Thank you for visiting The Mouse Market! I've attempted to answer as many of your questions as possible here, but don't hesitate to contact me if you need more information.
The FAQ is divided into the following sections, and you can click on any of them to jump to the appropriate section:
Q: Are all items handmade?
A: All of my foods are hand sculpted by me from polymer clay, and I often whip out dental tools and other intimidating-looking implements to recreate each and every detail. If you see a bowl of rice or a pair of sushi earrings, every grain was rolled by hand! One of these days, I'll get the mice trained so they can lend a hand--er, paw--but for now they seem pretty content to lounge around and watch me work.
Q. How do I care for my jewelry pieces?
A. Unless you request otherwise, my jewelry findings are surgical steel, which is very resistant to tarnishing, but if the metal does discolor, here's a handy tutorial for using non-toxic, inexpensive household materials to remove stains.
The foods themselves are made from polymer clay, which turns into a plastic after baking, so the pieces are water resistant. I have worn my jewelry in the shower without causing damage, but do keep in mind that this can hasten metal tarnishing. Please remove jewelry when swimming in a chlorinated pool as the chemicals may cause discoloration.
Avoid leaving the pieces in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time as this can cause fading, and if you choose to use a commercial metal polish on the findings, dip only the metal portions into the cleaner, as it can damage the finish of the polymer clay.
Q: What type of metal is used in the jewelry findings?
A: Unless otherwise noted in the individual item description, all of my earring wires and posts are hypoallergenic, lead-free surgical steel. While surgical steel does contain nickel, the nickel is so tightly bound within the metal that it rarely triggers allergic reactions, unlike many other base metal findings and even sterling silver, which is sometimes alloyed with nickel. I have extreme nickel sensitivities, and surgical steel is one of the few metals that I can safely wear for extended periods of time, which is why I have chosen to use it in my pieces. My necklace and bracelet chains are nickel-free, silver plated brass, unless otherwise noted. If you'd like to substitute out a different metal, just contact me and I'll get you squared away. Please note: Depending on the type of metal you require, I may need to special order the findings, so if you're purchasing a gift, don't wait until the night before you need it to get in touch. ;)
Q: How big are the food pieces?
A: All miniature food items are made to 1:12 scale (one inch in miniature equals one foot in "real life") or 1:6 scale, which is suitable for Barbie, Blythe, and many other playscale toys, but food jewelry pieces vary in size. Be sure to check the individual measurements listed in each item's descriptions before purchasing.
Q: Are your items made in a smoke-free home?
A: Yep. I also do not have any dander-carrying pets.
Q. What is the welcome kit and how do I get one?
A. Your Welcome Kit includes a 20% off coupon for your next order, plus a 20% off coupon to gift to a friend. If this is your first purchase with The Mouse Market, you are eligible to receive a new customer Welcome Kit. Simply spend $50 or more on your first order, and I will include your Welcome Kit in your order package. For digital orders, your coupons will be emailed to you.
Q: Do you take custom requests?
A: Definitely! I am more than happy to create unique pieces, so please contact me to get started with your custom request. Please note that items marked Limited Edition are unavailable for custom order, as well as pieces that may require specialty supplies if said supplies are no longer available.
Q: Can I sign up to get updates and special offers?
A: I'm glad you asked. ;) If you want to get a free tutorial, coupons, Secret Sale alerts and other just-for-subscriber goodies delivered to your inbox a few times each month, please sign up for the newsletter here.
Q: Are the mice on social media? I wanna get connected!
Q: Where else can I see your work?
A: Feel free to visit my Flickr galleries, especially if you're at work and you're looking for procrastination fodder.
Q: How do I join the Mouse Marketeers Buyer's Rewards program?
A: You are automatically enrolled in the Buyer's Rewards program when you make a purchase. For every $20 you spend in my shop, you receive a point; once you reach 12 points, you will be the proud, new owner of a $20 Mouse Market gift certificate that you have an entire year to redeem.
Purchases are cumulative, meaning if you spend $5 on your first order and $15 on your second order, you will receive a point. Your balance doesn't "reset" with every order, which allows you to earn points faster!
Please note: Currently, points are not available for purchases made at craft shows. Eligible purchases must be made through my Etsy shop or here in my online shop.
