Etsy Shop Reviews – Helpful or Not?

Reviews for products on Etsy and other homemade selling platforms can either make or break a home-based shop.  I have experienced wonderful reviews in the time that I have been selling on Etsy, and their selling platform has definitely increased awareness of my shop and my sales have increased tremendously over the past year.  I know that is, in part, to having 99.9% 5 star reviews from my customers.  I pride myself on creating unique quality products, excellent customer service and quick, accurate shipping.  I had a customer leave a review stating, ” I read other reviews and was hoping the picture would turn out nice, but I was just astounded to see the quality of this product. I will be telling everyone to come to you for pictures!!! And I will be getting more from you. Absolutely fabulous work.”  These kind of reviews no doubt has and will continue to give my potential customers a sense of confidence when deciding whether or not to place an order with me.

It is my belief that a shop, despite having a history of excellent reviews, can suffer from one negative review.  I can appreciate a negative review when the customer has experienced poor customer service, delayed shipping or even receiving a product that was not as described or with poor craftsmanship.  It is unfortunate, however, when a customers expectations were more than met and they still elect to leave a negative review. I have only experienced this one time.

A customer ordered one of my Rustic American Flags made from reclaimed wood.  I have sold over 60 of these flags, with out of this world reviews.  Upon receiving the flag, the customer left an awful review and even attacked my patriotism as an American.  This was his review: “Actually add color to make it look like the one they advertised it to be. Very disappointed in the turn out. An American flag should be just that, American. The blue is way off, red looks brown and the white looks like a lighter brown. Who ever made this is obviously not proud of the red, white and blue our country’s flag displays.”

I was shocked at what he had to say.  I wanted to reply immediately, however, I decided to cool down and wait a day or so to reply.  A couple of things he must have missed in the listing were displayed very plainly:

A) “The flag pictured is from a past order.  Each flag will vary slightly, as each is crafted to order and each piece of wood is unique.”

B) “Shade/distressing will vary, as each sign is made by hand and unique.”

Those two lines, to me, would immediately tell me not to expect an exact replica of the pictures in the listing.  But then I questioned myself…Could the quality have slipped during the Christmas rush?  Did the very late nights completing the myriad of orders I received during the Christmas rush affect my vision?  Luckily I Photograph each Item that I make and archive it in a folder for each customer.  I pulled up his flag and was relieved when I saw that it truly did not vary much from the picture in the listing.  In fact, it was extremely close to what is in the listing.  Here is a side by side of the picture in the listing (on the left) and the flag that I made for that customer (on the right).

American Flag Distressed

I truly cannot see how he would be so upset over this flag.  Maybe I have some bias, maybe I’ve made so many of these flags now that I cannot differentiate between them anymore.  Nevertheless, I pray that my customers can choose to believe the other 99.9% of my reviews and disregard this review that clearly was an inaccurate portrayal of the event.

For the record, this was my response to him:

I hope this message finds you well. I hate to hear that you are so disappointed in the flag that I made for you. I assure you that your flag, like all of the ones that I make, had 100% pure American heart put into it. I enjoy making these pieces immensely, as I love what I do and I love using my talent to help others express their patriotism as I do. Be sure to know that I am very proud of my country’s colors, especially since I am a product of three generations of career military excellence. This includes both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. The inspiration of these flags was drawn from a memory of the flag that my grandfather kept in his den when I was growing up. It was an old, tattered flag that traveled across Europe between 1944 and 1945. Its colors at one point when new, I’m sure, were of the beautiful bright colors that we are use to seeing today. This particular flag, however, was no longer new and had seen battles that I can’t even imagine. It’s colors were no longer so brilliant, but faded, worn and showed signs of a brutal war.

Maybe you missed in the description of the listing that “The flag pictured is from a past order. Each flag will vary slightly, as each is crafted to order and each piece of wood is unique” and “Shade/distressing will vary, as each sign is made by hand and unique”. I will assume that this is the case, because even if you expected your flag to look EXACTLY like the one pictured, I would think that such a patriotic person as you obviously are would not go on a hand-made merchandise site and bash the product nor call into question whether or not the maker is proud of the colors of the flag that their family has fought and died for over the past 100 years. This American flag is just that, American! Made by a proud American who enjoys being able to be free to make a living doing what she loves.

