I LOVE custom work...I mainly only do it in my party shop, but I get requests from customers in all three shops. I love the process, the stress of coming up with the "right" design, the nervous feeling waiting to see if the customer likes it and the accomplished feeling when its all over with and you've made your customer happy (and maybe even create something that I will fit into your shop)...
That being said, as much as I love custom requests I feel the need to explain what I won't do and why, when it comes to custom work.
**********I know sometimes it's hard to explain what you want verbally and its easier to provide visual examples of items that you see. I don't mind that, I actually welcome you to provide any examples you have that match the feel, style, colors you are going for. The more the better, and it helps me create something unique for you. But sometimes these "inspiration" photos or examples/samples can become problematic and I wanted to address a few custom order requests I get often...
"DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING WITH HELLO KITTY ON IT?" OR "CAN YOU ADD THE DUKE BLUE DEVIL TO THESE CANDY BARS?"
I WILL NOT and DO NOT use trademarked/copyrighted images (ie, Disney characters, Hello Kitty, company logos, sports team logos, popular brand names etc.)s. Most companies require their permission to use theses images for profit. On the slim chance they do say yes most require a hefty licensing fee, expect a portion of the profits and require a say in how you are using their design. There are numerous shops on Etsy that have these products...now whether they have gone through the proper channels to use them or are just hoping they won't get caught is for that shop to say. But I'd rather not risk my shop and my family's income for an item that's probably less than $10.
"I ATTACHED THE INVITATION I LIKE, CAN YOU RECREATE IT?"
The answer is "No". I do not outright copy another designer's work or create an identical product just with my illustrations or fonts. If you like the item then you should purchase it from the person who made it. If you happen to see it on a website or google, most sites link back to where they got the image from (or at least they should). Because most of the designs you will see online are from very successful, well known designers, its generally not hard to find the original designer (I've even searched out the original designers for customers before since I recognize them faster than some not doing this for a living would).
"I PURCHASED THIS INVITE, CAN YOU MAKE CUPCAKE TOPPERS TO MATCH?"
If matching it involves any of the things I said I wouldn't do in the response above, then the answer is "No". Just because a designer may not have cupcake toppers in their shop doesn't mean they don't have it or aren't willing to create it for you (coming from a designer who has a bunch of half done things sitting on her computer waiting for time or a request as a reason to move that item to the top of the "to-do" list). It never hurts to ask.
That being said, I do sell partially customized items in my shop. These are items that have a specific layout, but I provide a range of fonts, patterns, illustrations, borders, and colors for you to use to design your own item. A lot of my customers use these listings to create items to coordinating with decor or invites they have already purchased. I am happy to match the colors of an already purchased item and in limited instances I am even open to creating a new illustration (for example you are having a rollerskating party and want to add a roller skate image to one of my partially custom items). I will create the illustration to fit the style of the other illustrations in my shop. Again I will not recreate, copy, use a roller skate image you pulled from the web or from another designer's shop.
"HEY I NEED A CUSTOM DESIGN, AND I NEED IT BY TONIGHT CAN YOU DO THAT?"
"No", I am a last minute girl at heart, and I always seem to add more to my plate despite having less and less time so I understand this request. But custom designs take time and proofs/revisions back and forth. Its hard enough for me to turn around a regular item in a rush situation, that is why I request that customers contact me about rushes before they purchase.
This post was not meant to be harsh or discourage custom requests. But I figured this post might save us both time when it comes to figuring out whether what you want is something I will do.
BUT PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK IF YOU ARE UNSURE. IF I CAN'T DO IT I WILL LET YOU KNOW AND BECAUSE I HATE SAYING "NO" I WILL TRY TO OFFER A SOLUTION.