Thursday, February 12, 2009
Featured Seller - re:made
What part of the world are you in?
Scotland - just near Glasgow, in a town called Helensburgh. It is surrounded by hills (which, at the moment, are covered in snow) and overlooks the Firth of Clyde. Originally, I am from Ireland but I moved over here some years ago to study at art college.
What does customer service mean to you?
I really want my customers to have a good experience from buying from me and I love getting feedback from them. I think one of the most exciting parts of my experience with Etsy so far is the correspondence from customers – I’ve had some lovely personal emails on top of the more formal feedback on my site and hope that, equally, people will contact me if they are disappointed in any way. I love the idea of people all over the world getting so much pleasure from the stuff I make in my wee studio.
What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
I had one customer just recently who had been searching and searching for a ‘more masculine’ tea cosy for a birthday present and found mine at the last minute – she mailed me through Etsy conversations just on the off-chance that I could quickly send her one by special delivery. She was so pleased that I could and we had a lovely exchange of mails throughout the day sorting it out – it was great fun.
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
I think that when you hand-make something, a personal touch and even personality comes through in the work – it’s in the very nature of selecting fabrics, colours and materials and in what you choose to put together so no two makers are ever really making the same things.
How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
I grew up knitting and sewing with my mum and gran and building and gluing with my dad, my family is full of artists, designers and makers so it’s in my blood.
Do you have any formal training in your craft?
Yes, I did my first degree in Constructed Textiles (knit, weave and tapestry) and my Masters degree in Fine Art. I also taught in various art colleges before stopping to my have my little boy and concentrate on my own work.
What is your goal for the next year?
I’m really new to all this – I only set up my business, ‘re:made’, in November (2008). Prior to that, all my output have been gallery- based. So, this year, I hope to build up the business and develop my range of products and the materials I use. I also want to emphasize the environmentally friendly element of my work which is a really important factor for me.
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
So far, my experience has been very positive and the business is slowing building. However, when I get a chance, I like to review my site and my products - it’s important to find the time to develop new work in amongst producing items which you know are selling well. There are lots of opportunities to promote your shop through Etsy too, through forums and by visiting other sites as well as by spreading the word in your local area.
What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business? In November and December, I did a few good craft fairs in my area and handed out lots of publicity material for my Etsy shop. I have been visiting forums on Etsy which is how I was offered this great opportunity and in April, I am doing a small exhibition in a nearby gallery called the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine. I hope recurring business will come through good customer service.
If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be? It’s very early for me to be handing out much advice but take good clear photographs in good light, keep adding new items to your site and most importantly, have fun.
Thank you re:made! We love your shop, and wish you the best of luck in 2009!
Please visit re:made at their online store, http://remadeshop.etsy.com/, to check out their fabulously cute items.