Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wind Chimes Happy Customers

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windchime, wind chime, large freestanding double chime with a beach stone base and copper
Large freestanding double wind chime with two sets of copper chimes, and a heavy natural beach stone base. Intertwined copper supports.

One of the very nicest things about selling through the Net is direct contact with customers. If you sell through a retail store, you rarely get that. What is particularly nice is being able to hear what the customer wants (for the wind chime pictured above, the customer wanted blue and very light blue glass instead of the glass as pictured), and even better hearing praise from a happy customer. I work very, very hard to make the best works I can, and it is wonderful when emails come in brimming with enthusiasm and happiness. I have recently received many delightful thank you emails.

Here is what the customer who just received the above large wind chime wrote:

Dear Tim:
I am writing to you to let you know that the double free-standing windchime sculpture is magnificant, to say the least. As an artist as well as art collector myself, I can only praise your aesthetic usage of line, curve and negative space. This piece evokes a timeless quality that does not assign itself slavishly to this artform or that artform, etc., etc.
The sea glass inserts are lovely shades of seafoam and midnight blue, both prominent colors for Middle Atlantic East Coast sea glass. The chimes themselves, attuned to abstract spectral tones, are calming, refreshing and sonorous in an almost unearthly way. This is the most unique sculpture as well as the most unique windchime set that I have ever owned.
I shall continue to follow your work and look forward to the time when I shall obtain more pieces from you.
Yours truly,
(name withheld for privacy)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Must be Christmas

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A Very busy day of packing -- it must be almost Christmas!

The orders flowed in this weekend and Monday morning: Christmas shoppers. It's a big job packing my creations, because there is a lot of glass, and there are sometimes things like large beach stones that have to go in the same box. Although after ten years of packing I know a trick or two, it is very time consuming.

The first impression my customer gets (or the person to whom they are having me ship the gift) is from the look of my boxes. So I make a real effort to have sharp, clean looking boxes with neat labels etc.

The second impression is probably not that great as they remove the shipping paper, since I use recycled orange juice boxes, and then inside are recycled newspapers for padding. The newspapers are clean though, and I make sure to get the sort that do not have ink rubbing off.

Then they find all the actual items neatly wrapped in sill foam. The sill foam I buy new, and it is expensive. But it does an excellent job-- nothing has broken in over seven years (knock on wood).

The last impression hopefully knocks their socks off, as they remove the sill foam and see the actual item.

In the last twenty four hours I have received three emails similar to this one that I quote here:


You are such a lovely man! I got the suncatcher. It's a thousand times more beautiful than I expected. It's really nice to have the print up of where everything comes from and your inspiration for it too. It's an extraordinarily meaningful piece of art and I can't wait to give it to my mom and stepfather (especially because I hold the sea and everything that comes from it so close to my heart, since I grew up near the beach). And thank you so much for the copper earrings!!! I can't wait to buy from you again."

It has been so unusually freezing cold here, but emails like that warm me all day long. I love it!

Friday, December 04, 2009

eBay Blues

If you had told me several years ago that I would today be thinking seriously of quitting eBay, I would have laughed. I would have thought you had a screw loose. But today I am thinking seriously of totally quitting eBay.

When I first started on eBay about ten years ago, it was an amazing place. Back then, I could put a wind chime on auction for 99 cents, and I would typically get more than I thought I would, and often a lot more.

Not so long ago, an auction would attract somewhere between 250 to 500 views. Often within the first couple of hours of listing, there would be a bid, or multiple bids, and perhaps nearly a hundred visits.

Welcome to the new eBay. Here is an example of what a dismal place it now is. I listed three auctions at around 5:00 PM yesterday. This is still during prime Christmas shopping days. This morning, two of them have had one (one!) visits, and the third has had two visits. Unbelievable! Back in the good lo' days, I expect those same auctions at this same time of year would have each have had over a hundred visits, not to mention multiple bids. What in the world has eBay done? Whatever it is, it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

In a nutshell, eBay now stinks.

Thank goodness I listened to a friend who saw this coming, and I set up a good website (Coast Chimes), and I also researched many other sites out there, and finally determined that one stood out (Etsy). I now get most of my sales through these two venues.

Yes, I would have laughed two years ago at the idea of closing down my eBay store and auctions. But sadly this is now what I will be doing. Because eBay no longer works for me.