Thursday 29 November 2012

Professionalism Vs Personality

   When I order from Etsy sellers, I expect the parcel to be one of two things, but want only one of them - and I'm usually disappointed. The first thing I expect is professionalism - this isn't "expect" as in: if it isn't there I will be fuming, this is "expect" because it's what most people do automatically, or think they should do. The other thing I expect is personality - and this one is the other "expect", the one I am bothered by if it isn't there.
   As a seller myself, I am particular about how I package my products. I really don't like receiving plain brown envelopes and bubble wrap bags. It's boring. When I order from Amazon or something, whatever (of course even they have branding), I'm not bothered by plain packages. They're usually packaged by machines, or employees who are told to do it just so, and have to package goodness knows how many things a day.
   But when I order from Etsy, I know full well that there is probably only one single person, occasionally a couple more, behind the shop, making products, managing and packaging orders, promoting and everything. And so my order is hand packaged carefully.
   Perhaps it's just me, but when I receive these orders in plain envelopes, and the item is just dropped inside, I'm disappointed.

   I really feel like I'm rambling, so I'll get to my point. I discovered today that it is very possible to be professional and personal at the same time. I wouldn't have said I'm one of those people, though. I package my products carefully with tissue paper, pillow boxes, sometimes with string, I hand write a note, and use washi tape for just about every adhesive need (aside, of course, for sealing the envelope). So I consider my shop to be more personal than professional.
   Of course, some people think that because they are running a business, they must be professional constantly - I couldn't agree more. Once money gets involved, everything gets complicated. BUT, professionalism does not mean blank envelopes. It doesn't mean cold packaging. It means responding to messages and problems in a timely and helpful manner, it means delivering exactly what you said you would, exactly when you said you would, and making the transaction smooth and easy. The customer comes out happy and so do you. And that's great. But personalisation can also make sure you're remembered.

   I made a purchase yesterday with Vivid Please - I know I've mentioned them before, and it's all with good reason: for a two-person show, they are certainly doing everything right.
   Today my purchase arrived - these wonderful "Merry Pugging Christmas" cards, and a pack of "Words are for Nerds" pencils. Great, right? Well, I got exactly what I wanted, and it arrived in a very timely manner. Professional. But not only that. The envelope wasn't so blank. There was a bit of washi tape in the corner. Right away I could tell that it wasn't the copy of Anno 2070 I got Seeg for Christmas. I opened it up (albeit not too calmly, I never do), and was very happy with what I saw.
   Each product was neatly wrapped in mint green tissue paper, sealed with mint green washi tape. Wonderful. It looks so carefully and personally done, far from rushed, but they incorporated their shop's colour into it. That's professional.
   Then there's the invoice. That's a damn professional thing to do. I never give receipts with my orders - it's not something I've ever thought of. Occasionally I'll buy something on Etsy and have a print out of the statement - professional, but dull. Still, it's not something I'll look at and just say "well, that's poor" it's just something I toss to one side without thinking about.
   This invoice was printed and stamped, but then the details were written in by hand, once again in their trademark colour.

   When people take on a professional approach, it does create the air of trust and experience, but when people take on a personal approach instead, it creates a more catered and unique experience, like they've really payed attention to you and your order. But never before have I encountered someone who has managed to balance both parts perfectly. I feel special and pretty, but I also feel like I can truly trust them and that they know what they're doing.

   So if any of you out there aren't sure which side of the fence to fall on, how about you just choose one garden, forge a good relationship with the neighbours, and borrow and lend away! Get the best of both sides. It seems it's possible.


  1. I love when sellers do things like this. I recently received a purchase in which the seller included all these little freebies and then a handwritten note expressing her sincere thanks for shopping with her.

    As a consumer it felt amazing to be so appreciated. It was pretty awesome and it totally made her stand out.

  2. I've ordered quite a bit from Etsy and oh man, I have never ever been disappointed. Granted, I don't get to order everything I want and I'm sure one day I'll get a package that isn't so personal, or professional, but from what I have gotten? Yeah. Amazing! Truly. I've ordered perfume samples and have had the seller throw in a few for free. I have ordered little gifts, that come with notes and cute packaging. If you visit my blog, you'll see the package I received from an advertiser of mine, Anna Sternik, that was one of the BEST Etsy packages ever. :D

    I love how creative people are!!!

  3. Thanks so much for the lovely write up Kim! We're so pleased to hear that you were impressed with our little package :D Having such great feedback from another fabulous Etsy seller is super valuable to us as we know you put a lot of time and effort into your packages too, and we think you do a brilliant job! Delighted to gain another's perspective, especially when it's so kind :D xox

  4. I couldn't agree more! Both, for me, are essential but personal trumps professional big time. What's more personal than a handmade item (when it comes to purchases) and why stop there and not make the packaging personal? I love personal because it's about connecting and that's where it stands out from big box stores or stores that just shove it in a brown envelope. There is a connection.


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