What a wild ride it has been this year at Sunbasilgarden Soaps!
I was notified in October that I was selected to be the Dec 13th featured seller. My eyes glazed over in joy and then, a huge gulp- "that is quite close to Christmas!" I finished my last wholesale order and literally started work the very next day. I started with a strategy to decide what I was going to offer. I knew it had to be ready to ship that day so preparation was essential. I increased my men's line up and added more Holiday designs. I brought back some classics and omitted some of my more time consuming designs. Then ordered supply after supply and started 8 hour a day production. I knew having this time slot so close to Christmas was such a gift- but I had to have enough inventory to be ready to ship that day. No waiting, no delay.
The first two months went very smoothly. I was so careful to balance family life with soap. I did my grocery shopping, laundry first thing in the morning and even walked daily. However, right after Thanksgiving, I moved into 16 hour days of soaping as the day was quickly approaching. I learned to say no quite alot when asked for wholesale orders, custom, or giveaways. I also got some help! My neighbor and now very dear friend, Mrs. Wendy, began working with me, at first as soap cutter and then as soap wrapper. I'm super picky on how my soaps are wrapped and she is top knotch. By the end of the ride, she was making soap! We had so many fun days together in my studio and do not know how I would have done it without her. I'm so grateful for her support and keeping me sane.
So finally the big day arrives, and I'm hoping I sell some soap. The strike of noon and there I am front page and center. I had about 15 minutes to enjoy it and then the orders started coming in. Fast and furious. And I returned with fast and furious shipping. I got the best convo's from my friend, Amy, thepeachtree filling me in on what was going on. I had my head down and was filling orders.
What I didn't anticipate was the amont on convo's to answer. I had increased all of my inventory the night before but couldn't answer folks if I had more in stock until I got ahead of my shipping. Huge piece of advice - list your real inventory if given this opportunity. So what if you waste money on listing fees. You can't sell it if it's not there.
By the end of day one- I had shipped almost every order. My awesome mail carrier- Ms. Lisa arranged to have an Express Mail truck everyday for me. I lost track of how many orders I shipped but guessing over 1,500 packages in 5 days? My poor little Dymo shipping printer is on vacation now too.
Some of the things I would do different as a featured seller. I would list my true inventory right out of the gate. If you have 80 in stock..list it. I would also make the policy to only ship to the PayPal address. I would ship an order so fast but then find a convo a day later asking to ship to another address as gift. I would also learn ahead of time about PayPal's multiple shipping function. A big giant thank you to my good friend Loveleesoaps, who told me about it during day 1. I finally figured it out but learning something new in the heat of it wasn't exactly pretty. Be prepared for email and convo's. I ended with over 2500 emails in my in bin.
Well I thought it would be fun to write a little of my experience. I am so grateful for the opportunity, support and well wishes. It makes my heart flutter just a little faster to think of my little soaps being opened on Christmas morning or putting a smile on someone's face.
And I literally blushed at all the kind comments left on my interview and convo's sent by fellow Etsians. Talk about feeling the love.
I'm so thankful for my husband and boys working with me during my preparation. We are now on vacation and plan to snuggle in and spend time doing what is most important. Time together, loving each other.
Wishing you all a very blessed and Merry Christmas. See you in 2011. God Bless - Lauren