I am attaching a side by side shot of the flag in the listing and the flag I made for you (yes, I photograph each flag and archive those pictures with the customers who purchased it from me). Considering that the listing clearly states that each flag will be different and the shading and distressing will vary, I find it quite hard to see how it would warrant such a berating review.
I wish you the best, Patrick, in your endeavors and feel that it is unfortunate that you were so displeased with a product that was made with such love and passion.

Sincerely,
A 100% Proud American

Thank you to all of my customers and to everyone who has supported me and my journey in this busy world.  I hope everyone is staying warm this winter and is having a very safe and happy 2016!

All the best

~Lacey

 

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The Birth of a New Website

It is hard for me to imagine, but sometimes I meet people that have never heard of Etsy.com, the online marketplace for handmade or vintage goods.  Other times I meet or have heard from folks that do not want to have to create an account with Etsy so that they can order something they like.  For both of these reasons, and probably a few more I am announcing the launch of my new website: BellaRemiDesigns.com.  I am certainly not a website developer, but thanks to technology, it isn’t too daunting of a task to create a basic website.

I will continue to operate through the Etsy platform, as the global reach that they have is astounding.  The new site, for now, will be concentrating on my Pictures on Wood.  I think it will be easier for my customers, old and new, to be able to go to the site, click on their choice and pay for their portraits.  The other added benefit is flexibility.  Etsy, while extremely easy to set up and manage, is limited when it comes to adding certain options to merchandise that one sells.  With the new site, I am free to arrange my listings the way I would like them, have unlimited keyword entry, and well…it will just be kind of cool.  I am certain the site will go through many changes in the months to come to get it exactly the way I want it.  Navigating the learning curve and adding more items is high on the priority list.

I have already developed two new items that are not in my Etsy shop yet, but will soon be (as well as the new website): Pictures on Reclaimed Cedar Blocks and Pictures on Reclaimed Corrugated Barn Tin.  I have demoed the Cedar Blocks at a trade show and have received a ton of great feedback on them, however being a busy mommy and small business owner can slow product development.  I am looking to add these two items to the shop within the next week, so please stay tuned!  Here is a sneak peek at the blocks:

Pictures on Reclaimed Cedar
Pictures on Reclaimed Cedar

IMG_0473

Thank you to everyone for your support over the past several months.  Your word of mouth advertising and prayers are a huge help in realizing this vision for my business.  I will be at the Weatherford Trade Days Friday through Sunday, July 3,4 and 5.  If you are in the area, please stop by and say hello.  My dad will be hanging out with me and lending a hand Saturday.  See you then!

God Bless,

~Lacey

Happy Father’s Day

Yesterday was a day to celebrate all of the special ways that daddies out there are fathers to their children.  Many times, for my family, it is tough to fit in time to celebrate the day with my husband, my father and my father-in-law.  Yesterday we were able to celebrate together, as one big family!  My awesome brother had the idea to have everyone over to his house for a fish fry.  Despite the rain, a good time was had by all!  My brother handled 99% of the preparation and cooking, while we all could sit around and fellowship with one another.

it was great to see the guys laughing at numerous dad stories, son stories, and even a few about me. 🙂  I listened how my husband, Brian learned many life lessons from his dad.  Some, I would say, were embarrassing to Brian, but he was quick to throw in a quick story about his dad to level things out a little.  My brother told stories of us riding dirt bikes when we were kids and stories of him and our dad working on trucks and tractors when he was a teen.  Many hunting stories were shared, as we are all avid hunters, and a few lies *exaggerations, I’m sure! My brother made our dad a turkey tail feather mount with a picture of him and our dad with the turkey he shot this past winter.  It was a beautiful mount, complete with an eight inch beard.  It was a beautiful father-son moment.

My dad and I shared memories of times from long ago, as well as some of my Nanny, who has seen 101 birthdays so far and is still so very lively and sweet as ever.  I was sure to let my dad know just how much I appreciate everything that he has done for me through all of the years, and reminded him of how great of a father he is.  He is a special man, and comes from a special family made up of the most genuine people you would want to meet.

