This past weekend, an amateur dress designer made innanet rounds after sharing a client story involving ashes used as collateral. Yup, you read that right. On Saturday, Iman Lee took to Facebook to explain how she ended up with an urn full of ashes and an unpaid balance for a prom dress.
Iman began by sharing her initial reserves with posting. Ultimately, she told the story to “warn other business owners and service providers about how crazy clients really can be.” Iman took to design this year–meaning this is also her first time servicing prom season.
This particular client, a high schooler Iman has not named, booked a custom dress order in March. Iman says the client never paid the deposit, so she canceled the order. The following month she received an email inquiring about the order. Iman says she gave the client a rundown of what occurred. At this point, Iman says the prom was about 30 days away, which meant a rushed design. So, the designer disclosed her rush order fee, and the client agreed and paid the deposit.
Designer Remakes Dress One Day Before Prom Due To Sizing Issues
But timing got the best of Iman, per her words. This client was her last of the season, and she had fallen behind on her remaining two gowns. Iman took responsibility for underestimating the time she needed to complete all of her orders. Given the time mishap, Iman says the high schooler’s fitting didn’t happen until May 25, the day before prom. After measurements, Iman discovered the base of the prom dress did not fit the high schooler.
“…I had to remake the whole thing from scratch while running off 3 hours of sleep,” Iman wrote. “I considered just refunding her money and apologizing for the inconvenience but I couldn’t bring myself to do that to her a day before her prom.”
So, Iman got to work and completed the dress by 1 a.m. on prom day (May 26). She says she felt like the client, and her mother was “somewhat rude,” but Iman empathized, saying she would’ve been “equally as upset.” Iman even decided to personally deliver the gown, given the inconveniences on her part.
“When she tried the gown on, she was acting as if she was dissatisfied with it. She kept pulling up her inspiration picture comparing the two, after I already thoroughly explained that I DO NOT create exact replicas. She noticed a couple of stitches at the knee seam had popped and wanted me to fix them. That was no problem. At this time, I had recreated this gown 3 times already and the fix was simple,” Iman wrote.
Iman says she waited about 10 minutes for the client’s mother to send the remaining balance. However, the mother’s phone was frozen, and she claimed to have no other forms of payment. At this point, the designer says the high schooler piped up saying, “we’ll get you your money; the dress ain’t even done yet.” However, time was grinding away, and the high schooler was only hours away from her prom lineup. Iman then decided to take the dress to her sister’s store for the finishing touches.
Client’s Mother Offers Her Own Mother’s Ashes As Collateral
A little over an hour later, Iman returned with the dress. Unfortunately, time did little to help the mother’s payment situation, and this time, the high school client was not home. The mother thanked Iman and expressed her appreciation but then declared she didn’t have the money to pay the balance on the dress.
“She claimed Cash App wasn’t working, she couldn’t get cash off her credit card, and PayPal wasn’t letting her put her card numbers in… so she then OFFERED to give me something valuable of hers to hold until people send her the money on Cash App so she can just send me what was on her Cash App balance,” Iman wrote. “Y’all….. SHE GAVE ME HER OWN MOM’s ASHES!!!!!”
Iman says she felt “shocked and completely dumbfounded.” But again, she empathized with the mother, particularly the loss of a mother. The designer assumed she’d get her money, given the exchange of such a sentimental item.
“I also figured that she wasn’t going to play me if she gave me something so sentimental like that; therefore, I took it because, at that point, I wasn’t leaving without some type of collateral,” Iman wrote. Also, I didn’t want to sabotage my client’s prom day being as though it was 2 hours before her lineup.”
Two days after the prom, Iman was still waiting on her coins. So she tried to work with the family by creating another invoicing account. Iman even had her sister speak to the mother and set up the pick-up and payment plans. But the meeting time passed with no communication from the clients, except for a posted photo of the high schooler wearing the custom gown.
In a conversation with The Shade Room, Iman said the clients took to their social accounts with defamatory accusations about her business IMANLEE Customs. Additionally, Iman claims they filed a police report against her.
Iman told TSR she is “retaining an attorney” and plans on “handing [the ashes] over to either [her] attorney or the police or whatever legal personnel who needs them.”
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