Telling Tuesdays: Don’t Fear Your Mistakes, Learn From Them


So, you’ve decided that you want to start selling your crafts, OR maybe you’ve been selling for a while and have made a mistake.  You wanna know something?  Your a human being.  Mistakes are inevitable.  In any outlet of your life you are bound to make at least one mistake.  How can you handle this?  Essentially, you have two options: become a devastated wreck and vow to never again put yourself out there, or learn from this mistake and grow becoming even better at what you are doing.

Patricia from JewlryOnPicadilly that has had an etsy shop up and running since 2008!  She’s been around the block a couple of times (on the selling your handmade crafts front anyways), and has some GREAT advice that comes from a personal experience.

Do not point out to a customer that they are at fault…. the customer is always right, sort of……

Early in my Etsy career I had a customer who was ‘difficult’ and considering she was at fault I chose to respond accordingly and politely pointing out that she had not read my listing correctly…. thinking this would put the whole thing to rest…. BIG MISTAKE…. until the customer is happy with the outcome then it is not over.
Her emails to me were not nice and I decided not to enter into a verbal battle and I thus received negative feedback which brought my percentage down to 98%.. this was devastating… After several emails on my part to kiss and make up there was no response….So for the next few months I worked with Etsy who finally restored my percentage to 100 percent…

Make descriptions absolutely clear. If you get a complaint then do everything in your power to resolve it so the outcome is favourable to the customer… ocassionally it may cost you a little but I now find that that is inevitable as for the 1000 nice customers there will be one difficult one…
Do not tell the customer outright that they have made a mistake…. I have used…’ ah, I see my description could have been clearer and I will be amending it asap….

Make sure that you are clear about Shipping Returns and damage to goods during postage etc….
Above all work really hard to be pleasant to your customer at all times… your feedback score./ percentage is your most valuable asset

I work overtime being pleasant and helpful to customers and it pays off, as I said there will always be someone you cannot please….

I think customer service, and lack thereof on Etsy, needs work…. As a buyer I always return to places with good customer service.

Lisa from OriginalFindings just went through a pretty big mistake herself.  She’s been selling jewelry on Etsy since 2008 as well (that’s 5 years y’all!).  Here’s her story and little piece of advice for other sellers of handmade crafts.

I recently processed a custom order and it took quite a while to get the order in and then out to the customer. I heard back from the customer a few days later and found out in horror that I had process the order in the wrong color. I felt horrible and couldn’t believe what I was hearing and that I had made such a fatal error.

I think that we always learn from out mistakes. We now have a newly revised special order form that includes all of the pertinent information. Anyone can always improve and the only way that we find out where we need improvement is by the mistakes that we make.

Have you ever noticed warning signs and labels on products: “do not take while driving”, “may cause dizziness or irritation”, “do not __Fill in the Blank__”?  Well, I can almost guarantee that these warning signs have been put on the product *AFTER* the company experienced a lawsuit from a consumer who did that exact thing.  Some of them may seem pretty “duh” to you or me, but why else would they include those labels?

Kavitha from JewelryDeli has some very good advice for beginners.  She’s made over 4,000 sells on Etsy.

I think one of the biggest mistakes I made was when I first started. I just went for it and didn’t do any homework at all. It was the first time I was selling online and had no clue what was required. Took me a while before I finally figured out things were not working. A lot of research and hard work finally turned my store around.

I think its a different situation for every crafter. The one thing I would say though is, if you find things aren’t working, then its very important to research and read up on as much information as you can get. There are great articles on the etsy fora and online that can apply to most situations to turn it around.

Like I stated above, you are human, you are bound to make a mistake eventually.  The only issue is: how are you going to handle the mistake.  I urge you to not be discouraged, and definitely don’t throw in the towel just yet.  Learn what you can, change what you need to, and know that you aren’t alone.

What sort of mistakes have you experienced while selling your hand-made crafts?  Got any advice that you’d like to share with everyone else?

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