When I first opened my online shop, I made a big mistake. I was just getting started and was honestly still getting to know who my customers really were and what exactly it was they needed. I spent the first several months figuring out what products made sense for both my customers and me. I tried a variety of combinations in my shop: both printable as well as printed physical Thank You for Your Order cards until finally I thought I’d figured out what was going to be best. I emptied my shop of printables and offered nothing but printed cards. I was sure that my busy fellow handmade business owners would appreciate getting finished cards delivered right to their doorsteps and not having one more thing to create for their customers’ packages.
Long story short… I was wrong. I ended up losing what little momentum I had gained in my first few months and lost a TON of time in the process. Thankfully, the honest feedback of one of my loyal return customers quickly brought me back on track. It turns out many makers and shop owners don’t mind printing and cutting their own Thank You for Your Order cards – especially if you make it quick and easy for them. : ) After all, handmade business owners are natural DIY-ers… hello! Not to mention, most appreciate saving their hard-earned money by purchasing inexpensive, one-time-cost printables rather than printed cards. I look back and can’t help but laugh and wonder, “What in the world was I thinking?!”
There are certainly plenty of lessons to be learned from my experience, but man am I grateful for that genuine feedback that saved me from painfully wasting time, wondering what my customers wanted.
What started out as a custom order request became a simple yet invaluable moment of customer feedback that made all the difference for my shop. And the feedback from my wonderful customers continues to lead my shop and product offering in the right direction. Thank goodness!
So how can customer feedback be a difference-maker for your shop?
First things first. You have access to feedback from your customers in all kinds of places. In this case, the feedback came through a one on one conversation with my customer. However, there are many places and ways for your customers to communicate with you, both directly and indirectly, which is totally awesome! Facebook or other social media, email, craft shows, and even viewing and purchasing statistics give you insights to your customers. Are you getting a lot of custom orders for something in particular? Yep, that’s feedback.
Still not seeing the feedback you are looking for? Then ask for it! Put together a brief survey and email it out to your mailing list. Send a follow up email after someone makes a purchase from you and ask how their experience was – or ask about whatever it is you’d like feedback on. Post a question on Facebook to your fans and customers. The possibilities are endless, and you might be surprised how quick people are to share their opinions when they feel someone really cares about what they think (image that!).
Now before you get all excited about gathering feedback from your customers you have to realize… feedback is worth absolutely nothing if you’re not willing to listen and adapt.
Please don’t misunderstand here. I’m not talking jump through hoops or turn your shop upside down for the random, unusual request and I’m not implying to blindly change your products or pricing without thinking through the business side of things or staying true to yourself. Let’s not forget, it’s your business, you’re in control. What I am saying is our customers are the key to our success and by listening to them, we’ll be able to build businesses that our customers love and support. And when our customers are happy, our businesses will grow. Whether it’s fine-tuning your product lines, making improvements to your online shop or adapting the way you do business, even the smallest of changes can make a big difference for your shop.
Sincerely from my shop to yours,
PS: I’d love to hear how you’re getting feedback from your customers and what you’re doing about it. Hope to hear from you in the comments!
Anne McOmber – Totally Design
Hi, I’m Anne! I’m a wife and mom with an obsession with modern design, a passion for customer appreciation, and an inherited love for beautiful packaging. I spend my days playing cars, going on walks and helping my fellow business owners create lasting impressions and genuine relationships with their customers. Life is good!Share on Facebook
March is going to be a great month: days are getting longer and warmer , spring will finally start and pink lovely blossoms will appear on trees, we are going to celebrate our dads (March 19th), and above all we’re going to celebrate Irene’s birthday! Yey!
If you, like us, are having a party in the upcoming weeks well this tutorial is for you! Let’s make a cute and colorful cake topper perfect for birthday parties and more!
As always, this DIY will be simple, cheap and fast.
You will need :
- a glue gun
- a glass surface (we are using an Ikea’s vase, but any glass surface such as a frame will be ok)
- confetti (if you don’t have confetti at home or you are not satisfied with the colors available, don’t worry and check how to make your own confetti here -> www.one-o.it/the-confetti-series-invitation/.
First make sure that the glass surface is clean , then with your glue gun draw a number ( Irene is turning 24 so we’re making 2 and then 4) and let it dry. Add a little bit of glue and stick the toothpick in place . Add a new layer of glue and sprinkle your confetti. Let them fall onto the hot glue and let everything dry for about 30 seconds. Gently peel off the number and reverse it. If necessary, reinforce it with small pieces of toothpick and then cover everything with a new coat of glue and confetti. Once dried your cake topper is ready !
Now that we have our decoration we have to think about the cake … so if you have any suggestions let us know!
Have a sweet new month
Chiara & Irene xxxxx
Chiara & Irene — One O
Chiara Cavagion and Irene Fucci are graphic designers and photography lovers from a lovely town called Turin, Italy. In 2013 they decided to turn their graduation project into a creative handmade business and this is how One O was born. They enjoy designing, handprinting and sewing new soft furnishing as well as experimenting crafty projects to share on the blog. Their mantra is: try to walk slowly and you will find all the (amazing) “things we lost” in the humdrum routine.Share on Facebook
Happy March! I wanted to take moment today to share a special story happening in my life. My younger brother has been struggling with mental health issues for many years now. There have been a lot of up and downs over the years and last year was especially difficult. He is one of the reasons I moved back to Arizona. I want to be there for him as a sister and a friend. I don’t necessarily feel comfortable telling his whole story because it is not mine to tell but lately I have realized that part of it is my story. I have been having a hard time pretending like it is not happening in my work and social life.
