Friday, July 25, 2008

Follow Up

The woman that bought six of my items contacted me via email. Which I'm glad for, it's just much easier than the phone, mostly because if I don't recognize the number on the caller ID, I'll let the answering machine pick up.
Anyway, she DOES want that necklace. Or at least she inquired about it and asked how much it would cost.
I told her the price and also that I could bring it to the Gallery to put on hold for her. I plan to do that anyway, since I'm guessing she'll want to buy it, and if she doesn't, I could just bring it back home next week. I had listed it on Etsy intially, so, until I can make a new one (or this woman doesn't want it) I inactivated the listing.
I probably should just make a new one anyway. I went ahead and made a gallery item tag for this necklace, so, if this lady ends up not buying it, then I could just keep it in the gallery and make a new one for Etsy.
We shall see. Oh yes, we shall.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hooray Me!

Lots of good news!
First, my dear mother informed me that while she was working the gallery yesterday, she sold one woman six of my items! SIX! AND, she should be inquiring soon about having a necklace made to match one of the bracelets. What's better, is the necklace is already made. It's listed on Etsy so, I can take it down from Etsy until I can make another one to replace the one I sell her. She hasn't called yet. She left her phone number with my mom who passed it on to me, but I don't plan on calling her. I would feel like I was pressuring her to buy the necklace. If she really wants it, she'll contact me.

And second... I made my first sale on Etsy today! YAY! The buyer paid immediately, so all I need to do is get her item to the post office tomorrow morning. The question is now... when to leave feedback?
There's been a few threads in the Etsy forums about this. One there right now, actually. But they never seem to help me decide.
Part of me thinks that once the customer has paid, they've fulfilled their end of the transaction. Another part thinks that the transaction isn't complete until I know the customer received their item and is happy with it.
And then I was thinking just a moment ago how a lot of people think that all a customer has to do is pay and they're done and should get feedback. Well, I disagree with that now. Being a good customer involves communication. I don't expect a customer to respond to every message I send them. But, I DO want them to respond if I ask them a question (about their shipping address, their payment, etc.). And I do expect them to be polite in their response. And, it would also be nice to hear from them when they receive it if they are happy with it or not.

So, I think my decision is to always use delivery confirmation so that I know the customer has received the item. But, do I give them a day or two to communicate with me if there are problems? Do I assume that no communication is good news and they are satisfied with their item?
Some customers are just not talkative. And that's cool. And I guess I wouldn't expect those sorts of people to write me and gush over their purchase.

I just wish there was a non-tacky way to let buyers know that I am not withholding my feedback until they leave feedback. If a buyer tells me they received it and they are happy with it, I would instantly leave feedback. If they are not happy with it, I would work with them to make it right and THEN leave feedback based on how that went.
It has nothing to do with when or how they leave me feedback. It has everything to do with me wanting to be sure they're happy. If I know they are, I will leave feedback regardless of whether they've left it for me or not.

Hmph, I feel like I'm just starting to repeat myself.
I think each customer is different. If they're talkative and I'm getting the feeling they're going to be happy with their purchase, then I'll leave feedback when I ship. But if they're not saying anything, and I can't get a feeling for their level of satisfaction so far, then I will wait until I at least know they've received the item.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gallery Work

Yesterday was my first shift as a Gallery Sitter. Liz was there to walk me through everything I needed to do. Though, I think she assumed that my mom had already told me everything since she seemed to kind skip some stuff. But, then again, I guess I wouldn't know that she skipped some stuff without my mom having told me, so there you have it.

I thought she'd be there for the whole shift. But, after she told me the basics, she jetted. That's fine. We didn't finish "training" until 3:15 or so, and my shift was from 1 to 5.

It was rather quiet. The most people I saw were people that came in for a meeting with one of the organizations that is also located in this building. I guess they thought I was some sort of receptionist which kinda irked the shite out of me. One girl I even looked her straight in the eye and said, "I'm not a receptionist." Heh. Nice.
I was getting really pissed off with every person that came through the door and said, "I'm here for the meeting." Okay, well, if you really want me to help you, you're going to have to give me more information than that. There are about 5 organizations that share this building with us.

But then I was reading through our Procedures manual and it said that the Arts Council of Fairfax is the organization that is "renting" us the space for the Gallery. Specifically this one woman... Ann.... something. I forget her last name. And there was a whole page that described how to handle her purchases and how it's so different and special compared to normal transactions because she's been so good to us.
So that made me calm down a bit, since all these people that were coming in for the "meeting" were coming to meet with the Arts Council. I figured it was kind of a favor to them to help their people since they were doing a favor for us and giving us this space. But come on... couldn't you post a sign or something!?!??! At least tell these people beforehand: "The meeting is in X building in X room and here's how to get to that room from X door."

