Thursday, June 09, 2011

day 20
Business Lessons 101, 1-5.  

River Girls Custom Soap ~Sierra Sunset
1. People are basically decent. Most are honest. In a decade of operating River Girls Soap & Bath, two checks have bounced. No stolen credit cards have been used, and twice, customers have called to say they were undercharged in their transactions.

2. You are not merely selling a product, you are selling an experience.
Midway through my first year of business, I began to realize that while I produced wonderful soap, lots of other people did so as well. It became apparent that often, what customers seem to enjoy is being listened to, being assisted, and lastly, being in the company of a person in an attentive sunny mood. When they become repeat customers, they want to know that they can come to you at the last moment for a loved one's birthday or ask you to hold a few bars of the newest scent. That's not soap. That's human interaction.

3. If you fear being copied, you can never be in business. There is no such thing as operating from a remote basement cave in Abbotabad. We all know how that turned out. Once you enter the public square with your goods, be it at a craft show, or on the Internet, your ideas are open to the world. And the world is made up of, not only potential customers, but potential copy cats. Proper copyrighting aside, the best way to stay ahead of the prey is to remain innovative.

4. Customers bring their true selves to you. You are neither their lover nor their boss. They are not seeking to impress you. In time, you will interact with the persnickety, the chatty, and the chronically indecisive. A man who hates shopping will ask you to select his purchases for him--all of them.  A woman who makes lists for everything, from her cat's favorite show tunes to her medicine cabinet's contents, may know more about your products' ingredients than you do and have a list of requests to match.

5. Sometimes, there is no pleasing.  One year I sold soap at the Christmas craft show of a major Fortune 500 Company. A woman stood at my table and sniffed each bar with the care one might take with a box of Valentines Day chocolates. There were 30 scents, ranging from a romantic white peach lily to a sultry dragon's blood and sandalwood. After 30 minutes, she looked at me and frowning, said, "They're great but you don't have peony." Five years later, I introduced a pink peony soap.

Good Night,
Wanda -)


Arizona Girls said...

Cute soap with the bicycles on it! =) Found your site through the Etsy Promotion team =)

Decade of doing business?? That's great! =) We aren't a full year yet hope we can make a decade too! =)

Love the way you write =)

I'm a follower now =) I'll be back to read more when it's not so late =)

Wanda Fleming said...

Thanks a bunch Arizona. I hope you do come back! I was writing that at 1 am Washington DC time, fell asleep on it and awoke to some much needed proofing. Good luck in your own business. I will come to peek around!!

pasqueflower said...

Thank you for this helpful post. As a newbie Etsian, I needed to see this. (Also appreciated your
Part 2 post on this topic, too!)

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Wanda Fleming said...

So pleased they were helpful to you. I hope to do one on Etsy techniques. And will continue the series..

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