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Past Time Bears - Artist bears designed and handcrafted by Sue Ann Holcomb

PeachtreeCottage Peachtree Cottage
Posts: 527

You can also add to your tick list things like:

- Advertising, when, where and how, and how much?
- After the sale, you have a buyer, they paid, now what do you do?
- Presentation - Things like how you do things reflects on you (i.e. wrapping a shipping box in duct tape is unprofessional to the receiver, etc.)

Also might want to add some on photography:

- Camera - requirements (like macro for minis, etc)
- Backgrounds - what works what doesn't, etc.
- Poses & Props
- Croping pictures, lighting, etc.

Ok, that's enough from me :-)


Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Thanks, Mary! I wondered when someone would mention photography! And marketing.... such an important element in the success of one's business! Great ones!!! Thank you!!!

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Marketing, Daphne... so Important, and one of the most important and almost forgotten aspects of it occurs AFTER the sale!
Customer Contact and appreciation!
My good friend and TT member here, Virginias Jasmer, has it down to a science. The day after a show, while she and Fred are entering the show data on the computer, Virginia is hand-writing proper Thank You notes to all of her customers (so many have become personal friends over the years and much of it is due to her quiet, lady-like, old-fashioned Manners!) and contacts that she's just made.

Virginia continues to make personal contact a premier matter of importance throughout the year, sending out holiday cards and other greeting cards if she knows their birthdates, illnesses, etc.
It's that Personal Touch that is SO appreciated and extends beyond any exchange of goods for money.

I think that her approach is one that hardly any of us utilize, and if we did, it would make a huge difference in how our customers feel about our relationships.

Carolynn Teenytinyteddybears
Posts: 444

Bobby, that is such a good point. We put so much into our bears. Someone parted with hard earned money to get them. Hand written appreciation is so good. I think striking a balance between business and personal touch is a real art.

The photography point is good. I also use my camera to do an impersonal check on the bear. Amazing what "macro" picks up that you don't notice. Often looking at photos I notice a thread or stitch that isn't quite right.

Tammy Beckoning Bears
Nova Scotia
Posts: 3,739

The only other things I can think of are :

-Where can I take classes to improve my skills ?

-Where is the best place/places to get supplies I need ? What are the shipping/import taxes ?

-Will I take custom orders ? If so, will I require a deposit & how much ?  How many orders will I accept ?  How much time will I allow to fill orders ?  What if the collector is unhappy with the custom order, do I return the deposit  ?

-What about having a waiting list for certain style bears ?

-How many bears do I plan to make in a week/month ?

-What about establishing & keeping a mailing list ?  How will I get names on the list ? Do I need to send out regular newletters ?

-Do I need to blog, twitter ,facebook etc. to keep in touch with customers?

-Will I offer discounts for multiple purchases or repeat customers ? What about putting bears on sale
occasionally ?

-Bookkeeping/Taxes : do it myself or hire an accountant ?

-Shipping:  Will the customer pay the extra for shipping, do I include it in the asking price, or will I pay it
myself ?

-I totally agree with what Bobbie said about customer service before, during and after.  Treat them like you would want to be treated.  That is a priority for me . I sometimes phone collectors in other countries to thank them, and  always include a handwritten  thank-you note in their package. To me if they spend hard earned money on my  bear with all the other artist's creations to choose from , they deserve to be treated well. 

If you sell online, wrap their new purchase like a beautiful gift so it is a joy for them to open !

Sheesh it's a wonder any of us started selling with all these things to think about  LOL

That's it for now  bear_original

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Bobbie - Customer service... yes... very important and far too often overlooked. So many of my customers have become friends because I've taken the time to communicate with them before, during and after their purchase. Just a little note or email... it only takes a few moments but can make a lasting impression.

You are right Tammy, how DID we manage??? Trial and error, time.... and if you are like me, you are still working through issues as they arise! Our business is forever evolving but there are basics to be considered to get off the ground. You gave some excellent points to ponder!!! Thank you!

If you sell online, wrap their new purchase like a beautiful gift so it is a joy for them to open !

This is sometimes my favorite part of buying from Etsy artists in particular!!! Always such fun, creative and thoughful packaging!!!

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