In today’s Q & Cake (our own fancy version of Q & A) Elisabeth and Cami discuss several questions from listeners about gracefully turning down inquiries for projects that you do not want to take on, the logistical aspects of hiring a virtual assistant, finding wholesalers, and the importance of branded product packaging. Plus, they’re digging into some fun questions about their favorite foods and food-related memories! 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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Maybe you guys have answered this already but if not….
How do you say no to inquiries for projects that you do not want to take on? I can’t figure out a way to say No that’s both nice and true! – @birch_design
I just want to say at Birch underscore design, that the way you said that’s both nice and true.
I like that you added that little and truth on there so often that we’re just like, oh, I’m sorry, my design calendar is full. And then you’re like, that’s not actually true. So like how you added that? Um, because. I mean, if you say your design calendar is full, it can just be that it’s full enough for the art it’s yeah.
That you’re able to take on something cause you just don’t want to, and that’s total, that’s still true. So it’s not technically a lie. Um, but my favorite way of saying no to inquiries, to projects that I don’t want to take on is I’m referring them to other friends or other stationers who would make a great fit for that project.
But sometimes there are. Projects that I don’t feel comfortable referring to because I’m like, Hmm, this isn’t going to work with their budget or it truly isn’t a fit for anybody. I know. And then I just politely say, oh, I’m not able to take this on. I hope you find the perfect fit for this project.
Honestly, my email reply was very similar because I was like, it’s just going to be easiest. If I can write this back to her, it’s going to take like 15 seconds. So basically, the response template said: Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, I don’t take on that kind of work, but here are the names of some wonderful creatives who might be list names here.
And so Katie, I literally wrote listening blank. Yeah, Cami’s answer provided a nice response for times when you don’t feel comfortable referring to them to another stationer.
I do feel that often as creatives, we feel obligated to over explain ourselves. For some reason, like having to give the super in-depth version about going through the woods to get to grandmother’s house, whatever reason I can’t take this project, but really, you can keep it super simple.
How do you go about hiring a virtual assistant? I’ve gotten to the point where orders are consuming all my time and I don’t have time to field inquiries or answer questions anymore. I know it’s time, but how do you delegate tasks, especially in the beginning? Do they long into your email or do they have their own? What programs help with this if any? I think you guys could do a whole episode on Virtual Assistants! @dcolovenotes
I mean, anytime you bring someone in, it’s always super stressful and like figuring out how to bring them in bause you’re like, I don’t even know what that looks like, but honestly they probably. If they’re a dedicated, like a virtual assistant, that’s already kind of doing virtual assistance work, then they already kind of understand how the process works and they will most likely be like, you can either give me access to your inbox or create a separate email.
So for my virtual assistant, I created a separate email for her and anytime I get something, I just forward it to her and she takes it from there.I just literally forward her the email and she knows what to do.
And now I try to put her email for customer service inquiries and be like email email@example.com instead of putting my email. So she starts getting some herself. So just kind of offloading that a little bit. And I was able to, like, at the beginning I would pop in and just see what her replies looked like. And I kind of gave her a template of how I wanted things to look like. And then she picked up on my brand voice really quickly and the type of customer service I want. And I was like, this is how. You know, this is the heart behind Cami Monet.
How important are branded packaging supplies? Things like labels, tissue paper, stickers, inserts?If a business is very small but looking to scale would you put resources into proper packaging or continue to work on the product itself? @heartworkbykinnen
I personally think packaging is almost as important as the product itself.
’cause once you start getting those customers and they open it and they experienced the love that you put into it, they’re going to want to continue to buy it. And it just elevates the experience of your product. It’s kind of like if you have. A really fancy gift, but then if you just like put it in a Ziploc bag.
It’s like, well, what did you do that for it? But if you put it in this luxurious packaging, you’re like, wow, this feels so amazing. And so wonderful. So I definitely think packaging is important. And I think you can still do really elevated packaging without breaking the bank. Like. You have to have branded tissue paper.
Um, I think you can just do a tissue paper, your brand color stickers. Aren’t terribly expensive if you’re ordering in bulk and maybe you just do one sticker instead of like three, like I do on all my things. So definitely you can do this in a very cost effective way, um, while still making it beautiful.
There are a ton of different resources in our A-Z Directory for very affordable packaging. Supplies. So lots of places, you can find beautiful things to make it work without, you know, spending a ton of money on a custom box, custom tissue, paper, custom ribbon, all these things. Um, but the inserts, I definitely think are important as well because it’s a very small price to pay for a branding tool.
That’s literally putting a business card in their hand so they can either pass it on or remember your website or post your. Product on social media, all those things. So I definitely would put some time into that.
How do I find and connect with wholesalers if I want to sell wholesale from my site? Also, what do I need to keep in mind as I think about entering the wholesale world (are there ducks I need to have in a row to make it easier for them to want to work with me?) @the.paintedpen
If you want to actually sell wholesale from your site, it just get up, put your nose to the grindstone and do all the dirty work of finding these retailers, making a list, putting together outreach, emailing, you know, make it a point to email 10, 20, 30 shops a week and just get your name out there. You’re going to have to put in the work to, um, bring people to your site, especially if you haven’t considered a wholesale platform, like fair or abound or anything like that would definitely consider that because it’s really. For letting that kind of do the work for you in terms of having a marketplace full of stockists already.