Saturday, September 21, 2013

Small Family Run Business....Literally!





Did you know that my business, Whimbeads.com, is a small family run business?  Literally, it is myself and my husband Shawn, our youngest daughter Shawna and her girlfriend Kayla, Maria who works part-time packaging and Joan our accountant of about 20 years.  And once in a while when we’re getting ready for a big show we’ll also call in other family members and former employees to help us package up beads.

With this staff we manage to operate a retail store (Out On A Whim), run a fairly successful mail-order business, operate a wholesale division of our business and do trade shows.  Oh, and I also teach beading as often as I can manage to make it work. 

Our customer service department is us.  Our technical website maintenance is us (unless I need to call the hosting company for help).  The photographer is Shawn.  The buyer is usually me for new product and whoever has a free moment to get an order placed to restock.  The janitor and handyman is Shawn.  The people filling your orders are mainly Kayla and Shawna.  Those two, along with me, are the ones who process your orders and invoice them.  We also check each other’s work prior to shipping.  The main person in the mail-order packing department is Shawn with Kayla helping him catch up. They jockey for position on who gets to put the smiley face on the box.  Shawn builds all of our displays for the store and shows.  Maria keeps the product in order and displayed neatly so we can find things.  I create all of the labels and come up with all of the names for the beads. Shawna replies to about 75% of the emails during the week, or when I’m home working on the website or creating product for new classes/kits.  Whoever is closest to the register when you’re ready to check out is the person who rings up the sale. 

So why am I sharing this?
So that you will know that when you go online and complain, prior to having even called or emailed and given us a chance to help you, you are not only directly hurting my feelings and/or the feelings of my family, but you are also causing damage to a small family run business who works hard 7 days a week to make an honest living. 

Please consider that there is a human being on the other side of that order and at least give us an opportunity to make things right before you assume that we don’t care.   We care more than you can possibly imagine.  We take great pride in how hard we work each day.  And we also take great pride in knowing that we give 100% of our energy to each and every customer.  But you should know that we are still just human, and subject to human error.

And since we are in the business of selling beads to make a living, trust me when I tell you that is our ultimate goal with every single customer.  We do our best to keep items in stock so that when you need them we have them for you.  If we run out, it is just as upsetting for us as it is for you. 

If we didn’t care we most certainly would not still be in business 28 years later having raised four children solely on the income we generate by working as hard as we possibly can selling beads.

Thanks for listening and considering. 

PS....I tried hard to not sound defensive so I could share this with you.  But it is hard when your feelings have been hurt to not feel just a wee bit defensive of something you love so much, which is my family and my business. 

14 comments:

Sally Anderson said...

What a great post, Beki. I have a whole new understanding of your business and love that you shared it with us all.

Teri said...

I have nothing but high praise for Whim and the family behind this exceptional business! Good work Beki and Shawn.

Crimson Frog Designs by Kinga Nichols said...

You are doing a most wonderful job and it makes me sad that people would complain and be mean. I don't get it.

Leslie said...

A real view into what today's small businesses are all about!

Judibeads said...

You have one of the BEST family-run businesses I have ever dealt with! Don't let one rotten apple spoil your day!

Sunyoung Park said...

I am with you. Great job!

Sunyoung Park said...

I am with you. Great that you share it with many people. I truly appreciate it.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

Big hugs, Beki - I'm so sorry that someone didn't give you a chance to fix things. I know you would have done everything you could, 'casue that's the way you are. Thanks for the reminder that small businesses are made up of the people who run them.

Jennie Hennesay said...

Great post. It's nice to meet you. I think you do a fantastic job keeping up with customers, orders, tutorials and all the great things that make Whimbeads terrific.

Carol Dean Sharpe said...

I love dealing with you and your store, Beki. Never a disappointment!

It's a shame that some people's view of the buying and selling process and what's associated with it is rather myopic. :(

Sig Wynne-Evans said...

Out on a Whim (Beki and Shawn) are the best. They have ALWAYS been friendly and helpful. If I had thousands of dollars to spend, I would spend it with them. Anyone who does not appreciate their service, and their great personalities does not deserve to be beading!!

And not to mention, the GREATEST selection of Seed beads!!

Judy said...

BRAVO!!! Too many people today, with all the anonymity of the internet, forget that there indeed is a human behind that faceless store front. I have become friends with a lot of my bead suppliers and would never treat one of them in such a rude manner. You hang in there kiddo, you're doing a great job!

The bad Liz said...

You and your family do an excellent job with orders, customer service, and shipping. Love you guys!

KJ said...

I am glad you shared.

I am vocal, and I am direct. I will say something if it is not right and I will also go way out of my way to compliment for fine service.