Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Updates

Greetings! Just wanted to take a moment and give a quik up date. As it is for most retailers/etsy sellers, this time of year is our busiest time, we appreciate everyones patience and understanding as we have dealt with hectic holiday schedules, an increase in online orders and more festivals and shows than normal lately. We know that the success we have seen this past year is due to you (our fans, customers and supporters) and we want to say a big THANK YOU!!!

I also know that the holidays can be a stressful time (shopping, cooking, events, oh my!) and so I wanted to give a quick post as to what to expect from Southern Alchemy over the next couple weeks.

- Our holiday (black friday/cyber monday) sale ends tomorrow at Midnight (11/30)
-Due to an increase in orders our current turn around time is at 7-10 days, smaller orders of 1-2 items may (and probably will) ship quicker than this but we have several large/multi item orders that we have to fill and those tend to take a bit longer. My goal right now is to have all orders placed thru today shipped out by the latter part of this week. Which would mean US orders should be delivered no later than 12/7 - 12/8. If you have already placed an order and need it sooner than that please let me know and I will do my best to accomodate you =)
-Shop will be closed for holiday sales on December 6th, I want you to have a stress free shopping experience with us and I want to be able to sleep at night and not worry about orders not arriving in time for Christmas lol. So I have decided to move the cut-off date up by one week. If you would like to order personal items or restocks (not necessarily needed for Christmas gifts) after Dec. 6th , I am more than happy to accomodate you just let me know via convo or email :). We will still be around after Dec. 6th to answer any emails, inquiries and handle any customer service issues. We will reopen for normal business on 12/28.

Thanks so much! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza!

Happy Holidays! To kick off the holiday shopping season we will be offering the following Black Friday sales specials starting tomorrow (11/25) thru Monday 12/01

40% off entire order total (not including shipping)
FREE US Shipping on orders over $100
FREE surpise added to every order (may be a lip balm or soap or salve)
- If shopping on Etsy all prices will be changed tonight to reflect discount (shipping overages will still need to be manually adjusted)
- If shopping on our website please enter " blackfriday " in the discount code box at checkout.
- Offer is valid for everyone
-Offer may not be combined with any other discount
- This is already our busiest time of year, please remember that all items are handmade and some may have to be made at the time of order - depending on the amount of orders we receive order processing *may* take 7-10 days depending on the size of order (all US orders are guaranteed for Christmas delivery). If your order is time sensitive (needed before the 7-10 day turn around please let us know or check with us prior to placing order)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Half Off Gift Certificates!

So our new promotion rolls out tomorrow (Tuesday November 17th), and we're going to try something new!

At 8 am 40 gift certficates will be available for half off! We will list 20 on Etsy and 20 on our website. Once they're gone, they're gone!

How it works:

Gift Certificates will be made available in amounts of $20, but you get to purchase them for $10
(this allows you to purchase $20 worth of product for $10 or to give that special someone a $20 gift certificate for only $10)

Limit 4 gift certficates per person.

Gift certificates may be redeemed immediatly (if you wish to apply to an immediate purchase just let us know!) or are good for 1 year.

You will receive a gift certificate code via email or in cases where these will be used for gifts we will mail actual certificates (to either you or the gift recipient).

This is great to use for gifts, stocking stuffers etc. Also good for existing customers that simply want to find additional savings and perfect for those that have been wanting to try our product (what better time than when you can try it at 50% off).

Help us spread the word! If this promo goes over well then this is something we will look at offering once a month.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

No drama, just selling

Remember that ad campaign for Nike shown in the movie "What Women Want ":

You don’t stand in front of a mirror before a run wondering what the road will think of your outfit.
You don’t have to listen to its jokes and pretend they’re funny in order to run on it.
It would not be easier to run if you dressed sexier.
The road doesn’t notice if you’re not wearing lipstick.
Does not care how old you are.
You do not feel uncomfortable because you make more money than the road.
And you can call on the road whenever you feel like it.
Whether it’s been a day or even a couple of hours since your last date.
The only thing the road cares about, is that you pay it a visit once in a while.
Nike. No games…just sports…

Rework that last statement to "No drama...just selling" and that is how I WISH I could feel about the different venues that I currently sell on. Seriously, as sellers/crafters/artisans we're busy enough creating, promoting, etc, that we shouldn't have to deal with the drama that happens on many of these sites.

After the last few busy days I decided to get caught up on some "news" by checking out some Etsy related blogs, forum etc. What I found was a whole bunch of drama (at both places). Now fortunatly I am not personally involved in any of this, and yes I know I don't have to read any of these threads/blogs. But isn't part of selling on venues such as Etsy & Artfire about being part of a community?

Instead, lately it seems to be just a huge soul-sucking ball of negative energy at either place.

I had heard something over the weekend from a long time (and very succesful) Etsy shop owner in regards to something that had been said by Etsy CEO Maria Thomas (this was said in a podcast or meet-up) something to that effect, anyways I was googling it because I wanted to see for myself verbatim what was said- because truthfully I am so upset by it that if I could see (or hear) it with my own eyes/ears I would shut down my Etsy shop 100% today. period. end of story. But in my search I found other things that upset me (like Etsy/Maria saying back in Feb 2009 that they were not going to make any major changes to search, yet they managed to totally screw it up the latter part of this year).

