The Lanes

Just me blogging about life. What is going on with ‘The Lanes’ and maybe an occasional educational rant…maybe.

It’s just that time of year…

Hey everyone! Wanted to get an update up here since I have been MIA these past couple of days. (Trying to get to emails as fast as possible!)

After an explosive sales week, Luxury Lane Soap has hit record highs and we (@Rory_Lane and I…) are literally working around the clock making these orders fresh for you. Currently we are about 72 hrs behind shipping schedule. If you have ANY questions at all about your order, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will get get to you as soon as possible. ♥ I will NOT be charging extra for rush shipping. If you need your order this minute, I completely understand. Just let me know. And a huge thank you for your understanding.

Now that the business part of this is out of the way…I have a couple of personal things going on which are adding to the delay…

My son has pneumonia and his needs come first. He had been sick off and on for a few weeks and as soon as it seemed he had it under control, his temperature would shoot back up to 102. My Dad is here with us helping take care of Trent so that we can work, but PLEASE understand, if my little boy is crying for me to hold him, you are going to have to wait an extra day to get your order. There is no other way for me to put that.

This is another reason why I am not charging extra for rush shipping. It is my responsibility to get these orders to you and I will.

Annnnd, today is my birthday! AND GIANT SQUEEZE for all of the love you guys have been sending me over twitter/email/text/facebook! I wish I could thank each and every one of you personally but I am just being slammed with life right now. (Read above…) It means a lot to me that you have taken the time to wish me a happy birthday. Really. ♥♥♥

So…like always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you have about your order status or to simply tell me you think I am great. ♥ Hope everyopne is staying afloat and having a great Holiday season!!

xoxo

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Customer Service

As a shopper, the most important factor to me, aside from product quality, is customer service. I will spend more of my hard-earned monies for good service. (Yes, I am the jerk who will not tip my waiter unless my glass stays full. However, I will tip triple for good service. )

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.
If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.

-Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com

Think about that for just a second. Customer service (henceforth “CS” because I’m cool like that) can either grow or completely destroy a business. You would think the chances of crossing bad CS would never happen…but it does. Especially online, where it is so easy to ignore our customers.

Fun personal facts about me: I have obsessive compulsive disorder, severe anxiety, paranoia and minor hallucinations. I’m so anxious I can’t even talk on the phone. My voice mail is full so people can’t leave a message. I hate getting dressed. I have to have strangers take care of me when I travel.

So how in the hell do I have a growing business with supreme customer service and a record for over five years now of 100% positive feedback?

Honesty.

Yup. That is pretty much it. Well that, and the fact that I actually care about what I do.

I just asked on twitter:
Hey everyone! I am writing a blog about customer service….what does CS mean to YOU?! I would like to feature some of your quotes!

Replies! (A good sign, and proof, CS DOES mean something to people…)

CS is having it successfully explained to me politely that what I DON’T want IS best for me.” –@WilliamPall

I like this. When I worked in retail I would be candidly honest with customers. It’s true. Don’t ever try to sell something to someone when it is not in THEIR best interest.

CS is supposed to be about the customer. But these days if you do get anywhere, it’s like the company’s doing you a favor.” –@JoeShopping

Attitude. If someone is spending their money, investing in your business, you are NOT doing them a favor by giving great CS. You are doing your JOB.

Customer service is ‘The customer may not always be right but they are listened to and appreciated.’” –@vadersmom

The saying ‘the customer is always right,’ is wrong. This sounds harsh, but it is true. However, you bend over backwards to LISTEN to your customer. You give that customer 110% of your time AND understanding. Next, you appreciate your customer for even coming to you with a problem.

Which leads wonderfully into this next one…

Empathy and sharing the responsibility of a negative experience of their product or service.” –@MrDystopia

I’m going to repeat from above, you have got to listen to your customer. It is hard not taking it personally when someone comes to you with a bad experience, especially if they have a problem with something you made.

