Monday, February 2, 2009

Featured Seller jacarandadesigns!

What part of the world are you in?

I live just west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

What does customer service mean to you?

There are many aspects of customer service. First and foremost it means providing a quality product that satisfies and hopefully, exceeds my customers’ needs. It means good communication with my customers in a polite and friendly manner during every step of the purchasing process, making it an easy, comfortable, hassle-free experience for my customers. Answering questions and queries in a prompt fashion also plays an integral part of customer service.

What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

My most memorable experience with a customer was when I first started making my posy bracelets. A customer came to my studio to purchase a necklace and ended up leaving with eight posy bracelets for various friends. She was thrilled with her purchase and it was a lovely confidence booster for me.

What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

My jewelry is very unique. To date I haven’t seen anything similar to the products I offer. I offer a huge range of items to cater to different tastes and I also believe that having a large range of prices is key. Obviously I like to make a profit from my jewelry but I still try to keep the prices very affordable. Many of my jewels are one-of-a-kind as I don’t get a lot of satisfaction making the same design over and over.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

I had taken a few classes in beading several years ago but it was only when I decided to leave the IT industry, that I had time on my hands to really commit to learning many of the skills related to jewelry making. Initially I would pore over books and magazines, practicing techniques until I had perfected them. It’s a constant process though as there are always new techniques that intrigue me and that I’m anxious to learn.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?

I have attended and continue to attend a jewelry making course at an arts and designs college nearby. My teacher is amazing and just being in a class with other creative people inspires me even more. Plus, many of us are friends now, so it’s also fun to get together!

What is your goal for the next year?

My goal over the next year is to continue to think up new, exciting designs to offer to my customers. Of course, I would also like more people to become aware of my website, so I am spending a lot of time investigating various marketing techniques to increase online awareness of Jacaranda Designs. Another goal I have it to encourage repeat business with my customers by producing a product that they are so thrilled with that they will want to visit again and again.

What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

When sales are slow, I remind my self that it’s not a reflection on my jewelry but rather a sluggish economy or the wrong month of the year. I have a positive attitude and a real love of the work I do. So when sales are slow, I take advantage of the time to produce more jewelry items but more importantly focus on marketing my product. That way, when sales pick up, I am prepared!

What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?

I am always looking for additional online networking sites that I can register with to promote my business. It’s incredible how many opportunities there are for advertising and networking online. You just have to look for them. It takes many hours of work and determination but the traffic to my website is constantly increasing. I also contribute jewelry items to local fundraising initiatives, advertise locally, sell in stores locally and have an open house twice a year that attracts a large number of customers.

I keep a list of all customers I have sold to and offer regular specials to those individuals.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

Be patient. It doesn’t happen overnight. There are hours and hours of work involved but eventually you start to make it out of the red and into the black. Have a positive attitude and start your own store because you love it. Passion for what you do will always show in your creations and in your general attitude.

Thanks so much Jane! To check out her website please visit jacarandadesigns

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