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Sometimes you just have to forge ahead...

I am sure I could solve all my blood pressure problems by just shooting a few suppliers!

I'd line them up and pepper them with paintballs filled with syrup and food colouring, and mashmallows, until they were brightly coloured and VERY STICKY and promised never to do this to me again!

We sent for some lovely samples from a German company we have used before.  The samples were perfect and the customer loved them...  But just the samples took three weeks to get here!  Once we'd got the samples and the OK from the customer, they gave us the cash and we ordered the fabric.  On the order we put that this was now an URGENT order as the suppliers had taken so long to get the sample to us.  We had to have the fabric by June 14 as the frock is to be worn on the 27th!  I'd emailed the customer the moment the sample landed and she came round that evening and said yes, so there was no dilatoryness on the customer's part!  Nor ours as we ordered the fabric the very next morning.

June 14 rolls round... No fabric.  No email.  Nothing...

We emailed them asking where our fabric was.  No reply,

We rang them (yes, in GERMANY!) and got told 'Number unobtainable'!


We emailed again, crossly.

The rang us.  One of the two fabrics was out of stock and not due in for another fortnight!  And just WHEN were they going to tell us? And why had they not sent out the other fabric?

Turns out that they have no mechanism in their system for splitting an order like that, and no mechanism for us to cancel part of the order.  We'd have to re-order the one they did have in stock, and cancel the whole of the first order.  And while the money would take several days to get back into our account, the money for the new order would go out right away!

Not only that, but they also told us we needed to RING THEM IN GERMANY to make sure any fabric we wanted was in stock.  Our flabber was well and truly gasted.

OK, the lass who rang was a bit grovely and apologetic, but -!!

Guess what?  We canceled the whole order.  They are on our Grey List: only to be ordered from in exstremis, and then only when we have plenty of lead time for the project.  They do lovely quality fabric, but their customer service sucks.

I found what LOOKED like the best bet for a replacement on Ebay and ordered the tulle from one supplier and the taffeta from another.  Tulle arrived safe and sound a day or so later, but taffeta man only had a short bit of the colour left.  He refunded the cash right away.

I took a look about to see if we could source the fabric elsewhere.  I found some with a nice supplier here in the UK, but sadly, though they were very quick and efficient, we had to take a gamble on the colour, and it was too blue.

Meanwhile taffeta man got back to me: he could get another bit and send it out over night.  It came the following day.  It was a bit pink, but I thought it would go with the shoes...  The customer came that evening and approved it, so phew!

After she had gone, I was refolding the taffeta and I noticed a stain...  EEEKKK!!!

The first meter of fabric was stained about half way across the width with what looks like sewing machine oil.  It's in blobs and drips...


Bugger!  No time to buy more, and we were already waiting for the German money to get back and out of pocket by another length of taffeta.

In order to get the skirt of the prom frock out of the good bits, I had to make the skirt two thirds of a circle rather than a whole circle, and cut in 4 panels rather than a single panel for the front and two for the back (to allow for center back opening).  Luckily the taffeta layer is UNDER three layers of net and tulle, with a lace bodice over the top of a taffeta covered foundation.

I sent taffeta man an email, asking what he was going to do about this.  I sent him the pictures of the damage before I cut it out.  I have yet to have a reply.  Feedback will be negative as I failed to get a grovelling apology.  he did email me a few days later saying that he had told me he'd sent 20" of extra fabric, but that if it was a problem, I could send it back and he'd send me a replacemnt perfect length...

At this point, words failed me utterly.  He HAD a perfect length IN STOCK, but had sent out a bit he knew was damaged??? WTF?

The lovely lilac prom frock taffeta layer was cut.  The bodice sections were sewn and applied to the outside of the thick mercerized cotton foundation layers with all its plastic bones...  Su serged the seam allowances on the skirts for me. I sat and calmly hand sewed the taffeta to the foundation up the corset tape up the back, and spend some moments playing with the button covering thingy and covered ten lovely buttons in lilac taffta!  I cut bias strips to bind the top and bottom of the foundation layer, and sewed those on.  I then hand finished the inside.  It was calming, soothing, and all thoughts of murdering people and nailing their hides to the sewing room door as a warning to others almost drifted away...

This is one of those times when you do the extra hand sewing for the sake of your own karma, not because the customer deserves it (though she is a total sweetie!).

ravenrigan made the lovely hair piece, and did all the gathering on the tulle and the taffeta.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 28th, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
"At this point, words failed me utterly. He HAD a perfect length IN STOCK, but had sent out a bit he knew was damaged??? WTF?"

I'd point this out to him (of course, at this point I'd be more than willing not only to grey-list him but to have him grey-list me, or at least I'd be willing to take the chance that he might), and I'd simply ask him directly not what he intends to do about it, but whether he wants to do A or B. I expect one of those would be to refund a given percentage of your money---at least a third of it, since you had to reduce the circle skirt by that much.

That you were able to make a success of this gown despite his...carelessness, we'll call it...isn't the point. The point is, he either was completely negligent about what he sends out, or he was counting on you not sending back goods you'd already paid for.
(When I do this, it's usually because a quick-service/fast food establishment has made up my order incorrectly, and I'll point out the error and ask them whether they'd like to refund my money in full on the spot, or re-do the order---correctly. But I never leave the option open-ended and I'm always specific about what courses of action are acceptable.)
Jun. 28th, 2013 01:34 pm (UTC)
I did give him the option of refunding the postage (about £10 for the overnight postage), but have heard nothing. Negative feedback and blacklisting him follows. We don't have time for this sort of pissing about.

Contrast with Heritage Trading: we found a length of braid from them had faults along the length. One section of about 3m was perfect, one section could be used with care, and 3m is totally unusable, so because of the time constraints, we had to sub another 3m length of a braid that goes well with the HT braid. Su emailed them and they have apologized and are refunding the total cost, no questions asked. They emailed back within the hour, despite a big time difference. Now THAT is customer service! They even said they checked and the whole batch was bad so they wouldn't even try to replace it for us. It was lucky we had something suitable that the customer liked in stock. We don't mind errors (though quality control should have picked this up), when the company puts it right.

I once had a length of scarlet Barathea turn up as olive drab on the doorstep! Hainsworth sent out the replacement and it was with me by special courier less than 12 hours later. The courier even took the wrong colour back with them. I'll deal with that kind of service any day!
Jun. 28th, 2013 09:21 pm (UTC)
The frock is lovely, as usual, but, please, let me know who this supplier is (if you want to in private) so that I may never be tempted to order from them.
Jun. 30th, 2013 12:06 am (UTC)
The German site is http://kreative.stoffe.de/ Their UK website is myfabrics.co.uk. The ebay seller was UK based faisalronaldo909 Being based in germany, you might have better luck with the German site than wee did. Their website colours are really accurate and the fabric is of a beautiful quality, but try not to order from them if you are in a hurry!
Jun. 29th, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC)
So many headaches for such a beautiful gown. Your amazing self has come thru again, despite all manner of obstacles and adversity! You deserve a pamper. (Do i sound like a Chinese fortune cookie or what? LOL)
Jun. 30th, 2013 12:07 am (UTC)
Thank you. I did pamper myself: I ordered a box of Lush hair stuff and soap! :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )