Katesbeadzonline's Blog
Bloging Along With Beads and Business

Mar
09

I had this incident occur  today.  A person that bought from me was not pleased.  That is  never a desired outcome.  I offered a full refund,  trying to be number one in superior customer service, but have received no answer thus far.  The individual did not stop at the one email.  By the end of the third email from this person, I had been called rude, my supplies lacking in quality, and on and on.

The individual has questions, which were answered, about one item–and then bought something totally different.  I have very nice glass pendants and I also carry quite a few supplies like you would see in Hobby Lobby or Michaels–except my prices are about half of what theirs were.  So even though I do not have a great of merchandise listed, the appeal is to beginners and advanced as well.

One cannot expect the craftmanship and artistic quality from metal alloy as opposed to Bali or Thai silver.  Since the pendant was advertised as an alloy at only 2.00 each (very large–60mm), I fail to see my fault in description.

But I did not return her anger–just continued to tell her she could have a refund.  Personally, I will be relieved when it is over.  Bending over backwards to please a customer who throws insults like dart is not my idea of a pleasant sale.

I went to her site to see if I could better understand her.  She had some beautiful jewelry–more with gemstones and silver though–so why she decided to come to my site is a mystery to me.

I have learned a new lesson:  There are sales we can do without.  And I met my first–but probably not my last.

Positive Quote:  “The optimist sees the rose and not its thorn; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose.—Kahil Gibran

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There’s no such thing as an ugly bead,

just lack of imagination.”

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Feb
14

When one runs their own business, learning how to manage is not usually a priority–as opposed to when one is managing other employees.  But managing is every bit as important as the art of selling and marketing. And with that, I am going to start with a quote by Peter Drucker:

“Our labor is not about doing things–but rather, doing the right things.

If we are doing the right things, it makes logical sense that our businesses should do well.  But how to know when we are doing the right things.

I took notes from the chapter The Effective Executive in the book “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time”.  Yes, I really do takes notes, especially when I think the information is worth remembering.

First,  the book summary looked at Flaws–there are 3 majors ones–

“1–Doing things that do not need to be done.

2–Doing things that could be better done by others.

3–Doing things that require others to do unnecessary things.”

Even though we may be a business of one, there are ways to better manage and better utilize our time.

Another quote:  “Do first things first and do one thing at a time.”  How many of us, including myself,  say I am good at multi-tasking.

“Focus on Now, and what works now.  Leaving the past is central to progress.”

“Decision making is the final practice of effectiveness.  Problems are best solved with rules that are simple to follow .”  There is enough complexity in our lives already.

I applied the first part about flaws to myself and my running of a bead group of over 1000 people day after day after day–with no serious delegating of duties.    I have to confess to some inward cringing!

Keep it simple is something I have as a value, both in business and personal life.  Life is complex enough without any other additions.

I will close this now.  If this not seem to apply to you, give it 24 hours.  When I first read it–I immediately dismissed the entire thing as not being applicable as I do not have a store with employees.  When I went back and re-read it, I could see many areas in which it applied directly to me.

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There’s no such thing as an ugly bead,

just a lack of imagination.”–  kate thorn

Feb
05

If that was a book title, the very first thing would be –“Know your product.”  That is not a problem of any beader I know.  They know their products better than the vendors that sold them to them.  They can spend hours discussing their virtues, comparing them to similar products–and nothing makes them happier than designing gorgeous goodies for the public–except perhaps, talking about these projects–the pros and cons over one component versus one other one.  I know this because I do it–and my fellow bead friends do this.

Selling has little to do with the creative force within–and some of us study audio tapes, but our heart is not in that–our passion is designing.  When you can link that creative passion to the art of selling and marketing–and it is an art–then you are well on your way to where you want to be.

Obviously, you do not want all your time tied up with learning a whole new art–that of selling and marketing–when your passion is with another, that of  creating beautiful jewelry to adorn others.  What if I told you you can do this, learn this in about 20 minutes of quiet time each day.

