Monday, February 09, 2015

Business - from both sides

Underlying all the plant adventures, writing, and soap making here on our little family commune, there is business.  We've operated many different kinds.  Retail, wholesale, online or brick and mortar - we do (or have done) a lot of different things.  That means that we are pretty much operating on both sides of the fence most of the time.  We provide goods and services, and at the same time we require those things from others.  I really enjoy almost everything about business.  I minored in psychology, and the whys and hows of business are fascinating to me.  The paperwork - not so much.

I just received an order that will not be sold as planned, and it has made me think about how we do things.  Sort of a remedial course.
At the recent wholesale show where we were presenting my sister's soaps, I ordered a few things that looked like they might be good additions to The Essential Herbal product line.  It's always exciting to add things to the site, so the delivery date is always ASAP.  Most things arrived within a week of being ordered. 
One line was a little pricier than we usually carry, so the order was a small test order to see how they did.  It has taken 3 weeks to arrive.  Four of those days were transit.  That's not going to work.  If I went to the trouble to add it to the website and it flew out the door, it would take weeks to replace.  Instead, I'll just take it along to the spring herb faires and be done with it.  So much for that test.

We'll just pack it back up until the herb faires start in April.
 Just for the record, I'm not upset about it.  That's sort of the point of doing things the way we do, but it's a very good thing for us to think about when we're wearing our own wholesale hats.  Sometimes those small orders aren't just a pain in the neck.  Sometimes they are checking out the viability of a larger, more profitable and long-lasting business relationship.
We always try to turn things around in a couple of days here, and usually succeed.  This has been a good reminder to me.  Sometimes - especially during a gloomy, gray winter like this one - it's easy to slack off. 
Even if I'm disappointed to not be carrying this line, at least it served as a good reminder in how important perception and customer service can be.

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