Tuesday, 27 August 2013

You want to get personal with your customers? I can help!

We all know the key to your businesses success isn't just all about having a raving product (although it does help) but it is also about the impression you leave on your customers.

You want to aim for a memorable and lasting impression on your customers and I want to help you get personal with your customers.

So you have been there from the start of the customer's interaction, you have guided them through ordering and checkout, and then you have the order all ready to be packaged and sent.

Do you just whack the order in a satchel and off it goes or do you take the time to make sure it is well presented?

For me I have taken the well presented idea literally and have ordered high quality satin giftwrap in my business branding which I wrap the order up as a gift.

But every present needs a card and that is where I can come in and help.

I have decided to offer businesses the chance to get even more personal with their customers through purchasing personalised and customised thank you cards. BUT these will be like no other thank you card you have seen because these have been made just for you, your customers and your business. Simply write a note of thanks which trust me will have your customers feeling all warm and fuzzy.

A thank you card or note is a beautiful gesture to show your appreciation or thanks whether it was
for receiving a gift, or if someone had helped you in terms of your business you are thank your customers for the support of not only your business but of your family and your dream.

You will remember when you received a thank you card before how it made you feel all warm
and fuzzy inside and you created a memory. This is exactly the same feeling and experience we are wanting to create for your guests who purchase from your business.

Your customers would have left your business all mesmerised with how great your business was and would
have created a memory to go with this experience! Sending a thank you card for their support,
and purchase will have an ever lasting memory of your business.

When writing your thank you, remember how you felt when you received their order or when you were making it. Focus on that feeling when you are writing your message, it will show your genuine appreciation
for what they have done for you and your business!

A lot of love and care has gone into the making of each card, they are made with love which will reflect on your customer service.

There are different types of thank you cards that can be created and customised to suit your businesses branding and needs.

You can email me to discuss this more. Will be doing a special price for businesses.

You can even arrange to have handmade cards made to send to your customers for Christmas, which is fast approaching! Get in early to secure your very own personalised handmade thank you cards for your business today!

Email talya@madewithlovecardsandcrafts.com.au with subject heading 'Business Thank you Cards'.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013



These are ALL possibilities of what can go wrong in our handmade businesses, BUT are you prepared for when things go wrong?

From not only personal experience but through my studies and certifications in business and management, it is always a great idea to have a contingency plan in place.

Think of it as your back up plan or as your game plan for the unexpected. Either way you need to have some sort of plan in place especially when you are doing project management.

Wait did I just hear you say, "I don't think I need this or it won't apply to me or my business"? You will be surprised at how important it is so before you finish reading to this point just see why it is important to have a back up plan!

So you have a handmade business, that is fantastic and massive congrats!

You work endless hours to create a product, to do the photographing and editing, PR and marketing, you answer a lot of customer enquiries AS WELL AS being a mum, a wife, running and managing a household. I bet you have had many a sleepless night while you are up working hard to get your business off the ground or you go to bed in the very early hours of the morning e.g 3am as you have been pushing for a deadline.

So YOU work hard but what happens if something unexpected happens and you don't have a contingency in place, what will you do? Will all your hard work and slaving hours into your business be for naught?

I would like to say No, but without understanding or knowing the importance of a risk management plan it well and truly could be!

So I will talk about two different types of contingency plans that I use in my everyday use of my business. I don't mean that everyday there is a use for the back up plan, but I have it there just in case.

Remember that not only will having a contingency in place help you but it will also be beneficial to your client and in most cases will actually protect your customer service!

I have one for my overall business and then I have one for individual projects such as each individual order I receive.

You might have been wondering why I have a terms and conditions document that is supplied to customers upon placement of a custom order. Some have told me its too long and detailed, but it helps all parties to understand what is expected of them with the order and explains why certain things are done the way they are.

