What does customer service mean to you?
Customer Service means to do whatever you can to meet your customers needs. I have spent many hours at Jo-Ann's trying to find the exact shade of blue,etc. I want to make sure that everything I sell is what the customer asked for.
What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
Before we joined ETSY we sold on EBAY for quite a while. My most memborable experience is with my repeat customers. This December I had a customer that requested several special orders.They were so happy with what they had bought, they kept asking for more. In the end, they had four separate orders. This customer has become one of wife's e-mail buddies.
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
All of my items are original designs. I do not use patterns. Most of my items are one of a kind,but I can recreate past products if a customer asks. With many of my things I use both my corchetingand sewing abilities. Our store features several items that combine both talents.
How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
My mother taught me to crochet when I was 6 years old, and I have been corcheting ever since.I began using patterns, but found that to be frustrating. Early on I learned how to createmy own patterns. I am 46 so, I have been crocheting for 40 years. My grandmother gave me her sewingmachine about 20 years ago. I had never sewn before. I began that night to sew. I started withpillows and then quickly moved on to a dress for my wife. If I use a pattern when sewing, it is just a jumping off point. My final product rarely resembles the pattern. I have gotten very good at making my own sewing patterns and prefer to do that. I really like designing.
Do you have any formal training in your craft?
I do not have any formal training, I am self taught.
What is your goal for the next year?
I continue to create new products. I test the market to see what people are interested in. Ijust started creating art dolls and stuffed animals. I have had a very positive response.I want to do several craft and art fairs this summer.
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
When sales are slow, I have the time to create new products. When I am busy filling orders, I don't have the time to make new designs. When business is slow, I feel challenged to findways to attract more customers.
What do you do to attract new clients and encourage repeat business?
Currently, I rely heavily on word of mouth. I have business cards and pass them out wheneverpossible. I have posters I have created to advertise, many of the local grocery stores havecommunity bulletin borads where you can post things, I have received some business this way.I have started a blog (www.designbybyn.blogspot.com), I postin the forums on ETSY, I visit the chat rooms, etc. Currently we only sell on ETSY and throughour home. I am looking into other selling venues.
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 creative, be patient and have fun. For me this is a hobby, it is relaxing. I enjoy creating things and enjoy it even more when they are appreciated. I am a father of four, my kids ages are: 14, 12, 9 and 6. I am a husband, my wife handles the business end of things. I am a high school and middle school choir and drama director. For many people their on-line shop is above and beyond their other responsibilities. When you stop enjoying what you are doingit isn't worth it.
Thanks so much Design By Byn! It sounds like you have your hands full with your family and we love that you take time to express yourself creatively. You are an inspiration to other men who have creative talent but may not know how to express themselves, we support you and your etsy store and wish you much success in the future!
Check out DesignByByn via their etsy store, http://designbybyn.etsy.com/