Saturday, June 23, 2007
So I suppose it should have come as no surprise to me that my customer, soon-to-be beneficiary of one free slightly-chipped corset pendant, was all of the above - and more! She understood that "these things happen" when I explained that I had accidentally broken her purchase. In fact, we are taking this opportunity for her to custom-design a pendant to her exact specifications. Rather than a silver bail, she'll have three holes in the top. And rather than holes in the bottom, as in the original piece, she'll have stringing holes in each of the sides, where the armholes would have been if I had turned the corset into a woman's trunk. She's picking colors and textures to suit her own style, and by having a truly unique piece to reflect her own personality, her jewelry will have a jump-start in echoing her personal voice.
It's terrific when we can turn "lemons into lemonade", but I couldn't have done it without the sugar that is my customer! Thanks, Barbara; you've been a real sweetheart.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
That's what happened to me this morning. I sold one of my corset pendants with an attached sterling silver bail - NOT one of my cheaper items - to a customer on Etsy. I printed out the packing slip, gathered all the packing materials, weighed everything and printed out the postage, after which the program sent her a confirmation email. Then while giving the pendant its final once-over before putting it to bed in its little red box, kissing it goodbye as it were, it slipped out of my fingers and onto the floor. Only a tiny piece broke off of the collar. But ceramics is not an immediate-gratification art; there's no way to repair it quickly, and in good conscience I couldn't send someone a repaired piece anyway. So I'm looking at completely remaking the item, which is a three-day task at best.
So what's the first thing I did after I dropped the pendant, besides crying? Well, I headed down to the refrigerator, of course; what else?! Then I stared out at the wildflower field for a while, trying to pick out the different species that are now flowering; the rain yesterday sure helped it along. Creative procrastination is definitely my forte', but the refrigerator move has me concerned. I now know that stress prompts me to eat, so there may actually be a silver lining here. I turned on the TV to a movie on HBO, more for background distraction than anything and decided to blog about this little tragedy that has so ruined an otherwise lovely day.
I've already left my customer glowing feedback, and she deserved it. She paid immediately, as most Etsy customers do, but now I'm afraid I'll get neutral or - heaven forbid! - negative feedback. It's bound to happen sooner or later; I was just hoping it would be later. I've always said that "a mistake is a chance to make a lifelong customer", and I make it a point to bend over backwards for my customers. I'm definitely going to be doing backbends here!
So I'm off to email her, to confess to my klutziness, to beg her forgiveness, and to give her options. Keep your fingers crossed!
Oh, yes; I've barely gotten my feet wet, and here I am learning all about meme tags. Heaven forbid that it be I who breaks the chain, so here, forthwith, are my honest and true answers to *melanie*earthenwood , who tagged me.
Tag; you're it! Here's the next round of bloggers who have to figure this out. I did it; now you can, too! Just cut and paste the questions above into a post of your own, edit out my answers, and insert your own. Tag five more bloggers and let them know they've been tagged.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Why, indeed, Embroidered Soul? The name bears no reflection whatsoever on what we carry, but it does reflect my personal state of mind when we first opened the site. I needed to establish a new career path, a way to spend my time productively after some events in my life changed the path I was on. I wanted to call upon my past experiences, loves, and inspirations to create a "job" for myself in new surroundings. With the help of my husband, we established our website to provide an outlet for connecting with customers. Calling upon past experiences and knowledge to carve out a niche for myself, I came to feel that not only my life, but "every life is an embroidered soul", and that became our initial USP.
During this same period, I began dyeing, painting, marbling and embellishing fabrics for fiber artists and quilters, and I was also sewing my own clothes with some of the silks and rayons I dyed. I constructed my logo from snippets of hand-dyed raw silk and nicknamed it "the soulburst". The website began as a way to connect with customers who might be interested in my work.
Coincidentally, we wanted to launch a line of Greek ceramic beads and pendants we discovered while on a trip in Europe in 1999. Somewhere along the way, fabric dyeing fell by the wayside. Meanwhile, I had picked up the exclusive distributorship in the US of Irene's fabulous ceramic beads, and we were quickly becoming long-distance friends. In 2006, Irene visited the US for the first time, accompanying me on my first big show at To Bead True Blue in Tucson.
While we first focused only on the Greek line, we expanded bit by bit, adding beads that we liked and that we thought would complement Irene's beads. Eventually we started adding natural beads from the Philippines, thinking that by purchasing them we were helping an essentially poor nation gather some economic benefit from its natural resources.
Soon the name, buoyed by print advertising, became so (relatively) recognizable that we decided to keep it, thinking that even though it doesn't immediately identify our products, it does reflect our mindset, our interest in the human experience, and our love for art and everything that influences what causes people to make art.
Before long, we had artists contacting us about their own work. As money permitted, we started investing in art ceramic beads and now carry the work of American artist Sharleen Newland and Bulgarian artists Vladislav and Kremina Ivanov. I took up ceramic pendant-making a year or so ago and now offer my own work as well. Our new USP came to be "Uncommon beads for the uncommon soul", and we continue to focus our energies on acquiring the hard-to-find and unsual for our customers.
Little by little, mass-produced beads are falling by the wayside as we attempt to focus on beads that come from artists, all of whom we consider to be "Embroidered Souls."