When I started my leathercraft business, I really didn’t have a “Store Policy” on custom orders. At that time we were dealing with mostly local folks and I was pretty trusting of them.
Customers came into the store and wanted to get a belt made. I spent 30 minutes or so with them designing their belt. The question that followed was usually, “Do I pay now or when I pick it up?”
At the time, I was hungry for work and wanted to make a good impression on our new customer. I would reply with, “You can pay for it when you pick it up.”
This worked out well for the most part… For a while.
Eventually the items waiting for “pick up” began to grow and money tied up in finished products began increase. I soon realized that I had built many items using shop money that might not ever get picked up and paid for.
We then started taking a deposit of 50% of the job. This worked well to ensure that the customer would be back in the store to pick up their items. As well as to pay us the rest of the balance.
But this became somewhat difficult to handle from an accounting standpoint.
Over the years I have developed our store policy on custom orders into what works best for us. We take all the money up front on all custom orders. Continue reading
Phone book ads, business cards, brochures, newspapers, and local radio. Fifteen years ago these were still the main components of a good marketing strategy for the leathercraft business to get the word out about their services.
When I began my business, I spent a substantial sum of money using marketing products just like these. The world of Likes, Comments, DM’s and Sharing photos to thousands of people with the tap and swipe on a piece of expensive glass was not yet a reality.
Facebook was just a place for college kids to connect and share funny anecdotes. Instagram wasn’t a thing yet. And twitter… well, twitter (if it was around) was still as confusing and useless as it is today.
The best option for connecting with our customers online during those days, was for them to happen onto our website and hopefully be able to navigate their way through the makeshift debris of photos and half written content. At best, they would be able to get our phone number to just give us a call.
Today we live in a hyper connected world where anyone has the ability to express an opinion, share a photo, or even share an hour long live video on how they prefer to assemble their peanut butter sandwich. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become ingrained into the fabric of a great majority of the population for staying connected with friends, family and businesses. Continue reading