An Indie Biz: The Personal Touch

One of the things that makes shopping with indie businesses so fantastic is indulging in the details. From a custom order to the close interactions you have with the maker, it’s about more than the product, it’s about the experience itself.

So when photographing your items, curating your shop, or shipping out orders, don’t forget the importance of the ‘personal touch.’ It’s why many of your shoppers come to you in the first place. If they wanted a generic customer service experience they’d go to their local big box. But your clients know better. They know that by shopping with you, or seeking your services, they’re taking part in a sustainable economy – one which values both the maker and taker.

So how do you ensure that your fans feel valued? What are some things you can do?

The key is making each customer feel special. I ordered a tunic sweatshirt this past winter from Mad Love. Angel D’Amico, artist, illustrator and crafter, hand pulls her amazing prints onto various cotton designs. Her items are unique and stunning. But what makes me come back to her, again and again, rather than seeking out a new shop? It’s Angel’s sweet thank you cards, unexpected free gifts and adorable shipping containers. She could easily buy pre-manufactured notes and dull padded envelopes, but she chooses to make each client feel valued by putting a little extra ‘oomph’ into each shipment.

And that’s just one example. My many shopping experiences on Etsy, at craft fairs and farmer’s markets continue to prove the point that customers don’t want to feel like a number or cog in the capitalist wheel. They want to be treated like the individuals they truly are.

I myself did a mental inventory of the Pierogi Picnic ‘experience’ and then challenged myself to take things further. I had been making paper heart cut-outs from a decrepit dictionary I found, and using the shapes as thank you notes. Cute, right? But was it special enough? Did my clients feel like I had taken extra time to make them feel important? Those are the questions I asked myself when wrapping a recent shipment and found the answer to be ‘no.’ So I stopped myself and pulled out my craft stash to see what materials I had. Abounding with stamps, shapes, and various recycled papers, I found I already had everything I needed to make fun yet sentimental cards for my clients. Busting out my favorite doily stamps, a pair of scissors and inks, I began to cut and press a bunch of sweet thank you notes that I knew would make a great impression. What’s best about these new cards is that they’ve clearly been handmade and in my unique aesthetic. Customers will know that I took the time to make them and thus make their shopping experience with me one with high value. And that’s what it’s all about.

So what will you do to make your customer’s experience one that they will treasure? How can you take what you’re currently doing and make it exceptional?

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