Dealing with a large order

Recently I was asked to create 50 stuffed boobies  for a newly formed company specializing in helping new mothers meet lactation experts in their area to help them breastfeed their baby. I thought I would give some advice based on my experiences so that those who are nervous about taking on a large order can use my bumps along the way, to make their first order a huge success (Keep an eye out for the tips in red)

When I first recieved that message I’ll admit I was terrified. My main thoughts were that I couldn’t do it and then that if I did then surely I should offer a discount for such a large order. I decided to speak to my husband about it, to see his thoughts and let me say they opened my eyes.
A large order still means the same amount of work, you are still going to spend the same amount of time making the items as you would if you had 50 seperate orders so……

Don’t undersell yourself

I worked out how much it would cost for 50 breasts and how long it would take to make them all. I offered free postage as a thank you for a large order and I made sure that the timescales I offered were true.

Don’t offer to do something bigger/quicker than is possible.

Because, when you can’t deliver this, it is unlikely the person will want to work with you again. I offered a charge to close my shop and work only on their order, halving the time it would take to create, which the customer used so I did as was asked and had her order ready within 2 weeks.

Communication is paramount

As part of this order I was asked to attach tags with the companies logo on that would be delivered to me from their supplier. I had no problem doing this so agreed. However, when the breasts were made, the tags were still not here and I started worrying again, knowing that my two weeks were nearly up. So, I simply emailed the contact and explained and all my worries were for nothing, she completely understood and just asked to be kept up to date which I did.
The tags arrived in the third week, I attached them within 2 days and sent the boobs off to their new owner.

Send your creation tracked and signed for

I can’t stress this one enough! Your order that you’ve just completed can be worth hundreds of pounds, or in some cases even more, do you really want to risk that it will go missing in the post? Then give your customer the tracking number so they feel in control of where their package is.

Finally…….

Relax, celebrate YOU DID IT!!

Hope this helps anyone who’s questioning whether to say yes to that order.

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Karen Thomas -A crafting spoonies guardian angel.

Its been just under 5 years since I was a diagnosed spoonie and its been a really hard slog. My physical degeneration has been hard but its the mental health that has hit me the most. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had times where I wanted an end. Crafting was a light, I saw a way to matter, to help my family but still my mind was low. I’d lost so many friends because I couldn’t face going out. I was happy to sit inside, in my PJs and watch the world go by. It wasn’t fun.

But then it changed ….. Just over a year ago I saw an advert for a new selling platform; Conscious Crafties. I’d already had 8 months of selling on Etsy but this advert said it was just for Spoonies and their carers. Didn’t see the harm in trying another selling place so I joined the waiting list. Not long after, I was invited to open my own shop there by this woman with the biggest smile on a profile picture and this cute little white dog. As I said, I’d already been selling on Etsy so I expected the same thing, open a shop and get on with it…….. How wrong was I?! 

Karen, this bubbly and happy lady guided me step by step through opening my store and then added me to the social group on Facebook. Suddenly my world went from this little house and my final few friends to a whole group of more people who wanted to help me succeed. Tips were flying all over the place, people cheered for you when you made a sale and at the head of it all was Karen. 

What you’re probably not aware of is that Karen does all this off her own back while fighting her body each and every day. She goes out of her way to help others, going without at times because she’s such a giving person she simply wants to help everyone. She has her own family, a supportive partner and that cute little white dog – her support dog Teddy who tells her when she’s pushed herself too far. Conscious Crafties was started as a memorial to her friend Sam who tragically died from her illness and Karen fights to raise awareness of her own and the other Spoonies illnesses as well as giving them a place to be part of society again, to feel helpful again and to have this HUGE online family who are there at any time of the day for anything you need (and it doesn’t need to be craft related).

Now let me guess…. You want to be part of this loving family? Well that’s easy! Pop to http://www.ConsciousCrafties.com and register for your own shop.

Not a spoonie or a carer but still want to help? You can raise funds for Conscious Crafties through easy fundraising too! 

I can’t wait for you to become part of the family and meet Karen – my online guardian angel.

Are two separate shops better than one?

Evening all!
Just a quick one from me tonight before bed.
Crafty Miller, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, is a shop quite a bit different to the normal crochet shops you come across on Etsy or Folksy (or my favourite Conscious Crafties) I have traditional items such as blankets and teddies and then we have the ……… stranger things such as boobs and cat bums! For a long time I’ve been trying to decide whether these two different types of crochet can survive side by side.
Would someone coming to find a crochet blanket be happy to buy one from someone who was also selling boobies? I’ve put this question to the lovely members of the Etsy UK Sellers Facebook Group and a lot of people have said it would indeed put them off.

