Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

With all apologies to the busy beaver in Winnie the Pooh - I've been busy. I so enjoy putting together the bow orders and getting the boxes ready to ship. I do NOT enjoy going to the post office and standing in the long line. About a month ago, I shipped several boxes using the online shipping feature from USPS. One box somehow did not make it into the hands of it's intended recipient. The Tracking & Confirmation said that it was indeed delivered; but the customer said she didn't get it. After waiting quite some time we were both convinced the box wasn't going to be there. I felt terrible. USPS offered little help. So, now, I'm going the extra mile to ensure that customers know I've actually shipped the box, how it is going to arrive, and I'm doing the whole SCAN sheet thing.

Today, I was delighted to find that I can still use the online shipping at USPS and simply take my parcels and SCAN sheet to a nearby parcel center where there is never a line and I don't have to go downtown. I zip in with the parcels and am out in less than 2 minutes. YAY!

Made note that I'm running low on St. Pat's bows again. Apparently, we're all gearing up for the annual wearin' o' the green. I've ordered more ribbon; but, I can probably only fill a few more Etsy orders. I've found some awesome grab bags of ribbon from Etsy suppliers. And, I've made up a beautiful array of pastel, springtime colored bows. Now, I just need to get some pics and get them in the shop.

Which brings me to another problem. I've been replacing my inferior pictures on Etsy. I was satisfied with the first few items; but, over the last few days the thumbnails are not being properly processed by the Etsy server so they look horrible. The actual image looks wonderful even when enlarged; but the crunched pics are not so good. It's more than a little discouraging since I've struggled with the photography end of this. Other sellers in the Alaskan Team have echoed my woes with proper lighting during the wintertime in Alaska. I thought I finally had a solution and now this. I'm hoping it will go away the way it came - be gone bugs!

I'm slowly getting in the groove. I still have my local groomers to keep supplied. And, sales through the Etsy shop are as I expected. I'm so happy to have been able to help out a Cocker rescue group in Wisconsin with some of the "shelter bows." Economy shop bows are a big hit. Unfortunately, I always feel like I'm sending out bare little babies - an unfinished product. I know not everyone wants or can afford bling; but, it makes a world of difference. I will contemplate not having that option in the future. Once I gather materials, cut the ribbon, heat seal the ends, tie the bow, sort, and put them on a straw; it really isn't that much more effort or materials to add the bling. No, I don't like using the adhesives; but, it adds so much to the bows that it's worth the minor annoyance. It's great fun to choose what bling for which ribbon. Often the bows turn out much better than I expected because I found just the right bling.

Another business consideration I need to make soon is how to brand this shop. At some point I really want to have some of my other handmade items in the shop. Running two shops has been too difficult for me. I get easily confused. Need to keep it simple. I'm tempted to buy a pre-made package; but, I've made logos for other businesses in the past. Why not make my own? Because I can't make up my mind? That's probably the rub. I feel the answer is near. Stay tuned!

Once the branding issue is resolved, I'll focus on sales and other marketing efforts for Aurora Bows.

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