Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I now have the plague!


I Now Have the Plague!

Warning: this is a little heavy for a bright Wednesday morning. Feel free to read my previous post on Earth Day instead, if you don't want to read this! Thanks!

Two days after receiving my first and only, negative feedback on Etsy, I now feel like I have the plague! My shop views are down and I have not had a sale since that 99% has been posted as my feedback rating. The heck with the 170+ sales I've had with 100% feedback AND some great customer satisfaction comments! I know etsy has a policy about not calling out. I am not doing that. However, since this is my blog and etsy does not give me, the seller, a chance to explain my negative feedback, I feel compelled to do it here.

Okay, what happened you ask? Well, a necklace I made broke shortly after the customer received it! Obviously, that should NOT happen and I do feel terrible about it. But, let's face it folks......jewelry making is an art and occasionally, and I do mean RARELY, something untoward happens to a piece after the customer has it in their possession. IF the customer would let me, I would do anything and everything to correct this for them. I initiated a kiss and make up (after I figured out how to do it) and offered to repair the necklace free of charge or offer a FULL refund. That was two days ago, I have not heard from the buyer. Apparently, I am stuck with the 99%. This basically amounts to a scarlet letter on etsy, since virtually all of the shops have 100% feedback. The 99% is glaring, my eyes automatically go to it upon opening my page.

What I am really frustrated about is that all the extra work I put into this sale (YES, the one I received negative feedback for) is not visible to potential customers at all! This was not an ordinary sale...........I went above and beyond for this customer (as I do for all my customers).

You see this person contacted me about the piece of jewelry that she liked. However, she revealed several things to me;

1) she could not purchase it right away
2) she needed it about 4-5 inches longer and told me what SHE would pay me to make that happen ($2.00 extra dollars).
3) she wanted it for a special occasion

Well, anxious to please and make a sale, I told her that I had checked my supplies and could remake the necklace at her desired length AND do it for the $2.00 she suggested. So, I set to work. I had the necklace done well before she said she would return and buy it (April 1st).
I made several fatal errors here in judgement, obviously. The most important of which is that I didn't value my time in remaking the necklace. $2.00 wasn't going to do it. But, I agreed, and that was that. I didn't say another word about it.

Well, April 1st came and went. I posted the RESERVED listing and finally, after several days of worry about what I had done and a convo or two telling her it was ready, she came back and bought the necklace! BUT........now I had to hold the necklace until she arrived in her new home, across the country! I did so, willingly. Once, there she notified me of the address to send the piece to. I did so immediately.

And that's the story folks. I had heard nothing from her until the negative feedback was posted two days ago, delivering the dreaded plague with it! As you can see this was not just an ordinary transaction! It was a transaction that I worked hard to accomplish for the specified desires of the buyer. I know her necklace is broken. As I said, I would fix it or refund her money, IF she would only let me. But, I guess that's not what she wants. I now have the plague and that may be more satisfactory to her (or maybe she doesn't even realize this).

All is not lost, however! I have learned several important lessons from this experience. Number one is that I will no longer remake a piece for a customer. I will make a NEW piece as a custom order, if a similar piece is desired. I will also demand payment up front (before I do any work). And I will pursue by own website......I actually have one but I will be setting up a meeting with a computer expert to optimize my SEO for it.

Interestingly enough, I found a thread on etsy that is asking them to look at the feedback system and revise it so that perhaps some of the burden placed on the seller is relieved. If you have more interest in this you can check here;


Finally, now that I have purged my feelings about this unsatisfactory experience (and I thank you for listening), I will move on...........I have a show this weekend and am hoping that restores my faith in the buying public. I do have a 100% satisfaction guarentee and will do everything I can to deliver that to the customer. I take solace in the fact that many, many of my customers are repeat buyers. Several have returned to my shop within days of receiving the jewelry they purchased from me to buy another beautiful and yes, high quality piece!

So, all I am asking for is that people look beyond the 99% satisfaction feedback and not be afraid to buy from my shop! Truly, I do not have the plague!!!!! I will satisfy the customer 100% of the time (as long as they let me)!!!

Thanks for listening! Have a great week!
Carol





Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Please consider doing something that will benefit our

beautiful planet, Earth!

Here are some suggestions;

1) plant a tree-
visit the Arbor Day Foundation at;

2) plant a vegetable garden
The Gardeners Supply Company has some wonderful tools to help you do this;

3) garden with children
There are many ways to do this; visit to get some ideas!

4) Vermicompost!
This means making compost with worms and kitchen scraps!
Here is the one link to help you get started;

And there are many, many others! These are just a few of the activities that I am involved in personally to try and help our planet earth! I just received 40 Strawberry plants in the mail today.........I can't wait to get them in the ground! YUM!

