Friday, October 31, 2014

Fright Night

(In the spirit of Halloween, here's a post rambling about my insecurities. Woo!)

(and then I remembered nail heads.)
Today I listened to my Rocky Horror Picture Show playlist ten times and made a dressage saddle that will be part of a lower level set, up for sale in the next few days. 

I also refreshed my site with some updates prices- updated meaning slightly higher, taking into consideration the higher and higher quality of my work (she said humbly), as well as the increase in work time that entails. While I realize that most of my customers won't really mind a $5 increase, it is something that I really wrestle with. 

It's important to me that my tack is show-ring quality and much more affordable than Traditional show-ring quality tack, mostly because I want my tack to be accessible to even those who can't drop $500 on a tack set. But the other biggest reason I want to keep my prices relatively low is that I have this constant fear that higher price tags come with higher expectations of perfection from my customers. 

This is totally unsupported by any evidence whatsoever, but I'm convinced that once someone buys my tack and has it in their hands they'll be able to see every single little asymmetry and flaw in the piece. This is one of those issues where you have a rational brain (mine says "You've never received any feedback like that in the past, and most people just don't/can't see the minutiae of your tack like you can"), and an anxious brain (which says "they must open the box, look at it, and think, I paid X amount of money for this??").

Having extremely low prices (it took me over a year to increase the price for a full set from $20), to my mind, says "hey if it's awful they can't complain because they only paid $X for it!"

Now that I'm charging more (and more), I'm both aware of the improvement in quality and more paranoid about the little flaws in my work. This leads to improvement and refinement in my tack, but sometimes it's more worry than it's worth. The bottom line for me is that I am not a machine or a factory, and every single one of my saddles is slightly asymmetrical, and every single one of my bridles has at least one tongue that's kind of wonky, and sometimes my stitch marks aren't perfectly straight.

And sometimes my panels are completely different sizes and need to be redone.
To me, these imperfections (excluding those panels) give the tack character. I like knowing that even with the exact same patterns, the next dressage saddle I make will not look like a carbon copy of this one.

But I also need to remember that in some cases, others literally cannot see those flaws. 

I'm reminded of this every time I get an email from a customer when they receive their new tack and only have good things to say, or read a positive comment from you guys here- not everyone is out to find the flaws or point out the weaknesses in my work. 

In fact, I'm probably the only one. 


  1. I love your tack! I think it is right for you to raise your prices as your tack improves. No tack is perfect and I think most people accept that. With each piece you complete, you get more experience and your tack becomes more and more consistent.

  2. I really like the look of that saddle!

  3. As an owner of some of your stuff, I prefer to see it as people are impressed that you can get detail on something so tiny! Don't sell yourself short on the time you put in it. People shouldn't be scrutinizing with magnifying glasses to see if it has flaws. You are your own worst critic :)

  4. I feel the same way you do about my work, so far no one has noticed the little flaws that I see. LOL
    But to be honest I do think your work looks PERFECT! Even with any so called 'flaws'! :)

  5. Your mini tack is incredible! It amazes me how you put in so many tiny details.