Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Taking a Break - Sort of.....

I've decided to take a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle and constant pressure to create and get everything done.  I had thought perhaps I'd close up my shop for the holidays but then decided against that.  What I've decided to do is to take a break from custom orders for a bit (until at least after the holidays) and only make buttons that I want to make.  I've got lots of buttons and button jewelry/jewellery made so will list these when I feel like it so there will still be lots of new items going up.  I've been wanting to work on some other creations and haven't really had much time to do anything "just because".  I've got lots of ideas for ceramic and glass buttons so hopefully will work on a bit of these.  I've also become really interested in cake decorating and hope to make a few of these creations.  That might be a bit harder because since I'm always watching what I eat I'm not sure I want the temptation of having these goodies around but we'll see.  Hopefully I'll start by making a few creations for the upcoming holiday party at work and then we'll go from there.  I do feel a bit more relaxed now that I've decided to slow down a bit to enjoy the holidays.  I must admit making the sales is really great and I appreciate each and every one of them so I'm a bit hesitant to do anything to slow this down.  As well right now there is the added pressure of getting items mailed out and hoping they reach their destination in time for the holidays.  I really don't want to disappoint anyone even though I know (as do they) that I can't control the postal system.  Still I never want anyone to be disappointed.  We'll see how far this self imposed "sort of vacation" goes.  Perhaps after a few days I'll be anxious to get going again but we'll see.  It's been a busy few months of button making so perhaps a break will be good.  I'll start focusing on my business plan for the new year and perhaps start thinking about some new designs.  I've already made a few Valentine's themed buttons.  Crazy I know.....  I'll drop by here from time to time to let you know how it's going.  I hope you all take some time to enjoy your family and the holiday season as well.  Family is the most important thing after all.  As my family grows smaller and smaller with the passing of family members this becomes even more important and apparent.  Happy holidays all!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas Owl Handmade Buttons

I just love this colour combination of red and turquoise.  This is an unusual colour combination for Christmas but I think it looks great.  These buttons are listed in my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/86498051/christmas-buttons-christmas-owl-handmade.  The Christmas rush has started and I have been busy in my shop at Buttons By Robin.  I have tons of ideas for my ceramic buttons but am having a hard time keeping up with my resin button orders.  That’s not a bad problem to have though J . I do know things will slow down a bit shortly as I’m in Canada so I only have another week or so before orders that are mailed out won’t be delivered in time for Christmas.

I do have a few days off from my day job right now so I’m going to take full advantage of it. I’ll spend some time with my husband but will hopefully get a lot of work done. We are planning a vacation to some warmer climate in February (not sure of the destination just yet) so I’ll do a bit of exploring about that as well. It is just such a pleasure to be able to sleep in a bit and enjoy a couple of leisurely cups of coffee in the morning before starting my day. When I have to go to my day job it’s up and out of the house at lightning speed and there just never seems to be enough time in the day. When I get home from work it’s pretty much all I can do to package up any orders that I get. I have no creative energy left after working all day as a policy analyst. It’s not a very creative job. It’s actually pretty structured and well “analytical” but I don’t have the energy left at night to do more with my Buttons By Robin. I always have such big plans and then exhaustion sets in J We’ll see how the next few days pan out while a have a vacation from work. I’m looking forward to it. How do you cope with keeping up the energy after your day job ends to find a bit of that creative spark that is within you?

Friday, 11 November 2011

Customer Service

It's easy to say that customer service is your number one priority when all is going well.  You're really put to the test when something goes wrong or turns out not as it should.  If you sell at all something is bound to go wrong at times.  The most frequent problem I run into - and thankfully it isn't often - is something taking a bit longer to arrive in the mail than anticipated.  I'm in Canada and the majority of my packages goes to the United States, Australia and Norway.  Most of my international customers are aware of the shipping times but not everyone.  Sometimes people don't realize I'm in Canada and that the mail will take a bit longer to arrive.  I do email at the time of purchase to let them know approximate shipping times etc.  It's understandable that some people don't read the messages.  We're so inundated with emails that it's normal to ignore what appears to be just another email.  The best advice I can give when a problem comes up is to communicate and be empathetic to the situation.  My customers are usually really understanding when they realize that I'm a bit further away than they may have realized.  They are also reassured when I let them know that if there should ever be a problem I will fix it.  Just being in contact and responding in an understanding manner goes a really long way.  It may be cliche but treat your customers the way you would like to be treated.  As long as they know you are there to fix a problem should it occur and that you are understanding and responsive they will probably be more than happy to work with you.