Thursday, November 1, 2012

Finishing--from a customer's viewpoint

Most customers automatically assume that all needlepoint shops offer finishing.  This is not necessarily true.  There are levels of finishing that can be offered by lns (local needlework shops).  There is a great degree of variation.  Also, some shops do their own finishing.  Needle Nicely does very little.  I have about 20 professional finishers I send items to, depending on what the item is and how it is to be finished.  In-house we block all belt canvases before sending them to any of the 4 finishers we use for belts.  I make the yarn cording before I send a rug to that finisher.  We also finish Pischke Pockets, Voila's key fobs and Lee's Needle products, though with all of these we try to encourage people to try it themselves.  And yes, I'll block that Sophia purse flap and sew the lining down for you.  Frankly, I'd rather spend my time needlepointing or making orders than doing hand-sewing!  I can do it and will for money,  but my heart belongs elsewhere.

I regret to say that there are several items that I do not have finishers for.  Among these are:  director's chairs for adults and children; footstools that are upholstered, not drop-in pads; Trubey's wing chairs for children.  I have tried my usual finishers and been unhappy with the results, so I don't use them for these items. 

One of the first things a customer should consider before purchasing a needlepoint project is:  Where can I get it finished/put together?  The obvious answer is "where I have purchased it".  But the second question should be, "do I like how they have finished it in the past--by looking at their samples?"  We have lots of models in Needle Nicely to help with the finishing decision/s.  The third question is:  "Do I want to pay their price?"  All of these questions should be answered before purchasing the canvas.  I especially try to prepare people when they are considering shoe or purse canvases.  Better to get the bad news before you buy than after.  I had someone bring in a wall-hanging last week.  We had had the canvas specially painted years ago.  After I told her how much my finisher would charge and saw her shock, I mentioned that a local frame shop could probably do a job she would like for less.  And that's what she decided to do.  It never occurred to her to ask about finishing when she commissioned the canvas. 

I have many customers who simply hand over the stitched canvas and say "do what you think is best".  This makes me uneasy.  They are the ones who did the stitching and should have a vested interest in the finishing.  I may see plain and they may want embellishment.  Also, each thing a pillow finishers does to a canvas adds to the cost.  Sometimes you may just want "quick and dirty" or "plain cake".  Don't hesitate to say this to your shop owner.  Better to have the discussion before the item is finished than after when someone is unhappy with the final product.   It's easier to "do" something than it is to undo it--and a lot cheaper. 

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, MA. The NP Group on Facebook has had several folks complaining about the finishing they've received. I have not heard both sides of the story but I am sure a frank discussion before the painted canvas was even purchased would have saved a lot of disappointment.