That's just me being a bitch, though, I guess. That's fine. Buy my stuff while I'm being a bitch! Hee hee!

So anyway, the evening was quiet. I did make one sale. A woman bought one of Liz's stuffed bunnies as well as one of my mother's mosaic lazy susans. And you're damn straight I talked her up. "This is one of my mother's pieces!" The woman gushed over how beautiful, yet functional it was and naturally I agreed. She asked how often she made them and told her "All the time! In fact, I just talked to her on the phone and she's making more right now!" Which was true. The lady said she'd go check on her daughters color scheme in her kitchen and probably come back to buy another for her.
I hear that all the time... at shows, when I have a booth right next to my mom. People say that "I have to go check the color scheme." And I wonder, are they telling the truth or are they just being nice and trying to make my mom feel good by making her think they're coming back to buy more when they really aren't? Either way, there's gotta be some way to... I don't know... help.
Maybe mom should invest in a polaroid camera (They still make those, right?), and she could take a picture of the pieces that the people think might match the color scheme, but aren't sure. And they could take it home to check. And for those people who are just BSing when they say that, maybe that nice gesture will make them really do what they say they'll do and it'll result in more sales.
Or, if they don't make polaroids anymore, maybe she could get the persons email address and send them a picture of the pieces they were interested in? I don't know.

Anyway, I'm glad I could make that sale for mom. And yes, I called her afterwards to tell her!
And then I called her again when the cash box didn't match up with what it should be. Don't look at me, my only sale was paid with credit card, I didn't touch the cash box! The cash is supposed to equal $55.75. But it was 15 cents more. I think what happened is that the person from the day before made a cash sale and made a mistake when counting out change... they left out one nickel and one dime for the customers change or something. Because when I came in, the morning person had only written "$55. " for the cash box total. I think she noticed the discrepancy and then intended to go back and count, but never did. Then, as Liz was training me, she noticed that and said, "Oh, well, that's supposed to be $55.75!" and wrote in the 75. So, my mom suggested I take a nickel and dime and put it in the daily sales envelope with a note. Brian thinks I should've just pocketed the 15 cents and called it a day! Heh. No.
Well, at least it was OVER and not under.
So, it wasn't so bad. I did get one stretch bracelet made while I was there. I tried some byzantine with the square wire rings I got... didn't work quite like it does with regular rings. Gonna have to play with it.
Anyway, enough rambling. Go buy something from my etsy store! ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Still Rockin' the Guild

I went to the Gallery today with my mom. She needed to pick up her check from the last show and I wanted to see what I had sold, as well as peruse the gallery to see how my items had been displayed.

Let me just say that I think the set-up committee does a wonderful job. They've got a nice assortment of items on each shelf. And this time, they organized it by color. One shelf would have all blue items (my blue neoprene stretch braclets were there), another would be all purples (my amethyst wiccan moon necklace and my amethyst cab earrings!), etc.

And then there was half of a shelf just for me! Had a good respresentation of my pieces there with a sign that said, "Welcome to our new Member! Susan Cunningham!" Woohoo!

Anyway, turns out I sold one more piece that same day. During the afternoon shift. So all in all, I sold three pairs of earrings, one bracelet and one hanging candle holder. So, I'm sitting here making more earrings! They're quick to make as long as I'm not distracted, and I can widen my profit margin more than on other pieces.

Still looking for those fish beads (Geez, I won't shut up about them, will I?). I found some on Etsy, but they don't match well enough to make earrings work. But the same seller also had those southwestern-style bear fetish beads. Which I like, as well. But again, they didn't match. But it's something I'd also like to try. I think it's the simplicity of the shape that attracts me. It's a simple shape, yet it's obvious what it is. Just like the fish.

Anyway, earrings it is!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pay Per Post

So, I'm a business owner. I've got a bottom line to worry about. Naturally, I rely on my sales to make money to put back into the business, right? Well, yes... but... when do I get paid? That't the whole point of a business, right?
HA! Nooo, *clears her throat and stands straight, hands folded* The point of a business is to provide the community the chance to experience pleasure and happiness through my items. It's all about the customer and making them happy.

Alright, alright, I'm not fooling anyone. I'm here to make money! And while so far, my sales have been enough to keep the business running without any other source of income, it's just barely enough. So how does one bring in extra money to the business besides making more sales?

