Working directly with a designer: your questions answered

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The way I work with my clients is a little different than a salon. My long term goal is for you to find my designs in salons and have the local sales staff assist you, but in the mean time (I should be in stores by spring 2010) I’m working directly with my clients.

I’m going to start a series of blog posts outlining how my design process works. Today I’ll show you a couple of benefits for you and answer the commonly asked question: “how soon before my wedding do I need to make a deposit?”

Your first fairy godmother benefit is that you can actually make changes to my designs. When you walk down the isle, I want to feel like your gown is the most perfect gown ever created for anyone. You might feel like that wearing one of my designs just as I’ve created it, or you might want to personalize some of the elements or details. I’m happy to assist you in whatever way you need. For example, I’m working with a client right now that has ordered the Caroline skirt and overskirt. We’ve made minor changes by adding a front drape to the overskirt and a couple of rows of ruffles to the bottom of the underskirt. We’ve paired that with a completely unique custom designed corset. This client sent me about a dozen photos of dress elements that she liked & from that I designed a corset just for her. (I actually like it so much, it’s going in my next collection). When we make changes like that, each step of the way, I sketch them out & lay out clearly how that will affect the cost.

Another positive for you in working directly with the designer is that we can make your gown fit into your budget (wouldn’t it be nice if I could make us all fit into our jeans that easily? Alas, my fairy godmother powers don’t extend into denim!) So you can say to me “wow, I really want the Josephine, just as it’s pictured on the website. I’ll need sizing option B, but my budget is only $2800.” Well, the Josephine as shown on the website in sizing option B totals $3385. Because I’m your fairy godmother & I really want to make you happy, I’ll tell you that you have a couple of options. First of all, I offer a discount of the month program that’s generally between 10 to 30 percent off. (I’ll make another blog post on how that works). So I’ll tell you to wait until the first of the following month & take advantage of that (it’s only available for the first person each month to place a deposit). If you aren’t able to use that option, I’ll start giving you suggestions for bringing the cost down. I would probably suggest we start by looking at fabrication options, or deciding if you really need the jacket, and take it from there based on what I’ve learned from getting to know you. There are ways to make a gown fit in a budget & I’m pretty good at finding them. I’m also pretty good at keeping you good. 🙂 My primary goal is making you happy, which ultimately means that not only have you gotten the gown of your dreams, but you feel happy about having stayed reasonably within your budget. I have at times been known to tell a customer “I can add that to your order, but it brings your total cost over the budget you told me you wanted to stay within. I’m going to ask you to think about it for a week and let me know if you want to proceed.” Everybody walks away feeling good about the gown and the process!

This brings us to why & when you need to make a deposit.

*When do you need to make a deposit? … As soon as you know for sure that you want to have me as your fairy godmother.

*Why do you need to make a deposit? … For a couple of reasons. First of all, your deposit guarantees your wedding date on my calendar. I’m currently producing only 2-4 gowns per month. Once a particular month is fully booked, I don’t take any more reservations.

Second, and most important, your deposit gives you the right to have access to my time. I respond to every e-mail I receive and try to answer everyone’s unique questions, but I’m limited in the amount of time I can spend with you until you become a client. In responding to e-mails, I’m happy to answer questions about my design process or questions about my gowns for anyone who needs that information. I won’t, however, be able to give you a higher level of personal service until after you have made your deposit and officially become my client.

Even if your wedding is 15 months away, when you place your deposit, we have then entered into a design relationship and I’m at your service. I like to get to know my clients & find myself actually consulting on other areas than the gown from time to time. I’m available to talk to your wedding coordinator, I’ll send you free swatch kits to make sure your colors blend perfectly with your chosen fabric, I’ll track down another color fabric if you decide the original choice just isn’t going to work, I’ll do custom fashion sketches for you to illustrate any changes we’ve discussed, I’ll give you my opinion on tuxes, bridesmaids dresses, or flower girl dresses, and generally anything else you need. But in order to give you this level of service, I need to know that you are on board and fully committed to being a client.

If you know for sure that you want to wear one of my gowns on your big day, but also know that you need 3 months to put together the money for a deposit, please feel free to let me know that. I’m really nice, I promise! 🙂 I’m not going to be mean or ‘cut you off’ or not respond to your e-mails. I’m just need you to understand that my availability to limited to shorter responses to non-clients.

Stay tuned, I’ll be addressing some other frequently asked topics in coming blog posts such as:

My ‘discount of the month’ program

The upcoming $5000 Gown GiveAway

My fitting process: yes, your gown will fit you perfectly!

The benefits of wearing a real corset

If you have anything else you would like me to address, please let me know. In the mean time, here’s a little poof of my fairy godmother dust, just to make you happy…..

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Working directly with a designer: your questions answered

  1. That is a fabulous post, and so well explained.

  2. Rachel

    hey that gown she talks about is my gown… im soo excited the process has been easy and she totally gets me! everything about my dress screams me! and i even was able to go back and change things whenever i wanted, and she never gave it a second thought. shes very straight forward with the pricing and how everything works, i never thought in a million years i would buy a dress without trying it on. but alisa made me trust her completely. and i have no problem waiting to see my gorgeous dress. im so excited to see our design fall into place but i feel at ease in her hands!
    and i do truly feel as if i have a fairy godmother! its perfect…

  3. alisabenay

    Thanks Rachel for the glowing review. 🙂 Your dress is going to be phenomenal! I’m excited about it, too.

    Mimi,
    How’s the new site coming? Ooo, I just saw you have specialty listings. I should get on there under corsets. I’m going to be expanding the corset-only offerings over the summer. Send me the info again if you don’t mind (I going with the assumption that I’m going to get up from the computer in 2 minutes to get my breakfast & I’ll completely forget to e-mail you about it. That’s a pretty safe assumption!)

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