So, Your Customer Had a Problem With Your Decal

You did everything right.

You applied the transfer tape with precision so there would be no bubbles. You ensured there were no bits of fluff on the vinyl before applying the transfer tape. You burnished the living heck out of the finished piece with your scraper to ensure proper adhesion to the transfer tape. You trimmed the decals down so there was no tape overhang. You packaged the decals with care, ensuring that they were in a bend-resistant envelope. You even provided detailed step-by-step instructions (with pictures!) with the best proven method so they would have the easiest time applying the decal.

Even so…

You receive a message from the customer indicating they could not get the decals to work. You look to the internet for any options on what you should do. Surely someone has been in this position before and would have shared some advice for you!

Finding nothing, you discover that resources for sellers on this are limited.


This decal set is notorious for being difficult to apply (due to the domed surface)!

This is why I decided to write this blog entry, as I recently had such an experience.

There are a few different options that you have; each one is viable depending on your situation and circumstances involved:

  1. Offer them a full refund
  2. Offer to print them a new set of decals for free
  3. Offer to print a new set of decals for a discount (materials + shipping is a default, I’d say)

Some questions you should ask yourself in order to help in making an informed decision are:

  • Is this one of your first customers?
  • Do you normally offer returns? What is your policy?
  • What exactly happened with the vinyl? Was it the transfer tape or the vinyl itself? Were the application instructions followed?
  • Is part of the decal salvageable so you can just re-print a small portion instead?
  • Has the customer ordered from you before?
  • If it’s intended for a strange surface application (such as washer/dryer domed doors!), did you put a disclaimer in your listing description about the increased difficulty?

I find it helps to weigh out the pros and cons while thinking about your answers to the above questions. Some people find customer satisfaction to be #1 priority and will go above and beyond for them, which is fine. Some people want to keep things fair to both parties, which is also fine.

The only thing that you should absolutely NOT do, is ignore them, or block them (yes this happens). No matter how established you are, bad business is just that; bad. It takes one angry customer’s review to turn your store upside-down in no time.

Always do your best to come to a peaceful resolution, as your store’s reputation depends on it. If you don’t want to offer any of the above without knowing more, don’t hesitate to respond to your customer with any clarifying information you have; just be tactful and choose your wording wisely.

I’m not going to tell you which option to pick, because this is your store (own it!) and everyone’s situation varies. However, I sincerely hope that this has given you some insight on your options and some things to be thinking of as you find a solution.


Where it All Started


I was a huge Doctor Who freak when this was taken. This Weeping Angel was so nice when she wasn’t trying to devour my unspent life!

My first costume that I actually crafted something on was this cute Link costume from Emerald City Comiccon (Seattle) 2014. It was my second year attending the convention and I wanted to do more than I had the year before. Year one I kind of just threw on a Sheik pinafore from Darling Army and didn’t do much else.

Darling Army is a great cosplay alternative for people who like cute, nerdy things, so it was right up my alley! I love all of her original pinafore designs. I actually have 3 of them, and they’re all Legend of Zelda designs (two Link, one is Sheik)!! I had lost a ton of weight before this con, too, so they actually wrapped completely around my waist and fit correctly! They don’t fit anymore, but I’m still holding on to them!


I lost my shit when I saw this girl’s Kael’thas!

My wig was from Epic Cosplay because I saw Missyeru advertising it on her Facebook page. I had not discovered Arda Wigs at the time, which I much prefer now. The wig was alright but it didn’t have much color depth; it was all just one solid blonde/yellow. It was affordable and decent quality, though. I really didn’t mess with the styling too much.

I got my petticoat and tights from Leg Avenue and my boots were a JustFab “splurge” (I am still skipping the month on that stuff 3 years later…$40 for a pair of shoes at the time was a lot!). Honestly, they are pretty comfortable and I didn’t have a problem walking around the convention center all day with them on. I still wear them as my default leggings shoes! I wish I had managed to get a good green tank top instead of that black one I’m wearing (and probably still have…cough). Finally, my ears are from Aradani Studios on Etsy; they’re great quality and their spirit gum really stays.

Now that I’ve listed all of this, you’re probably thinking, ‘Wait, you said you crafted something for this…’

Yes. Yes I did.


One of the many selfies I took that does not show my costume…at all.

See that green thing on my head? Yeah, I fabric-glued a green colored fat quarter (cotton quilting fabric) to a headband to make a kind of peasant bandana. I didn’t want to make (or buy) a Link Hat because I had close to zero sewing skills at this point. I got a bunch of those binder clips and made my headband the night before the convention in the hotel room. Ashlee and River can vouch for me.

I’m really disappointed that I don’t have more photos from this convention. I have a few selfies but nothing really substantial.

I’d say that this is probably my first cosplay; I actually thought it through and pieced together what I thought made a good costume. I had a couple of people take my picture, too, which made it feel more real, I suppose.

I ended up skipping the dress-up in 2015. I can’t remember why. Perhaps I was still practicing my crafting skills? Laziness? More than likely I wasn’t motivated or procrastinated.


Me, left, as Ariel and Erin, right, as Rapunzel!

Last year (2016), I worked with my best friend, Erin, to make Ariel and Rapunzel inspired peasant dresses with corsets. Her wig was ridiculously amazing and she kept getting compliments on it all day! I made the dresses, corsets and my tiara. I even bought an over-sized serving fork, oops, I mean, a dinglehopper!


Have to make sure Rapunzel’s hair is in tip-top shape!

I learned a lot while making these ones. For instance,

  1. The “boning” that they sell at Joann’s is NOT GOOD for corsets that are intended to be used in tight-lacing (which is what mine were). Next time I’ll splurge and go with spiral steel.
  2. Simply taking the cups out of an overbust corset pattern does not mean it will make a good underbust corset. Our breasts were perfect spheres and it was very strange.
  3. Marking the sides of fabric is important in square skirt construction…
  4. Brocade is a pain in the ass to work with.
  5. Oh, and so is satin.
  6. Corsets are a pain in the ass to make, too.

However, we had so much fun dressing up as them and working until the last minute (I haven’t learned anything from that link headband). My shell tiara was made in our hotel room the night before the convention.


Pardon the over-edited photo.

I also dressed up as Francine to go with Erin’s Muffy costume (from Arthur!). I helped her sew/assemble her jumper! These really did turn out well, but I was sweating so badly from the (VERY HEAVY) sweatshirt once we got into the convention that I didn’t keep it on for very long.


That is a perfect Muffy face, quite honestly.

It’s nice to look back at what I’ve done and how I can improve. I can honestly say that I probably won’t be using fabric glue again any time soon.