Reading a bit each day in The Marketing Guru,  Million Dollar Website, or a quick few pages from The 100 Best Business Books of All Time–which condenses all these books into a quick 2-3 pages.  Tie this together with a few positive quotes to get the day started in the right frame of mind–and I know you will find that these ideas in these books you are not interested in will take root and bear fruit.  But you must be patient.  You did not learn your craft in a day–and neither will you be an expert at this in a day.

Some people are born sales people; they have a gift for selling anything that makes the rest of us green with envy.  One of the first beaders I ever knew,  Robbie Sheehan of Dunedin Beads in Florida, who is good at selling in her own right, had a friend that just had this way about him–I swear he could have sold jewelry to anyone–that good.  He had not studied this in depth–he was a natural.  He was very at ease with the customers, making them at ease also.  His eye contact was fabulous–he made them feel like they were the only customers that mattered–and he sold–a lot!

So if you are not a natural, which most are not, then be forearmed with knowledge–and little by little this knowledge will become part of who you are.

Interesting enough, I am planning a much needed break from a bead group I manage–my first since its conception–about 8 years straight.  I wrote to someone that I ran it through sickness and injury, through the death of my mother and birth of my grandchild, during vacations–so you might say I am overdue for a break.  And this is at the beginning of the book  The 100 Best Business Book of All Time:

“You.  Yes You! How about spending some time on you for once?

You have things to do.

You have some habits to break and some new ones to form.

You have a life you want to live.

You need to start by reading this chapter.”

Timely.  Grabs you from the start.  And is universally appealing.  Yes, I will read this this book–2-3 pages per day.

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There’s no such thing as an ugly bead,

just a lack of imagination.”– kate thorn

Feb
01

I have not been posting because– I had an idea–what I thought was a  good idea–and until all the details were complete–and a spreadsheet was drawn up–I felt that I had best wait before blogging about it!  It is in effect as of this evening.  The Beadzonline Virtual Bucks Program–my way of saying Thank You to customers.

The details are at http://beadzonline.etsy.com

I will say this:  It is a permanent part of Beadzonline–no ending dates.

How did I come up with this?  I have been reading marketing books–and one paragraph, about employee retention programs oddly enough, resonated within me and sparked this idea.  The name came first and then how to create the program and make it work .

I don’t expect a magical influx of customers–but when the first ones start receiving an actual benefit from shopping with me, I am hoping word of mouth will take over then–and in this cyber age, that could work really well!

Next, I will go back to basics and get some new items up for sale!

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There is no such thing as an ugly bead,

just lack of imagination.”–kate thorn

Jan
17

Buying has slowed in all areas of the jewelry arts.  Instead of falling victim to the January blues, use this time for planning.  I cannot recommend highly enough the two books The Marketing Gurus by Chris Murphy and Million Dollar Website by Lori Culwell.  Both books came from the library–if your library does not have these books, go to reference desk and tell them you want to get them via an inter-library loan.  They get very few requests for these, so just be firm–and it is a free service.

I have visited websites everywhere.  One thing I have found among successful sellers, large and small.  They use a very minimalistic approach.  They may only one sentence to describe an item.  This is a new foreign concept to designer who usually think the better we describe an item, the better it will sell.  This is not true.

When you are out shopping for clothes (universal need–that is why I use it for examples)–you look at the item.  If you like, you look at price.  The last step, which not everyone does, look at what it is made of and washing instructions.

Using that example, we are giving out too much information and possibly hurting our sales.  With words, wonderfully descriptive words that we have labored over to get the just right tone and feel to represent our jewelry/supplies.

For example, suppose we have a necklace, single strand, of silver and mixed gemstones.  How would we represent this item in a clean and uncluttered fashion?  Pic–then descripion–18 inch necklace with 2 inch sterling extender and grade A gemstones .  That is it.  I know; it looks so naked.  Do this as experiment for a few months.  Use minimal words on 5 items–and keep the rest the way they are currently.  See which does better for you.

A fact that is important to remember:  your customers are busy people also, trying to juggle a number of things.  Their time is limited–especially time to read descriptions.

Positive quote:   “Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”–Elbert Hubbard

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There is no such thing as an ugly bead,

just a lack of imagination.”