Crafty Miller has always been Bright, Bold and Beautifully Bonkers Crochet but maybe they cannot all fit together? So I put it to you……. does Crafty Miller need a Bonkers Shop and a Traditional Shop?
Let me know your thoughts

Take care
Jenny

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Hello everyone! ✋

Its been a while since I wrote a blog and that’s because I’ve been super busy which, obviously, is brilliant! Being this busy has also made me reevaluate how I work. I’ve created a few things that help me keep up to date with what I need to do as well as the smartest way to do it and I thought I’d do a quick blog post to share them with you so you can see if they can help your business too. 

The first thing I made was a front page for orders. When an order is placed I print it off then attach my front page which picks up the important information for me to see at a glance. 

I then sort them in the order of when they need posting. I also created a “to make this week” sheet so I can see quickly, how long I’ve got to make new orders. Then, so not to stress, I only keep hold of the order forms for those due this week.

I have also found myself listening to podcasts which have made me work better and I am currently in the process of making a daily task sheet, when its finished I shall give you a glimpse but for now the most important thing I’ve learnt is to care for yourself as well as your business.

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Take care of yourself first.

Enjoy your work!

Jenny

http://www.craftymillerjm.etsy.com

What I learnt over Christmas

​After a very busy Christmas in 2016 where I dealt with nearly 100 orders, I have learnt a few things that are going to prepare me for Christmas 2017 that I thought I should pass on so everyone can have a successful Christmas this year.

First – Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

I made over 60 cat bums in just under two months and while a few were custom makes, the majority were chosen from the variations menu and so due to this I am planning to ensure I have a few of each choice ready for Christmas 2017. I also plan to do this wherever possible with other items of the shop because there’s always chance to sell them in the future, either online or at craft fairs.

An important part of preparing for Christmas when you’re an online seller is to check your packaging materials so, work out how many sales you’re expecting and then double it! Your packaging can always be used throughout the year also. I ran out of one size of my packaging boxes when I still had 20 orders to post and despite ordering them as soon as I realised this would happen there was a slight delay while I waited for the boxes to arrive because my supplier was also experiencing a Christmas rush.

Next – Christmasfy your store!

Put up a new store banner or profile picture with some Christmas pictures on, perhaps use this area to make customers aware of when you or if you will be closing your store for Christmas. I also included a free Christmas gift this year which seemed to be received well and is something I plan on repeating next year.

It is also worth making customers aware of your last posting dates for Christmas, Depending on where in the world you are and where you will be sending to this will differ so ask your postal service for their suggestions.

Don’t forget – Organise yourself!

This is where I learnt my biggest lesson! My items have different lead times so organising can be difficult sometimes, it is vitally important that you make a system that you can follow and that you keep yourself aware of how many items you can make in one day, once you’ve reached that quota it is OK to extend your lead times to make sure that you are not giving your customers unrealistic expectations for the delivery of their orders.

Final Tip – Communication is key!

I had a couple of items which unfortunately took longer than I expected to create and ship. Worried that it would upset my customer I buried my head in the sand and just kept working in the hope I would get it done. Eventually I managed to kick myself up the bum and contact the customer, remaining professional as well as apologetic I gave my customer a few options, one of which was to post the item next day delivery at my cost and it turned out I had nothing to worry about. My customer was lovely and understood that sometimes things don’t go as you plan, he asked for it to be sent next day and he loves the item and appreciated me reaching out so next time you have a problem, tell them, you can work it out.
Once my final order was sent out, I took a week off to enjoy Christmas and this was the most valuable thing I did as I was then ready to make 2017 a success!

I hope you found the blog useful and, as ever, I invite you to drop into the website!

Writing Descriptions to Sell Your Crafts

Hello all 😀
I know, I know, I’ve been away for a while but life and business got busy so I had to take a step back from the blog. I’ve hit a quiet moment so now I can join in again.
Today’s post is about writing descriptions for your gorgeous creations. I’ve been working hard on making my descriptions sell my items based on something I was told once that has stuck with me

Write a description as if there are no photographs

So here we go; my descriptions now have a few main categories that  I try and fill to the best of my ability while still allowing my craziness to come on through. I always have this to hand when i’m putting a new item up for sale.

