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Are you looking to get a truly meaningful, unforgettable gift? Welcome to the world of custom design…
Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of getting something custom made. Maybe you’re just looking for the perfect gift and all the regular ideas are eluding you. Either way, there are some great reasons to ditch looking in all the regular spots and get a custom job.
Back in the day (and by “the day”, I mean the 80’s), there was a perception that getting a custom made design was complicated, time-prohibitive, and most of all – expensive. When my dad got me a custom, white gold sapphire ring for Christmas when I was 16 it was kind of a big deal; and he made that known when it got stolen from the locker room of the local pool not 6 weeks later (I still think hiding it in my sock was genius, and can’t figure out how anyone even thought to look there).
1. Be one of a kind:
There’s nothing more ho-hum – to me at least – to look in a store jewelry case and see 75 rings that are more or less identical. Gee, how special. Getting a custom made design ensures it’s unique and just right for you.
2. Opportunity to tell your story:
Why pick up a run-of-the-mill pendant for the girls in your bridal party when you can capitalize on that inside joke you’ve been recirculating for a dozen years? With custom made designs you can actually do this.
3. Options in how to achieve your price point:
This is an often overlooked benefit of custom made designs. Often, there’s more than one way to achieve a certain look. To the untrained eye, silver can look an awful lot like white gold – white gold just costs ten times as much! So you can get a look you love for a price you can afford.
4. Bring things to the table – literally:
Have your mom’s old engagement set sitting in your closet; no way you’ll ever wear it as-is? Is your dad’s leather jacket just taking up space. Don’t want to wear it, but can’t bear to part with it? Upcycle! Have it redesigned with a custom made design and keep it in the family – and in your heart.
5. Support local:
Whoever designed those pretty pillows at the local Walmart, you can guess they probably weren’t from around here. In order to achieve competitive price points, big box stores find the cheapest way to get goods that they can – and if that means buying from women making pennies on the dollar working in a shop in Bangladesh, so be it. Plus, locally-made artisanal products and custom made designs have been shown to be perceived as “worth more”!
In general, going with a custom made design is much more flexible than buying something from a store. If 7:30 am at the local coffee shop is what works best for you, you can bet a custom designer will find a way to make it happen. If payments need to be spaced over several months or a year, that can usually be accommodated too.
7. You’re buying from a passionista:
Regular stores generally hire staff who they feel can get the job done. So, if you’re friendly and you look like you can sell shoes – welcome aboard! And if you find something else next week… well, let’s face it, everyone’s replaceable. But when you’re buying custom made designs, you’re right there with the designer, and they’re in it for the duration – start to finish. And this means they’ve been dedicating themselves to creating this one special thing for a long time, so they know their stuff.
8. Focus on what is of ethical concern to you:
When you buy custom, you have options that support causes that are important to you. If faux fur or began leather are what you’re looking for, it can be done. You can insist on responsibly-mined stones – or even manmade ones! With all the options in products today, there is absolutely no reason to buy something that does not meet your requirements.
9. Be fashion forward:
The turnaround time for custom design is much, much shorter than what you see in the stores. Any designer will tell you that, to sell wholesale, you’re planning next spring’s order sometime in the fall. And that means they are not able to pick up on a hot trend, or be on top of the look you’re suddenly seeing everywhere. But custom designers can.
10. Made with love:
There’s a big difference between a machine spitting out 30,000 identical products, and getting one made just to fit you. And a big part of that difference is the human element. Having someone tailor something – thinking about how it’s going to be given, exactly where, when, and how you’re going to use it, and how it will get passed on – means a whole other set of questions and considerations come into play. It’s a mindfulness you don’t see with mass produced goods. And that means the final product will be a whole lot better suited to you, and will likely last longer to boot.
So what three things can we take away from all this? First, custom made designs nowadays are a lot easier and more common than they used to be, and can create something special for you that will truly suit the way you live. Second, it can also be a less expensive option, and one where pricing and materials can be flexible to suit your needs. And third, when you go swimming… don’t hide your ring in your shoe.
By Hannah Pazderka – Art of Gems