Happy Earth Day!
Carol

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What do you do on a snowy day in late April?





What do you do during a snow storm in April?

Well, yesterday I had to ask my self that very question! It was April 19th and it snowed and snowed! We ended up getting about 4-6 inches. It drifted, so it was hard to tell. But, boy did it come down! Early on, I decided that I was just going to stay home and get some things done! What a smart decision!

Here is what I did during our April Snow storm;

1) I made several new pieces of jewelry! Visit these listings in my etsy shop to see the new pieces in detail.



I did some computer work. I photographed some new pieces of jewelry and posted them. I am especially proud of the rainforest piece, as I feel it was inspired by a need for green and plants, yesterday, on a snowy April day! I have had the components for a while. But yesterday, I seemed to know exactly what to do with them!

2) I caught a deer running through our yard, during the snow fall. He paused briefly in our front yard, before running across the street! I was thankful that he didn't stop to munch on the fruit trees we have in our home orchard! Luckily, I had my camera in hand, so I was able to get some pictures of him/her!

3) I made a pound cake. Not from scratch....just a box. But I had frozen sour cherries we had picked from our own fruit trees that I thawed and made a delicious topping for the pound cake. Everyone enjoyed that for desert after dinner....at which time it was still snowing!

4) I caught up on some laundry and computer work.

5) I spoke with a friend on the phone that I haven't talked with in a few years!

6) I sold four pieces of jewelry! Yeah!

7) And finally, after dinner, I went outside to snap some photographs of our yard in April during the snowfall. It was cold. It was gray. It was wet. It was ugly.
However, all in all, I enjoyed my day and felt like I accomplished a lot!

But the snow is a little much! I can't wait for Spring!
Have a wonderful Holiday Week!
Carol

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Enjoy some Photography!






Enjoy these photographs of mine! Hope you had a great weekend!
Stop by my shop where some of these photographs are available!
Carol

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wings.....not in Wisconsin!




Hello! My in-laws from Western New York just left today after a five day stay! Whew! I had to enjoy a very large glass of wine to celebrate. Don't get me wrong! I love them and am glad they visited.

It was a good visit, as visits go, but I am glad to have the house back to ourselves. The quietness my husband and I enjoyed today was well deserved. It gave me some time to think about what to post for the Promotional Frenzy Blog Forum Thread tomorrow! (hold on....before I write anymore, I need to go check and make sure there isn't a theme posted for our listings......). Okay, after a cursory look, I didn't see anything posted.

Since my relatives that just left are from Buffalo, New York, I thought I would post about chicken wings!!

Having grown up in Western New York, my husband and I are fans of the World-over favorite snack or meal known as Buffalo Chicken Wings! For those of you who don't know, the chicken wings than have become famous and favorites of millions were invented in a Buffalo, New York bar called The Anchor Bar. Now, Anchor Bar wings are good, hmmmm, even great; but there are other places in Buffalo that we frequented for our wings. The most favorite place we had for wings was a place called Duffs. Great wings. No ambiance. But, who needs it when you can get your wings, hot and made to order from mild to suicidal, served with a cold beer! Believe me, there is no need for ambiance when your taste buds are satisfied!

So, we love wings.....So, do millions of other people! So what???, You ask???? Well, the problem is that we don't live in Western New York anymore! And there in lies the rub! Wings in the mid-west are just not the same as in Western New York. Something about the recipe, degree of crispness, and taste is just not right! We know. We've been searching for adequate wings for over 10 years in Wisconsin. We are still coming up less than satisfied. We've tried countless recipes I've found on the web (even one from the anchor bar) and countless restaurants. The best we've come up with for close wing satisfaction is the following;

Buy a fry-daddy......and use it for your wings! Baked wings or grilled wings just aren't quite right!

Buy wing sauce, bottled by the anchor bar in Buffalo and sold by Wegman's supermarkets, to coat the cooked wings with the sauce. Keep warm in the oven while you cook more wings or eat immediately and keep cooking!

Delicious!

The biggest problem we've had with wings is that they just aren't cooked right. A true Buffalo wing has been deep fried and tossed with hot sauce. There is just no other way to do it! Even the restaurant that name's itself after these chicken snacks, doesn't have it quite right in our opinion. We know. We have one of these restaurants here, in Wisconsin.

The one place we do go to is Duffs, for wings, about every other year, when we get back to Western New York! A lot of things might be said about Buffalo, but one thing is true: they have great food in that city! And it gives us something to look forward to when we visit....a favorite food, we just can't seem to get just right, anyplace else!

Buffalo Chicken Wings......Mmmmm! Mmmmm! Good!