Q: How is payment handled?
A: I accept both PayPal and credit card payments. Please select the appropriate option on the checkout page. PayPal users, please be aware that paying with a checking account/eCheck can delay payment finalization for anywhere from 2-10 days, and orders must wait to ship until payment is successfully completed.
Q: How much does shipping cost?
A: Shipping insurance is now automatically included in all domestic shipping charges (within US). For regular speed First Class Mail, order totals up to $20 ship for $3.75, orders of $20 up to $45 ship for $4.25, orders of $45 up to $75 ship for $5.25, and orders over $75 ship for free (unless otherwise noted in an item's description, as with very heavy items). First Class mail typically takes 3-5 days to reach most domestic locations.
I also offer Express Mail options for domestic orders (within the US). All orders up to $250 ship for $26, and the delivery time is 1-2 business days depending on your location within the US. If you are purchasing more than $250 worth of items or you would like to check the exact delivery time based on your location, just contact me and I'm happy to help.
For orders shipped outside of the US, shipping is $12.50 per order, plus 10 cents for each item. Please note that shipping insurance for international orders must be purchased separately. Please contact me if you would like to purchase insurance.
Q: How are the items packaged?
A: All items are carefully packaged in a jewelry box with a cute Mouse Market sticker on the lid, ready for gift giving. For shipment, pieces are mailed in a padded bubble envelope for safe delivery.
Q: Do you ship internationally?
A: Yes! I am happy to ship my pieces worldwide, and by default I use USPS International First Class, which generally takes 1-2 weeks. International shipping cost is shipping is $12.50 per order, plus 10 cents for each item. If you need your items faster, message me and I will be happy to arrange another shipping method.
IMPORTANT: Please be aware that your country's customs office may impose a duty tax or other fees for imported goods. ***You are responsible for any fees or taxes. I have no control over these taxes and fees, and cannot compensate you for payment of any such taxes.*** Please check with your local customs authorities BEFORE purchasing from me if you are unsure of your local regulations.
Q: My item arrived broken. What do I do?
A: If an item arrives damaged, please contact me within 15 days of the date of shipment for orders shipped with the US, or within 30 days for orders shipped internationally, and I will promptly create a replacement piece. I reserve the right to request return shipment of the damaged item.
Q: My order never arrived. What are my options?
A: For orders shipped within the US: Shipping insurance is now automatically included in the shipping cost for all domestic orders. All domestic orders are sent with a tracking number. If the item is listed as successfully delivered by the USPS but you have not received the item, I am more than happy to file a lost item claim with the USPS on your behalf, but I cannot issue a refund. In these situations, it is often helpful to contact your local post office to determine a proper course of action. Please contact me for more information.
If your item has NOT been marked as successfully delivered and it is beyond the standard delivery time frame, please contact me ASAP. I will contact the USPS, and if that does not promptly resolve the issue, I will give you a refund or send out replacement items at no additional charge to you. Please note this is for domestic orders only (shipped within the US).
For orders shipped outside of the US: First Class Mail offers only limited tracking information and no insurance options, and I am unable to issue a refund for items that go missing. HOWEVER, through my Etsy shop I am now able to offer insurance on all international orders, so I highly recommend purchasing items through my Etsy shop to take advtanage of this feature. For international orders purchased through my Etsy shop, I will contact the post office immediately, and if that does not resolve the issue I will promptly issue a refund or mail out a replacement at no charge to you.
Q: Can I get a refund on digital items?
A: I do not offer refunds on digital items, because, unlike physical products, there is no way to return them. Please carefully read the descriptions for the digital items, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions prior to purchase. You can also sign up for my mailing list here, which will allow you to download over 50 pages of free tutorials. This will give you a clear idea of my teaching style and the format of my books.
Q: How do I use a coupon code?
A: At checkout, you will see a box labeled coupon and gift certificate codes; simply enter your code into the box and hit "apply," and the appropriate amount will be deducted from your total. Unless otherwise stated, coupons and gift certificates can be applied to any pieces in my shop including sale pieces. Shipping and handling charges are not eligible for coupon discounts (with the exception of free shipping coupons, of course).
Q: How can I check my gift certificate balance?
Simply go to the gift certificate page, and use the menu on the left hand side to select the "check remaining balance" option.