Monday, June 13, 2011

A Stranger is Just a Friend I've Never Met

"A stranger is just a friend I've never met." Will Rogers, American writer and humorist

We had a great time this weekend showing our wares at the St. Johns Community Marketplace and really felt like seasoned pros with our spiffy new canopy.  The weather started out overcast (as is typical for a Portland June morning), but by about 11 a.m. the clouds had burned off and turned into the perfect sunny summer day, the kind of day that causes first-time visitors to Portland to want to move here permanently.  Friends later showed up, stuck around and ate at the food carts, and it ended up feeling like a really great company picnic. 

We were able to meander around a bit at times, look at other vendors' goods, and have some nice chats.  Our neighbor to the left side was a gentleman from Denmark who hand carved and hand painted small and large wooden animals, sea serpents, Vikings, and other fun and fanciful characters.  Just like his figurines, he was absolutely delightful, and we were able to strike up a friendship.  As you might guess, his shop had a steady stream of customers throughout the day, and whether they bought or not, they left with a smile on their face.  Cari and I spent a lot of time reaching out to people as well, saying hello, welcoming them to the shop, talking about our products, but most of all I think just spreading the good cheer and happiness we felt about being out in the sunshine, meeting people, and sharing our products that we enjoy making.  We made a few sales, as did our friend from Denmark, but mostly enjoyed just hanging out with each other and our friends.

Our neighbors to the right were a mother-and-daughter team with quite lovely jewelry.  They were a little distant upon arrival, but we just chalked that up to the fact they were busy getting set up.  After awhile, we chatted with them some, but they didn't encourage much conversation after that.  For the rest of the day, they sat more or less immobile (including their faces) and there was a certain amount of gloom and doom surrounding them and their shop.  We never once saw them greet people or chat much with those who did stop to look.  They seemed to take the customers for granted.  A little black cloud settled over their heads when their sales expectations were not met, and they packed up and left early. 

Cari (my partner in crime) and I talked about the difference in vendors a lot during our actual time at the marketplace, and I thought about it some more yesterday and this morning.  You never know how a show is going to turn out; in fact, it's a pretty unpredictable business, but sellers are responsible for not only making a pleasant experience for customers (whether they buy or not), but also so responsible for their own happiness as a seller.  There are a lot of rules I could write out here as a series of bullet points.  I'm sure most of what Cari and I are learning are things that more seasoned sellers already know.  Mostly, however, I think the easiest way to sum it up is in the simply profound statement by Will Rogers, "A stranger is just a friend I've never met."  Give it a try.  It can make your selling experience a joy.  Sell without it and I can almost guarantee your selling experience will be miserable.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

I'm shamelessly self promoting for myself and my partner in crime, Cari (Wahkeena Photos) today, but I also think it's a excellent opportunity to promote a local business that is going to be a success. So, we hope that you'll come visit us at our booth on opening day for the markeplace this Saturday, June 11.  We'll be there from 10 am to 5 pm.  The address is 8200 block of North Lombard & Richmond in Portland, OR, and it's on four different bus lines, so you don't necessarily have to drive, but if you do, there's also plenty of parking.  Don't worry about food, there are food carts there as well (with more on the way), and it all sounds very tasty.  For more information, visit the website here at  If you want to be a vendor, the booth prices couldn't be more reasonable at $5 a day, so be sure to call David, the director, at (503) 803-6709 to chat about vending opportunities.

Cari is going to be featuring her usual line of gorgeous photo prints and notecards, but she's adding some new products that will be featured during our time at the St. John's Community Marketplace.  I know you'll be excited to see them!  Cari's Etsy shop can be visited here for a peek at her work

I've added a series of decorated bobby pins to my usual line of jewelry at and I hope you'll enjoy seeing them at our booth at the St. John's Community Marketplace as well.

We're looking forward to seeing you at the opening day of the St. John's Community Marketplace.  It's exciting to be part of a new venture, and it will also be fun to see how it changes and grows over the summer.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Shoe Doctor

I usually write about jewelry-related subjects, but I think I'm going to stray a little off the beaten jewelry path today and talk about something I'm equally passionate about ...

Customer service, including going the extra mile and excellent work ethic.

I was in visiting with my apartment manager, Heather, about a couple of different items.  While we were chatting, a young woman dropped by to deliver some shoes to Heather.  I thought I recognized the young woman and indeed it was Tanya, who cleans apartments for our building management company, but after she handed me her business card, I realized she also has other talents.

Tanya is also The Shoe Doctor and not only does shoe repair, but also picks up, shines the shoes, and delivers them back to their delighted owner.  She was very personable, professional, and easy to talk with about what she does and in showing me her finished product (the shoes she delivered to Heather). 

Besides knowing how hard she works cleaning apartments and producing sparkling and timely results there, I was really impressed by her work ethic in having a second line of work repairing shoes.  However, what I really liked most of all was that she had figured out a way to not only save people money by repairing shoes, but also by serving up exceptional customer service and savings in time in terms of picking up shoes to be repaired and delivering repaired shoes for free.  I walked away from my chat with her feeling inspired by her example.

So, my thanks to Tanya, The Shoe Doctor, for the inspiration.  If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, give her a call at (503) 329-2274 for her shoe repair services and possibly some inspiration in customer service and work ethic!