Pillow Fight
 

What You Buy When Shopping

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My name is Erin, middle name Betty. I am a feminist with a Master's degree in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory. I am an artist and an empathetic, flawed human. I started making swimwear through BettyFelonFashions out of a need to create beauty and in response to what I've always known about women's swimwear -- that it can make a woman hate her body.

My aim was to create silhouettes and custom sizing to transform the swimsuit from a self-esteem bully, to a catalyst of freedom and self-confidence. A lofty goal, I know, but I've never been one to dream small. What I mean to say with these details is that customer experience and beauty are the central tenets of BettyFelonFashions. I have recently realized the importance of sharing more about myself, my process, and what happens on the other end of your internet connection when you make a purchase.

It has been a bumpy road, this business of mine. How does one create meaning out of clothing in a disposable, capitalist culture? Well, I have tried to -- in offering unique designs, personalization and customization, diverse representation, gender affirmation, etc. Still, I work in an internet industry, side by side with mass manufactured clothing companies. To the unobservant viewer, my shop may appear just like these faceless others that pump out item after item through factory machines and exploited, marginalized workers. I understand this is part of my risk. I understand, also, that if I were to share more of myself on social media, it might be easier for my audiences to recognize that I am just a one-woman shop, a real person, dedicated and committed to making beautiful and uplifting items of clothing for you. However, the internet is a cruel place of unaccountable bullies and the idea of making myself more vulnerable to that threat has never been appealing to me. It is a balance of maintaining my safety and presenting a business that you feel you can trust. I encourage you, if you are ever doubtful, send me a message, see that I am a real human, and let's make a connection.

Another struggle with working through the internet is the level of risk and trust it asks of all involved. Think about how many outfits you might try on in person in a store compared to what you purchase? It is problematic to replicate that model online when the customer and the maker never encounter one another in real life. Realistically, you can't expect it's going to go exactly right every time. This is why I suggest ordering to measure, but even then, bespoke apparel often needs adjustment.

I have been sewing for over 2 decades, and pattern drafting nearly as long. I have also studied life drawing for years. I know how to construct a well-fitting garment and would not be in this business if my skills were not up to par. Even still, buying online always presents a risk. If you decide to take that risk, please understand that you are employing someone (me, Betty) to design and construct your item by hand. Though I will always take full responsibility for the fit of custom sized items, I cannot reasonably be asked to take responsibility for your change of mind. I have spent hours of my time, and my money to produce an item specifically for you, which in most cases cannot be resold. If you do not see the issue with asking me to have done this work for free/my own expense, then please do not shop with me. If you get it, welcome! I'd love to make you something truly special.

I take great pride in my work, and it gives me such fulfillment when I know that someone loves the item I've made for them. This is not about profit for me. To be honest and totally transparent, there is very little profit in making custom, one-off items, sold online and shipped across the globe. If my motivation were profit, I would not be doing this business, frankly. For those who have never sewn a piece of clothing (let alone with spandex), or run an online business, this might not make sense to you, but it is the truth.

All this to say, customer satisfaction IS my first priority. I will make any of my items to your measurements, with your style preferences; I will do the research and work to find custom fabrics for you; I will do my research to figure out the most flattering cuts for you; I will work as diligently as I can to make these pieces for you, and it my work isn't up to par, I will start it over again before it gets to you; and, if you find after that there is an issue with fit, I will fix it for you for free (if my error, I will cover shipping).

I know that even despite my best efforts, people will behave as people on the internet behave. For some, that is with respect, curiosity, and kindness. For others, that is with entitlement, rudeness, and unchecked rage. But still, let us remember kindness is restorative and contagious. Let's spread it.