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Hi there, A_B! I've got a little quandary, and I could use some advice. I am a fursuit maker, and recently I've decided that I would like to only take on new projects with natural colors. I've always leaned towards realism, but after some introspection I've decided to focus on that exclusively. I have several reasons: fur selection is better for realistic colors in the styles of furs I use, I don't connect as well with non-natural colored projects and feel that I could do better with realistic colors, limited availability which makes me want to choose projects that will make me grow more/push my limits more/be more enjoyable for me, and last but not least personal preference. I know it will lose me potential sales, but this is a risk I'm willing to take.

My problem lies with how to communicate this to all potential commissioners in a way that will get through to them without coming off as a dick. I mean, I could just say, "no", but I try to be friendly and approachable to a fault. I just don't want to have to go through this whole spiel every time, and I'm not sure it warrants adding to my TOS.

I imagine it the same as a digital/traditional artist deciding they're not comfortable with x, y, and z subjects, so how do you all declare what you are and are not willing to do?

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( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
I absolutely think it's something you should add to your ToS. Especially since you make fursuits and most characters in the fandom are very colourful it is definitely something you should mention upfront. It will save having awkward situations where you have to turn somebody down due to their fursona's design and leading to possible hurt feelings on their part.

I'm not saying it should be brought up as like a barrier to customers or made out to be a bad thing, just advertise yourself as a maker who specializes in "natural colouration/markings" like it's your niche.
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
That's... absolutely perfect actually! I was just having a hard time wording it to not come off as negative. I did add it to my quote form, but I could add in a little bit on my TOS I suppose, to double it up. I could always remove that later if I should choose to change my stance on that.

Thanks <3
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Just tell them no, you do not make ____ type of suit.
IF you are worried about sounding like a jerk, respond in a way that makes it sound like you are taking the blame:
"Sorry, I do not make toony costumes, I do not think my skills are acceptable enough to accomplish what you are after"

"I am sorry, I have a limited stock of fur and I prefer to work with natural colors only. Your electric blue fox is really cute, but I do not think I could do him justice."
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
I suppose I just have a hard time being firm because I don't want to sound cold or condescending. You have a point though, I'll keep that in mind in the future!
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
Say that you are focusing on natural colourations and make it VERY CLEAR that's what you're doing. Say it's for practise, or personal preference, or whatever, it doesn't matter that much. Just as long as it's front and centre.
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
I would say just state it in your TOS and on whatever page you're using (i.e. your profile page on FA if you use one for your fursuit business), and give the reasons why, as you gave up there.

I think your wording in this post is quite easy to understand, and it makes sense to me. You're looking out for your client's best interest and getting the best value for their money. I think it's a very respectable thing for you to do, and props for realizing your "limits" (I use this term loosely, heh).
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
Personally, I've always hated it when people try to justify why they won't make/do X, Y or Z. This may just be me, but I get this feeling like I'm being told that thing I like is boring or I'm some kind of deranged pervert.

I'd go with "I specialize in realistic costumes made with natural fur colors and as such I am not currently accepting orders for cartoon animals or similar". I don't think you need to justify yourself unless someone specifically asks why, as they may have some alternate idea that interests you more.

For sure put it in your TOS. I can't think of a reason not to XD
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
I like this. :) Keep personal out of business.
(no subject) - fenrirs_child - Sep. 17th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - finnickodair - Sep. 17th, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenrirs_child - Sep. 17th, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skyote - Sep. 17th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - myenia - Sep. 27th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
I'd do as said above. Make sure you advertise yourself as someone who does Natural colors and markings. That way you will have less people approach you for non-natural creatures.
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
I hope it works that way! I just have a feeling, judging by the amount of quote requests I get when I very plainly state that I'm not open for quotes, that may not happen the way I'd like it to.
(no subject) - beetlecat - Sep. 17th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenrirs_child - Sep. 17th, 2012 11:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skyote - Sep. 17th, 2012 11:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - blot - Sep. 17th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
I'm usually just honest and friendly about it, something along the lines of,

"I'm so glad you're interested in commissioning me, that means a lot! Unfortunately right now I'm not doing any more cartoony type characters because I'm really trying to focus on realism so I can progress my art in a direction I want to go and get better and better and turn our higher quality products. I can refer you to some friends/associates/otherfursuitmakers who specialise in making cartoony characters, though- why not try joecifur, media or midori? (Links included in names in referred email)".

