Guest Post: “My Top Three Myths About Custom” by Ann McDonald, Founder/CEO, Couture Chateau

October 12, 2012

As the Founder of Couture Chateau, I tackle myths about custom daily. The truth is I love this discussion because it opens a door to share my passion for the intentionally made. Here are the three things I hear most from my clients and what I tell them in return.

1. Too Expensive. Beautifully crafted items can be costly. However, ‘custom’ is one of the few true value exchanges left in the world of manufacturing. It’s the place where consumer and creator are most closely linked. This value exchange translates into magical aha moments; we realize a part of us and our vision for living is being made manifest by the hands of skilled designers, craftsmen and women. It is pure delight when we see our dollar glean that value. Everyone wins.

2. Takes Too Long. Not all custom products take a long time. A custom cupcake, for instance, takes one afternoon. A custom piece of furniture with custom fabric may indeed take up to 6 months, but the beautiful part about that process is the thought in every detail. We live in a "now" society, but the things we truly value, we wait for. With custom, the process is interactive and wait time becomes part of the product. Once we realize this, it’s the start date that delineates ownership, not the delivery date.

3. What if I hate it?! It’s not returnable. For over 20 years I have observed that the process of engaging skilled fabricators who make items to size and scale vets most of these issues. It’s the intentional interaction between thoughtful use and production that causes us to self-select function, form, purpose, detail, color, scale and price. The quick impulse purchase is often the regrettable return, rarely the custom.

When I started out, my passion was to honor the individual craftsmen and women I encountered in the luxury design trades and find a place where their skills would be curated by enthusiastic patrons in everyday life. What I have delighted to discover is that the story of how a custom item is created is often its most treasured attribute. The relatable process transcends social boundaries and is cherished by creator and curator alike.

As we say at Couture Chateau: "Live a custom life. There is only one you."