Posted on

FAQ: Do you do custom?

Why we don’t do custom work

One of our most frequently asked questions is: do you do custom and/or alterations? It’s a totally reasonable question. If everything with the Venus & Mars label is handmade in store then it only seems logical that we would be set up to do custom but the truth is we’re not. Back in the day we used to do custom but a steady increase in business and customers has made it impossible to continue. The following is why.

Custom is expensive

Custom work is expensive. In the time that it takes to make one custom jacket, we could probably make two dozen steampunk frock coats (more on that below). From an accounting standpoint, it’s difficult to justify charging the same amount for one custom jacket as it would be for one regular jacket that we could produce in a small production run. We don’t think it’s fair to charge $1,000 or more for just one jacket but we wouldn’t be able to survive if we charged the same amount for custom as we do for off the rack.

steampunk frock coat

It is time consuming

Everything we make is made in small production runs. That means that Sanne uses a pattern (of her own design) to cut multiple items at the same time. She then bundles everything together for our sewer and we get shiny new awesome products once they are all put together. If it is a brand new design then Sanne will cut one and sew a sample for our sewer. Depending on what we are making, we generally have a turn around time of a week for multiple items in a size run.  Custom work requires a lot more time.We have to set up a consultation, make a new pattern, construct the garment, provide a fitting, and make any necessary alterations. In the time that it takes to do a consultation alone, Sanne could have cut 6 black wool cloaks.

Bonus: Putting together a cosplay? Check out  What is cosplay for suggestions on how to put something together off the rack.

We don’t want to

Sanne started Venus & Mars in 1993 because she wanted to make her own designs. People come to us with excellent suggestions and incredibly creative ideas that we love to hear about. Sometimes these ideas even inspire us to make new things (for example the ladies tails vest) but that’s on our own terms and in our own designs. What has made the store successful for a quarter century is Sanne’s unique designs and we would like to continue in that vein.

We totally want to make your vision a reality. If you bring in a picture of what your trying to recreate, we can offer suggestions and help you come up with at least a base for your outfit. We’ll try to recommend other places too that might have what you’re looking for. If you do end up getting custom work done then make sure to do your homework. Look up reviews from other customers and shop around for a price that fits your budget.

What has your experience been with getting custom clothing made? Let us know in the comments below.

Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest scoop on what we’re up to. You can also sign up for the Steampunk Tempest in order to get awesome, secret deals.


Posted on

FAQ: What is Steampunk?

what is steampunk

This has been the summer of the steampunk wedding here at Venus & Mars.  We’ve had so many awesome couples looking for outfits or accessories to steampunk their wedding.  We’ve also had a lot of wedding guest looking for ensembles and answers.  So many people want to know, what exactly is steampunk?

I have some good news and bad news. The bad news is that I’m not sure there is a totally definitive answer to that question.  Some people know it involves goggles and gears.  Other people is say it’s when goths wear brown. I like to think of it as a sci fi fantasy world where steam is the main power source.  Basically think Jules Vern, H.G. Wells, time travel, Victorian Fashion and goggles. Do you know what the good news is? If there’s no definitive answer to what steampunk is then you are only limited by your imagination.

Do you know what else is awesome about Steampunk? It’s so inclusive.  You could wear brown pants, a white dress shirt, suspenders, and GOGGLES and be steampunk. Or you can go all out and build your own steam powered motorcycle, convert your keyboard into a typewriter and dress Victorian 24/7.  It’s all good in the steampunk hood and you can participate in whatever capacity you choose.

what is steampunkStill not convinced steampunk is amazing? Listen to this, you can create a character with your wardrobe. Are you an adventurer finding new lands and exploring unknown kingdoms?  Then you probably want to wear something easy to move in like a pair of black cotton bondage pants, a Queen Anne corsetlet and a steampunk pocket belt (for your map, compass and gadgets). Are you a high end watchmaker/ repair person who has discovered a magic secret in a patron’s watch?  You should probably dress the part in a poet shirt, military frock coat and some round glasses. Are you socialite by day and cat burglar by night? You’ should get used to wearing a corset and skirt but make sure you have your bustle pocket belt to hold your lock picking tools.

You can make just about anything steampunk.  Your only limitation is your imagination. Don’t believe me?  Google Steampunk (insert your favorite superhero, character, person here) cosplay you’ll find tons of pictures to draw inspiration to create your own steampunk character.

Do you think I got it right? What’s your definition of steampunk? Let us know in the comments below.

Spread the gospel of Steampunk! Share this with them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Want super secret deals and tricks and tips for building your wardrobe? Don’t forget to sign up for up the Steampunk Tempest.