Ɲøʀƙɨɑ (flag) wrote in artists_beware,

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In February 2007 I contacted plush artist YutakaYumi about buying a plush of Red XIII from Final Fantasy VII she had for sale in her deviantART gallery. She told me it was already sold and offered to make me another one upon commission for the same price ($110) which I agreed to and gladly paid in full. Little did I know what I was getting into.

She mentioned it would take three to four weeks since she had the pattern and fabric on hand, but by the time May rolled around I didn't see anything so I sent her a PM again asking for progress on my plush and she said it was almost put together and that it would be finished in early June after she moved though of course didn't provide pictures. So once again I waited, sent a few PMs only to be ignored, and finally in September I was told that her materials got lost in the mail while moving and she'd have to wait for the materials to get replaced. Whatever, I was naive and said that stuff happened and moved on. From then onwards I was chasing her in circles for a few months asking for progress pictures and my e-mails were either ignored (and she was obviously online since I could see her online on Gchat) or responded with excuse after excuse- she couldn't find the material for the markings, she or her family was sick, she had pieces for different sizes cut out but didn't remember what size I ordered, she forgot about my commission completely, etc, etc. And yet she kept on making other plushies for directly selling so obviously no progress was being made on my plush.

Around June 2008 my patience wore paper thin and I sent a nasty e-mail about how unfair it was for her to keep commissioners waiting for months on end while she made plush to sell and that I didn't even want the plush anymore but would gladly take it so I would get something for my money. I ended the e-mail demanding either my plush or my money back by the beginning of July or else I would take action with Paypal and get my money back that way. She responded saying that her direct sale plushies were to pay bills and buy fabric to make commissions with (?! didn't I pay for the cost of materials when I paid for the plush?) and that if I didn't want Red anymore then I could change what plushie I wanted.

Clearly I had little hope for getting my money back and it was far too late to file a Paypal dispute and claim, go I threw in the towel and changed my commission to another character (Quilava from Pokemon) of the same size (I never saw any progress pictures of Red despite how many times I asked so it was safe to say that she never even started on it), we discussed fabric color and markings, she had to make a new pattern so I cut her a little slack (I could have slapped myself) and in late August I finally got a picture of some progress. She said she wanted to redo the head so I let her. In November she e-mailed me again saying that the plush body was redone and that it measures 21" long instead of the 14" it was originally going to be. She sent me more progress pics with the redone head and eyes, said his final size will be 18-19 inches long, and wanted to confirm whether or not I wanted flames for the head and rear and if I wanted them to be removable with velcro spots in those areas. I went along with it because I thought it was a cute idea and I had some glimmer of hope that it would come to a close because the body of the plush was actually made (sans eyes), but of course it didn't. Cue another several months of sending e-mails and getting excuses or even nothing in return. She complained to me about allergies and people yelling at her for not finishing their commissions and said to me, I quote, "the one thing I can make a promise about is that you will like the quality of the plush".

In mid-August of this year I sent this e-mail, pretending to still give the benefit of the doubt to hopefully get something good out of it:

Hey, I'm just wondering on the status of the Quilava plush. I know that stuff happens, but after two years of several unfulfilled promises that you'll finish my plush this is getting ridiculous. :/ can you please at least show me an updated picture of the progress so I know that it's being worked on?

And in return, I was given this picture. I never knew that it took ten months to add a couple of eyes and flame spots! She asked me if the red spots were in the correct places in the picture (and I confirmed that they were in that picture) and she mentioned she would add little white circles to the eyes as little eye shines and she didn't make the flames yet (of course not!) and gave me a choice between two subpar fabrics for the flames to which I just said "Add the eye shines and send me the plush as is". I e-mailed her my shipping address for the 45657678967th time and waited.

A week after the day she promised to ship my plush, she gave me the best excuse yet:

It will be some time this week. I have to wait to get it weighed. My mother-n-laws cat chewed up my power cord to my scales so now I have a over sized paper weight. As soon as he is in the mail. I will send you the tracking info. It will be some time this week. if it kills me.

On Friday the plush was finally shipped and made it into my hands yesterday (the 8th), and I was just dumbfounded at what I had stressed for over two years and $110 over. The plush is made of piled-up fleece (and the fabric used for the eye whites was better quality overall). One of the front legs is unstuffed and missing beans/plastic pellets (or what beans were there are now floating around inside the body) and there's a small hole in the area where a pellet just fell out. White thread sewn into the middle of the face, a strand of human hair was sewn right into the edge of the eye, and the irises and pupils were made of some sort of sticker fabric and didn't even have the little shines that she said she'd add (which doesn't bother me as opposed to how it took TEN MONTHS to stick those on there). I suspect that the head is also smaller than what the preview picture showed, but I dunno if it's lighting or whatever.

And the kicker?

She edited the preview picture she gave me, completely tricking me into thinking the markings were in accurate positions and not sloppily applied. I also measured my plush and it's 16" long and 5-6" inches high as opposed to the promised 18-19" long (though overall a few inches lengthwise doesn't bother me) and is still a smaller size than the plush she often prices for around $100 which is what I originally paid, and given the horrendous quality of the plush itself it's the least of my concern. I've yet to even tell her that I got the plush because I'm just apalled at her business practices overall.

My experience is just one of many horror stories people have had with YutakaYumi. Do not let appearances deceive you; if you commission her you'll either have a heck of a long wait for a poor quality product or not even see what you paid for at all, and buying her premade plushies would just encourage her to keep up this practice of scamming and lying to her customers.
Tags: artist-yutaka yumi, beware

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