I found Pay Per Post. It is this service that lets your blog make money for you. It's pretty cool, when you think about it. If you've got a blog and post regularly, why the hell not let it earn money for you? For example, I'm getting paid $20 for this post you're reading right now. And I would've more-than-likely posted about PayPerPost anyway! Seriously. That's no bull.

I've just started, though. This is my first post that I'm putting to work for me. But, there are so many other opportunities that I can take advantage of to make more money. I get to pick and choose what I want to post about. Then, I just make sure my post has all the requirements and links, and cha-ching! Money in my pocket.

It's pretty easy. It's decent money (not some low-end earnings like 2 cents per click). It's a no-brainer. I'm here posting anyway, might as well make it work for me. It's like an employee that pays me instead of me paying it. Can't beat that.

Oh, and they're pretty open about it too. They want everyone invovled to have access to full disclosure about the relationship between you, me and them. A sort of blog-love triangle. Heh, now you can tell people you've been involved in a menage-a trois. So anyway, here's their link to their word of mouth ethics.

Oh, and then there's this cool image to click on, too:
Click on it. Seriously! I got to pick the color and everything, so I made it just for you. Don't let me down.

Rock the Guild

This feels like the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
The new show at the Gallery hasn't even been open to the public for a week yet, and I've already sold four items. Those four items all sold in the same day, though. I'm not sure if that's better than them being spread out or not. I also don't know if they all sold to the same person.
Joan Hutten, the president of the guild was the Gallery sitter yesterday morning from 9-1. She left me a message saying that she had sold fur of my items that day. That's all.

Don't misinterpret the sarcasm. I'm very thankful that she called to tell me that. Very sweet of her since the sitters don't have to do that. She's just a sweetheart and thought I'd like to know, since this is my first show. But if I could look a gift horse in the mouth for a moment, it would have been very helpful to know things like: did they all sell to one person or multiple people throughout the morning? And most importantly, what was it that sold? Was it four of the same item? Was it a variety?
I'd like to know so I can get a feel for how it was sold. I won't get as excited over all four items going to one buyer as I would if four different people bought one item each. Also, if four of my stretch bracelets sold, I would want to make more.

Thing is... it is relatively easy to find all that out. I could just go to the Gallery and look it up in the sales book. Or, I could ask my Mom to check for me while she's there Monday morning and let me know then. Or, Brian said he might be able to swing by there on the way home today and go in and ask. Or, I could just wait a week when I go in for my first shift.

I don't want to wait until I go in, because I want to bring things to work on. Ideally, I would bring supplies to make replacements for the items that sold, so I'll need to know ahead of time so I know what to bring. So I think my best bet is to wait and see if Brian goes and/or when my Mom works on Monday.

So there you are. Very exciting. We'll have to see if it was a fluke or not. An anomaly, if you will. An outlier. Heh. No way man, my stuff rocks.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Appropriate Quotes

Someone on my chainmaille discussion forum had some interesting quotes in his signature. Thought I'd share them here.

"A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman. A man who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist."-- Louis Nizer

"I love to hear myself write..." ---Joss Whedon

I don't know who Louis Nizer is. Perhaps I should. I DO know who Joss Whedon is, however. Haven't read his writing, but I do enjoy his television show. Shame it got cancelled.
I can relate to his quote, though, I don't hear myself write as much as I SEE what I write. I can see it in my head as I write. Maybe all writers do? I don't know. I DO hear dialogue, though, I suppose. I hear inflection and emphasis, and some times I hear what the characters voice sounds like.
Though... there is a certain character in our book that I can't ever seem to hear. His voice is deep and soothing, but I still can't hear it. Bothers me a little.

Anyway, as for Louie's quote... I realized the other day that I consider myself an artist now. I haven't been able to do that before, but now it comes relatively easily. I like that. It's not that I have changed what I make or how I make things, but just that I take it much more seriously now. There is a lot more... heart in what I do.
And not just the jewelry itself. I was making item tags and earring cards the other day. I was very proud of how they came out and I was proud that I made them myself, rather than purchase them commercially. I think things like that can help you project more professionality, but since they're handmade, it reminds people that the jewelry is handmade as well.

Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's Go Time

I almost forgot! Today is July 3rd. Today is the first day of the new show in the Gallery, and it opened at 1pm after set-up today! My items are to be featured for the next two months!!!
Well, that means that I have accomplished half of one of my goals, already. My goal was to have my items on display and/or for sale at two brick and mortar stores/galleries. One down, one to go!