Friday, April 15, 2011

Why I Didn't Sell To You

This is one of those "serious business" posts, where I'm going to talk about how I do business and why I sometimes do things that don't seem to make sense to customers.

Sometimes, I will refuse to sell you what you've asked me to make. It doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? I'm in the business of selling you pretty sparkly things you can wear, and you've just asked me to make you that. So why won't I sell it to you?

There's a few reasons:

1. You've asked for something I can't do well.

I'm not going to sell something unless I'm happy with the work. I won't be happy with the work until it's as perfect as I can make it. So if you've asked me to make you something that requires a skill I haven't developed, or a technique I haven't learned, then I'm going to tell you so and offer you alternate options. If the alternate options don't work for you, I'd rather send you to someone who does have the skills to make what you'd need than to sell you something that won't be its very best. Supporting handmade is not just about supporting me, I love sending people to other awesome handcrafters who make fabulous things.

2. You've asked me for something I know won't work well.

There are some beads that look pretty, but they just don't work for jewelry making. They bleed color, they're too fragile, they tend to cut beading thread no matter what you use. As an example, for a long time I made bracelets using bugle beads. They looked amazing, but after too many instances of threads being cut by the beads, I made the hard decision to stop offering these items for sale. I have had people since then ask me to make them items using bugle beads, and I explain to them why I have decided to no longer offer beadweaving items with bugle beads, and offer alternatives that have a better track record for wear. It may mean that I lose that person's business if they really had their hearts set on bugle beads, but I just don't think it's right to make something that I'm pretty sure will break.

3. You've asked for something that violates CPSIA.

If I know you're asking for an item made with Swarovski crystals for someone under the age of 13, I will refuse to sell it to you. Swarovski crystal is lead crystal (hence the brilliant, diamondlike shine), and it is not suitable for use in jewelry for children. By that same token, the items I make aren't suitable for children due to their nature. Beadweaving is strong and suitable for everyday wear, but there's very little that can stand up to a typical boisterous toddler.

4. Sometimes, you have to fire a customer.

This is something that NO seller of anything likes to talk about. And let me state that 99.9% of customers are truly great folks. But just as not every person you meet is going to like you and get along with you, so it is with sellers and customers. Sometimes, there just isn't a good fit, and sometimes, the fit is so bad that it's better if you just walk away than continue to try to make something work out. I pride myself on giving good customer service and treating my customers the way I want to be treated, but if a customer tries to cheat me, or makes it clear that they don't value my work or my time, then I think it's better for both of us to walk away.

I promise my next post will be on more lighthearted topics, such as the idea I've got for those great chili pepper beads we got at our last bead show.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate you taking the time to lay this all out there. Sometimes, customers lose sight of the fact that sellers are, contrary to popular opinion, real people. You have every right to run your business the way you see fit, and I both applaud and respect you for not only knowing your personal limits but making sure that, no matter how it happens, your customers get the best result possible for what they want.


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