As my days are constantly being spent planning, contemplating, the self-employment dream, I've been thinking more and more about what it means to buy handmade. I was reminded of this blog post, by Sara of TwillyPop. After shopping at a major department store, she realized just how little "those guys" actually cared about their customers. She compared it to her own handmade business, and how much she appreciates her customers, how much she values her product and her customer service. I think this holds true for most handmade business owners.
I've been selling on Etsy for 4 years now and I still get happy after every sale. Every one. And I make it my responsibility to make sure that my customer is just as happy they made that purchase as I am. It's so humbling to know that some one wants to buy something you create. I seriously can't talk about how it makes me feel without getting all sappy.
Now as I'm making my plan for the voyage into self employment (it's coming!!), I've found myself counting numbers and calculating. How many cards a day do I need to sell to make "x" amount? How much ad space do I need to book per month to pay "x" bill? It has made me look at customers in a new light. Not only are they a.) awesome and b.) supportive, but they would also be c.) helping me live my dream.
It made me think of all the Etsy purchases I have made. Of the sellers, whose products I've been so excited to receive. I thought about their lives and wondered what impact my purchase had on them. Sure, I probably put a smile on their face, but what if I did more? What if I helped them pay their electricity bill? Or make their rent?
Since I have experienced Etsy as a seller and a buyer, I've had the pleasure of seeing both sides. As a customer, I'm charmed by exceptional customer service and amazed by unique handmade products. Yet as a seller, I am honored to have customers and want to make sure my gratitude is known. The experience of buying handmade has benefits for both sides and I'm so happy to take part in each of them!