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Crafty1_AJ

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Crafty1_AJ last won the day on April 12

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About Crafty1_AJ

  • Rank
    Sleep, Eat, Post

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  • Website URL
    http://www.ajscountrycottage.com

Converted

  • Makes
    candles soap b&b
  • Location
    Missouri
  • Occupation
    chandler/soaper/B&B'er
  • About You
    Married mom of 2. Love to make candles, soap, and b&b items. Love cats. We have 2, plus a sweet dog!
  • Likes / Dislikes
    Likes ~ Colors: Cool colors and jewel tones. Royal blue, purple, teal, deep pink. Love vibrant colors. Scents: eo's, plus vanilla, citrus, spicy, bakery, fruity fo's. Hobbies: Flavored coffees & herbal teas, knitting & crocheting, reading, See's chocolate, and collecting cute Snoopy stuff! Love pillars w/ interesting textures / finishes and layers; love handmade lotions, creams & scrubs.
    Dislikes ~ Scents: florals; heavy perfumey scents; straight lavender (ok in blends though!)

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  1. Also not looking forward to the Amazon HANDMADE offerings appearing exactly like the commercially-produced stuff. We're already challenged to stand out as handmade amidst the vast number of commercial items. Ugh.
  2. I know, right? When I read this, my heart sank. I detest plain white boring backgrounds for my candle pics, esp the white candles. NOT looking forward to re-shooting ad nauseum.
  3. I would echo that going public has been bad for sellers. Working hard to keep shareholders happy often comes at the expense of sellers. They dropped letting you use your own PayPal. They hiked fees, and take them out of shipping money and even sales tax. They force you to offer free shipping or penalize you in internal SEO. Now the forced 12% ad fees for the lifetime of your shop. I don't get to choose which items to feature in the ads, and I don't get to choose a minimum sale. I can't opt out. Many of those forced ad sales have resulted in a net profit for me of about $2 -- not worth getting out of bed for. Of course we can always adapt our business plan, but it gets to the point of ridiculous. If you have to raise prices every few months to accommodate their latest schemes, it's nuts. This platform made sense for me when I started out. Now it's evolved into something else.
  4. Three of my five shows have been cancelled so far. Still waiting to hear about the other two.
  5. Soy candles really do benefit from a good cure time. I can't comment on your wick since I don't use that type, but my experience with lots of different soy waxes is that a week of cure time is minimum...two is even better, generally speaking. I've had lousy throw at 1-2 weeks, then at 4 weeks - BOOM! There it is. Lol There are a LOT of factors affecting HT ... wax type, fragrance load, cure time, wicking, ambient temperatures and airflow patterns when burning, and the type of fragrance itself. Some fo's just are NOT going to throw well in soy ... so testing different variables is key. And giving it plenty of cure time is a must, IMO.
  6. Fun, bright colors! Nice swirls. I *adore* the smell of Provence!!
  7. I do about 2 dozen scents in soap routinely, with an occasional limited edition / seasonal scent. C'mas scents don't really sell well in soap, but fall ones work for me and my customers. In candles, I do offer a lot more than 2 dozen, but in part, that's because I have both a soy line and a paraffin line. I'm weird that way.
  8. My Etsy sales are up substantially since the country basically went on lockdown. But according to E, only 2 of my sales have been the result of those new ads. Things that make you go ?? I don't like being forced to pay the 12% commission either, so I'll likely make some adjustments to my biz plan accordingly.
  9. For all you trend watchers! Local news here reported last night that "comfort" items like chocolate, ice cream, popcorn, and alcohol (and we're not talking hand sanitizer here) are seeing a big surge in sales. I've noticed a lot of my candle orders lately are including comfort scents such as Vanilla Bean, Grandma's Kitchen, Butter Cookies, etc. I typically sell those kinds mostly in the fall/winter, not in spring. I'm getting feedback from customers that this crisis and the ensuing stress are EXACTLY why they are ordering favorite comfort scents. It's a coping mechanism when we feel like things are out of our control; we get a sense of having a bit of control when we can purchase and enjoy our favorite candles or foods. A friend's d-i-l works at Starbucks, and even though only the drive-up is functional, she reports that people are NOT slowing down in buying their favorite comfort coffee / espresso beverages either! Quite the reverse. I have to admit, I'm drinking a bit more coffee than is typical for me, although it's made here at home and not at the local drive-up window. DH is eating more comfort foods like my homemade pizza, baked potatoes, etc. He even requested my homemade mac & cheese the other day -- and he almost never requests special foods! And he actually made French toast today because it sounded good to him ... we NEVER eat French toast and usually the only thing he cooks is hamburgers. LOL Atypical times call for atypical stuff.
  10. With my local B&M being closed, a "stay at home" order issued for our county, and my local farmer's market being postponed, I thought I'd be hurting. But apparently all those people at home translates to lots of online shoppers looking for a little retail therapy. My Etsy sales are most definitely up, and my conversion rate is running around 5%. No complaints.
  11. My advice is that you can't cover every single variable in how a candle will be burned. Some people will light it and forget it until 8 hours later. Others light it and 10 minutes later, get called away, so they extinguish early. Some people burn in a room that's 68* F, and others burn in a room that's 78* F. Some never trim, others accidentally trim the wick way too short. (Oops, I've done that myself, and I know better!) You can't possibly cover all situations, scenarios, and human error. So aim for the middle/average. I include burning instructions with every candle order I ship, so if the candle gets messed up, at least the customer had fair warning. LOL I once had a customer complain that the candle I made was faulty, so I pulled a candle from the SAME BATCH and test burned. Nope, it was great. Another time, the customer was right -- we had likely grabbed the wrong wick size for that batch. At any rate, I'd say don't kill yourself trying to account for every single deviation from good burning instructions.
  12. I use flat braid wick. Caveat: NOT an expert in palm pillars. LOL But I have made and burned quite a few, and these wicks have worked for me.
  13. YES, I am happy for the quieter months of January, February, and March. It does feel good to have a break after working hard for 9 months. I don't start up with my markets and shows again until April, so right now I am just focusing on website sales, local B&M shop sales, and restocking. Shelves are fairly empty of stock after the holidays. Yay! My cc sales are up as well. Used to be mostly cash, then about half & half. Now it's trending towards mostly CC's. I don't work another job -- this is it! My DD used to work in the biz with me, but she is done with college and left the nest, so now it's DH and me. We make a great team and have complementary strengths! He is super friendly and a great, personable, enthusiastic salesman. He makes lots of candles for us, packs orders, and helps with the muscle jobs in getting us set up at markets and shows. I still handle making some of the candles, all of the soap, and do most of the online techy stuff. I love having him on board.
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