This was a special Father’s Day for Brian, in that, his dad was very sick at the first of the year and hospitalized.  Brian was very concerned about his dad’s health and how things were going to turn out.  But, as Brian said, his dad was too stubborn to give in or give up and is doing well today.  It was nice to see a new light in his dad’s eyes.  You could see the way that he looked at Brian was not too much different than before, but just a little more polished.  They both knew how close he was to having a much different outcome, and for that I think they are even closer now than they were.

I also enjoyed eavesdropping watching my husband and my dad enjoy each other’s company.  They have become such good friends over the years.  Listening to them planning the outdoor kitchen/grilling building that my dad and Brian are going to be putting at his house and planning for the upcoming hunting season, though it is still over three months away, was nice.  Brian giving my dad a hard time and my dad giving it back in return is always funny.  When my dad, my brother and my husband starting dishing out the jokes about one another, it is always so funny.

Being a part of this Father’s Day, watching those four men be themselves and do what guys do was a refreshing time for me.  I enjoyed it, as I know they did too.  Family is the most important thing we have in this life, and it passes us by all too fast.  Please take time to visit with your family.  Let them know that they are loved, even though it is always implied.  Life is so short, and like most, I get caught up in the day to day rat race all too often.  But I always try to find time to get my family together…so we all can blow off some steam, eat some delicious food that God has provided for us, and enjoy these precious minutes that we have on this earth with the ones that I love.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dad’s out there, and to the mothers that pull double duty!

God Bless,

~Lacey

My Brother, My Dad, Me, Brian and his Dad.  Happy Father's Day!
My Brother, My Dad, Me, Brian and his Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

DIY Pictures on Wood?

IMG_0497Frequently, I set up booths at craft/trade shows around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to sell and advertise my business. While interacting with the shoppers, I watch as people react when they first see my displays of my portraits on reclaimed wood.  I would guess that 80% of the patrons stop in there tracks or do a “double-take” when they see them.  I watch them slowly reach towards the portraits almost as if they were apprehensive about touching a living person.  Now, I am not saying my portraits are life-like, but among the responses I hear are, “Oh my gosh”, “These are beautiful”, “These are so cool”, and a very large amount of “how do you do this?!?”.  I of course tell them the secret…”pure magic”. They then typically laugh and realize that I am not about to give up that information.

One of the other comments I sometimes here (though usually when I am not looking) is, “Oh that’e easy…you can find it on Pinterest.”  Not knocking Pinterest, as they have some great ideas and wonderful DIY projects, but you won’t find my process on Pinterest or any other website.  I have tried all of the photo transfer processes and there are several problems with the techniques.  Among the most frustrating is the roughly 30% success rate when applying the techniques.  One process requires you to basically rub the tips of your fingers off.  I could not imagine doing that day after day, and the result you are left with is a dull, lifeless image.  Other techniques, like printing on wax paper have decent results, but the slightest error when applying the paper to the wood or even a shaky hand will smudge beyond repair.  Assuming all things go perfectly, the resulting image is still not close to a professional looking display. In my shop BellaRemi Designs, you will find several different choices of my professional portraits.  You will find that my pricing is better than the others who sell much less quality displays and the result is a beautiful rustic portrait that you can display forever.  They make the perfect wedding, baby shower, Mother’s Day, Father’s day or Christmas gift.

I really enjoy creating these portraits for folks to enjoy in their homes, and the feedback I get makes me proud.  I just can’t imagine feeling as proud by offering an inferior product due to using inferior techniques!

God BlessIMG_0560

Signs and Wonders

I love making different signs for my clients.  Some recent ones are shown below.

