The Painful Truth About Customs

Posted by Kira Karpinski on

I quit taking customs, again.  

Why on earth, would a custom tack maker quit taking custom orders?  Well, I’ll explain, and there are a couple reasons.  The first and easiest to explain is creative burnout.  It is extremely difficult to create other people’s “visions”.   I can tell you that it’s disheartening to be excited about the creative ideas you come up with to translate someone’s written messages, only to hear, “that’s not what I had in mind,” or that’s nice, but can you do it more like this?”  To the average person, that doesn’t seem terrible, but as an artist, there is no better way to burst the proverbial bubble of enjoyment.  It’s difficult to be enthusiastic about someone else’s ideas, when you have a entire ocean of ideas splashing around in your mind, only to suppress them until a later more convenient date. Now, having written this down, it sounds ungrateful, but that’s not at all how I want it to come off.  I have been thankful for every single order I’ve received, even the most difficult, because it is in the challenge we achieve growth.  But after you do it for so long, it takes a toll on your creative growth.  

The second reason I had to quit customs, and potentially the most difficult to explain without causing some mild and unintentional offense, is customer demand.  I am a fairly sensitive person, and I can overreact mentally to the stupidest of comments.  (It’s a personal flaw that I have identified and am working on, lol).  But it is extremely difficult not to become overwhelmed and feel a level of suffocation when you get, “when are you starting my order?” many times a week.  Typically, these messages come at least a month ahead, or sometimes on the first day of a month.  Now I know that it’s purely out of excitement, and I can absolutely respect that and even see myself doing the same thing (well, prior to being a custom tack maker that is lol).  But, from my point of view, that is very stressful, because I thrive on making people happy, and if I feel like someone could be disappointed, it stresses me out.  I became so stressed over the holiday season that I actually couldn’t even enjoy myself, and for a first time found myself wishing for the holidays to be over.  I am the type of person that just cannot handle the stress without self sabotaging.  

Another reason is schedule keeping by itself.  I am a one person show here, if you guys didn’t know.  The person who responds to you, ships your items, makes the items, designs them, and yes, schedules them.  At risk of complete transparent sacrifice, I forget to write things down.  There, I said it.  I forget.  I’m human, and my brain is not only functioning for my business, but for my family, and my farm.  I cyber school 4 kids, put a meal on the table every day, and run a full scale (small ish) homestead.  I forget.  I forget to make dr appointments, pay bills on time, buy grain before I’m just about out, and yes, I forget to write things down. Now, I am a honest person, which may be my saving grace, and that means if someone says, “hey, where is my order that you said you’d make a month ago?”  I say, CRAP!  I forgot to schedule it and I’m sorry.  I’ll make it this week.  I don’t think I’ve had an issue because I’m an honest person.  That being said, it pushes current projects back, causing me to get behind,  causing more “when are you starting mine” causing more suffocation. 🤢🤮.  It is a vicious and unforgiving cycle.  

The final reason is two combined.  I became my own boss so that I could set my own goals, create my own items, and set my own schedule.  Most of that is lost when I take custom orders.  I really enjoy my creative freedoms.  I think that most of you began following me due to my unique style and creative vision.  I want to produce more of the ideas I have been storing away in the dusty, cobweb filled corner of my brain. And when I can create my own schedule, my creative juices flow more freely, because I don’t put restrictions on myself.  Ironically, these things go hand in hand.  If I can walk outside, in nature, and let myself be free of stress, than you can bet I’ll come back in motivated. 

The meat and bones of most leather companies is, at least at the beginning, custom orders.  Rest assured, I am BEYOND thankful for each and every order that has ever been placed.  But I am at a place in my professional and personal life, where I just can’t do it anymore.  The stress and constraints are too many.  Now, that’s not to say that I won’t take a random order here and there.  I can’t help myself and well, being transparent again, sometimes I need the cash!  (A girl’s gotta do what a girls gotta do sometimes, ya know? I like nice things!  What can I say?)  But for the most part,  stock items and live sales are my future.  I am planning to build inventory to go set up as a vendor at more places (once there are places to set up at🙄). And I hope I can bring many fun things into your home via live sales!  It’s fun for me to interact with you all.  I really enjoy being with you guys, even if it is over the inter  I hope you all can understand why I had to quit customs.  it’s not a decision that is made easily, especially when the happiness of your customers is at risk.  But I have to put my own happiness first, from time to time (another personality flaw I’m working on), and I hope you all continue to follow and love the work I put out.


I don’t think I can ever say thank you enough for the support over the years, and I am very excited about the future. 


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