Thursday, April 29, 2010

So Many New Ornaments in My Head!

newest ornament- retro ice skater

I have so many new and exciting ideas for Christmas ornaments this year! [I just hope I can get them all finished.]

Here is a breakdown of what I've been playing with (unfortunately I have no photos [yet!])

-Wizard of Oz- done in the same style as my elves. I will also start numbering all of these character ornaments as they are one of a kind and limited numbers can be made each year. I have designed Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion as well as Glinda the good witch of the North. I also have all the materials for these and just need to carve out the time to create them. Also in the collection: the Wicked Witch of the West, flying monkeys and munchkins (especially the lollipop guild)

-Alice in Wonderland- again done in the style of the elves and numbered. I will probably get the card people done first. I still need to sketch out Alice, the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Queen of Hearts, Caterpillar, Cheshire cat, etc. I also hope to create the little 'drink me' bottles and 'eat me' goodies.

- Retro felt Ornaments- in round and odd ornament shapes that were popular in the 60's. Two color ways here (to start): Red, ice blue, blue and white and red, green and white.

- International Folk Costume elves- numbered; highly detailed based on folk costumes from around the world. I have two books on order(gotta love used 25c books!) Obviously I still need to do much research and many sketches before these will be ready.

-New colors of the Autism charitable ornament. I also need to make as many of these as I can as they tend to be my best sellers. Also am working on a few non-holiday puzzle piece frames for my regular shop.

- Mermaids - numbered and like the elves. Sequined tails should be beautiful just need to find the time.

-Butterfly Mobiles- I sell these on consignment at a local gallery and I need to replenish my supply. Each one is cut out by hand, painted and then wired to a chenille body. Very Cute! I hope to be able to put these back in my etsy shop also.

-Mice- don't have much done on this idea yet. I have the picture in my mind but I haven't crafted the ornament yet.(hmmm....I wonder why?)

-Felt wreaths- again a new idea, still working out the details.

I hope to have pictures of progress soon. Alice and the Wizard of Oz will reach completion before the others. Although I will be painting a backdrop for the finished Wizard of Oz characters diorama, I may share their progress!

When will I find time to garden?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Customer Service: How to Guarantee Return Business: Lesson #2

So where were we on the German Glitter saga? Not very far into it really. I received a reply to my pissiosity, basically saying "Oops, we screwed up. We're resending it today." So since I have the experience that I do with this company, I read my shipping confirmation and what do I find? THEY SHIPPED IT TO THE SAME INCORRECT ADDRESS! I immediately respond to the notification and send yet another (my 5th mind you) correspondence. Please, keep in mind, this is a $20 order of three packages of glitter, not huge but GEEZ Louise, no profit could have been made on this sale.

The customer service manager is beside herself at this point and prints a new label and makes sure the package is sent to the correct address. Lo and behold, I receive both the second package and the correctly addressed package (the post office actually caught this one and forwarded it and, a little aside, I actually had my husband drive by the old house on the day it was supposed to be delivered and it wasn't there)

Now I wait for a response from the customer service manager. I am waiting to hear if they would like this second package back and if so, where I should send it. So far I've had no response.

Would I reorder from this company? Most likely, they do offer different grain sizes of German glass glitter where my other supplier has just one size on most colors, but I would make sure all my information is updated and saved before placing an order. I also would not place an order with them unless I have plenty of time to wait for it to show up. My other supplier managed to get my package to me within 4 days, the original order from this company was placed on April 6th and finally arrived on April 21st. WOW! I really am a patient person.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Customer Service: How to Guarantee Return Business: Lesson #1

I have worked in retail for my entire professional life in one capacity or another. Because of this I would like to think I know what to do and what not to do in situations where I have a disappointed, unhappy, disgruntled (you fill in the adjective;o) customer. Generally, when I am unhappy, I approach the business responsible for my disappointment in a friendly manner. After 20+ years in retail it is this type of customer I personally value and want to make satisfied.