We hit a rough spot last month and I went for a bike ride with my boys in a trailer behind me to help me clear my thoughts. I started thinking about the Etsy shop, Kerry Burki, I opened last fall. I created some prints based on sayings/mantras/truths that I like to use in my yoga classes. I started thinking about how it would be neat to take money from selling these printables to start screen printing them on t-shirts and totes with the help of my brother. I started thinking about March, which is the month of my younger brother’s birthday and also St. Patrick’s Day (I am very Irish!). I decided to create a shamrock print with the saying “I Am Lucky.” Something a lot of people take for granted is their mental health. Let me tell you that lately I have realized just how lucky I am that I do not have to deal with mental health issues. Once you start thinking about the ways you are lucky you might surprise yourself with how many there actually are!
So this month’s desktop calendar is a simple reminder that you are lucky. Stop, count your blessings and smile. My brother cannot always see the other areas in which he is lucky so I urge you stop and take notice of positive things in your life.
I know a lot of times we read about hard work and not luck is what gets you where you need to be. I am also a big believer in positive thinking and buckling down but sometimes in regards to somethings I do believe that I am just lucky.
I am selling 8 X 10 I AM LUCKY printables and I AM LUCKY printable cards in my Etsy shop for $3.17 this month. If you like the print, I hope you pick one up or share it around. I made the cards to use in my yoga classes this month to give my students the opportunity to notice where luck is in their lives.
My top 3 right now are:
I am lucky for my mental health
I am lucky for my family and friends
I am lucky to have all of you wonderful, creative, supportive people in my life
Here are the links for your March desktop calendar:
I will try to continue sharing about my journey in the future and also plan on hosting a giveaway in my shop later this month. Thank you so much for being you! I really appreciate you!!! (Also, any advice and support is encouraged!)
p.s. I also have Jessika Hepburn of Oh My Handmade Goodness to thank for helping me share a bit of my story. She has been sharing about her mom’s battle with mental illness and it helped me gain the courage to share too. XOXO, Jessika!Share on Facebook
Last year around this time, I got on the phone with Timothy Adam (the man behind Handmadeology), and we had a chat about the creative community we both love so much. You see, the economists are calling what we (as creative business owners) are doing the “maker’s movement.” Basically, they’re trying to figure out where this billion-dollar industry came from. And here we are: the people that created that movement from our own imaginations. We all followed our bright ideas into business!
That’s good news, but it’s only going to continue to grow from here. And it’s only only going to get harder to stand out in an already overcrowded marketplace.
Sometimes not knowing how to market your business, or even what to do next in order to grow, can slow you down or worse! It can stop your progress altogether. How many of us have asked ourselves (because who else is there for us to ask), “How do I get to the next level? How do I achieve the high sales and success of those around me?”
Tim and I understand; it’s who we are too. And what we’re realizing now more than ever is that our interconnectedness … our having a network among each other, is vital to our individual AND collective success.
We feel that THIS is your year, before everything gets too vast and everyone gets lost in cyberspace. You need the tools, you need the resources, and you don’t have the luxury of time that I had, even a couple of years ago, to figure it all out.
So, we created a learning curve.
Tim and I emphatically agree that you, as a creative entrepreneur, should be able to experience whatever level of success you’re striving to achieve. It’s 100% do-able. We also know that we have the experience and passion to teach the skills, share the insight, and offer the information that you need. We teach what we’ve already tested and proven …
Tim’s been in this industry since 2007. He knows how to sell online, how to gain press, how to grow a blog into a community of 20,000 creatives, and how to attract 40,000 fans.
In 2010, I started an Etsy shop and set out to build a work-at-home career. To date, I have marketed my shop into a top-selling success story and made more than six figures with my creative business. It now provides my family a hearty and reliable second income.
Here’s how it works:
The Build a Better Creative Business course is run on a password-protected website, and participants have three months’ access to the material. Enrollment is open for the current session through March 9, 2014. There are eighteen classes inside the course, ten of those are led by either Lisa or Timothy. The rest of the classes are taught by an extraordinary line-up of expert contributors (including Kerry!).
In addition, there are four mastermind sessions, and these are live events hosted by Tim and Lisa. If you’re not familiar with mastermind sessions, think private group coaching + brainstorming session + solution-generating magic.
Inside the course, experts in the field unleash an abundance of insight, next actions, downloadable tools, resources, and specific how-to information. The classes are broadcast on our website 2 times per week throughout the first eight weeks of enrollment. After those first eight weeks, the course remains open to the participants so that you may revisit any lessons, gather all of the downloads, ask any further questions, etc.
What You’ll Get
The Build a Better Creative Business Course includes:
- 10 Private lessons led by either Tim or Lisa.
- 8 Bonus lessons from our selected group of masters: we called in the big guns of our industry, and you’re going to be blown away by the people you meet inside this course.
- 24/7 Personal email access to Lisa: Ask her anything and everything, day or night
- One-on-one coaching calls with Lisa: Two weeks’ worth of private shop critiques, marketing strategy, brainstorming sessions, and more by scheduling a Skype chat.
- 4 LIVE mastermind meetings with both Lisa and Tim present and catered toward your needs
- Private networking and support among like-minded creative business owners
- Tools and resources for your creative business: we’re throwing it all in–worksheets, planners, checklists, marketing calendar, media contacts, and more.
This is a semester that you don’t want to miss! We know we have a spectacular course for you, and we want this to be the biggest running yet. The 2014 spring session includes more lessons, more bonus materials, more workshops and worksheets and more personalized attention than ever before.
On Thursday, February 27, we are going to announce an early-bird special that is so amazing and valuable, you simply won’t be able to pass it up. Click here to check it out.
Lisa Jacobs — Marketing Creativity
Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching designed to help you get paid to be … you.Share on Facebook