I mentioned my company has had 100% positive feedback. This does not mean that I have never had a problem. As my business has grown, I routinely deal with customers who may have been overlooked or received damaged or unsatisfactory products. I am only human. I do make mistakes. What matters is how I deal with these mistakes.

I am always happy to resolve, refund & replace.” The Luxury Lane Soap Guarantee

Me. Kylee Lane. I take responsibility for what I create and sale and I examine each and every situation individually. THAT’S what I expect out of every business I do, well, business with.

Now you can only sit here and read about how wonderful I am for so long, so I guess it would be a good time for me to make my point…

If you are a business owner, whether a small crafter or a large corporation, shut up and listen to your customers. Treat every person who crosses your path with respect and be honest. If you can’t get an order out, or meet a deadline, be honest about it. That doesn’t mean making excuses to buy yourself some time; it means you tell people what is going on. If you don’t have passion for what you create, find a different job or simply make something else YOU LOVE.

After hounding @terrence_oleary for a quote, he indeed sums everything up wonderfully… “Customer Service – most important part of ANY business – so vital to exceed customer expectations – anticipate issues and be proactive…”

Big thanks and hugs to everyone who helped put this post together! ♥ Please feel free to share your CS experiences below. How could companies improve their services? What would you like to see business do for YOU?

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Get your grab on…

The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for breast cancer in the US
* About 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women
* About 54,010 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
* About 39,840 deaths from breast cancer (women)

Last Revised: 09/24/2010 –The American Cancer Society

It is #BoobieWed on Twitter today and while I was getting ready to get up my squeezy avatar and link to my past blog where this all originated, I realized it has been over a year!!

Breast cancer is real.
Then I think of all off the women, my grandmother included, who need attention brought to this cause (breast cancer awareness). I think of myself and my daughter (and son!) who merely through genetics, may one day battle this disease. All of a sudden being anonymous is no longer an issue! So, this proud Mommy, Daughter, Sister and Friend has decided to take and post a picture of her chest…

And many pictures I have taken!

What’s my point? Breast cancer is real, it is serious and it kills. I proudly post a weekly photo asking, demanding, everyone check themselves and their friends. EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES.

#Fact There is a 97%, 5-year survival rate when breast cancer is caught before it spreads to other parts of the body. –Breast Health Resource Guide

It is Wednesday. Make Wednesday YOUR day to give yourself a quick squeeze.
Not sure how to preform a self exam? Here you go!
Breast awareness and self-exam via The American Cancer Society

The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now there are more than 2½ million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

*squeeze*

Just a little inspiration…

Never, ever, EVER let someone tell you that it is best to just shut your mouth to keep the peace.

So as you might guess, today was a rather interesting day. (

My morning started out wonderfully with a call from a very magical and wonderful woman named Kathy. Business seeds were planted and I am so excited to see them grow!

My day of awesome then took a turn for the not-so-awesome. Suddenly I was interrupted by one thing after another, and that in turn developed into a rushed tattoo outline of how I felt. (It turned out AWESOME though and an insane amount of crazy love to rhysmcdonald for being awesome and drawing something up for me and to my dearest Chad for making time for me)

It was while that was getting done that I spit some of the anger I was feeling about life at the moment on Twitter. And somehow that automagically turned into a giant ball of love that rolled back over me in one big smoosh. I can’t even being to explain what it feels like when I’m alone, isolated and bottled-up to suddenly have people giving me hugs and just taking time out of their probably-also-hellacious day to send me some love. I want to cry thinking about it (Yes, I am a giant baby…)

MY POINT.

The day came to an end, and someone decided they needed to tell me the following: “You can change how people view you without changing who you are…bite your tongue and let things go … just to keep the peace.”

