Welcome to this weeks feature Friday. Hope your enjoying the interviews as much as I am. Everyone has been so inspiring and funny in their own way. This weeks interview is with Cindy of DesignedByLucinda from North Carolina, a designer who loves to work with gemstones .. Enjoy ..
Tell us a little bit about yourself... My name is Cindy Boardman and I love critters like cats and dogs. In fact, any stray critter that wanders by hungry and homeless gets fed and attention so they tend so stay at Chez Boardman months until I can find new homes! I wish I could just shut the door but stray critters just grab me....
How long have you been in business?
Off and on selling jewelry for 20 years. I have been selling under DBL for over 3 years now.
Did you start your business full time? if not, what made you take that leap into running your business full time?
I started just PTing it but then I heard of a local real life space that was affordable and only 5 minutes away from my house at a good price, so I leapt. I created stock like crazy and started covering my expenses by the 2nd month, so I kept on. Quality materials with good workmanship coupled with superior customer service brought customers back for more and more and more.
Did you write a business plan? or do you set regular goals to achieve?
I wrote a vague plan that set out where I wanted to get - - and it could probably use tweaking because all plans can be made *better*. My goals are to continue to grow my exposure, my sales and my product line every few months.
What selling venues do you use?
I use Etsy as my online portfolio. I also sell locally anywhere I can (pools, skating parks, private parties, nursing homes, etc) and I market my business cards worldwide. I also constantly tweak my Etsy SEO to catch the elusive Google and Yahoo search buyers (though that meets resistance from Etsy code sometimes).
Give us one tip on how you stay motivated (to run your business full time)?
I believe in my designs and I believe in my stones. I don't buy the stones if they make me go EH, I want WOW when I see them :)
Where do you draw your design inspiration from to keep coming up with fresh ideas?
It sounds crazy, but I let the stones speak to ME. They let me know when a design is MEH and when it is GOGOGO - - and I don't quit until I feel that GOGOGO from each stone.
What is your best advice on customer service?
Make it right - - always. Nothing you sell will ever reverse the potential damage one client of a $3 sale could make for your business so treat every buyer like gold :)
What is your favorite tip you received from a mentor or someone in business?
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. And try to keep stretching your line so you always find something new to offer :)
If you could offer one piece of advice to someone just starting a business, what would that be? If you *REALLY BELIEVE* this is your way, follow it, through brambles and backtrails and side jogs. BELIEVE in what you have and follow - - and don't doubt or you will crumble and sell books at a mall instead... E-tail and retail are HARD so get on your "can do" pants and follow through :)
If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be? LOL sorry had to add this, I feel like Barbara Walters - haha - I was going to take this out but there have been some great answers so I left it in :)
An Oak. Wide, deep rooted, good shade and when it goes, excellent as fuel for others :) It also feeds critters with acorns (see, I looped back to my critter love LOL!)