Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunbasilgaren's Wild Ride as Featured Seller

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


Tales From My Empty Nest said...

I love the "dentures" soap I ordered from you for gifts this Christmas. I work for an orthodontist and a dentist (I am their children's Nanny) and this is such a wonderful gift for them! I am so thrilled with your success! Love & blessings from NC!

Kerry said...

You deserve it lovely! It's nice to get an insight into what happens AFTER your a featured seller too ;)

ThePeachTree said...

Reading this now, I have NO idea how you ever convoed me back during those days!!

You're absolutely amazing and one of the most stunning humans I've never met :)

Giant hugs to you and your family!

Sunbasilgarden said...

So glad the teeth are a hit Empty Nest. I take a few sets everytime I visit the dentist just to keep them gentle and smiling ::)) Thanks so much. Love NC!

Sunbasilgarden said...

Thanks for reading my little behind the scenes Kerry. Kind of fun to recap. All the best!

Sunbasilgarden said...

Peachtree- How cool is it that I could find such a great friend online :) Your my girl. I loved your convo's during the event...They helped so much. You have a gift of humility and kindness that is the peachiest of the bunch. xxxxooo Hugs to you, bf and the kitties. (with fur) I promise to stay on vacation for a bit too.

Rachel Lucie Johns said...

what a blast, but wow.....!
thanks for sharing the reality of a great opportunity which could have buried you if you weren't as prepared as you had the forsight to be.

and lovely soap of course!
enjoy your rest :)

Mattos said...

So cool, thanks for sharing, couldn't have happened to a nicer, more deserving, great Etsy seller. Have a great vacation, enjoy your family and congrats again.

janaemadsen said...

I was so glad you were the featured seller! and that I had already ordered my soap, :-) are things still busy?

Barn Owl Primitives said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with us! WOW ~ that's a LOT of soap in 5 days! Etsy knew what they were doing when they selected you that close to Christmas! Enjoy your vacation!! xo ~ kristi

Maybeads said...

I was going to say what ThePeachTree said - I now can't believe you had time to convo me back! And I wasn't even placing an order, just sending my congrats because I was so excited for you! I love hearing about the behind-the-scenes stuff, like how much time you had to prepare. I had heard it was only days, so it's nice to know you at least had a couple months. You did great! Enjoy your holiday!!!

wendy said...

You are a very talented soap maker. You have blessed my family and myself. I am so glad I was able to help and be a part of your success. I am going thru soap with drawl.

wendy said...

You are a very talented soap maker. You have blessed my family and myself. I am so glad I was able to help and be a part of your success. I am going thru soap with drawl.

Anonymous said...

yay Lauren, family and friends...what a great job you all did, making, packaging and shipping SOAP...I'm still using my Gingerbread Whipped Soap (as a hand soap) and I STILL love it!!! I wanted to buy some of the seasonal themed soap BUT my grandkids are 3 and 1 and believe me...I knew they'd eat when they're a little bit older I want to get them some...cause the soaps are so cute!!! Enjoy your "vacation" you all earned it!!!

Garrett Family said...

So happy and excited for you! Thank you for sharing your experience!

You are truly a delightful, awesome person and a great Etsy friend!