At the beginning of this year, I have received a large order. The design brief was exciting, creatively stimulating, and I couldn’t wait to make it come to life. The client was the loveliest person, very trusting and open to my ideas. Simply put - A DREAM PROJECT to start a new year! I was up to a good start, however for a variety of reasons, the result did not come out as the client expected. Months of work down the drain, the whole project had to be scrapped. Needless to say, the client was extremely disappointed, as was I. For a brief moment, I felt like I completely failed as a designer. The whole experience was on its way to unravel and turn into a big disaster. But this is not a story of my professional shortcomings – it is a story of perseverance, teaching moments, and eventual successes. I spent every free minute between other projects for the rest of the year, reviewing my notes, reading the client’s comments, reworking the design, recutting the pattern, dissecting every stitch, to finally create the dress that should have been… It took some time, but I succeeded to turn this fail into something I am now very proud of. The LANA dress is now available to order.
Here’s a list of my takeaways from this experience:
- Egos need to be put aside. As a designer it is important to have my vision and stand by my design, BUT to be successful designer it is just as important to respect the client’s vision, and to listen to their feedback and comments.
- It is OK to make mistakes, provided you learn from them, grow, and improve your skill.
- Honest, consistent communication with a client is key. It is easy to come up with excuses as to why the order is not turning out as originally discussed, or to avoid client’s calls and emails all together. It is even easier to be proactive and keep a client updated throughout the project, communicate, and solve any issues as they arise.
- If there is no substance, the client WILL notice, no matter how pretty the packaging is.
- My time has value. The biggest pitfall when pricing custom orders, is not to include time spent on the project, therefore underpricing the order, and then cutting corners and quality of the work to catch up.
- I can’t do it for the “gram”. Time management is key, and focus should be on the actual product first, instead of spending valuable time on trying to snap the perfect picture to post. A positive word of mouth is worth a thousand manicured Instagram posts.
- Excellent customer service is essential to business grow. Clients WILL remember the overall experience and will continue to support you even if there were some issues, as long as they feel herd and appreciated.
So here is my promise to Jujibird clients and students for next year.
! I will always be grateful for all my clients I have worked with this past year, and appreciative of all the new ones in this upcoming year.
! I will never take for granted any order, or class, or workshop, and will apply myself to the fullest, no matter how big or small the project is.
! I will continue to master my craft and strive to improve myself as a designer and as a teacher, so that I never have to say “NO, I can’t do that” or “I don’t know” to my clients and students.
I am committed to continue work hard in 2023 to grow Jujibird, and I can only do it by being honest with my customers, confident in my skills, not be afraid to say sorry, but most importantly, to always look for solutions, not to cry about problems.
Thank you all, and cheers to a successful New Year!