What part of the world are you in?
Sunny San Diego, California! I moved here from New York State about five years ago and I don't think I'm ever going to leave.
What does customer service mean to you?
Listening to and anticipating your customer's needs, and finding a way to fulfill those needs, even if it means some creative thinking. Although most of my business is conducted online, I'm very aware that my customers are people, with real lives, problems and emotions. A little communication goes a long way.
What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
A customer was unsure of which scent she wanted, so I asked what perfumes she liked, and what her favorite foods were. I suggested a few scents, and wrote new, detailed descriptions for her. She bought a sample size of something I thought she'd like, even though she was unsure. After she received the candle, she raved about how amazing it was and ordered two full-sized ones.
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
I communicate with each one of my customers, and make sure they know I am very approachable if they have questions. I disclose all of my ingredients & make substitutions if a customer is allergic.
How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
I worked for several years in retail sales. A lot of my marketing skills I learned on the sales floor. But part of it is thanks to my mom - treat others well, do your best, don't be afraid to admit mistakes, and - most important - nothing is impossible if you try.
Do you have any formal training in your craft?
No, I'm all self-taught. I've always loved making things, and after I became vegetarian I became more conscious of the ingredients in commercial bath & body products. It seemed sensible to see what I could make for myself. I gave my products as gifts, and soon my friends demanded I start selling them. I did some testing, refined my recipes, and set up shop on Etsy.
What is your goal for the next year?
To actually make a clear profit. Everything I earn right now is going back into supplies; I'd like to start pocketing some cash!
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
New scents, new ideas - I live very close to a large park, and things are always in bloom here. I take a walk, clear my head & breathe in all the wonderful smells: eucalyptus, plumeria, jasmine. It's hard not to get inspired.
What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?
I list new scents & products to reflect the seasons or holidays. Gingersnap candles sell better in the winter, and lavender better in the spring.
If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?
Do your research. I plunged in headfirst, and had no idea what I was getting into. I should have taken more time to get organized & stock my inventory. It worked out, but it could have been so much smoother.
We came across chickenscratch's shop and just fell in love with their products. We wanted to share these all vegan and paraben-free products with you. The candles that double as massage oil are a brilliantly romantic idea. The packaging is beautiful and they offer a range of delicious scents! We also hear that chickscratche's customer service is top notch, so check them out at their etsy store, http://chickscratch.etsy.com