Retrospective Business Lesson from High School

I will forever wish I had had the wisdom to accept payment upfront in high school for the “fad” that my crocheted purses created in my freshman year.

It started with one that I crocheted for myself to hold my planner, calculator, reading novel, + writing utensils.  Someone liked it and asked me to make them one which I did.  Within a week, I was taking names + color designs down faster than I could crochet.  I had a list of over 80 names by the end of the second week + a class president candidate mentioned me in her speech.  (I blushed).  However, if I had just been smart enough to listen to the customer when they all offered to pay me upfront, I would have had much more (Etsy) start-up capital + many more purses with happy customers.  Not to mention maybe more exposure via word-of-mouth outside of school.

(Look at that adorable, hand-embroidered + hand-sewn early label!  WAY too time-consuming for multiple orders… )

My initial fear was that they would pay for the item + I would have no way of getting their product to them (solution: take down their name & locker number upon ordering & leave the finished product in their unlocked locker) or that they would be unsatisfied + want to return it.  (Which still haunts me today.  How do you handle returns or unsatisfied customers?)

Sometimes this little taste of “fame” haunts me.  What if this was my peak?  Am I a one-hit wonder?

Or do I need to realize that maybe a large part of my market is the teenager + I’m just not marketing properly?  Do any of you consciously market?  Care to share some tips?

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