If it makes you happy….

It can’t be that baaaaad! Okay, sorry. Enough singing. Sheryl Crow has some pipes though, doesn’t she! Great song! Anyway, today is a serious topic… Ready? Owning and GROWING a business.

          Being a shop owner can really be stressful sometimes, especially when you’re just starting out and you’re making your products with your own skills and hands. It’s almost like a first date. You’re terrified nobody will like your shop, nobody will want to buy anything, will people appreciate what I’m trying to do here? After your first sale, you’d think that you’d loosen up a little right? Nope! Because then you worry… Did my pictures and description represent my item fairly? Will they be happy with the item and it’s costs once it arrives? Will they like and appreciate the packaging? Will they leave me positive feedback? Will they be a return customer? This goes on, listing after listing, sale after sale.

                 I’ve been on Etsy selling since the middle of January, and every new listing I put up, every sale I get, I still feel anxious! There’s something very personal about spending your time that you could be using with your family sitting and making something special for someone to buy, you put a lot of time and effort, and love into it. Sometimes even some blood, sweat, and tears – LITERALLY! Even with custom orders, where I know it will sell – I still feel nervous. Am I making what they want? Will they be happy with the finished product? It’s not because I doubt myself, or my work… and it’s not because I don’t believe in myself or my product. I just truly want to please my customer, and keep pleasing them! I want them to feel happy about their purchase each time they wear, use, or look at it and I want them to come back and make more purchases.

             I asked a few of my customers that I’ve sold to here locally, and a few online customers who have now become great friends of mine to please fill out a little “survey” just so I can see what I’m doing right, and what needs improvement. I feel like this is a great way to let them know their opinion matters to me, and that I’m doing my best to continue to grow and provide them with what they want and need. As a new shop owner, it’s hard sometimes to know what’s working and what isn’t and I’m hoping that their feedback will help me shape the shop in the move forward. When I first opened up shop I was using clear ziplock bags that I bought in bulk and sending out a printed receipt directly from paypal with a little thank you note attached… now I use brightly colored tissue paper and ribbons, include an “extra” if I can – and a professional looking business card with a personal note on the back. I felt like it would make a difference, and according to the feedback I’ve received- it has! Some notes that I received from sending out the survey that I’ll share with you all.

  1. All of my customers are very happy with their orders still, and have worn/used them several times with compliments. (that makes me happy and proud!)
  2. The majority of my customers have become return customers and purchased things for gifts after buying from me for themselves first.
  3. Out of the return customers, all of them have since custom ordered an item from me.
  4. The packaging change was noticed and appreciated, and made it “exciting to open”.
  5. My little extras are noticed, and appreciated. One customer said it was “thoughtful and made spending money at my shop more rewarding because she cherishes me as a person”
  6. My shipping time is great. (That’s good to know because I feel like that’s the one thing I can’t improve because after it leaves my hands – I just hope for the best!)

I got some really great feedback and that makes me very proud of myself and my little shop. I also got feedback suggesting I offer a custom order option for gloves, and offer a wider variety of colors and MORE stock. So these are the things I’ll be focusing on and trying to improve. It makes me feel more confident going into the future knowing that people are still using and enjoying their orders from me, and that they feel good about spending their hard earned money on my items. Money is tight, so it’s a great honor for me any time anyone orders from me. I know that’s money they’re working hard to get and keep, and money that could be going towards feeding their families and keeping a roof over head. Speaking of orders – I received one today for a birthday girl this month. Her mom ordered her favorite color of gloves and I need to tuck away some special gifts for the birthday girl and package every thing up to mail out to her mom tomorrow. Sigh, those were the days. To be 13 again!!!

Have a great day today, and make good choices that YOU can be proud of!

Lulu

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