Advert
When someone searches for something on Google they display the first few words of your listing – This is your first point of sale so make it worth it. You need to explain what your item is, who its for and why your buyer should choose yours above all others.

Special Offers

Do you have any special offers; Free Postage? Buy one get one free? Anything? Write them here.

Design

Here’s where you explain what your item is but don’t go giving away any state secrets. You give them enough to know how it’s made without letting them think its easy to make themselves (remember you don’t want the DIYers). In this category there are subcategories I use;

  • Design – How’d you make it? I’m a crocheter so can only explain what I mean using crochet terms but hopefully you’ll be able to understand how to change it for your category. In here I explain if it’s created using amigurumi or the stitches used but I don’t give away the pattern.
  • Measurements – In this area you need to either be EXACT or make sure you add approximate to it (remember people can claim your item is not as described and demand a refund). You need to give height, width and depth.
  • Ingredients – *again i’m talking like a crocheter* I state the name of the wool, along with the type (double-knit, aran, cotton thread) and the make up of it, such as 100% acrylic. Also any other items used such as toy stuffing, eyes, buttons etc.
  • Variations – Is there anything your buyer can change to customise the item? Things like; size, colours, fastenings, adding a name – anything you don’t mind adjusting (On Etsy you can use the variations sections to ensure the customer has made choices, stops delays with processing – but you only have 2).
  • Safety – For anything with play value (even if you wouldn’t have thought it’s for children) must be CE Tested and you need to state that it’s been done. Anything with play value can not be stated “not for children” this, does not get you out of CE Testing. There is more information on CE Testing Here
  • Washing Instructions – Can your item be washed? How? – This may make the difference for a sale as some people do not like “dry clean only” etc so should they recieve an item stating this you may be forced to take a return which would not have been needed had the buyer had this information first.
  • How long does it take to make? – If your items, like mine, are made to order then people need to know how far in advance of the occassion they should order. Here’s a peek on how I write this section which I have named CREATION TIME.

The coasters take a few hours to make each one. Your order aims to be processed within a week (subject to back orders). When your order is placed, a message is sent to you detailing the date they will be posted on, if you need it sooner there are rush order slots available — https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/280500166/uk-rush-order-add-on-priority-listing

Do you offer Rush Order Slots? Don’t know what I mean? It’s worth considering.

This listing is an ADD-ON only and can be used as a way to cause your item to be upgraded to NEXT DAY DELIVERY as well as asking me to work longer hours to ensure your item is posted out within a week.

Following on from the Design subsections my next one is
Gift Ideas

Here you are trying to give your customer a reason for buying this item so you need to tell them WHO your item is for – dad, mum, daughters, sons, teachers etc and WHEN your item is for – birthday, anniversary, christening, housewarming, homecoming.
This is also the place where I tell anyone about other items that are similar, I call it THE REST OF THE RANGE. I also mention any special bulk buy offers here.

Post & Packaging

Consider how you pack your items – tell your customer. Do you offer gift wrap? (I do), can you post directly to the recipient? (I do – MAKE SURE YOU GET THE NEW ADDRESS IN WRITING TO PROVE YOU POSTED CORRECTLY). All these are worth mentioning here.
How do you post your items? Mine are Royal Mail Second Class – signed for on anything over £10.

Finally it’s a good idea to add a link to any overall policies you have such as refunds.

 

So there we have it, it’s a bit more updated than the original one as i’ve had nearly a year of practice 😀 Have fun listing yours and I wish you many sales in the future.

Jenny xx
http://www.craftymiller.co.uk

 

 

The Creative Process

Hi all,

Hope life is treating you well. I’m just getting over a nasty hospital procedure designed to try and help me walk without crutches again, so far it hasn’t worked but it means I’m sitting down a lot more and can spend more time creating and blogging – all good right?
Today’s blog post is about how I decide what to make and the process behind it all.

When I decide to make a new project the first thing I do is have a quick nose on Pinterest (yes I know, you can’t have a quick look and it normally involves me scrolling for over an hour). When I decide that I like something, I ask the girls and they pick the colours and the shape and I make it.
If something requires CE Testing then I take some nice photographs and do the CE Tests, then once they pass I give my makes to the girls for a few days……. if they’re still going after the road test they get put in the shop. However, the process normally includes an impromptu photoshoot from the girls and I thought I’d give you a little insight with the latest product that is undergoing road testing with the girls.

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