This may be a bit of a rant, but I’ve kept it inside all month and now I’d like to talk about it.
I recently started a new hobby and wanted to find shops in my local area that cater to this new hobby. I prefer to shop at local stores because it helps keep them in business, I meet new people, and get help on projects. I found one that was about 45 minutes to an hour away depending on traffic. For me that was reasonable even though the road I had to drive was a very busy main artery with three lanes and lots of delivery, service, and trade trucks. If I like a place I’ll deal with the traffic and the drive. (Caveat: I am going to refrain from disclosing the hobby because anyone who lives in my area could easily figure out what shop I am talking about. And I really don’t need a shop owner getting pissed off at me.)
I’ve been to the shop three times, once for a class, and I’ve order online once. The following (in no particular order) are the reasons I will never do business with this shop again (This is written to the “Shop Owner,” Even though I am fairly certain she will never read this, writing it this way made me feel much better.)
1. Have only one web site, or if you really need more than one make sure they are all linked and kept up-to-date. Just because you own a bunch of URLs that have your craft and local area in the name doesn’t mean you have to use them all.
2. If you are going to sell your product online then make sure your online inventory is up to date and that the product number and color that the customer orders is what they get in the mail. What I got in the mail had the correct number but it was a different color. In fact I could not find the color I got listed on the web site.
3. When a customer (especially a new customer) comes into your shop and you are on the phone with a friend or relative and it is not an emergency – then get off the phone and take care of your customer.
4. If you have more than three customers in your shop and they all need help of some kind and you are getting frazzled, then maybe you need to hire help, even part-time help. Telling me that the way you keep your prices low is by not hiring anyone is not enduring me to come back to your shop. With all the online stores doing sales and You Tube how to videos – I don’t really need to shop in your store.
5. Don’t ever berate a customer, especially in front of other customers. If you are having a problem with a customer there is a better way to handle it like taking her aside and talking to her away from everyone else.
6. Holding classes in your shop.
a. When people sign up for a class – give or email them a supply list and make it clear that the supplies are a separate price. Don’t tell them that everything they need for class is in the shop. This tells me that the supplies come with the price of the class.
b. Also giving them a supply list will allow the students to get the supplies beforehand. Having ten students show up a half hour before class to get their supplies just causes confusion. By the time class started most of us did not have what we needed.
c. The days you are having class in the shop would be a good time to have part time help. That way you can help the students, make sure the instructor has what she needs, and maybe even take the class yourself so that when we come in for help on the project you can give it.
d. If you are going to allow your neighbor to deliver Pampered Chief, Avon, etc or allow some guy to sell muffins in the store then have them come before class starts. It disrupts the class and is disrespectful to the instructor to have these kinds of distractions going on.
e. If the instructor sends you updated instructions on the project, please send the new instructions in an email or call students and let them know there are new instructions. I went to the shop for help with the project and you casually mentioned that there were new instructions. Then you told me if I wanted them to send you an email. Really???!!!!
Ok – I am not a shop owner and never have been, but as a long time knitter/crocheter I have been in a lot of yarn stores, so I feel I know good business practices when I see them. I also know that it’s a lot of hard work to own a craft store, especially if you’re doing it by yourself. This shop owner was a nice enough person, but she was overwhelmed at times. I think one of the best things she could do would be to at least hire someone part time. If nothing else that would give her room to breathe and maybe reassess how she is doing business.