Your first name, and your store name?
My name is Cat, and my shop name is twobadbananas.etsy.com.
What part of the world are from?
I'm from York, a beautiful historic city in England.
What does customer service mean to you?
Well, I want anyone who buys anything from me to be as excited and happy about it as I am (which is pretty excited!). I want to be helpful and friendly throughout a transaction, and I want them to know how pleased it makes me that they like something I've made enough to spend money on it. I always add a handwritten thank you and a little extra something to my parcels.
What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
Definitely Mary, who runs her own jewellery shop (heatbreakjewelry.etsy.com). I met her through etsy, purchased items from her, and her from me. She is so friendly and such fun to talk with, I had a great time preparing her order for her, and I was so thrilled when she left her feedback saying how much she loved her jewellery. She told me she changed her shirt as soon as the parcel arrived so she could wear my necklace, and that she cut the stickers off the parcel and saved them. Making Mary happy made me so happy, I was grinning all day!
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
When you read my listings I try to make my items as interesting and personable as I can. I'll tell you what music I was listening to, or what tv programme I had on in the background as I made each particular item, and even sometimes what snack I had in the middle of my crafty session! As for my fruit and vegetable characters, I've given them all names and personalities, a task I enjoyed a little bit too much, I think. I'm a geek at heart!
How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
As a very strange child! I played with Sylvanian Families, but it worried me a lot that there wasn't really enough food to go round a village full of woodland creatures (as I said, strange child!). My Mum bought me fimo so I could make food for them and I never looked back. I took a break from creating anything at all whilst I was at University as my time was taken up with being in Pantomimes, running the Archaeology Society, oh, yeah, and my degree ;) Now I work full time in a shop, so I think that also helps me when it comes to knowing what designs will sell, and how to communicate with my customers.
What is your goal for the next year?
Next year? I'd like to be completely free of my student debt, and have saved up enough money to learn to drive. Then I can start going to craft shows and displaying there. As regards my etsy shop, it'd be nice to make 100 sales. That'd be a cool landmark :)
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
As I'm new to etsy so my sales haven't really taken off yet. I'm still excited when I can tell people have viewed my items! But I take great heart from real life reactions people have to my jewellery when I'm wearing it. It reassures me that there is a market for the things I make. I just remind myself that selling online is a different kettle of fish to selling in a shop, and that things will pick up for me.
What do you do to attract new clients and encourage repeat business?
This is like my secondary hobby at the moment! Well, I'm being featured in this blog, and in a giveaway on another blog soon. I've made a facebook fanpage (tinyurl.com/twobadbananas) and when I hit 50 members I'm going to start running promotions just for my fans.
I've just started using twitter (twitter.com/twobadbananas) although I am wary of being a spammer so I'm pretty easygoing with it. I also have a blog (twobadbananas.blogspot.com), and a webpage (twobadbananas.com), both aimed at making me more recognisable.
I'm also in the process of running an ad on Craftcult, and I sell in a bricks and mortar shop, and am hoping to expand to one or two other shops soon. I've had business cards printed which I give out to people who I chat with when they admire my jewellery, which I try to wear nearly every day.
This is the hardest part for me, wearing jewellery I've made over things I own, as I'm a bit of a jewellery fiend! Also, I pop a card and a home-made twobadbananas badge in with all the goodies I send out to my customers, so hopefully they can help spread the word for me.
Lastly, I make my friends and family a lot of jewellery, because they promote for me without even knowing they are doing it half the time! I'm hoping that my excitingly decorated parcels, extra goodies and unusual designs, combined with my friendly attitude, will foster repeat sales for me.
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 prepared for a lot of hard work! I thought I went in prepared, and I am still shocked by how much of my free time promoting takes up. I think I spend more time online nowadays than I do creating jewellery, which is sad, but necessary. But it's worth it. It's an amazing feeling when someone buys something you've made. Go for it!:)
Do you have a current promotion or contest you'd like to share with our readers?
Yes! Readers of this blog who purchase any item from me are eligible for free postage when they mention "I Made That Blog" in the Notes to Seller box. Just convo me to sort it out.
Thank you Cat! Your shop is so cute and fun! We've chosen our favorite piece from your shop to showcase on our blog, the Babooshka, Babooshka Necklace, available for only $11 USD!
Please check out twobadbananas for other terrific cutesy finds to add to your accessory collection!