What part of the world are you in?
I just recently moved to the Lake Norman area in North Carolina. I had spent the previous eleven years growing up in Maryland.
I miss it sometimes and I am still getting adjusted to my new home, but on those hard days I just look out the window at the beautiful lake and remind myself that this is a new beginning for me. Plus, the weather has been much nicer! ;)
What does customer service mean to you?
Making sure that you create a good product that your customers will enjoy and you do what you can to ensure that it all arrives safely and in a timely manner. Also that your items meet your customers' expectations based on what you wrote in the descriptions and then the accompanying photos. And if for some reason a customer is unsatisfied, you work with them to resolve any issues.
What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
Someone bought a pair of my pearl cluster earrings and loved them! She left very sweet feedback and sent me a nice message saying how happy she was with her purchase. That kind of thing always makes you feel good about what you are doing! :) And since I am still starting out with my business, each sale is so important in building my brand and I am very happy with each one!
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
My youth. People are always surprised to find out that I have taken all of this on at age 18!
How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
In school I was always a hard-working student, and good grades were very important to me. The discipline I learned from that help me now to manage my time and my business effectively. I have also always been a very observant person and my attention to detail definitely helps in my creations and my art.
Do you have any formal training in your craft?
I really loved my art classes in school and I have always enjoyed the creative aspects of projects. Mostly though I am self taught and I have learned a lot from my own research and not necessarily from a class. Right now I focus on my art photography, but in school all my classes were about drawing and painting. I did take a computer graphics course where I learned some editing skills that I continue to use today. And I use the lessons about composition from my drawing classes when I am taking photos. It’s important to be able to take what you have learned and apply it to new things and extend your lessons into real life.
What is your goal for the next year?
I would like to focus on expanding my enterprise and really start to make my mark on Etsy. I also hope to steadily increase sales and continue to create quality pieces and jewelry that I myself would like to wear. One big goal for me is to make the front page of Etsy; that would be a dream come true!
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
I just have to remember that especially right now in this economy people are not shopping as much, that this is true for a lot of sellers and it isn't just me and it doesn't mean I do not have a good product.
What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?
I use various social networking sites to help promote my shop and get my name out there. I often venture into Etsy chat too and give out my handmade business cards to the people I meet. I also wear jewelry I have made for myself out and about, so people can see my product. And then if anyone comments on them, just hand out a card! :)
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 would have to be the need to be patient. There are so many sellers and shops out there in all the online venues that it is easy for yours to get lost among them. So you just have to stick with it and never quit promoting and working on your shop. Success doesn't happen overnight and we all need to remember that. Rome wasn't built in a day! ;) So you also need to make sure that you have adequate time to be able to devote to your business, otherwise it might get pushed aside in favor of more pressing matters.
Admin Comment: Wow! Kelsey you are wise beyond your years my dear. I wish I knew that I wanted to get into running my own business when I was in high school, it would have definately helped guide my choices for college. Remember to celebrate and never lose your creativity and artistic talent! Your designs are beautiful and we are so thrilled to have you as our youngest Featured Seller on "I MADE THAT!"
Please check out Kelseys shop, Works In Progress, located at http://worksinprogress.etsy.com for a beautiful selection of handmade jewelry pieces, as well as art prints.