What part of the world are you in?
I am in Toronto, Ontario, Canada!
What does customer service mean to you?
Customer service means treating people the way i would like to be treated. It also means making a high quality product at an affordable price!
What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
Someone purchased two sock monkeys for her children last Christmas. Making these perfect for her two little ones was a wonderful experience! She still sometimes sends me photos of them with their monkeys. It really makes me glad that they love them that much!
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
I would hope that my design sense keeps people coming back! while i like to offer classic pieces, i also enjoy going out on a creative limb and trying new things.
How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
While i have always been an artsy person, it wasn't until early 2007 that i started beading and making jewelry. I'm mostly self-taught, but have taken a few classes in different techniques. I'm actually taking a beginner's metalsmithing class right now that i'm thoroughly enjoying!
Do you have any formal training in your craft?
I actually have my BA in Visual Art and my Masters in Art Therapy - and would LOVE to take a jewelry making certificate sometime in the future!
What is your goal for the next year?
My goal is to learn to balance my life! :) We're expecting our first baby in late April 2009! I'm excited to be a mother... and to see how motherhood will influence my designs. Sales-wise, I'm hoping to hit 1000 sales in my etsy shop.
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
The fact that i have tons of beautiful stones and shining metal to work with! when sales are slow, it actually gives me time to work on new things - take the time to sketch and "test drive" new designs. I also spend more time looking for inspiration when things are slow - packing and shipping really takes up a lot of time!
What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?
I wish i could do more, actually. Working a full time job and creating on the side really doesn't leave much time for marketing. However, i'm hoping to draw up an "official" marketing plan one of these days and figure out how i can reach more people! In the meantime, i hope that good customer service and my sunny personality (lol) keep people coming back.
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 confident in your craft, and create something that you are proud to have out there in the world! Take creative risks, and let your love for what you do shine through.
Thanks so much MuffinTopDesigns! Congrats on your new little buddle of joy that will be joining your family in April! What an exciting time for you. We wish you all the best. Please check out Cylene's designs on her wepagehttp://muffintopdesigns.etsy.com/.