You also might have been wondering why it is that I ask customers to contact me approx 8-12 weeks BEFORE their party? This is to ensure that there is plenty of time and notice for the order in the event that I am off sick for a week, or if there is a natural disaster and I am unable to send or receive packages crucial for the completion of the projects. But it is also to help me ensure that there is time to act if something goes wrong. Could be underestimating the materials used to complete an order and have to await the arrival of more cardstock, glues, cutting mats, printer ink, blades etc. I always try to have one if not two packets of the item there to replinish my stocks, but sometimes that is not always the case and I do run out.

For example you might have noticed that in my listing of the Santa Key I have stipulated that these will be available within 3-4 weeks. This partly is because I am waiting for a stack of cutting mats and cardstock to arrive which give or take the slow postal system here can be anywhere from 1-2 weeks. I also don't just order 1 of the item, I generally order 3 or 4 of each item needed.

An example of recently where I enforced a contingency plan was when the glue I use was being discontinued and a red version of glue was being introduced and replacing the clear glue I use and need. It took me over a year to find and trust in this one specific glue used on all my projects. So I asked everyone I knew to head to their local store and purchase whatever stocks of the glue this one specific supplier had and post them to me. People thought I was nuts and didn't need that much glue! But trust me I do! One friend ended up arranging 264 of the glues! But I am worried about what happens when I run out as I can't seem to find anywhere to purchase these from direct from the wholesaler.

But I am not nuts or crazy or going overboard, because I NEED glue! Can't do much papercrafting without glue now can I?

I remember once, when I didn't have a backup plan in place I had not long gotten my awesome Silhouette Cutting machine, and it was a thursday night, I was buried in a stack of orders I was frantically trying to get out and had a deadline with this order due Friday. I was half way through when oh behold, my cutting blade just snapped! I didn't know what to do, I sat there crying for hours and the closest online store that stocked these was on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, a good 5 hour drive one way! I had only just had my machine for a couple of weeks and was told blades last for up to 6 months, so why would I think to have a back up of blades? Well after that fiasco I ordered 5 blades and ensured I always had at least 4 on hand at all times. Don't worry I didnt make the drive to the Gold Coast I just had to explain to my customer that it would be a couple of days delayed. Thankfully they were amazing and understanding. But didn't help that I was angry for not having a back up supply.

So the same principle of a contingency plan can work in your sewing business whether it is knowing somewhere that can service your machine in the event that it stops working, or ordering double of the fabric needed for a single project incase you cut or sew it wrong, or having back up supplies of needles/threads/rotary cutters etc.

In the even that you are unable to complete a job whether it is from becoming too overwhelmed and stress, becoming sick or something beyond your control has happened, it is always great to know if someone can help you and your customers out whether it is a friend or family member stepping up to the task or if you contract your work to another designer.

Let's think about the more tangible risks to your business.

INTERNET-What happens if your internet is not able to be provided for a x period of time? Your provider might not be able to organise anyone to come out to your place of business to fix the issue. Do you have a back up? I have one of the telstra wireless broadbands (pre paid) that I take with me on any business trips. Even if the place is supposed to have internet, what happens if it doesn't work and your stuck with no internet access and you run an internet based business. Bit of a pickle isn't it? I know when I went to hospital for 4 weeks I took my laptop as the hospital had wireless broadband available. But when I got there, it was available but wouldn't connect to my room as it was too far from the receiver. So I had my trusty prepaid internet that I was able to connect my laptop, phone and iPad to all so I could still keep in contact with my customers and to try and keep things running as smoothly as possible. One thing you don't want to do is have customers contact you and they feel you are ignoring or do not care about them, which isn't the case as you just don't have internet access. But all the same it will improve your customer's experiences if you are prepared and have a back up.

INSURANCE- What happens if there is a natural disaster and your house floods or if your house burns down in a horrible fire and you lose everything? What will you do or manage things if you don't have insurance? I am not saying that insurance will make everything okay but it will certainly make things easier for you. Can even  be income protection insurance or insurance on your credit cards or debts. What happens if you are unable to work, would your family be able to eat? These are things that although we don't want to think about we need to  be prepared for.

