So how does this Memory Zoo malarky work?
- You join my waiting list here, or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
- I give you an approximate waiting list time
- I contact you to let you know that I am ready to receive your clothes
- You send me your clothes via a ‘Signed For’ service including the printed Memory Zoo Keepsake Order Form or arrange delivery with me if you are local to Portishead
- If you are sending me clothes for more than one Memory Zoo animal then please separate them clearly so I know which clothes are to make which animal and print an order form for each animal
- I contact you to let you know they’ve arrived safely
- I send you an invoice which is payable by bank transfer, cheque or Paypal
- You pay
- I make your bespoke Memory Zoo heirloom
- I send your beautiful and unique new Memory Zoo animal back to you via Royal Mail ‘Signed For’ service
- We all do a little happy dance
How are the animals constructed?
Once I’ve cut up and ironed your clothing I back each and every piece onto soft but strong cotton. This is an essential step and is never missed out. Not all keepsake companies back the fabric that is sent to them and this will be reflected in their seemingly low prices. Without backing the fabric the animal will not survive through the generations and will become warped and out of shape. It is also impossible to achieve a real ‘duck’ or ‘bear’ look to the animal since the fabric will stretch when sewn and become misshapen. It’s also impossible to stuff the animal robustly without backing it! Needless to say it’s a laborious but utterly essential part of the process. Once the pattern pieces have been cut the magic in my job begins! I can start to design your unique and bespoke animal for you, taking into account your most favourite items and any other wishes that you may have for your finished item. Once your item is sewn together I can stuff and apply the finishing touches – eyes, patches and pockets.
How many clothes do I need?
On the price list, you will ﬁnd the recommended amount of clothing pieces for each item. Generally speaking, the more you give me, the greater variety you will have within the Memory Zoo animal.
I don’t have enough clothes, does that mean I can’t have a Memory Zoo animal made?!
No! Absolutely not! If you don’t have many clothes then I can either supplement your clothes with fabric from my own stock or I can sew the smallest sections of your baby grows into a patchwork eﬀect. Often I may need to do both. I won’t use fabric from my own stock without informing you beforehand. Some of the smaller Memory Zoo animals can be made with only 2 items of clothes but this gives a very diﬀerent look those that are made with the recommended amount.
I’m not sure what fabric to choose. What do you recommend?
Choose your favourites. That’s the most important thing. Choose fabrics that mean something to you. Choose the ones that have memories. That is by far the most important thing. I can use almost anything. Most people choose to send baby grows, vests or t-shirts but that is by no means all that is possible. I can use christening gowns, wedding dresses, jumpers, hats, socks, blankets, coats – pretty much anything. Bear in mind when you select your fabrics that if you send me lots of items that are very bright and contrasting then you will have a bright and contrasting animal. If you have sent me fabrics that match, then your animal will match. Neither is correct – both look fabulous but be aware of that when you send them to me. And no matter what you send me, the animal will be beautiful. Part of my skill is in selecting the fabrics and combining your favourites to make a truly unique and beautiful keepsake.
Some of my favourite clothes are a bit stained! Is that ok?
As many of these clothes were worn by babies, it is often impossible for them to be loved and worn without a little bit of wear and tear on them. I can generally cut around stains, marks and small holes so don’t worry about that too much. The items must be freshly laundered. This is especially important if they are coming out of the attic or storage. You don’t want your brand new, bespoke item to smell of moth balls!
The clothes I have chosen are very stretchy, is that ok?
As all the fabric that you send me is backed onto strong (but soft) cotton this is not a problem and gives me great ﬂexibility with the fabrics that you send me.
What about very thick fabrics?
Very thick fabrics can be tricky on occasions but I can almost always find a use for them. If I can’t then I’ll let you know and return it to you with your animal.
And thin fabrics?
I have made animals with incredibly thin lace and net incorporated into the design, so it’s almost always possible to use whatever fabric you choose to send me.
What about if I send you too much?
I’ll send it back to you when I return you Memory Zoo animal, but please don’t send me masses and masses of items as it will increase your return postage considerably!
And if I don’t send enough?
I’ll contact you when I receive your clothes and ask you to send me more. If you don’t have any more then I can use fabric from my own stock. I can send you photographs of the fabric that I am intending to use before I use it to make sure you like it.
I really like the bow on the pink baby grow and the cute little elephant on the green one is really important to me…..
Don’t worry! I will get as many of your most favourite bits onto your animal as I can. Just tell me on the order form in as much detail as you need to and I’ll do my best to accommodate your wishes. Sometimes requests are not possible due to the shape, size and position of the patterns but I will let you know if I can’t make it happen. Please add the information into the ‘Extra Notes And Instructions’ on the order form.
