In today’s Q & Cake (our own fancy version of Q & A) Elisabeth and Cami discuss several questions from listeners about how we decided to offer custom wedding stationary and how to determine if you should offer wedding invitation suites, handling sample requests from clients, requesting samples from suppliers, and navigating negative reviews. These are questions from fellow artists, calligraphers, designers, stationers, etc. that will hopefully help you in your own biz journey as a creativepreneur!
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Hi ladies! I’m thinking about starting a semi-custom stationery line for Etsy. How would you handle signing the contracts? Thanks! – Diana T
Well, I don’t do invitations through Etsy but I would imagine you would have to go offline and send it via email. By offline, I mean off Etsy, and contacting them through email because you can’t send contracts via Etsy. Like there’s no way that would work.
Yeah, I think you would have to, if they were to like purchase from you, you would have to be like, okay, you’ll be receiving a contract from this email address to sign. You can either use DocuSign Dubsado, or any other thing that’s out there just for signing contracts. But you might not necessarily need Dubsado if you’re doing semi custom. It’s up to you on how you want to run everything but Yeah, but I think you would have to take that to email, and Etsy does frown upon taking things off their messaging platform. So I’m all I am curious about how people who do invitations and that kind of stuff for Etsy like how that works, because I just don’t know I mean, I don’t personally know we’ve got both I’ve never done that but I if I was going to do that, I would move everything over to email and be like, okay, the purchase has happened like everything else will happen over your email at this point.
How did you guys make the decision that offering an invitation service over a product service was for you? As a watercolor artist doing mostly nursery art, home, pet and venue portraits I never thought I would want to take the leap to invitations. I have created some for my personal use (baby’s first birthday, baby showers, wedding showers, etc) and have LOVED the design and printing process. But I am scared to take the leap to offer invitations. I love listening every Tuesday and honestly don’t think I would have even taken the time to dabble in invitations if it wasn’t for you guys! – Grace L.
I always kind of knew I wanted to do invitations ever since I did my own. So, everything I did like leading up to that point was just to get to making invitations. So I feel like my answer is really boring. Because I didn’t have this big necessarily aha moment or anything like that. It was just always something I knew, like really kind of lit a fire under me. And I was really excited by it and wanting to pursue that and wanted to become better at it and make it part of my business. So I don’t know maybe if you keep putting off taking the leap to offer invitations, is it because you don’t feel like it would be the best fit? Like I think that might be the better question because if you’re really happy, offering your watercolor art like for the nurse rehome pet venue portraits all of that stuff. You don’t have to do invitations if you don’t want to. But maybe Cami has more insight on this because Cami also obviously does a ton of watercolor art and portraits and all that.
Grace, you say you love the design and printing process so I’m like what is stopping you? Just do it. Like it sounds like you’ve already done it and enjoyed the process. So it might be time to just open it up to the public and you know, work with a client one on one and see how that goes. Because maybe you haven’t worked with a client yet and you don’t understand that process, which it is a lot more in depth than you know, just the portraits or custom paintings. It is a lot more so I think you should do just one. See how you like it. Like maybe do it a lower price point just to see you know, kind of get your feet and
get your feet wet and in the door to see if you like it,
but and then if not, you can just be like okay, I tried it I don’t love it and like it sounds like you’re not doing weddings but you are doing like the birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers like honestly, I feel like there’s a huge market for just those types of invitations. They are a lot less high touch than wedding invitations and a lot less pressure. So maybe starting with those offering those for your clients would be really good.
How do you handle requests for samples? Do you have a set premade sample package that you send out to customers and what do you include in it? Thank you!!! – Jane F.
Cami and I are probably not the best people to talk about this. We do have some insight because we know what other people do. But Cammy and I don’t really send out samples. I mean, I send out some so I don’t like have like sample packs available on my website or like send samples to leads really a ton
I mean, like typically I send paper samples. to clients who have booked mobile, we’re trying to decide whatever paper they like better, like so they can see it and feel in their hands to understand, like, what I’m offering, I don’t really send like envelope colors, it’s literally just been like, here’s the 120 pound, here’s a 240 pounds if they’re just unsure, or they just want to see what it feels like, you know, because they just, they don’t know. So I’m only sending stuff that like that for actual clients. But for leads, I don’t really send sample paper samples or anything if I did, I have had like some others that the bride asked for, you know, they want to feel the paper and they have this like very high expectation of what it’s going to be and like, I will send them some, and I usually charge like $20 or something for it. And then they can like, take that off their quote if they decide to book with me.
I would love to know more about ordering paper samples. I feel so awkward emailing suppliers asking for them. I don’t want them to think I’m just asking for freebies. It would be great to know best practice on that front so I can start my relationship with them off on the right foot. – Rebecca M.
Well the best practice is to just do it. I feel like my answer on Q&Cake is always just
I think if you’re nervous about best practices, I think as long as you’re expressing to them like, Hey, I’m interested in using you for X, Y and Z project or X, Y and Z product in my business. Do you have samples you could share with me? I’d be really interested in seeing them is like the perfect way to phrase it. Because if anything, they should be like, you know, hopefully flattered that you’re inquiring especially for these like really big like production companies or printing houses or even like some of the smaller printing houses or like a letterpress place like is going to be more than happy to send you samples of past work because they want to try to like, book you.
How would you handle a public negative review? For example, a poor review written on a Facebook page or on Etsy. What tips do you have for responding to the review? Also, do you have any advice for not taking the review too personally? – Steph S.
Something to keep in mind is like one bad review is not going to be the end of your business even though it feels like the absolute end of the world. Like it’s gonna be okay. Most people just skip right over unless it’s like this person is the worst person ever. Like just like something super intense, which you probably didn’t get like, you know. Respond back with as much grace as much kindness as you possibly can. But just to try to take it to heart as much as it sucks, like, it does Weigh Down on you like any negative feedback or criticism, it weighs on me too, especially with artwork stuff. So even if it’s not a public review, it’s just a private email. Like it weighs down on me. Yeah. So I totally understand. But you have to realize like your business is not just built on this one person’s opinion, you know, one bad opinion doesn’t outweigh the hundreds of good ones that you get. So just keep that in mind.