This brought forcibly home that I now find myself at a turning point. I have mentioned in past blogs that I walk a tight rope between my personal and professional life. All my life, I’ve heard either these words, or what amounted to these words: “Look one way and act another.” “Please other people, even it it doesn’t please you, because you’ve got to make that sale.” “Keep your emotions out of the business.” What it all amounts to is people telling me to draw that in between who I am and what I do, I need to draw a line in the sand and make it thick and apparent. Hell, they want a border fence, dogs, and some machine guns guarding that border.

I’ve been realizing more and more that I don’t have to do that. I can, in effect, say screw it and just be me. Now, I have struggled with this blog from time-to-time because, well, lets face it, when you arrive here, this could very well be your first impression of me. *EEK* I swear I am not a drama queen. Ask around. Really.

However, I am at a point of self-discovery through my soap-making-and-crafting-turned-big-business; through personal things going on; and through the friendships budding all around me.

What’s that I hear you saying “Get on with it Kylee, WHAT does that have to do with your rocking soap business? I am here to know when you are getting those soaps out and shipped to me!” Well, Mr./Mrs. Impatient Pants — Take a look HERE if that’s the info you need, cause it is about to get mushy up in here…

Honestly, if you want to do something, if you want to try something, if you just want to be something — Don’t shut-up to keep the peace. (You’ll be trading your peace for their’s) Do not pretend to be something you aren’t. (Because you’ll always know it’s a lie). The only one who can make you give up what you want, who you are, or who you want to be is you. …Easier said than done, I know. ♥

Emergency Broadcast System

While searching for images to post with this blog in regards to how much I hate the #FailWhale…I came across this glorious picture:

Which lead me to THIS BLOG

Which made me realize it really isn’t the whales fault at all.

It is how the Government takes over and deletes something we aren’t suppose to know. Right now, some one just tweeted something we NEED to know. Some vital clue to what is really going on. She just had her front door thrown in and is now being black bagged. Drug off, kicking and silently screaming while her neighbor sits reading the paper…no, no wait, watching TV, wondering WHY Angela Jolie wants to have another baby and get fat AGAIN?

I’m not paranoid. Really. Just very well informed.

*notices her tin foil hat should probably be re-designed…*

I wonder if it actually IS zombies this time? Somewhere in some remote place there was just an outbreak and the dieing are grasping for anyway to contact the outside world. Twitter!!! People need to know! Hurry! Blood everywhere! National Level EBS

Maybe I need to just go back to bed and wait….

**I came back to add that I’ve got the #BoobieWed avatar taken care of. Seems to have fixed everything on Twitter. *whew*

G33Kmade

About eight years ago, I started working in sales and marketing with Avon. I also started selling stuff on the Internet years and years ago, and as everyone knows, a single year in “technology time” — well, that’s a LOOOONG time. I started in online sales way back in the day on Ebay. So successfully as a matter of fact, I even had a PayPal account of mine hacked (previous account that was quickly terminated, of course). I always thought that if a person was interested in hacking your PayPal account, well, you must be one hell of a seller. *bows*

Now, my house is nearly paid off and I own seven cars. My inked skin alone is worth over $10,000. I am happily married with two wonderful kids . . . sounds idyllic and so easy right?

Well, the first of those two wonderful kids was the result of that guy I’m happily married to knocking me up while we were in high school. And all of my cars? Well, some of them don’t actually “run,” but if you ask my husband he says “technically” you *could* get them around the block…at least once. Maybe. I never made it to college, and I’ve had my battles with drug abuse, I have run away, and I wasted a lot of my life being selfish. And while I’ve been successful at what I’ve done, my husband always paid the bills, so there was no threat of failing.

Over the last year and a half, I have literally changed my life around. I wrote a post for GeekGirlsNetwork which puts it pretty well and without all of the drama of the I-had-it-worse-than-you bullshit. I am not looking for pity, just for folks to join me in celebration. Anyway, I have wanted for a long time to incorporate my personal life with my “business” life. I feel like I have always been fighting between choosing to be professional vs. being fun. Being professional equaling fitting the mold and doing things the same way everyone else does, and being fun meaning, well, being me! My major problem is I can’t even imagine being one of those fake people who puts on a stupid facade and hides who they really are from the rest of the world. (Go read that link if you have no clue what I am talking about.

