What part of the world are you in?
I am in the Pacific Northwest in busy Seattle Washington.
What does customer service mean to you?
Customer Service to me means doing what ever it takes to make your customer feel like them and their order is the most important thing to me. Getting their order in their hands safely in a very timely manner, having great communication and of course delivering a all around pleasing product!
What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
Recently, a friend of one of my best repeat customers contacted me and explained that she wanted to get her friend one of my gift packs for Easter. We both talked about how much we love this certain mutual customer/friend and how big her heart is. She had mentioned that she was a bit short on money, but not in a way that she was expecting anything from me. I told her that I would love to donate the gift pack in her name. She was so thankful that she spread the word about my shop and great customer service. We are great friends now!
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
There are so many wonderful soapers out there! I would have to say that I like to make my soaps visually reflect the fragrance. For example my Bahama Beach bar has a "sandy" brown bottom with a ocean blue top, to visually make you think the ocean along with that fragrance. I try to do that with each bar and make it bright and fun. And of course just trying to add something new everyday, I have a long list of products to bring in that I'm very excited about.
How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
Marketing wise I learned a TON from talking to other successful sellers in the Etsy Forums. There is such a wealth of information there that I know I would not be where I am with out them and the ability to use the forums. Soap wise, I was sparked to try soaping from a article in Bust magazine along with a tutorial. I made my first bar of Cold process and was hooked from then on out. I did a TON of research using my buddy Google and just expanded my craft by learning hands on. I also have to credit a fellow soap maker for doing lots of tech support with me! Thanks MorganStreet!!
What is your goal for the next year?
My goal for the next year is to bring in 3 new product lines. To really nail down a successful marketing plan that works for me. And of course I would love to keep working towards being the Featured Seller on Etsy. I think that would be a great challenge for me! But most importantly, my goal is to continue to bring great customer service and pampering products to the masses!
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
When its slow, I keep motivated by talking to my fellow soapers and other sellers in the forums that might be slow as well. Its important to know its not just you. You always get the best ideas for new soaps or marketing techniques when its slow! It forces you to get creative! I also love to browse the Bath and Beauty buying section, just to see what others are creating and to stay inspired!What do you do to attract new clients and encourage repeat business? I think building relationships is really important. Not just spamming social networking sites like Twitter, I spend time reading and getting to know all 1,057 followers (do you believe that for a second haha) I think once they shop with me and get that great service and product they will naturally come back to me, I can only hope!
If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?
I would say to know your market when you come into it! Google is your friend! Once you feel like you have nailed down who your market is. Find the venue that best matches that. Where are they hanging out? 1000market? Etsy? Artfire? Do your business homework. Dont try to do ALL of the marketing opportunity's that walk across your plate, you will get overwhelmed trust me! But most importantly, set realistic goals. Even if they are silly, at least you will feel like you are accomplishing instead of failing!
SPECIAL PROMO FOR MADE THAT BLOG READERS - I would love to offer the lovely readers a Free Lip balm of their choice with any order.Or if they spend over $10.00 they will receive a free balm along with 10% off when they mention this blog in the notes to seller at check out! Also if I may add, that I have a wonderful monthly newsletter with coupons, company news and beauty recipes that you can try at home! Join the fun here>> http://eepurl.com/V1W
Our favorite part was you donating a gift pack to your customer/ mutual friend. It is a great feeling to help people in need. I remember reading a customers bio after they had placed an order and read how a large percentage of her profits went to breast cancer research so we just added free beads with her order (in pink of course!) in hopes she would use them to create a bracelet for breast cancer. Doing something selfless gives you such a great all over feeling and you cross those mere "buyer/ seller" labels.
You've done wonderfully well with your etsy shop with over 500 sales and counting! Your delicious looking soaps, lip balms, and lotion bars are flying off your virtual shelves. We know you will do very well this upcoming year and we are delighted to share your shop with our readers, we only wish we could smell your lovely soaps through our computer monitor!
Please check out Birch Soaps located at http://www.mybirch.etsy.com or http://www.birchsoaps.artfire.com.
Any wholesale inquries can view their portfolio here, http://www.trunkt.org/mybirch