As business people we all try our utmost to please the customer.  I  always heard the phrase that the customer is always  right .  To be honest, I have tried and tried to stick to this principle and tried to always go that extra mile to ensure the complete customer satisfaction.  Listening to my super customers who come back regularly and promote my services positively.  I have some fabulous customers who appreciate the work I do and go out of their way to recommend my business to others.

In the other side, are the very few customers who do not appreciate the work which goes into creating a ballet tutu.  Just from experience, these customers are not local to me, they are not customers who are looking for a structured ballet tutu for a dancer at championship or world dance level.  These customers are usually looking for a stretch ballet tutu at the lower end of the market as budget is an issue.  After recent experiences  which I will portray, I have decided not to undertake any further custom tutu orders for stretch and mail order ballet tutus.  It may be the steady stream of work that some tutu makers cry out for but from my experience,  it lacks the customer focus I can appreciate for local customers when they collect their bespoke ballet tutu.

A recent example is highlighted:

The Letter

Dear Customer,

I felt I had to write this down as I apologise for the poor service you have received from me.  I rarely do mail order stretch tutus and your business has made me realise again why I choose to work with local customers.

Your original order was for a burgundy Lycra ballet tutu with white skirt. – No further details or deposit.

  • This was completed to your measurements and a photograph sent but you then replied stating you had changed your mind about the colour, the bodice front, plate design  and skirt edge.
  • You then clarified your request.


Your second request was for a Cobalt blue bodice with white bodice decoration and a plain white un-decorated tutu skirt

  • This was completed quickly to meet your deadlines and a photo send. Unfortunately I had used a Lycra for the pants from new manufacturer which did not have the stretch properties I was used to.
  • You further requested rhinestones ‘scattered’ over the top of the skirt which was done and the tutu posted off to you.
  • You complained that the fit of the skirt round the high hips was too large based on the measurements sent. You asked for it to be repaired.

For Information: A structured Ballet tutu can be taken apart and altered for size but a stretch tutu has limited ability for alterations, especially once the skirt is attached.

  • I believed that it would be more suitable solution to create a new third tutu to the specified size which I did using the same bodice fabric as the second ballet tutu and premium Italian net in the skirt cut to the same length as the original measurements of the previous two tutus.
  • There was not any of the same decoration left for the bodice so I substituted a more expensive applique to decorate and rhinestones were scattered across the top of the tutu skirt.
  • This was posted off as I thought I met the requirements of the second criteria request of a Cobalt blue bodice with plain tutu skirt with rhinestones scattered and white applique bodice decoration matching the measurement.
  • I believed that this third ballet tutu was more than a suitable replacement for the second ballet tutu and with the fit and specification requested.

You then contacted and requested that this third  (superior) tutu was not suitable as it was a ‘replacement!’ and therefore didn’t have the same bodice decoration and had more rhinestones scattered on the skirt.   The tutu  did have the correct size,  the same bodice fabric and colour and same skirt length.

You requested that the second Ballet tutu was returned but ‘fixed’ to take in the extra width at the high hip.

  • To achieve this, I measured a wide elastic to the high hip measurements and stitched this this to the inside of the high hip of the ballet tutu. This did not pull it in much yet the elastic was measured to size a tight fit.
  • Next I made additional pant lining from heavy weight powernet which I mostly use to create structured ballet tutu pants as it keeps its shape.  This was sewn around the legs but still seemed to be wide.  I took in the seams in a little to increase the elasticity of the powernet.  As the skirt was already part of the tutu, the only way I could secure the powernet pants was to hand sew these to the existing waist seam on the inside.
  • I must admit, following alterations this was not my best work;  I would never choose to alter an existing stretch ballet tutu but make another correctly.  As I did with Tutu number three.
  • However as it was  a customer  request and insistence and on the principle that the customer is always right,  I have did so.

The Outcome

I Then sent a refund via Paypal of £30 to cover the two  return postage costs sending unsuitable tutus back to me.  In addition I also refunded  a further £50 from the price of the original tutu paid as I believe this tutu is not now the quality of professional workmanship  of which I usually take  pride in.  To add the final straw, the customer then demanded that the ‘fixed’ tutu didn’t sit right.  By then I wanted nothing more to do with this customer, so gave a full refund and vowed never to deal with the person again.

I generally believe the customer is always right;  and I will try my hardest to please my customers but  on this occasion I did not have  a sense of pride in seeing the tutu finished and a very happy customer.  Even after making three stretch Ballet tutus to a specific size during my busiest period for this one customer;    I now  have two ‘unsuitable’ ones to try and sell on to other customers and a backlog on my other customers bespoke ballet tutu orders.

As a sole trader of a small business,  my tutu customers are my business. I love seeing the dancers enjoy their collection session,  and the #DanceMums overcome with emotion at seeing their daughters dressed in their ballet tutu looking so elegant.

So my decision following this unfortunate experience is to restrict  my business to local customers,  or at least or those who are willing to travel for my unique service and appreciate the creative designs which my service provides.

Apologies to all future customers who were hoping to get a custom Do Tutu  but if you are not within driving distance from Hartlepool, I would suggest you find a local tutu maker to help you.







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