Custom or customized?

Posted on September 19, 2012 by Natasha Wozniak | 0 Comments

 Imagine a piece of custom jewelry. An entirely new design, created for a specific person, often one-of-a-kind. Due to the extra thought, care and design time, probably a premium-priced service. So, where does customization fit into this picture? For many designers, both large and small, the customization may be a choice of materials, or initals engraved on the piece, but that is where it ends. 

That was how it used to be for me as well. In a world focused on fast and efficient production, the goal is consistency, making each piece exactly the same,  My production method was to first fabricate in metal, creating a master copy. Then, I had a mold produced of that piece, from which many copies were cast. It was efficient, but a little bit inflexible. I had many requests for customization, but with my process and pricing based on reproducing the same piece many times, it was difficult to accomodate my clients. Frustrating on both sides.

In 2008, I began the process of changing my work to designs that are fabricated each time from wire and sheet. At first it was very slow going, as I adjusted to an entirely new way of working. I had to take detailed notes of each piece, so that the next time I made it, I wouldn't have to start completely from scratch, and at the same time I had to raise my jewelry-making techniques to a whole new level.

Even with these challenges, I fell in love with my work all over again. One of the advantages to this process was my new ability to precisely tailor my designs to each customer. Want that ring wider? No problem. Love two pieces and want to combine them? Let me make a sketch 

Why do I call this customization rather than custom? Admittedly, it can seem like splitting hairs, but if I change the width of silver I use for the ring, or the arrangement of curls, it isn't a process of inventing a completely new piece. It is an adaptation of the piece, and using all of those detailed notes I have accumulated, I can figure out the process with ease.This allows me to price it not as a entirely custom piece, but in the same range as the rest of my collection.

Imagine walking into Nordstroms and asking if you could have the shirt in a slightly different length, or if the collar could be switched out. Yeah, even if you were willing to pay top dollar, it isn't likely they would agree to that. I, on the other hand, LOVE to do this, it is one of the ways that I can make the dreams of my clients come into reality.

Here are some examples of recent customizations I have done for my clients:

Have you seen something on my site that you want, but in a little bit different version? Lets talk about customization!

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