Jackie Sabatino is owner and designer of JS Creations and Crafts. Sabatino’s company started out as a hobby that quickly turned into a successful small business that specializes in personalized items. She creates all types of gifts for all types of occasions, ranging from wine glasses for weddings to T-shirts for birthdays. When it comes to her small business, Sabatino does it all, including design, labor, marketing and social media. She also works full-time in college admissions. Previously, Sabatino worked in the corporate world within the hospitality industry in various roles related to event planning.
Here she offers advice she believes has helped her business grow and increase sales.
Quick response communication
Times have changed and people want quick responses. Everyone is so used to emails, text and two-day shipping, so when customers have a question, they want to know that they are working with a company that is available when they need them. The quicker the response, the more likely I am to get the sale.
Offer personalized customer service and unique products
Most of my items are custom made. I need to be able to be there for questions — this goes back to communication — but I also need to take their ideas and their vision, and create something unique for each person. Regardless of how big the order is or how much the item costs, it's usually a gift for someone special. I take the extra time to talk to the customer to make sure everything is just right.
The more reliable you are as a business owner, the more likely you are to have repeat customers. In the beginning, most of my business came from friends and family, but as time went on, I started getting orders from people who were referred to me.
Branding is important
My business expanded exponentially when I started selling my wine glasses in a local Hallmark store. This opportunity validated my business. Since putting my items in the store, I had to rethink my branding. I now make sure that every item I sell has my business name on it somewhere. Giving out business cards with each order is not enough because many of my items are gifts and often people are unaware of where an item comes from if there isn't a tag or some sort of marketing material attached.
Use social media as a selling tool
A majority of my business is from Facebook. I not only post on my business page, but my personal page. By staying current and consistently posting, I receive referrals, and my posts are shared and my products are exposed to new people.