thank you for reading!

The customer’s claims:

  1. Turnaround time: The customer claimed I take 2-3 times longer than the turnaround times posted on my website. They claimed they waited 6 months. This is completely untrue. The stated estimated time is 5-12 weeks from the beginning of the round that the customer has signed up for. i.e. if the beginning of round 1 coincides with the 1st of February (which it did in this case), then the commission should be done by the 1st of May. That is the point at which I send out photos; the approval and shipping process takes a few days on top of that. At the beginning of this year I had fallen behind by about 4 weeks overall, because of various outside circumstances (I have since caught up). This particular customer’s commission should have been finished by May 1st – they received their photos on May 29th instead, about 4 weeks late. I thanked them for waiting. This is not 2-3 times longer than the listed time, which would make it 6 or 9 months. Also, I would like to note that turnaround times are always estimates, not written in stone.

  2. Yes, I have my own style. Every faceup artist does. I will always, always do my best to paint your doll the way you envisioned, but of course it will be my interpretation. You will get this from every faceup artist. We are not mind-readers and we have a style – please look through our portfolios before you commission us, and don’t expect to get something that looks like someone else’s work.

  3. The claim that I do not have many masculine examples, or don’t paint males well, is false. Anyone is welcome to peruse my flickr and Instagram accounts to see many examples of various styles, male and female. If someone finds my style “too feminine”, that is their personal taste and, imo, has no place in a feedback review.

  4. Correct, I do not provide WIP pictures. This is stated in my Commission Rules on my website. The only exception is when a customer is very particular about the eyebrow shape and wants to make sure that’s going in the right direction – it’s the first thing I paint, so it’s still feasible to do a picture. I simply do not have the time in my workflow to do progression pictures of all the dolls on my desk. Other artists might have less of a work load and thus might be able to do this. I am not one of them. Please be sure you like my style.

  5. Correct, please, please read my FAQ/commission rules. Everything is answered there. Every time I open slots, I say please read the rules. On my invoice, it says please read the rules. In my email signature, it says please read the rules. My rules are built on 10+ years of experience running my own business.

As for this customer’s case in particular:

  1. Work specifics:
  1. They claim the cost of the commission was $140. This is misleading. The cost of the commission was $95, and they requested EMS shipping, which cost $44.
  2. The reference picture I was given was of a Sephiroth faceup on an IH Leonard head, not an IH Chase head (their doll is a Chase), so right off the bat it was impossible to make them look the same, as the eye shape and lip shape are completely different.
  3. I was not shown the picture of their friend’s doll (Also a Chase, whom I had painted as Sephiroth long ago) until after they were unhappy with the results of the commission. It was a very different style from the Leonard, specifically the lip painting style, and had I had both reference pictures beforehand I would have been able to ask specific questions and sort out details.
  4. All the information I was given was “make him look like Sephiroth” (who is a 3d animated character), and “I like how this one doll looks” (different sculpt, different faceup artist). If I am given that little information, then I assume interpretation is what is desired.
  5. The customer had not requested to leave off gloss, so should not be mad at me for applying gloss. It’s something that’s easily fixed with another few layers of sealant, in any case.
  6. As it states in my rules, if someone is unhappy with their results, I will always, always try to adjust to make it right. In this case, it was pretty easy. Darken and elongate the eyebrows, darken the lips, add more dark eyeshadow (I’d like to note that 3d Sephiroth does not have any eyeshadow, so I kept it lighter to begin with, and he does have rather pink lips), and take the gloss shine away. Once the customer saw the updated pictures, they responded in a very happy and satisfied manner, so I was very surprised to see this review.  
  7. As for the nose – it had been modded extensively, sanded somewhat roughly on a very yellowed head. The difference in color and texture was severe. Blending pastels on such an area is difficult, so I left it mostly untouched for fear of making it look bad. Once the customer complained about this, I spent a good amount of time blending colors to cover the difference a little better, and the end result was less obvious than before.
  8. Photos always look different on different monitors, it could be mine that’s at fault.

  9. Business specifics:

  10. I receive roughly 25-30 boxes every month, and sometimes I forget an arrival notification, or it takes me a few days to make a list of who has arrived and email everyone. That’s on me, I should be faster with this.
  11. Same goes for updating the progress lists on my website – I update there roughly once a week, but sometimes someone can slip through the cracks. I will always correct this, it’s just “paperwork” and does not affect the work flow itself.
  12. I do not personally send email notifications when I ship packages – those come directly from USPS. I input the customer’s email address when I print the postage. USPS emails can sometimes land in junk mail folders, but I do always, always inform the customer that their tracking information will come from USPS directly.

In conclusion:

I do my best for every customer, with the information and the sculpt I am given. I have been doing this for over 10 years, and there’s a reason that I have dozens of pages of glowing feedback on DoA, and my work is all over the internet. There’s a reason I have customers who have been with me for many, many years. If someone is unhappy with their results, they can tell me and I will work with them. I always have. Please read the commission rules. Please be communicative. I understand very well how emotional we get over these dolls, but please refrain from posting untruths publicly. A “word of warning” about a personal experience that includes untruths can hurt a small artist immensely.

Thank you for reading.