Biscuits and Gravy 2 Wonderful WorldNo SolicitingSunshine Hey Daddy 23x5

Whether it is an original idea of mine, or an idea that was given to me by them, I get a great deal of joy throughout the process.  I feel so blessed to be able to turn my love of crafting into a business that I can run out of my home.  I am also grateful for some of the amazing people that I have met through this transformation thus far.  Two people that I have met are extra special to me and they create some of the most beautiful signs I have ever seen.  They are much different than the style of sign that I create in that the signs they craft are carved wood signs like these:

Signs and Wonders Carved Sign 2 Signs and Wonders Carved Sign Signs and Wonders Carved Sign 3 Signs and Wonders Carved Sign 4 Signs and Wonders Carved Clock

These two people that I am about to brag about are Brent and Amanda Hutchens.  They are the owners of Signs and Wonders in Springtown, Texas and they create unique carved wood masterpieces. Brent has been creating everything from wood signs and furniture, to building homes for decades and has truly mastered the art of wood carving. Their signs amaze me every time I see them.  The detail that Brent can achieve while carving is incredibly awe inspiring.

Besides signs, they make the cutest carved wood benches:Signs and Wonders Carved Bench

carved chests:Signs and Wonders Carved Chest

and carved candle-lit lithopanes:Signs and Wonders Carved Lithopane Signs and Wonders Carved Lithopane 2 Signs and Wonders Carved Lithopane 3 Signs and Wonders Carved Lithopane 4

Amanda also uses her imagination and talent in creating rustic furniture pieces by re-purposing doors, windows, fences and pretty much anything else she can get her hands on.  I love watching their customers reactions when they see the new creations that Amanda dreams up.  I’m sure my reaction is the same when I first see them.  Their pricing is more than reasonable and the custom orders that they receive are handled professionally with an incredibly fast turn-around time.

If you can dream it up, I bet that Brent and Amanda can create it for you.  They are two truly talented people with the biggest and warmest hearts that passionately create unique, custom works of art.  You can connect with them at their online shop or their Facebook Page.

Subscribe to my blog to see my upcoming rustic reclaimed wood decor, DIY articles and tutorials I will be posting in the future.  You can follow me at my social media sites as well as shop at my Etsy Shop.

Be safe out there,

~Lacey    

Hello world!

Hello everyone,

Today starts a new chapter in my world of creating unique rustic home decor.  I am now a blogger.  My hope is to share new ideas, techniques and tutorials that may be new to some and maybe a refresher for others.  I specialize in creating rustic decor made from reclaimed wood and re-purposed items. Most times my techniques are quite unique and often unusual.

I have had a natural love and passion for crafting since I was a young girl. It has been a part of virtually every day of my life. I have spent my adult years in the corporate world, but have come to a point in my life that I have chosen to leave that world behind and pursue my passion. Spending much more time with my husband and two little girls is a very special bonus.

I truly love coming up with new ideas and creating them in new, unconventional ways resulting in an amazing piece of work that people can enjoy. I am excited each time a friend, family member or customer comes to me with an idea and says, “run with it, Lacey”. I would like each of my new customers to feel comfortable enough with me to say the same thing, and in the end wind up with the perfect piece of home decor that they wanted.

I opened my Etsy shop, BellaRemi Designs, in February of this year (2015) and have had success at several trade shows thus far.  I am so excited to see my little shop grow and add a little bit of my creativity to my clients homes and offices.  My “Reclaimed Wood Photo Display” has quickly became my signature item.  My husband and I, through trial and error, were looking for a good way to consistently get a great quality photo on wood, but still be able to see and feel the grain and texture of the wood.  We did not want to just slap a picture on some wood.  We wanted the picture to become part of the wood itself.  We finally discovered a process that works great and yields beautiful results.  I get so many compliments on them and it brings such a big smile to my face each time I watch my clients eyes light up when I present them with their portrait, or to read the emails from them telling,me how much they love them.   Below is an example:

Reclaimed Wood Photo Display Brian and Lacey Photo Sign 3 Brian and Lacey Photo Sign 5 Brian and Lacey Photo Sign

I also really enjoy creating different styles of rustic wall decor. These range from hand-painted signs to re-purposed shelves and curio cabinets.  Some of these can be found in my shop as well.

Thank you so much for taking a few moments to read my first blog.  I am a crafter, wife and mommy, not a writer, so please try to look past the errors that you are sure to come across. 🙂 I invite you to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as favorite my Etsy shop.  I welcome any ideas for future blog topics or projects.  I look forward to sharing new ideas, projects and hopefully interacting with my readers in the future.  God Bless each of you, and be safe out there!

~Lacey