Jan
12

Everyone states that January is a bad month in which to make sales.  I admit there is truth in that statement.  However, it is the most ideal time to sell overstock at customer friendly prices.  I personally wait to buy winter clothing until January–and I cannot wait to see those 80% discount level.  I can buy a winter wardrobe–excluding socks, pajamas, coats, and shoes–for a very cool 190.00.  This includes 3 matching sets–jacket and pants x 2, top and tank top and matching pants,  2 additional pairs of pants, and 4 additonal tanks tops with lace that I use to wear under clothing–as  camisoles in winter and tank tops in summer.  So people will buy–if you have something they need.  If that something is at the just right price.  My little etsy story has made sales since Christmas, which came as a very welcome surprise to me. Not a lot of sales, but it has made sales.

This is also the perfect time to place sample buys from new vendors.  Just the act of looking at new sites can be exceptionally inspiring.  Ideas are born from looking at new beading magazine, or even re-visiting older magazines.  Valentines Day is coming soon–and then it is Spring–time for anklets and fun and bright colored jewelry.  And lets not forget the great organization project!  I hope you are further along than I!

I discovered while researching negotiating this morning a site to share with you:  41 very sage quotes.  It is well worth a visit:

http://www.thenegotiatorguru.com/top-41-negotiations-quotes

I was led to this site by a quip made by my partner as we were discussing housing prices–and how some houses do not even list a price–His comment was  “In a negotiation, the first person to name a price generally loses.”   So I went in search of more such quotes–and this site is really good.

I plan to work on my site some today–make some changes–remove the czech beads as they are so awesome on anklets, and that time is getting close!  I have not decided about selling any of my hearts–but I will be looking at  them today.

So instead of doldrums, this can be a time of excitement, inspiration, and activity.

Positive Quote:

“Think like a Queen.  A queen is not afraid to fail.  Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”–Oprah Winfrey

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

Jan
09

In the middle of starting new habits was the beginning of my personal website, not affiliated with Etsy, Artfire, or any or the others.  I researched who to use and went with ipage.com.  Do you need tech support?  Questions answered?  You know the questions–the ones that everyone knows the answer to but you, and you are too embarrassed to ask.  Their tech support is wonderful–and they answered in LESS than a minute.

I built my site with weebly drag and drop sitebuilder–because it was for those who did know what a keyboard was for, but not much else!  When it comes to technology–well, I am 58–and purchased my first computer in 1997.  So I have not hit my teens yet for this world of tech and more other confusing stuff.  Sometimes I feel like Jessica Simpson in the line, “I don’t know what it is, but I want one.”

Back to website–Please add shopping cart first–not last.  Go ahead and ask why.  If you add after your pictures are in, you get the privilege of re-doing all that work.  Oh yes,  so I have learned something else.

And double check your prices before you publish the site.  I just published and was feeling so proud after re-doing the entire site–and feeling a little tired–and when I did an off topic post to a group, a member immediately responded with the following message:  “Kate you CANT sell a turquoise and silver necklace for 1.75!”  Big OOPS!  Now that is corrected.

And double-check spelling.  Spell checker did not pick up the fact that I had left the y off of you–leaving only the ou.  Oh yes, I am loaded up with humility today.

Then my mentor went to the site–and pretended to buy a few things–and guess what.  They were added to the cart–but stayed on the site–as if  I had a whole inventory of these items.  This was beyond her skills, so that is when I called tech support–and was told to install a zencart–sounds very cool.  So I did.  Then there was this page to fill out and I was reading it aloud as I was filling it out.   (What is missing here?  I was not writing  down any of names or passwords that I had supplied to the form.)  And my log-in was incorrect–or I thought it was, but was not really sure what I put on the form.  The tech person, whose name was Jeremy, was so patient and tried to retrieve the data, but could not.  I had to unsub from the cart and start over.  Yes, this time I wrote everything down.

Finally I was in the Zencart!  Holy Cow!  I took one look at all the options, and told Jeremy “I think I need to quit today.  I will keep the weebly cart for right now.”  And he said that was fine.  (He may have been relieved also.)

I will finish the zencart a little at a time.  And I will validate as I do it that what I am doing is correct.  But today,  I melted down.  If  I was a computer, my hard drive would have died.

Positive quote:

“It’s not what you got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.”  Zig Ziglar

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There is no such thing as an ugly bead,

just a lack of imagination.”

