Monthly Archives: February 2013

Focus on the Customer

Sales have been slow since the holidays.  Been spending some time thinking about how to reclaim my market.  So much has changed since 2007 and I have not really changed with it.  I depend way too much on what worked 5 years ago.

The key to effective customer service is to focus on the person buying from the shop, not be dependent on shop policies created for the convenience of the owner, creator, shipper, etc.  Customers want the experience to be easy, quick and simple.¹   They should be able to look at our pictures and make a decision to purchase or not.  Details in titles, descriptions and policies must reinforce that decision, not complicate it.  By removing obstacles, we improve the customer experience.

Shop policies should only exist to cover us in liability situations, not be a document that a customer is required to read to understand how to make a purchase.  Of course that sounds backwards, but the reality is we only have two seconds before a potential customer decides to move forward into our sites, or move on to the next.²  Every time a customer has to make a decision, we risk losing that customer.

Of course the platform we are selling on either reinforces the ease or adds to the complications.  Etsy has made some huge strides in this area, most recently with updates for coupon codes.  But there are still some challenges. And now that I finally have a website, blog, Facebook, et al, the opportunity for inconsistency increases.  To help me better understand my strengths and weakness, I am going to create a Customer Experience Map identifying touch-points.  A touch-point is simply each place the customer interacts with my shop.  Analyzing these points helps me understand how it all works for the good of my shop, or against it. This process is not much different than the classic SWOT.  Big business spends millions on consultations.  It should only take me an afternoon.  I hope.

 

¹ Delighting Customers Isn’t What You Think  viewed 2/27/13 
² You Only Have Two Seconds to Make the Sale  viewed 2/27/13

 

Knitting

When I say I’m a beginning knitter, even after two years, I’m not being coy or humble!  I got stuck at the instant gratification scarf. A great use of small amounts of thick yarn.  The stitches accumulate so quickly that all of a sudden you have two feet!  This scarf used only one skein of yarn.

Spring is Coming!

For more on the this incredibly satisfying project, check out the twisted drop stitch.

What I don’t like about knitting is having to count.  Of course it gets easier as you become acclimated, but still, my mind wanders too much!  Everyone is recommending I try crocheting.  Will soon.

The month of exploring my inspirations continues.  I spent last summer working on a friend’s vegetable farm.  One of my goals was to take lots of pictures and create a fan page on Facebook.  Midsummer I took this pre-cook shot of dinner and began to fantasize about making stuffed peppers.

Here are a few of my creations starting with the blue hubbard squash.

Blue Hubbard Squash Patchwork Pillow for Garden Harvest Kitchen Decor - Eco Friendly Upcycled Soft Sculpture

 

Visit the garden!

 

More to come soon…

To cut or not to cut?

Always on the lookout for interesting textiles, I scrounge yard sales, auctions and thrift stores for great finds.  When an item is damaged in some way, it is an easy decision to recreate it into something else.  But when it is pristine and still has a life as originally intended, that is when the moral dilemma begins.

Here are some examples of when it went well.  First, a fun wrap skirt with stretched out elastic.  Would have been a simple enough fix, but this is better.

Mod Purse
Once a raincoat with decidedly 80s styling.  Again, this is better.
Rainy Day Purse
This one was hard.  A gorgeous round tablecloth in perfect condition.  But I could never have found fabric like this elsewhere.
The Victorian Parlor Purse
The one I could not cut.  Found this at the local auction.  Originally bought it for a one of a kind purse.  I have always been a sucker for velvet and this is an amazing collection of luscious soft warmth.  I feel like I should be arrested if I cut it up!
So, here we are at the question of the day.  Do I or don’t I?  Not sure where this vintage bedspread came from or what the intention is for my having it.  But it melds perfectly with this set of vintage handles.  Well, maybe not the yellow ones.  These have been floating around for years and never quite found the right fabric.  It is amazing that this woven works so well for all of them!
Photo: Always struggle if I should cut up a vintage item that is in good condition, but this time it is easy.  The bedspread is the perfect fabric for these amazing vintage handles.  Love how it picks up every color!

All about the Fabric

Some people have amazing designs in their heads, but not me.  My inspiration comes from the fabric itself.  Right now I am completely obsessed with double knit polyesters.   Someone dropped these off at the school and they are in perfect condition.

Have big plans, but here is the first purse!

Handmade Hobo Shoulder Purse - Fresh Mint Handbag - Ready to Ship

 

Link

I have been drooling over the seed catalogs all winter.  If I had my way, we would plant an entire acre of the 50+ varieties of eggplant in the Baker Creek catalog!  Until then, I added a few more purses to the garden party.