I think a lot of us are really afraid to admit we are lame. It is SO easy to be whatever you want. Thank you World Wide Web. But I digress.

My point is that in this past year and a half I started accepting who I was. I didn’t avoid it, I rolled around in it, and slowly but surely, who I was online began to match who I was IRL. It has the most amazing transformation I have ever been through. Twitter especially helped me not only feel out what it would be like being myself but also in helping me realize I like who I am.

And it keeps getting better!

Today, I landed my first purchase order with ThinkGeek.com! And they were the ones who contacted ME! *squuueee!* I got an email from them expressing interest back on April 23rd, 2010. I nearly passed out.

And it still keeps getting better! (I know – you all might want to catch your breath and pace yourself, cuz this next one is HUGE!)

Guess what Lesley and I made?

THIS!!!! —> G33Kmade

In a very literal storyof one thing leading to another G33kmade is a celebration of us REAL AND ORIGINAL artist/crafter/parents/children/clowns/notreallyclonwsRORYisafraidofclowns/friends/whinersandmoaners-type folks. We create things. We are driven. We do not care what ANYONE thinks of our obsession with perfect. What we create with our hands is a reflection of who we are, of WHAT we are. Many of us started by creating things for friends and family, and whether we did it because we cared or because we were short on cash and couldn’t actually *buy* people things like normal people has nothing to do with it. Our creations are and continue to be the stories of what we have LIVED and DREAMED.

MY POINT… G33kmade is a celebration of real people. Of what we make. Of what we obsess about. Not only the what we made, but how we made it, and if you’re lucky (and we happen to know) why we made it.

I’m so excited, I’m all tingly!

Copy Cat

I want everyone to know that I LOVE @GEEKSOAP a.k.a Lesley. Really. Did you know that she was going to debut a similar soap to mine and didn’t? Nope. She had the very same idea as I did, but being the wonderful person that she is, she simply and ever so politely suggested I have the item. Three weeks later this item is the cause of life-changing events for me.

Yesterday was my husbands last night of “work”. He had a shitty job that wasted his talents. But it pays the bills you say! Gasp! Seriously…screw the bills. Yes, yes, I know, I know . . . we all need to pay for our cable, car payments, new toys, new shoes, whatever the TV is telling us is cool.

But the truth is you don’t need all of that shit . . . really, you don’t. However, I am not going to lie and say that I wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on this. I would. I really, really would.

My point.

You never know when one single act of kindness will change someones life.

I make soap. Lesley makes soap. I am going to now pimp Lesley’s soap

I have come across some truly wonderful people in the last year. Which is a good thing, as I have no room in my life for unnecessary negativity. I don’t want to be angry all of the time. I don’t want to hate people. Yes, a lot of things truly piss me off and sometimes they make me so mad I could spit. Spit I tell you! Spitting is gross. It freaks me out. I have a fear of mucus. So, I would prefer not to get that mad…I digress.

Back to my point . . .

Don’t be a jerk. Be nice to people. Stop worrying about how YOU are going to get to the top. Who wants to be up there anywho? I find it is generally full of assholes anyways. Do your own thing and do it with style. What’ll that get you? Well, I have cool tattoos, I am a way hot Soccer Mom. My husband totally wants to do me ALL the time. I make a living doing what I love. Does it get any better? Not really. I am this happy because I CHOOSE TO BE.

So, in summary, this is what Lesley taught me: You never know when one single act of kindness will change someones life.

For the assholes out there, it may already be too late, but the closest translation for you is: Stop being a dick.

P.S. A giant shout out to @geekwithsoul for understanding what I wanted to say. You rule.

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