Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just finished!

I finally got to finish these two onesie dresses for my friend Jana to give as a special gift for a sweet new baby named Savannah. Jana personalized this order by requesting the fabric color theme and adding an "S" to each. It was fun collaborating with my dear friend, and I got to realize just how challenging appliquing an "S" could be.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?! It's August?

Wow, where has the time gone? I have tried to get ahead of the holidays this year, but have gotten run over as they fly past me. I vowed to get Easter products ready, only to have The Fourth Of July come barrelling by. I keep saying that I'll be ready for the fall craft show circuit, but at this rate, it's questionable. I'm not giving up though! I have a Halloween line coming up and I am very excited about it. I hope to have it all completed and posted in my Etsy Store within the next couple of weeks. I have to, because Christmas is already knocking, and boy do I have big plans for the Christmas Season this year!!! I know I'm not alone out there in the crafty world, but boy I should have taken juggling lessons. The Kids, the Hubby, full-time work outside of the house, twin nephews, family obligations, school, extracurricular activities, 4-H, rabbit shows, friends, did I forget anything? Oh yeah, a fledgling craft business trying to get off the ground. Priorities, I was never one for prioritizing, but good grief, enough is enough! If only I had a clone!? So much to do, and so little time to do it all in! So, now that I have droned on enough and gotten a bit off-topic, holy cow it's August! I keep telling myself that once the girls go back to school, I'll have more time to devote to the biz. Only to have after-school sports practices and club meetings. Arghhhh, the frustration! What a vicious circle I find myself stuck in. In the time that it took me to type this, I'm sure I could've had a few projects done already. There goes my prioritizing...Maybe next year!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The WOW Factor!

Gone are the days when you could go to the local grocery store and say "put it on my tab". We are now in the age of the internet and "put it on my tab" takes on a whole new meaning. We want things and we want them now and as cheaply as possible. The handshake is a thing of the past and kids these days have no idea what you are talking about when we say we have to balance our checkbook. We need the WOW Factor!

So, what is this WOW factor of which I speak about? You first must understand that there is a good WOW and a bad WOW, and there is no in between. The good WOW proves to be pretty elusive nowadays and we tend to only focus on the bad WOW. The good wow is what you feel when you have walked away from a transaction and you just can't believe what transpired, you weren't expecting things to go down the way they did. For example, "Wow, they didn't charge me for shipping, and I was ready to pay for it and they gave me a bigger discount too!" I would be willing to bet this person returns to this business since they treated her so special, not to mention the fact that this person will share her experience with friends and family. So not only has this business made a loyal customer, they have gained referrals that the customer will send their way too. On the other end we have "wow, the food was cold and my server never came by to check on me and refill my drink. Plus they overcharged me on the bill". I believe it is safe to say this person will never go back to this restaurant again. Plus, you know the disgruntled customer will have no problem talking about this experience, which will turn others away from frequenting the establishment as well.

So, what WOW would you prefer?

I just had a WOW moment at work that I would like to share. I am an Optician, and we have our Optometrist, who is our boss, and 3 other girls besides myself that handle the rest of the office. We had a patient, who happened to be one of the first patients through the doors back when our office first opened, and he needed his glasses repaired. His wife dropped them off and said to call when they were ready. I made the repair and called all of the contact numbers to let him know that they were ready. I was not getting any answers, so I called his office, which was the building right next door to us. They told me that he was on indefinite medical leave. Not wanting to pry into his personal life, I let it go after telling my boss, the eye doctor, about it. His wife stopped by about two weeks later and told us that he had a brain hemorrhage and he was fighting to survive. We told her that Gary would be in our thoughts and prayers and off she went. My boss got a notecard from her stationary stash and scribbled, as doctors do, a little get well wish and she passed it around the office for the four of us to sign if we wanted. Of course, we wrote our own little well-wishes to Gary and signed our names without hesitation. We all liked Gary, he was a funny, affectionate, sweet man that never had a bad thing to say. He greeted all of us with sincere hugs anytime he came by for an adjustment or needed his eyes checked. So, about a month and a half had passed since we sent out our well-wishes and in strolls Gary this morning to make our whole week. He stood straight and tall, although a bit thinner than I remember, and he sought us out for our hugs, which we gladly accepted. He then proceeded to gather us close so that he could tell us something that I will hold onto for the rest of my days. He said that throughout his fight for his life he had numerous friends, family, and acquaintances that had kept him in their hearts and prayers, but none of those compared to the well-wishes that he never saw coming or expected. Then, with tears in his eyes, he pulled out our notecard, which he carries in his wallet, and said "thank you doesn't begin to describe how much this meant to me, I keep it as a reminder that you touch people everyday of your life through your actions no matter how big or small it may seem. I wish I had the words to tell you..." he was so emotional that he couldn't finish. So needless to say, the office of 5 women and one female patient witnessing this in the waiting area, were bawling our eyes out together with him. Another round of hugs and several tissues later, we said bye to Gary, who informed us that this was his first solo outing while driving and to not tell his wife, and we told him not to be a stranger and to stay out of trouble. His reply, "see ya later, trouble is my middle name."

The staff at my office has a weekly meeting on Thursdays and we have to share our WOW moments from the week. We had just mentioned in our meeting about how we didn't have to send a get well card, but we did it as a measure to show our patients that we do care. Wal-mart certainly wouldn't know Gary by name, much less take the time to send out a personalized card. So we shared this as our WOW moment, only to have Gary walk through the door and ultimately WOW us in return. Wouldn't you like to be WOWed? How can you WOW someone else? The WOW Factor is all about setting yourself/your business apart from the rest. The WOW doesn't have to be big or extravagant, just memorable!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Going Hi-Tech with High Hopes!

Starting out in the crafting business with my parents years ago was an experience. It was the good, the bad, and the ugly that made up the experience as a whole that left a lasting impression with me even today. We had fun creating our wares and interacting with each other, until it came to crunch time. Then, it was all the last minute tasks that had us at our wits end. Finishing products, planning booth set-up, pricing, etc... We were at each other's throats by the time the booth was set up and ready for the craft show to open. Then, we settled down once we realized the booth was ready and we could chat with the customers and had a wonderful day. We did several local craft shows and we always made sales and some profit (I won't go into the whole arguement we would have with Mom and her pricing ideas). Anyway, the craft show season ended and thus ended our crafting days.

Until now, that is! I have ventured into my own craftiness and, thanks to a little thing called the internet, started a year-round craft business. My how times have changed! I have had hits on my etsy store from several countries around the world, where we were lucky if people came to the craft shows from 5 surrounding neighborhoods. The internet, and all of the hi-tech gizmos and gadgets now available, are helping to make my dream of staying home with my kids, while working, come true. That is, if I can utilize it correctly! I know the word is getting out, thanks to my wonderfully supportive family and friends, but there will always be more people to reach out to that haven't heard of me.

I attended a virtual lab discussion on the importance of blogging for business and I plan on keeping my blog updated and informative so that the word will keep spreading. Please be patient with me and I would love any and all input that you are willing to share!