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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Boots by Daryl Review - The Runway Frontline: TRIBE

 I heard about “Designing Daryl” from various persons who have used his services over the years (including reviews on Trinidad Carnival Diary).  Last year, I decided to engage his services to decorate my boots for the section “Persian Gold” in TRIBE’s Warrior theme.  Daryl and I emailed back and forth to determine my style and to ensure that his ideas meshed with my vision of how I wanted to look.  

Although we kept in touch over the months, due to a situation beyond my control, I was unable to play mas and had to sell my costume.  The plan was that Daryl would decorate the boots when he came to Trinidad a few days before carnival. When I emailed him informing him that I would no longer need to have the boots decorated, he was very gracious and understanding.  I thanked him for the time he had spent collaborating with me and assured him that I would be contacting him for Carnival 2012.

For Carnival 2012, I contacted Daryl quite late.  He responded right away and agreed to work within my budget to decorate my boots.  My budget was clearly much smaller than he was accustomed to working with and he indicated such.  I agreed to go to Samaroo’s to choose the covering material and Daryl gave me very specific instructions on what to look for.

When he arrived in Trinidad a few days before carnival, I dropped my boots and material for him and two days later they were ready.  I was a bit apprehensive because my budget was small (the budget was actually not small but certainly small compared to what Daryl usually charges for his services).  As I drove to collect the boots I worried that he would have just covered them and use one or two gems to finish off.

I was pleased, happy and ecstatic when I collected my boots.  The foot pieces for The Runway Frontline were very elaborate so I wanted a pair of boots that would not take attention away from the foot pieces but would stand on their own as a “statement” on Carnival Monday.  The gems were carefully and perfectly placed, the styles of applique used on the rim were extremely tasteful and the boots overall sparkled in the sunlight!

The boots held up amazingly well on both Monday and Tuesday.  In the photos attached, these are the boots AFTER two days of serious prancing on Monday and Tuesday. In all, only about four gems fell off and it’s hard to even tell exactly which parts of the boots they fell off from. 

I received many compliments on the boots and other masquerades wanted to know who decorated them.
I would use Daryl again in a heartbeat.  He is quick to respond and is an amazing designer.






Review of Carnival Divaz's Services

Hi TCD,

Thanks for taking our reviews and posting them!

When I initially signed up for my costume, I couldn’t get register for frontline because they didn’t make the wire bra in my size. So I commissioned Carnival Divaz to get a custom wire bra. I had read glowing reviews on TCD and having spoken to her, she was very sweet. She answered all my questions relatively quickly at the beginning. When she started taking orders, I asked that the wire bra be like the one designed with the frontline to my costume; she gave me an estimate (of which I paid half) and got to work. Within a month or so, she had emailed me to know that she had finished the initial process of the bra and it just needed to be decorated. She sent me a photo and I was excited. I hadn't expected her to work so quickly and was anticipating getting my bra sometime soon.

I got caught up in the whirlwind of Christmas and then realized that about 2 months had passed and I hadn’t heard from CD. I emailed her to find out if the bra was done; she let me know that it would be done in the next week. When it was finally done, she let me know that I could go on Facebook to see the picture. Since she had originally emailed me pics of the bra, I was a bit confused as to why the process had changed. After difficulty finding her, I realized she had created a Facebook group so that customers and friends could see the items she had made for them. I understood the idea of a Facebook group; I just wish more explanation had been given that there is where would be directed. When I saw my wire bra, I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be. I liked it but it wasn’t the same as the frontline bra to my section. I had people comment to me that I ordered something I didn’t ask for but I still liked her design and didn’t make a big deal of it.

The next step was getting the bra to me. I realized that it would have to be shipped and asked for a shipping estimate. She initially said that I could go find out how much it is; that confused me because, being from another country, I wasn’t able to see the prices or options that she could see. I got back to her and asked if she could set it up and I sent the money. She was okay with that and I sent the shipping price through Paypal. I then waited for my item to be shipped. She said it would happen the next day. The next day came, and I had no correspondence about my item. I emailed her and she said she had forgotten to bring the straps with her to work and would have to mail it the following day. I waited and still didn’t get any correspondence the next day. I waited till the following Tuesday to contact her and she told me she had mailed it out Monday and that I would get a confirmation from the shipping company. I waited several days and still didn’t get a confirmation. When I emailed her again, she finally forwarded me the confirmation. Upon reading it, I saw that the package had been sent out at least 2-3 days after she had said and that the confirmation had been sent to someone else initially. Even if that was by mistake, I feel slightly uncomfortable that a random person had my shipping information and that no explanation was given from CD about it.

When I finally got my package in the 1st week of February, I realized that, although she had included complimentary earrings, there were no straps in the package. I emailed CD and she apologized for it, asked me if I was sure and then said she would bring them down to Trinidad. I was disappointed because part of the shipping holdup was due to the straps and they still had been forgotten. I appreciate the earring s but earrings are not going to hold me up on the road! I couldn’t try on the wire bra without the straps so I ended up having to buy a backup option at a local craft store. When I did get to Trinidad, I was able to meet up with her at her residence; she spent awhile searching for the straps (which I realize was just ribbon) with absolutely NO words or even apologies for our wait.

CD started off good but I felt that getting closer to Carnival, I was disappointed with the correspondence and professionalism. I understand that in running a business of this nature, things will come up but many situations could’ve been avoided had I had proper communication. For example, I know it’s difficult to give me an exact replica of a band’s design; but I would’ve appreciated knowing that beforehand and being given the option to go with her design or not get anything made at all. It was my first time ordering with CD and it will definitely be my last time ordering.
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