Today was the day I picked black oak acorn caps. I have no pictures of that event, because it’s all but winter here and my fingers were so frozen eventually, that I took great care as not to accidentally break them and shatter them by dropping them to the pavement. Seriously! Later, passing under some horse chestnut trees, on my way to a nearby shop to warm myself up, I had to wade through layers of huge chestnut leaves, because with a cold coming in all the chestnuts had dropped most of their foliage at once. Big, beautiful, fresh leaves. What a luxury to walk through it all. Last year they threw all of their glory down on fresh snow and it was a wondrous sight to have piles of golden leaves on white. This year the leaves are mostly green or brown, though.
So, now I have small boxes of black oak acorn caps at home, carefully washed with water and soapy water, placed to dry on radiators (thankfully hot now, as it’s cold outside). I’ll list some at the shop too, in the near future. Although, there seems to be no shortage of black oak acorn caps supplied on Etsy … I’ve still got no pictures to show you – it’s dark and most of my family is asleep already. Not a good time for photo-sessions in our tiny apartment!
I wonder where has all the time gone. The day seeps away like rain into the desert (or maybe into the sea would make a better metaphor?). This Autumn has flown by like on the wings of geese, they should be in Africa by now (if that is where their wintertime summer-cottages are). There were so many things to craft before the Holiday season. There were several Halloween ideas even, but no making of these now. I feel old. Planning is now the counting of years, and the years are … numbered. It’s easier to count days, it’s so much better to live in a world were days are THE thing. Counting years sucks. But it can’t be helped either, because I know that the Halloween will come round again soon enough and I might as well draw a few cards and come up with a spooky ornament or two. Maybe it would be a good time to start posting Easter items, before it is too late. The nature seems to agree with me on this one too – I have pair of willow pussies on my desk. They broke off of a tiny twig I brought home from the woods today. (Still no pictures).
I wonder if anyone guessed, that I was going to write about customer relations in this post. How being on the other side of the counter (even if in a really small way) has brought a completely new dimension into the way I perceive customer relations. I know there are some people with “the customer is king” attitude, criticizing, demanding and non-forgiving. I myself have never really believed in the customer-is-the-king concept anyway – it’s not like we really get anything for free anywhere. I really like the mutual partnership way of looking at things so much better. Of course, it gets more complicated with anything big. How to be “partners” with a multi billion dollar company? It’s more straightforward with small and tiny businesses. If you like it and can afford it – make an effort to support it, communicate your needs and concerns, provide feedback. This is a winning recipe for a customer.
Then again, communicating the needs is often part of the service or product. Because it’s so hard to figure out what we need. It’s even complicated to voice what we want, and we so often want random things we don’t even need. Successful businesses (successful as in making loads of money) quite often either figure out what people need or want, or present themselves as something very desirable, hence creating the ‘need’. There is soooo much of what we buy out there that is not really any good. And we all know it. However, we don’t know what exactly is bad and what is good and why, so it’s really very hard to make informed decisions about anything.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around that “buying ideas” thing. What I mean by that is buying packaging, images created with ads, buying things we have seen other people have/wear/consume in certain situations, etc. I know I sometimes (quite often, actually) make myself a cup of coffee I absolutely don’t need, but I like the IDEA of drinking coffee just right now. And quite often I look at ad-s or beautiful packaging and have to consciously remind myself that I know what’s inside and I didn’t really like it, so there’s no point in buying it. Not that that ideas thing is all bad. It’s a little bit like reading a book, only 3D. You buy a new sleek smart-phone with super functions you never use and feel like a spy with hi-tec gadgets in pockets. Life’s so exciting if you feel like you’re a first class spy, no?
Going back to customer relations (never got too far with the subject, did I) – What I most wanted to say is that every interaction with anyone ordering our things from Etsy has been a total pleasure so far! My sister got the kindest appreciative note with her last order (about how beautiful her things are and how creative she is and how much this is appreciated). She beamed after that for days (at least over the internet, we haven’t actually met, in the mean time). And every positive feedback we’ve got has made the day SO much brighter. On our end, we do our best to pay it forward (or keep up the mutual appreciation, if it’s a return customer). Whenever I make, list and send out something I always want it to be a POSITIVE surprise. I don’t just want to sell an item, I want to be able to pack some joy and true enjoyment with it. So the first and most important step is to portray it as truthfully as possible on pictures. I’d never want an actual not to live up to expectations. When I make things I always picture myself using them or giving as presents, face to face with someone who’s opinion I really care about. If the item does not pass that mental test – needs more work. And then there’s packing – there will be another post with pictures about that. In a nutshell – I tend to pack as if sending a present, because what’s inside is precious, to me because I made it and to that other person because they want it. And precious things should be handled with care.
Now, here’s the picture of this post. If you read this far you have definitely deserved one! The Winter may be coming (no literary reference intended(probably)), but the Spring is not that far either.