CAGED CANARY

Friday, 30 December 2016

What Makes My Gems Different?

 

#1 - MY SOURCES

 

80% or more of my gems come from other small businesses. Other people just trying to support their family. Certain pieces in certain sizes can only be sourced direct from larger suppliers, but I will always go for a small personally run business whenever I can. They are my first port of call, every time.
Does this cost me more? Of course. But I like to think I still get a reasonable price which I can then pass onto you.

The small businesses I pick vary, but generally I like to get to know the owner first. I like to buy from people who are careful, honest, kind, and have great customer service skills. Therefore I will suss them out first and do some research.

I'll squizz through their business social media accounts, read their policies, and their about me page if it's available. Then I'll outright talk to them too, and I'm glad I do because I have come across plenty of small business owners who have turned out to be rude or dishonest. They don't get my custom.
It's true what they say, people are starting to buy into the people before the product. This is especially true with small businesses, or when there is a great choice of sellers selling the same things.
Lastly I check their prices: are they fair or greedy? If they charge a higher price, is there good reason for it? I must admit, if a business is really overcharging on something, and there isn't a good reason for it, I won't buy from them. It's not about being tight with my money, it's more the principle of it: I don't like greedy people.

 

#2 - MY QUALITY

 

A lot of people, particularly with gem beads, will sell them as is. I don't. I go through every single piece, by hand, and check them for faults. Are they cracked in any way? With the man altered Quartz I check if it is dull or improperly treated. Are there moderate to severe inclusions that affect the beauty of the stone? Are the drill holes haphazard? The list goes on.

But the gist of it is this: I quality control everything I sell. If it doesn't meet my fussy Virgo standards, it doesn't get sold at full price. It gets collected up with other stones as a faulty lot and sold at a $1 reserve. I still sell them, because I don't want to waste them, but also because some people cut or crush my crystals for crafts, and so the faults don't always matter.

Quality is the sole reason I refuse to sell whole strands. With a strand, there is a percentage of them that aren't all that great. I don't like the thought of selling someone a strand, knowing full well that they are going to have to chuck a decent amount of them to the side. They also don't get a choice in whether they get points, chips, or shards. They get a mix of 2 or 3 of those, and in varying quantities. 
Some people, with Quartz, only want clean points. With entire strands, this just doesn't happen.

With my singular pieces you know that you're getting a good quality, clean and well drilled piece in the form that you want it. Every time.

 

#3 - MY EXPERIENCE AND EFFORT

 

Unfortunately, with the rise of small businesses, and the ease of being able to sell online, so many people are jumping on board. But a lot of people just don't have the knowledge or experience they need to do so.

I don't mind people starting off as beginners, but what does bug me is people who aren't actively trying to up their game on a regular basis. People who start out with terrible customer service, terrible quality control and terrible knowledge of what they are selling are annoying, but if they're trying their best and working on changing that, I won't complain.

But some people have obviously been in business for several years, yet still have zero customer service skills, can't grasp the concept of good quality, and actually don't know anything at all about what they are selling. It's shockingly common.

They clearly don't care. Not about their business, their customers, or their products. I don't think that's right or fair.

Self-education, quality, and effort should be mandatory when you're in trade. Your customers, and your business, deserve it.

I'm no expert, by any means, but I do have years of experience and even  qualifications in customer service. I respect how important it is, and I educate myself on my products, amongst other things, every single day. I've already mentioned how fussy I am on quality!

I live and breathe my business. There's never a day that passes where I'm not on-call for requests or questions. If a customer places an order, I ship it as soon possible. I teach myself more about gems all the time. I think about, and work on, my brand every day. I care about it, I am passionate about it, I fight for it, feed it, and water it.

 

#4 - I CARE

 

I actually, and genuinely, care if you are happy or not. And not just with my products.
Many customers have sent me photos, messages, friend requests and more. And I love it!
Seeing the creations you make with my pieces makes my day. Hearing about your own business interests me. Knowing that you are happy and able to create and express yourself because of my hand picked crystals fuels me. I have made so many talented and creative friends through Caged Canary, and long may it continue!

It's not money, power or reputation that feeds my fire, it's my customers. I want to encourage you, inspire you, help you and even get to know you. My sole aim is to help people express themselves.. whether it's their spirituality, their personality, or their creativity. If I can do that, I am one happy bunny!

Sometimes, caring is understanding. I'm a creative and expressive person myself, so I absolutely get it. Many customers want to handpick a piece. They want it to look just right for their jewellery, artwork or gift. I understand how important that is, and what it can mean to someone who is trying to create something meaningful and beautiful. I go above and beyond in helping customers hand pick pieces if that's what they want to do.

 

#5 - I'M NOT GREEDY

 

I have to make a profit, that's how I increase my range, increase my quality, increase my visibility, and grow in many other ways too.

But I absolutely do not overcharge people. Most of the time I put into my business and customers at this early stage is unpaid, and the profit margin on my gems is minimal.

I put nearly everything back into the business, to help it grow and flourish, and to keep my prices low for you.

Like I said before, it's not really about money for me, it's encouraging you to express yourself with a quality gem. Growing my business only helps me to achieve this better.

I've seen sellers pricing gemstone beads at 14 times the price they paid for them. I don't think there's ever a need for that, and I promise I won't ever do it.

 

#6 - MY CONNECTIONS

 

I've been collecting and buying crystal and gemstones beads for a couple of years, so although I've only been selling them for a few months, I've already got my favourite suppliers.

We've already spoken about how most of those are other small businesses, but we haven't spoken about the benefits I get from them..

I have shopped from my suppliers a lot, and have probably spent a lot of money over time. And now that I'm in business, I'm ordering even more, and in larger amounts, and spending more too.

And? Well any business worth their weight in gold (and all the ones I've singled out are) look after their loyal, their frequent, and their large order customers. This means I get discounts, some of which are large. I get free extras, and sometimes I get free delivery. If I don't get free delivery I at least get a free priority shipping upgrade. I also get sent better quality pieces than the smaller shopper. I get first dibs on pieces with certain suppliers, and because I'm loyal and reliable, I'm allowed to reserve pieces weeks in advance, so even if my money is tied up in more important orders, I can still make sure those gorgeous one of a kind gems I've spotted won't go to anyone else but my customers.

Why does this matter to you though? It means I get my supplies in quicker, cheaper and in a better quality than ever before. This means I can give you quality pieces, but still charge a very reasonable price. Every discount and freebie I get, gets passed down to you. Now you know why I often put free extras in my orders!

So what makes me gemstone beads different? Now you know. :)

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Sticky Gems

Gem stickers for decorating customer's orders. And my fridge. And my desk. And any other spare space I can find. Best order some more..

We Are Family

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