I decided I need to take this venture into business more seriously by putting it first… starting next year. This year is my time to catch up with family after multiple deployments now that I’m out of the Army. Still, I have to acknowledge that when an opportunity for a large sale comes around, I shouldn’t automatically send an “On vacation” reply to a custom order. It’s not just about the money but about the exposure. So, when I got a query about making 23 custom pillows I was super excited. That hard part was that I was in Texas visiting my parents and planned to head to Seattle the next day. I drive almost everywhere nowadays. We truly have a beautiful country, might as well enjoy it right? Anyway, I get this request with a relatively short suspense considering I’m a one woman show. Over the course of several emails, a couple of valuable days and assurances of purchase, I purchased a ton of fleece and burlap and ordered all of the other materials I needed in bulk. Then I hit the road to get back to Alabama and do the work.
The final decision to be made was on the font for the requested embroidery, which took another day to receive. I worked out the shipping costs for the final invoice to adjust for shipping several pillows together, which saved the customer a couple of hundred dollars off of shipping twenty-three individual packages and sent a coupon code for an additional 5% off the purchase price in gratitude for the large purchase.
This time I got an immediate response of “Whoa”. The client hadn’t actually looked at the price for each pillow with is $45. She only saw the price for the addition of custom embroidery with is $5 so she thought that each pillow was $5 when in fact it was $50. I sent her an email explaining the pricing and asking if she would like to modify or cancel her order and have yet to receive a reply. I don’t want to be pushy but I’m pretty irritated. I could have gone out with my nieces for Halloween and not had to look at this stockpile of fleece, burlap and pillow stuffing.
But, the glass is half full. I didn’t et too far on her pillows so I should be able to sell the few I started and I probably won’t have to buy any more fleece until next fall. The worst part is jerking around my family on our plans. They are so understanding, but I hate that I did that. So, here’s are the lessons learned.
1. When dealing with custom orders, reiterate the important things in the listing up front, even if you think the client actually read it.
2. If there’s a short suspense to complete the order, the clock doesn’t start until the customer has paid, period… make that clear as well, If they need it by a certain date, subtract the amount of time it will take to mail their items to them, then the time to make the item(s), then the time to receive your supplies and explain that you will not be able to complete their order in time if payment isn’t received by that date. Sometimes, you just can’t do it. (But offer options.)
3. Do not order supplies in advance that you won’t be able to use in other projects if the sale falls though. Thankfully, I did well on this one but I might have to try to make the short suspense since shipping time might delayed me.
As soon as the rest f these supplies arrive, I’ll hit the road again across country. Gotta get in that family time!
I’ll just close shop this time like it’s a brick and mortar store.
Anyway, this is a snap shot of some the steps just to make the front of these burlap pillows sequenced from bottom to top. If you’re interested in how to make some of your own, just leave me a note and I’ll be happy to explain my process. :)