Well... I ordered some German Glass Glitter online recently from a vendor who will remain nameless at this time because I have faith that they will do the right thing and make things right. When I placed my order, I filled out all the pertinent info, paid with my little PayPal account and forgot about it, after all this was the second time I ordered from this particular business and I was satisfied the first go round. Well, we have moved across town since that first order and even though I changed the delivery address to reflect this change(it shows on my original order confirmation that I received upon placing the order) and clearly requested the same matching shipping address on my PayPal receipt of payment, the company delivered it to the old, now vacant (as far as I know), address. That was 4 days ago, even though I have a valid change of address form on file at the post office, I have yet to receive my order. So I log onto the site where I ordered my glitter (okay, so I didn't have my password right and had to wait a few minutes for them send me a new one) But I eventually was able to log on and I pulled up my order. Clearly stating my current address should be the delivery address. I am disappointed. I am currently making ornaments and want to finish them and until I receive that I order, I am on hold. I go to my account info to update my billing address because it shows the old address and that obviously isn't correct. When I get to that page I find that the you have a primary address that "is used as the pre-selected shipping and billing address for orders placed on this store."[ I guess it doesn't matter that during the check out process you put a specific delivery address in instead of using a "pre-selected shipping and billing address" and during the payment process you also use a specific shipping address and the same one you supplied during checkout] So, I delete the old address and select my correct address. I then send an inquiry to the company explaining that they shipped my order to the wrong address, that I had asked that it be sent to my current address on both the website and PayPal invoices and they shipped to an old address.

This is the reply email I get:
"Hi Kelly,

Did you go to the incorrect address and get the order?


For some reason, this irks me.

My reply:
"No, I'm sorry, it's a 45 minute drive from here and a vacant house in a questionable neighborhood (thus the reason we moved shortly after the neighbor's house was shot at). I have a 2 year old child and no car at this time(my husband needs it to commute to his job). There was a change of address order filed at the post office when we left that residence but the tracking info said the package was delivered on April 10 anyway. I have a copy of my order information from your website and my PayPal invoice and the shipping address on both clearly show that it was to be shipped to our new address. What is the reason that the person shipping the package disregarded that[sic] all of that info and chose to send it to the incorrect address without even clarifying if there was a problem? I would think that if you have an option in your ordering process for a delivery address that that would be the address you would ship and thus deliver to."

I would never, ever claim to always be right. But I do feel in this instance they are the ones that dropped the ball. I have run retail stores for many years, both corporations and mom and pop shops. I have had my own Etsy shops for a few years now and whenever there is a question between two potential shipping addresses, I contact the customer (and might I add on Etsy it is even more confusing because it doesn't allow the customer to list both a delivery address and billing address, it simply asks for your address and then PayPal prompts you to select your shipping address. I find this to be a pretty common occurrence and easily remedied by a quick email)

I am waiting for a response to my response, I'm sure that my pissiosity shows but I honestly believe they should have followed the directions for shipment and if at all confused, they should have called or emailed me(it took a day to confirm the order and another to confirm that the package was shipped, surely they have the ability and time to verify anything that may strike them as odd)

[By the way, I actually opened the shipping confirmation email, which normally I do NOT do, and the wrong shipping address is stated there. I did open the previous order processing email and it showed the wrong billing address but since they were paid I didn't pay much attention to that, the delivery address listed was my correct address.]

So kids, if you are running a business, especially one that has you delivering or shipping your wares, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, pay attention to your invoices and do not send short, or rather curt replies making it sound like the customer was at fault and is fully responsible for the error. I supplied the appropriate information in the appropriate fields, I do not know what your company's protocol may be but I do know if I saw more than one address, I would have verified my package's shipping address before shipping it. they didn't even say 'we're sorry', or 'we'll have to see why we did that', etc. This above all is probably why I was irked.

Take responsibility for your or your employee's actions. Your customers will reward you with continued business and quite possibly new clients. A disgruntled one may just blog about it and tell the world where not to shop.

I will keep you posted on the outcome :o)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter Friends!

My transplanted Primrose obviously love their new home and I love seeing them grow and bloom every day. Some tulips have started poking up and I'm curious to see what they will look like. I am having issues with the neighborhood bunnies but I figure if they like my garden bed so much now, they will really love it when I spice it up a bit with some Cayenne Pepper ;o) Here are a series of photos of my primrose and our family's bunny cake. It's the first year of a new family tradition. This year's bunny cake is Carrot Pineapple cake that I made a little healthier. The recipe follows. Happy Easter Friends!

Carrot Pineapple Cake

[I know my little one will eat cake but getting him to eat veggies is a little more difficult, thus the carrot cake for Easter! I am putting the original recipe and in parentheses my changes. Either way you fix it, I know it will be yummy!]
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1cup whole wheat flour + 1cup all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cloves)
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar (1 1/2 cups sugar)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup unsweetened organic apple sauce)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (1 pound organic carrots, about 8 carrots)
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts ( toasted on stove top before adding)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.(I used a Nordicware 3D bunny pan and followed their baking instructions. This way, the recipe yielded one bunny cake and 12 cupcakes)
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in carrots, coconut, walnuts and pineapple.
  3. Pour into 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Don't panic, the center will sink a little. Allow to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (4 1/2 ounces)

When cake is cool, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in clean food processor work bowl until combined, about
5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners' sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.
(Cover leftovers and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)