I can gurantee no matter what business you have you will need a contingency plan for risk management of your projects and business.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

I am a mum who LOVES Made With Love Cards & Crafts

Hi lovely mums and thank you for your interest in this amazing opportunity to apply to become one of 12 mums who LOVE Made With Love Cards & Crafts. Thank you for your interest applications have now closed.

No doubt you all LOVE Made With Love Cards & Crafts BUT there is only 12 spaces on the exclusive panel of mums who LOVE Made With Love Cards & Crafts for 2013-2014.

I have been working on this concept and what to offer for a while now and I am confident and excited to be offering this opportunity for you all!

What is the 'mums who LOVE Made With Love Cards & Crafts reviewing panel' about?
Well I am offering 12 mums the opportunity to be on an exclusive panel of reviewers who in exchange for their review and promotion/exposure of Made With Love Cards & Crafts will receive a customised and personalised birthday party stationary set ALL handmade by myself. There will be 1 mum for each month of the year who will receive their customised order. After you have received your order, handed out your invitations and after the party you will be required to send through a review of Made With Love Cards & Crafts, your order, the process etc. I also hope and expect that you will help share and promote Made With Love Cards & Crafts in good faith to your friends, family, followers, anyone who you think will LOVE Made With Love Cards & Crafts.

So what will I receive?
You will receive a handmade, customised and personalised set of:
~ 20 invitations
~ 20 cupcake toppers
~ 1 deluxe birthday card
~ 1 birthday banner

What if I have more then 1 child?
The offer and opportunity is only for 1 child's birthday. When applying you can do an application per child. But note and please understand that only 1 will be chosen. However if you are selected and you have more then 1 child I will more then happily discuss and offer you something for consecutive parties.

If I am on the review panel for this year 2013-2014 can I be on it next year?
Unfortunately if you are successful in applying for this 2013-2014 period you will not be eligible again. This is to keep it fair to other applicants and to help offer someone else the opportunity to experience what Made With Love Cards & Crafts has to offer. I hope you understand.

If I live outside of Australia can I apply?
Most certainly can! I am offering this opportunity to worldwide. No restrictions unless I am unable to post to your country!

Will the postage/shipping be included?
No, the postage will be paid by you, and will be the only thing you will pay for this order/experience.

This sounds like an amazing opportunity and I certainly want to apply. What do I need to do?
Simply fill out the form below by Monday the 12th of August 2013. Applications will close at 6PM AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time).


Thank you for your interest and best of luck to everyone.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

No Power? Now what!

Standing in the kitchen this morning making my husband his lunch for work when the power went out. Complete darkness. You know what my first thought was? "Oh shit, did I pay the power bill?". Yes that was my initial thought, but I forgot that I actually pay it weekly so there is no bill.

I headed to the power companies website via my trusty iphone (where on earth would I be without it, I do not know) and looked up their planned outages and saw one for 'Pacific Highway' Coffs Harbour. Turning to my husband in having a blonde moment (I blame lack of caffeine for the morning) and asked 'Pacific Highway has critical updates apparently. So would that be affecting us?" My husband laughing (he was lucky to get his coffee before the before the power cut out) said "Talya, we live on the Pacific Highway, We have no power, of course it is affecting us".

Normally the power company are so kind and considerate with a phone call or letter to let you know that there would be a planned outage. But this is the third time this week there has been no power through the day and no warning or notice.

As he was walking out the door, still laughing at me he made note that I am stuck inside unable to leave as the garage wont open as there is no power. Our front door is dodgy and doesnt unlock/lock from the outside so only way in or out is via the garage.

No power meant NO FACEBOOK! What on earth would we do without facebook! I am kidding, don't worry. I was more devastated that I couldn't use my silhouette cameo cutting machine.

So there isn't a great deal that you can do through the day with no power other then housework and reading a book. I opted to read the book.

Certainly makes you realise how much we take having luxuries like electricity, hot water for granted.

I am hoping that this gave you a bit of a laugh.

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