Anyways, so then I thought maybe I should put some effort into my Artfire shop - yet apparently a bunch of sellers are in an uproar over there too.


I don't want to worry about being edgy or cool, outspoken or a wall flower. I don't want to feel like an unappreciated customer (and yes even as sellers we are these venues customers). I don't want to worry about whether or not my products fit the sites aesthetics or marketing plans. I just want to sell. No games, no drama, just sell.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mini Meltdowns

So fellow crafters & sellers, do you ever have one of those meltdown moments? You know where all of a sudden you just freak out, cry and feel like it's the end of the world? (Please tell me I am not alone). I just had one of those this morning. The day actually started out fine, then I sat down to have my morning cup of coffee with my husband (after the kids go off to school we do this as our morning chat). Conversation went from one subject to another - and somehow we got on the topic of my business. I started asking questions about how to hire the right employee and when the right time is. I have tried this in the past, hired family members (no offense family but this didn't really work :) ), hired friends (didn't work), even took on a business partner (didn't work). Right now I have family members that do help out when and where they can (hubby- web design, Mom- markets, and things like labeling, packaging etc), but I am getting closer to that point where I will need to bring in someone on a consistent basis. The problem for me has always been the employees just don't have as much passion about the business as you do and for me it is hard to let go of any control. When it comes to production it is just easier for me to do it, then to explain how to to someone else- but then when you move them to the more mundane tasks such as wicking, labeling, packing and shipping (necessary but boring tasks) they grow bored.

So anyways we were talking about that subject, which then led to a discussion of reorganizing my studio (the thought being that if I make more effective use of my space and time I may not need to hire additional help quite so soon), which led to hubby reprimanding me for not keeping my books straight (even though I have a seperate business account, lately I have dipped into our personal funds to purchase additional stock for shows etc, I then take the money I make from shows and put half back into business account and the other half back in personal)- and for whatever reason I just snapped. You know? One of those ugly moments where you just lose it.

In that instant the thought popped into my head that I would always be doing this alone - and for whatever reason that utterly terrified me. It shouldn't, because this is what I love, who cares if I remain a one woman show or grow to a production facility one day, as long as I am doing what I love, right?

But it does matter. To me anyways. Deep down, in that split second moment, my true feelings and fears were revealed to me. I don't want to always be alone, I want to have help. But in order for that to happen I am going to have to be willing to make changes and concessions on my end.

For starters:
-I need to re-read my copy of the E-Myth Revisited (Highly, highly recommend this book for any small business owner)
-I need to re-read my business plan, modify if necessary and apply
-I need to get better organized!
-I need to start taking copious notes and maybe even pictures now so that when I do hire someone I have a "manual" that I can share with them
-I need to have a detailed job description written for the position before I hire for it (I am guilty of not doing this in the past, I would just hire "help" and then get frustrated when I didn't feel they were doing the job I hired them for (ummm...yeah...this one was my fault)
-I need to learn to say no (to tasks, or projects that are a time suck for me)
-I need to learn to say yes. I can not do everything by myself, I am not super woman, so whether it be help around the house, or in the studio, whatever I need to ask for help and be willing to receive it when offered.

So anyways, I'm feeling better now, and while it was awful when it happened, I think I needed my mini meltdown to get me back on track!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Busy week ahead ..

We have a busy schedule this week, Wednesday we have the farmers market from 11-2. Thursday & Friday we will be set up a Holiday Home Show at one our lovely clients homes and on Saturday we have our Knoxville Creative Hands Etsy Street Team Holiday Market at West Town Mall from 10am-9pm.

And I am actually feeling a bit nervous! Especially about the show at the mall. While I have been participating in craft fairs & markets since May, this will be my first indoor show in this type of environment - and it's long for one day (almost 12 hours). I've been busy the last week or so making tons of stock and plan on spending today, tomorrow and Wednesday evening making even more. But I still can not help wondering do I have enough (currently about 200 candles, 200 bars of soap, 50 body cremes and 50 roll on perfumes). The set-up will be a bit smaller than I am used to (I think we are all alotted a 6-8ft table), I will be bringing an additional small table incase I have room to set that up too, if not then I am kind of at a loss for how I will get everything to fit on one table (even with shelves it will be hard!).

I am really excited and thrilled to be particpating in this show- it is limited to Etsy shop owners and I believe there will be about 40 of us (I will say this is one advantage that I will miss out on if I ever fully close my Etsy shop- being able to particpate in Knoxville Etsy Street Team events).

I am curious as to what the turn out and reception will be like? At the markets and shows I normally work people are there to shop crafts/arts/natural items, but in a mall setting - with all the fancy stores and colorful signs and bright lights, will the average mall shopper have an appeciation for handmade goods? I hope so!

Shipping schedule for this week:
Orders that came in late last week and over the weekend will ship today & tomorrow, any that come in today and tomorrow we will try to get out by Wednesday and Thursday. We will not be doing any shipping Friday November 6th or Saturday November 7th. So Orders that come in after Wednesday this week will not be processed and shipped until Monday November 9th.

Wednesday thru Saturday I will have limited access to email/internet on these days, so it may be later in the evening before you get a response.

Just wanted to keep everyone posted so you guys wouldn't think I was MIA this week :)