What part of the world are you in?
i live in new york city.
What does customer service mean to you?
it means treating the customer as i would wish to be treated myself.
What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
post purchase, a customer said she had been 'stalking' my item which was why the 'times viewed' number was so high. sounds silly but i just thought that was so sweet because she loved the item that much. after purchasing the particular item, she asked me to make a matching pendant. i happily did! i like that i can create additional pieces for someone that truly loves my handmade designs
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
well, we all passionately make handcrafted items and love our craft... so, i'd have to say that we're just all really different, even in the similar types of things we sell on etsy. each person has their own taste, style and way of doing something and the entire shop face and product line represents that. for example, i love using swarovski crystals and semiprecious stones to create classic, elegant and at times, playful pieces. someone else's interpretation of classic, elegant and playful would likely be represented very differently.
How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
my "life" skills have been grown and strengthened through life experiences, both good and bad. my jewelry making skills have been honed by practice, patience, continued research and trial and error.
Do you have any formal training in your craft?
nope! but i'm learning more and more each day through experimentation and once in awhile, online tutorials.
What is your goal for the next year?
to keep enjoying what i'm doing. enjoy the creative process. enjoy making jewelry that i absolutely love. perhaps branch out to note cards and greeting cards, as my undergraduate studies were in graphic design. it would be absolutely awesome if during all that, i also continue making sales and building a stable business with steady income.
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
my husband and sister who support me and remind me that there will be good times and tough times. i also try to get back to the process of creating as that brings me joy and reminds me that first and foremost, i do what i do because of the fulfillment in the process. usually when i get back to the basics, my heart doesn't fret so much over the sales. of course i still wish i could get numerous sales in a week and a client base that loves my work and tells all their friends to buy from me!
What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?
i've sent emails out to my friends asking them to pass along my shop info to their friends. i've also opened up a blog, http://mustardseedbycarollai.blogspot.com, where i share more of who i am as well as provided a giveaway. still figuring out how to 1. keep my clients and 2. get new ones. any suggestions? :D
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 passionate about what you choose to do and don't get discouraged! it can be hard to get started and build up clientele (i'm still working on that too) but if you're doing something that you love, then there is still joy in the process of creating.
We just fell in love with carollai's stunning jewelry the moment we saw it! Our fav earrings are pictured at the top of this article, we encourage you to check out her shop featuring gorgeous gemstones, beautiful colour combinations and oodles of creativity! Thanks so much carollai for allowing us to feature your pieces. We know you will do awesome in 2009!
Visit carollai's shop located at http://carollai.etsy.com