Can you sew on a pocket?
Yes, there is a small extra cost for this. Please see the price list. I can also add any other item that is part of the original clothes. For example – skirts, hoods, wings, ties, bows etc. Please add the information into the ‘Extra Notes And Instructions’ on the order form.
I’d really like my bear to have a coat made out of the fabric I am sending you. Is that possible?
Absolutely! I can make pretty much anything that you’d like to add to the animal, but each request will have to be considered and priced on an individual basis. Please contact me for more information.
I’ve got a really clear idea about what I want my Memory Zoo animal to look like! Can I be really, really….ummm…..picky?!
Of course you can! It’s YOUR animal. My job is to preserve your memories in a way that pleases you the most. When you come and drop your clothes oﬀ you can come and have a chat with me in my studio and we will work out the best way to make your Memory Zoo animal absolutely perfect for you. If you’re not local, then you can put lots and lots of detail on the order form. If I’m not sure about anything that you’ve written (or it’s just not possible) then I will email you and let you know. You can also call me if there really is a lot to talk about! Send me an email and I’ll arrange a time we can have a chat.
I really don’t know what I want. Can I just leave it all to you?
Absolutely! Many people don’t have a clear idea of what they want. They know they want a bear but that’s about as far as they have got. Just send me your clothes and I will make it awesome for you.
And what about the personalisation? How does that work? What can I have?
The personalisation is charged on a per letter basis and you can have pretty much anything that you’d like. The smaller animals can ﬁt less on them than the bigger ones. I’ll let you know if it’s not possible when I receive your forms.
What’s the best way to send you my clothes?
I highly recommend that you send me your clothes by Royal Mail ‘Signed For’ service, or a similar tracked service. It would be very sad if they got lost in the post. Or you can arrange with me to deliver them yourself. I will only post them back to you by a ‘Signed For’ service, as I do not feel comfortable with your Memory Zoo animal travelling untracked through the postal service.
How do I pay for my Memory Zoo animal?
You can pay for your Memory Zoo animal either through bank transfer, cash or cheque. Paypal is also possible but there is a £2.50 surcharge for this, as this is what they charge me. I will send you an invoice after you send me your clothes and order form. Please note I am unable to start work on your animal until you have paid your invoice.
How long will it take you to make my Memory Zoo animal?
I endeavour to get your animal back to you within 10-12 weeks of receiving your clothes. I’m afraid it’s very diﬃcult for me to give you a totally exact timescale as I run this business alongside my other family commitments. If my toddler doesn’t sleep – I don’t sew! You may well, however, get your animal back well before this time.
I would like my Memory Zoo animal for a particular date – can you do that?
I’m afraid not, no. I will try my hardest to get the animal back to you for the required date but I cannot make any promises. My Memory Zoo animals are made along side raising my daughter and looking after my family. They have to come first and so if my daughter is poorly (or me for that matter!) then I may suffer delays. I’ll keep you posted onto the progress of your animal and you can ask at any time how long it is going to be but I cannot work to a deadline. As much as anything else the very last thing you want is an heirloom that has been made in a rush when I’ve been poorly and exhausted. It’s not going to be my best work! I have made hundred of animals and I have discovered rushing simply doesn’t work.
I really like one of the ones I’ve seen in your pictures, can I buy it?
I’m very sorry but no! Every single animal I make is an individual, bespoke item for a customer. I don’t oﬀer any animal for ‘oﬀ the peg’ sales. Each one is a piece of art and cannot be repeated. With this in mind, it is also impossible to duplicate a previously made Memory Zoo animal. This means that your Memory Zoo animal is one of a kind true bespoke family heirloom.
I want to give the Memory Zoo animal to my child. Is that ok?
I’m afraid not, no. I am not CE tested and therefore these animals are not suitable for children under the age of 14.
Will you ﬁx my price for me when I join your waiting list?
I’m afraid not, no. As the waiting list can be quite long my prices do sometimes have to change (down as well as up!) due to market forces, the cost of fabric (there was a cotton crop failure all over the world fairly recently and that has changed the price of the backing cotton for example) and other sundries. Don’t worry, though – I will send you the most up to date price list when I email you to let you know that you need to start getting your clothes together. The prices won’t change dramatically – and they may not change at all – but the price on joining the waiting list is not guaranteed.
Help! I’ve changed my mind!
You can change your mind once you’ve gone on the waiting list – just please let me know so I can keep the waiting list up to date. You can change your mind at any time up to the point where you send me your clothes.
If you have any further questions or queries that haven’t been covered here then please feel free to contact me on my Facebook page ‘Memory Zoo’ or by email on email@example.com