Cheers and Thanks for stopping by!
Carol


Monday, April 11, 2011

April Handcrafted jewelry sales






Greetings! Showcasing some of my Recently Sold Items!!!!!!!

Please go to my etsy shop at;


to view more details or to purchase.

You can also view my work on my website (a work in progress) at;


and visit me on facebook at;

Carol's Jewelry Orchard


Comments very much appreciated! Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Advertising.......A Different Approach.

Today, being Promotional Frenzy Team Blog day, I decided to write about advertising. I've had my Etsy shop for almost 2 years now. I've tried a lot of different advertising, most of which hasn't paid off. These methods have included;

-advertising on a popular blog
-project wonderful advertising
-advertising on craftcult and craftcount
-promoting items on etsy
-BNR's
-advertising sales in my shop
-word of mouth
-personal, handcrafted invitations to a home jewelry show
-blog giveaways


As I said, most of these did not work out. For most methods, I only gained increased views, and no sales. By far, my most successful means of advertising has been by word of mouth and by hosting my home jewelry show for the last 2 years.

I determined that while I love my etsy shop, the customers, and sales I derive from that; I really need to grow my customer base locally. I've had opportunity to do that, recently. The bank with which I have my business account offers an area for FREE advertising for account customers. There are no strings to this at all, except that you must have an account at this branch of the bank! For over a year, different bank personal has asked me "why aren't you setting up a display on our table"? I really never had a good answer. Finally, this spring, I looked at the calendar of displays at the bank and chose this week and next week to display my handcrafted jewelry. The picture of that display is above.

It is not large. And I do not have many pieces of my jewelry on display. I decided to spend time making a photo album of recently created pieces, but sold and still available and place that on the table. I am also providing lots of business cards with all of my contact information on them. The local customers can contact me about buying pieces on display or from etsy. I have made a coupon code to remove the shipping charges, just for these local customers. And I made a coupon for a FREE pair of earrings and 10% off any purchase over $20.00 on April 30th from my booth at Art Fair in the Square in Holmen Square Mall, if they bring the coupon from the table at the bank.

I just set this up Monday morning, April 4th. I have not seen any significant visits to my site via my Google analytics at this point. I will check on my table today to see if there has been interest and next week, I will change out the displayed jewelry to maximize my exposure.

All this for FREE! I am excited about the possibilities this exposure might bring! Our local prom is in two weeks and we have that local craft show at the end of the month. Even if this doesn't bring in many sales right now, I feel that I am making an effort to build my local customer base. And that is what I am after!

Oh, and speaking of FREE advertisement.....our Promotional Frenzy Team on Etsy does a great job of this, too! I appreciate being part of the team and finally, got everyone's shop listed to the right on my landing page. Please add my shop to yours, if you haven't already! Thanks.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!
Carol

Friday, April 1, 2011

March Shop SnapShot........Very Quiet!



Hello!
I've been trying to post a Shop Snapshot at the end of each month for my loyal customers and readers to keep up to date with what Carol's Jewelry Orchard has been up to!

March 2011

Etsy Orders- 7 total
4- pairs of earrings, 1- bracelet, 1-necklace, and one bookmark

Exciting things that happened-

I posted a new themed bookmark; Run for the Roses and it sold within 24 hours!

The buyer came back to my shop, the day after receiving the bookmark and bought a necklace!

This is what she had to say about the bookmark;
"Beautiful craftsmanship! Pleasure to work with! Highly Recommended!"

And the necklace;
"Absolute pleasure to shop with! A woman of her word!!! Highly Recommended!"

This was exciting because I felt like I had really gained a new customer that would return, again and again! I am so happy she left feedback, as well. I don't actively seek feedback from my customers, but am always so pleased when I get it!

Local Sales- Coaches Corner Sports; Holmen, Wisconsin

I have a line of sports themed necklaces at our locally owned sporting goods store. The owner contacted me for some baseball, wrestling, track, and golf necklaces. Those can be found in Holmen Square Mall at Coaches Corner. If you are local and need a sports themed necklace with your school colors/sport charm, please contact me! I am more than happy to do school colors and sports, other than what is in the store.

What is going on in April...............

I will hear about my first juried art show application! Keep your fingers crossed!

I will have a display of my jewelry at our local bank! (isn't that cool)!

I will participate in a local arts and crafts show at Holmen Square Mall on April 30th.

I will be making lots of jewelry with all the stock I ordered in March!

So, March was quiet. But I might find out that I am glad to have had this rest, because I could be finding myself very, very busy in the months to come!

Please stop by my shop to check out my newest creations at;

Have a Fabulous Friday and thanks for stopping by!
Carol