Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Website ... up and running

Whew. We are putting out little fires here and there as glitches in the newly revamped website show up. I am learning so much about how every little choice in style affects content, and vise versa! Lots of fun!

If you are confused about your customer status, send me an eMail and I'll clarify things for you, and my eMail is

We've added two more spinning fibers ...a 100% Baby Alpaca, and a blend of 100% Baby Alpaca with Merino. These two are super soft, and luscious.

The BFL Bulky looks like it will have a long life on the backorder list, so what we are doing is having a merino bulky yarn made up from fibers of the very same micron count as the BFL. The fibers are practically identical, except for the BFL innate sheen, of course. Otherwise, for Bulky/Chunky customers, look for this new yarn at the end of January / beginning of February 2008.

We are phasing out several yarns to make way for new additions to our exclusive line of yarns, manufactured exclusively for Wool2Dye4. Those being phased out are Andee, Alpaca Lace, Kona Fingering, Kona Superwash, Montana, Monty, Pony 2-Ply. They are priced for sale on the SPECIALS page of the retail site.

The new formula yarns will be hits! They are soft and beautiful, and the biggest reason is that the merino we use for our yarns comes from South America. (Not the rough highland yarn!) Ours comes from folks who are known for their humane treatment of the fiber giving animals, and the quality of the fiber is just fantastic. We are so happy with this new connection, and think our customers will appreciate this new level of quality fiber, as well.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Launch of a New Website

On Monday, January 7th, we expect to launch the new website for Wool2Dye4. The address will be the same .. .. but the look will be different. The new format is what is known as a true eCommerce site, which means that, as a seller, I can post yarns more easily and in different categories with ease, and can change prices/pictures/descriptions without asking my webdesigner to do it. All of this will be handled in house after the launch. For customers, the new format will allow you to find the yarns through more search choices, but the biggest advantage is that payment may be made through credit cards in addition to PayPal. We will accept Visa and MasterCard when this site is launched.

I have written about a new site for months, I know! Now, we are just days away from the real thing, and it is exciting around here. We have been trying to test out every possible scenario through the shopping and buying processes, and I am sure that we will miss some and that there will be little glitches, but please help me fix them. If you come across a glitch, let me know! So many customers have written encouraging notes about the process of upgrading a website, and I do appreciate every single person's input. My goal is truly to present my yarns in the most logical and attractive format that I can, so if you see room for improvement, drop me a line. Exciting stuff going on here at Wool2Dye4!
Watch for new yarns and spinning fibers!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Doing Business (4) Customer Service

Customer service is about every thing you do to create seamless communication between you and your customer, creating a seamless buying experience in a pleasant environment. It includes the little things such as making it easy for your customers to find you, responding quickly to their contact, correcting any mistakes -- real or perceived -- with the product or delivery of the product.
For internet sellers, it definitely includes how easy it is to navigate your site and to find the information they need before they buy. That means that the graphics and colors on your site are not glaring or harsh. The font is readable, not too heavily stylized, and the size of the font is greater than 10 pts. Remember much of the buying public have now reached the Baby Boom middle age, and that means failing eyesight! Make your copy readable. Include white space around the important information. Take a cue from advertising and do not force yourself to include too much copy, or to write everything in complete sentences. Look at lots of sites and start to recognize what attracts or repels you, and how deeply you are drawn into the site itself.
Go back to your site, again and again and pretend that you are seeing it for the very first time. Try to look at it with fresh eyes, almost as if you were a new customer seeing it for the first time. Hey! Are your spelling and punctuation skills up to par? If not, then ask someone to proof the copy for you. Nothing screams 'novice!' more than bad spelling and punctuation. This is important. It is how you present yourself to the potential customer, and all you have in the beginning, is a website out there in the ethos, a website that someone can go deeper into or away from in a split second and a click of the mouse. Look at your work carefully and analyze it.
How you package your orders is another important opportunity where you can serve your customer. Make things pretty and nice. Use clean packing materials and don't let the fibers touch the cardboard boxes. Think of how your box will be opened and how the contents will be slowly revealed to your customer. Actually, this is the only true interface between you because this is the only time where you are physically touching the product and they will be touching it too. Make it look enticing. Wrap it securely. Don't use heavy fillers which will drive up the cost of postage. Here is a chance to reveal your approach to business in how you present the order, the backup paperwork, and any inclusions you may want to add. Those little extras are what is called value added, for in the customer's eyes, the value of their purchase has increased when they receive a little something you sent for free. It could be a pattern, a set of samples, pictures of new colorways, directions for dyeing, or an actual gift. I enclose a little gift in every single order we send out, and I think about all sorts of tiny details such as how the packing list will look, or if it is covered up by anything. Send them your card in every order, even if they are repeat customers because that way they will have extras to give to their friends. Recommendations from satisfied customers are priceless! It's not expensive to print up cards if you use your computer's word processing program and some perforated business card stock. Also, if there is any information about the fiber content, care of the fiber, or any other news you want to share, this is a chance for you to send something directly into the customer's hands.
When someone opens a package from you, there is a much longer time period to interact than there is when someone is surfing the web. Give them a pleasurable experience. Look professional in your packaging. Use nice paper and colors. All of the order says something about you and how you do business.
In your communications with customers or potential customers, exercise good manners and cordiality. Now, I am from the South where we believe in courtesy and Southern manners. I will tell you that you will receive some irate letters and some complaints. That is just how it is, but most of the folks in our fiber world are pretty laid back and genuinely nice. Treat customers problems with a cool head and never respond in anger or irritation to a customer. All right, OK. Maybe you can write a really angry letter but never, never, never send it! If you have to write it to clear your head, go ahead, but delete it immediately, and then sleep on the problem. Try to make things right, even if you have to eat a little profit. It will come back to you many times over in the future.
Remember that your customers represent a broad base of talent, and revel in their accomplishments. Don't pretend to know all, but let them guide you a bit. You will be surprised at how much you will learn about your business by asking your customers about their work.
Here is my philosophy of business one more time: your business should enhance the quality of your life. You can do it. You can do it.