Add it to your TOS in case someone wants to press the matter, but I don't think it should be a huge problem telling people honestly why you don't want to do whatever.
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
That's a very good way to put it, and I hadn't thought of adding suggestions of other makers to people. Thanks ^^
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
Assuming I read this in your ToS and was thinking of commissioning, my first question would be "what qualifies"?

Not to say you can't have limits, but as I have a character that is basically all realistic and natural coloured but with a streak of purple mane, does that disqualify her or not?

Of course the 2nd question is then "What is a realistic/natural pattern." Three stripes on the arm is not a pattern found anywhere but stripes ARE realistic so..

I'm not trying to be contrary lol but just be aware that people will email you with questions like that so examples of what you like and what you don't like would be helpful! ^^

There are a lot of people willing to adjust their character in order to make it fit what an artist likes to do or does best, so specific guidelines for them are good - even if that guideline is just "if you wonder if you qualify then email me with a reference".
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)
You raise good points! I think it would be mostly a case by case basis. I'd likely consider one small marking in an unnatural color, depending on how regular the rest of the character was (for example purposes, stripes are what I'd consider a natural marking, even if they're applied in a way you wouldn't find in nature like just a few on the arms or legs or whatnot). I do think I will add a note like you suggested, because I'm not entirely sure how I could be that much more specific without having people be discouraged by my wording even if they would have qualified if they had asked.
Sep. 18th, 2012 12:08 am (UTC)
i personally just try to keep the tone of my statement where i go over my 'no-s' friendly and mildly apologetic to potential customers.

ie, "i'm a wee bit vanilla, and so i'm really not comfortable doing adult art. sorry!"

in your case maybe something like "i've begun to focus mainly on projects in realistic colours, and am not taking non-realism colour schemed commissions at this time. sorry!"
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 18th, 2012 01:29 am (UTC)
This is genius, I'm going to have to borrow this for my FAQ! I can't believe I didn't think of this, it's so simple but clear.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - fenrirs_child - Sep. 18th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - synviver - Sep. 18th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 18th, 2012 04:33 am (UTC)
Try to make it sound like an asset rather than a hinderance- It's not that you "don't like" weird colored animals (even if you do actively dislike that style, no need to let folks know that), it's that the natural colored animals are where your talents and creativity really shine! You're highly inspired by nature and you love the idea of having a costume running around that is believable and lifelike. Word it positively like that and it should go over better. ^^

Make it part of your "brand". If you make ad banners, business cards, there can be mention of your preferred style on there, like "Fenrirs Child: Quality Realistic Costumes". If you do the branding stage well, people will think about you when they want realism. Also this sounds silly, but maybe avoid overly flashy/neon colors in your advertising/web design/etc.

Another thing that helps when you have to turn people down is to apologize that you couldn't help them, and refer them to a few makers you trust (or, if you don't know other maker's work enough to recommend anyone, point them towards fursuitmakerreviews on FA). That personal touch of the referral softens the blow and makes it sound like you do genuinely want to help.

Edited at 2012-09-18 04:39 am (UTC)
Sep. 18th, 2012 04:45 am (UTC)
My web design is actually monochrome already, but there are a few things I could change in my banner to reflect that. I'm actually tempted to remove some of my examples from my gallery, but I'd rather not do that at this point because I like having a full selection there. I definitely will do the referral thing, because it's really what I tend to do anyway most of the time, but it should be all of the time. I hadn't really thought about branding that way, I'll have to give that some deep thought. I have a logo already, at least, but you definitely make a good point.
Sep. 18th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)

Everybody else has given you solid advice about how to handle this and a few people have mentioned giving referrals already. I was thinking, if possible, I'd recommend making friends/talking with someone you know who is the opposite and *doesn't* like doing realistic suits and have a referral system running that benefits the both of you.

Sep. 18th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
That's a very good point! I will go post a journal now to see who's interested.

I love you guys here, I learn so much <3
Sep. 18th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
What you wrote in this post sounds reasonable and polite.
You can have the post preceded by a bit where you explain that you only do naturally colored suits because you have a better selection of materials and connect better with the work, resulting in a better end product. You don't want to sell your customers short, and that's nothing but admirable.
Oct. 3rd, 2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
One thing I would like to add as a suggestion - make sure that you're not using pieces you would not accept now as samples of your work. That really confuses things.
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )


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