- 7 years ago
- Wedding: October 2011
I ordered a Sabelle from Jeff Liu recently & I’m very happy with it despite a few minor details problems. Most comments I got on my dress is “This is one of the best replicas I’ve ever seen”. Translation – “I’m the most detailed instruction-writer Jeff Liu has ever seen”. LOL. Link to my dress & pictures:
To help other brides-to-be with their future experience with Jeff Liu, I’m sharing below tips I learned through my experience:
1. There’s a factory, and then there’s an office elsewhere. The factory, most likely, is a place where ALL orders (through Jeff Liu or not), are made. Therefore, I really believe the craftsmanship, & hence the quality of your dress will heavily depend upon your communication with the office.
2. In my opinion, Jeff Liu is a fictional figure, he might not even exist. He might be the person who started this business or an investor. I envision an English-speaking/reading clerk sitting behind a desk answering emails all day & then communicates with the factory.
3. Be VERY specific on your VERY FIRST instruction (order form) to them, list as many items/requests as you can, use another sheet of paper if necessary. Because at this time, you are a new customer, they pay more attention to you to get your business. Once they dragged you along for a while, they have already shifted focus on other new customers.
4. You will receive pictures of your dress with different backgrounds. The ones with messy dark background (with bags of fabrics lying in the corner etc) is in the factory. At this time, the dress is still in the factory – make as many new requests as you can if you need to change it. The ones with clean background (white closet doors) are taken at the office. At this stage, they are about to send you the dress. It’s your last chance to make changes, as they will need to take the dress back to factory. They don’t like it and may ask you for more money.
5. Whatever dress you have in mind, unless you imagined & designed it yourself, most likely they’ve already made it before. e.g., Sabelle’s code at the factory is CM595. On the order sheet they sent about my dress (which they included in the package sent to me) – it was written in Chinese: “CM595 – to be modified according to the following based on the previous CM595”. So I would search online & find out if he had already made it before. Or just send him the picture & ask him. He will know.
6. Write your instructions in PLAIN English. The clerk’s English is OK, but don’t go too slang on her/him, they won’t get it. Even if they say “yes I get it”, they don’t. I’m fluent in Mandarin, I wrote all my instructions in both English & Mandarin, they still got some stuff wrong. I envision a 22 y.o. Chinese girl sitting behind a desk reading all our emails in English while using a translation software trying to understand us.
7. Write in short, concise, bullet point format. Be precise. Do not go on and on and on. Imagine how long your attention will hold after reading 3 paragraphs in Chinese… or any language for that matter?
8. Meter your expectations – Push their limits, but don’t expect perfection. If you want perfection, buy the original dress at 10x the costs. Yes the wedding day is perhaps the most important day of your life, but as long as the dress looks good in the pictures, that’s ALL what people will remember. So spend the $$ on a good photographer.
9. Allow ample lead time in case you need major alterations, or God forbid, get another dress.
10. If you get a dress from eBay & say it arrived you don’t like it, threaten with a negative feedback and they will respond to you better to fix or refund. But once you leave a positive feedback, you can expect they treat you as if you never existed.
11. Expect some ridiculous responses, like after a week you placed your order, you thought your dress was being sewn in action – then you get an email from him asking, “have you sent me your order form?” LOL. Don’t panic. Remember, concise & precise, and AMPLE lead time!! Or they responded, “I get it” but then send you something completely different.
12. Have faith in Chinese craftmanship. Yes, “Made-in-China” is more often than not related to cheap quality stuff, but that’s at a mass production level. Custom-made clothing is a very common practice in China. My grandparents are Chinese and they always wore custom made clothes – which were actually cheaper than store-bought. The factory location is close to Shanghai, a region is well known for its textile business & craftsmanship, as well as beautiful women. 😀
Timeline of my order:
04/26/11 I emailed him directly. He said he can make anything I want. I sent a picture of Sabelle, & the one he made recently for MrsMorrison (on this board). He said no problem, he can make it.
05/01/11 After 20 emails back & forth, I placed order on ebay. He will make a general listing for you like “Custom wedding dress CM595. He asked $30 + $170 shipping. They need to save ebay listing fee. If they list dress $170 & shipping $30, then they will be charged a fee. Fine. I sent 17 pictures along with my order form, hand written & drew on the pictures where everything should be… scanned & emailed to him. I listed my date of dress arrival as 05/26/11.
05/08/11 Got an email from him, “Did you send me your order form?” LOL
05/09/11 Re-sent order form, he promised to show me pictures of dress by 05/16/11
05/16/11 No picture of dress. Emailed him, he replied need more time
05/19/11 Dress picture taken in factory showed up. I was so excited that I overlooked the flowers shape
05/20/11 Pointed out that he only sewed 2 flowers on hip & 4 flowers on front. Should be 4 & 9, respectively. Replied to me will make changes immediately but need more time. Fine.
05/26/11 Dress picture taken in office showed up. He said he’s ready to ship it. This is the time I noticed the massive flower size. I wrote back urging him NOT to send me the dress unless he change the flowers first. I asked him to sew even more flowers & changed the shapes, he asked for more money. Fine. He said he needs to take it back to factory which is a hassle, I said you can send me the loose flowers I can sew them myself. He then said he’ll sew them for me in factory. I sent additional pictures with hand written detailed instructions regarding flowers’ positions & quantity.
05/31/11 I asked for picture of dress, instead, he sent me pictures of the new flowers held in someone’s hand. LOL
06/02/11 Dress shipped, he sent me an email with tracking info
06/08/11 Dress delivered. He didn’t sew more flowers! I asked for refund of additional $ I paid for additional flowers. He refunded me immediately. I left him a positive feedback on ebay still, cause overall the dress is beautiful. Plus I don’t think additional flowers will show in the pictures in a “sea of white fabric”…
Inside the package, I saw only about 1/2 of the 17 pictures I sent originally were printed out & sent to the factory. The additional flowers picture was never sent to the factory. So be super specific earlier on. Also, although I asked for a final dress picture with all the additional flowers before shipping the dress, he never sent it to me. I didn’t insist either cause I was getting tired as well.
Good Luck & Happy Dress Hunting!!