Jan
03

When I first began hearing about affirmations, I was more than a little skeptical.  I did some reading–found the book “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louse Haye.  One look at the title and I thought “Yeah, right”–but bought the book anyway to see what the fuss was all about.  Remember the house I moved into, the big one, with 2 and 1/4 acre yard?  Well, there were the tall oaks where my dogs were–with tons of poison ivy—of which I am (was) highly allergic to.  So I followed the affirmation plan for allergies religiously.  Repeated them 5 times in a row, 5 times a day.  Did I think it would help?  Absolutely not!  How could it?  But I have not poison ivy since that time.  I am still allergic to many things, but not poison ivy.

Was is the affirmations?  I do not know.  I have tried to repeat with other things in mind, but I do not have  the level of follow through that I had then.  It was an experiment.  I felt as though I had to do it by the book so to speak.

But I have been doing my resolutions as affirmation for even longer–since 1986.  I had 10–they all came to pass in that year–which was remarkable to me.  I think, personal theory time, that when we seriously think about certain things to the point we carefully write them down, a certain amount of personal energy is invested in the process.  I think our personal energy is a lot more powerful than we give it credit.

So whatever is happening with your jewelry business or your life, this might be a turning point.  I do know that a number of people are having tough times.  I am not promising that this will change that–but I can promise it will do no harm.

And remember, affirmations start with the letter A, the same as action.  No one knocked on my door and told me about that house.  I was in a small rural store and asked if they knew of houses to rent–they referred me to the rental agency–and I ended up with a house that I liked better than anywhere I have lived.

Positive Quote:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”–Charles Darwin

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There is no such thing as an ugly bead,

just a lack of imagination.”–kate thorn

Jan
02

Whatever we did not like about ourselves has been left in pasts of yesterday.  Officially, this is a brand new year, and we can make it different, better–or continue as we always have.  The choice is ours alone to make.  We can change.

Now is story time.  I have endless stories, all true.  I worked with this woman a long time ago.  She was a monitor tech and very good at her job.  She had too much weight on her.  At some point she made up her mind to change this.  She never told anyone.  If someone asked if she wanted some biscuits and gravy from the cafeteria, she would thank them and say she had already eaten.

One year later, I happened to look at her, and she looked smaller–so I took a closer look–yes, she had definitely lost weight.  I was the first one to notice.  She had quietly been following a sensible diet for a YEAR–and had recently added walking to the program.  No pills;  no crazy diets.  How much had she lost in a year??  50 pounds.  No kidding.  And she did not quit after that–years later, on a visit to the hospital, I was really amazed–She was a smooth cool size 12–and you never would have guessed that she had ever had any weight problems.  Her attitude on Life was much more positive and she was much happier.

So I know my goal to be organized is reachable.  I just have to do it.  Every day.  I don’t have magic answers for anyone, including myself.  The achieving of any goal, large or small, takes consistent work and dedication.

Positive Quote:

“The minute you alter your perception of yourself and your future, both you and your future begin to change.”   –Marilee Zdenek

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There’s no such thing as an ugly bead,

just a lack of imagination.:

Jan
01

What is so significant about the Blue Moon (2 full moons in a thirty day cycle?  First, there is only one every 2-3  years.  That alone makes them rare.  For the Blue Moon to land on New Year’s Eve is very rare.  The last one was in 1990 and the next will be on 2028.

This makes tonight an exceptional time to write and dream and plan for the future.  This night is a rare and exceptional night.  Find a quiet corner–and think of the plans you want to see brought to fruition–even the wayout ones, the more impossible, the better.

Several years I would write as an affirmation to have a website.  I never gave up–it kept re-appearing on my New Years List  each year.  And now it is real.

Believing in yourself is very important.  Don’t expect your partner to share your dreams; they have their own.  Each individual is responsible for their lives and dreams.  So set aside some time; write your affirmations and then put them away until next year.  You might be surprised.

Positive Quote:

“Write it on your heart that each day is best in the year” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kate Thorn

http://beadzonline.etsy.com

“There is no such thing as an ugly bead,

just lack of imagination.”–kate thorn