Ooooh, man. I wish I could encourage you to go into the "custom" world, but it will be like getting kicked in the face repeatedly if you don't do it right. Women get.....crazy about their costumes, and that is putting it lightly. I've had women verbally abuse me, insult my employees, and threaten lawsuits over stupid little costumes. You HAVE to do some serious communication about what can be expected from both parties. Even after this is done, you, as the artist, have to make sure you charge a MASSIVE amount for your time, otherwise, there is no reason to do it. With about 99% of the custom orders I've taken on, I THOUGHT it would be fairly easy to fill their requests, and I charged them accordingly, only to find that the project took hours more work, lots more material, and way more profanity. There is no way to go back in and ask the customer for $100 because their stupid outfit ripped your soul out and chewed it up.
The best thing that I have found is getting a whole outfit together, taking really good pictures, and then offering it to people in other fabrics that you already have. That way, the customer can see exactly what they're getting, and they won't be tempted to think of their own "design" ideas. It's all fine and dandy to think that your ideas are better than the designers, but there is a REASON that they are the designer and there's a reason you liked their stuff in the first place!
Phew, this gets me all riled up. Oh, and get used to working longer hours than you ever thought possible. I wake up at 4 in the morning to make this all happen.
Good luck! It CAN be done! You just have to be fiercely passionate! Perhaps you should read some of my blogs. They shed a lot of light on this business. www.damseldress.blogspot.com
Hey Robin! Nice to meet you! I love the corset you made for yourself! it looks like you're kicking butt! If you ever have any construction questions, I'd be glad to help! I do admire DIYers (although, shamefully, I"m SOOOO grateful that there are people who don't want to make their own costumes so I can do it for them and make a living! )
Yes...please forgive my mispelling. I happen to enjoy tea with The Widow Kate Next quite often and she so enjoys spilling a bit of arsenic into my cup. It quite damages the senses. She has well depleted my leech supply but she is correct in that it does give me quite the pale skin which is so fashionable these days. I do hope you'll come join us. We can be found in the group Just a bit of Arsenic.