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Are you using your customer correspondence to tell your story?




As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been reading Bernadette Jiwa’s book The Fortune Cookie Principle.

Fundamentally, it’s a book about how to tell the story of your brand in a compelling, honest, and unique fashion. Something we all need to figure out if we want to make our handmade businesses a success. Fortunately, we have the advantage over big companies – we are living our story every day. But are we using that story effectively to build our brand?

Apart from the public information you put out there on your shop, blog, social media, and mailing list, the first time you have a substantial direct communication with a customer is usually when they buy from you.

This is your chance to ‘walk your talk’ – to show them the truth behind the brand message you’ve been sending out.

Reading Bernadette’s book made me realise that I wasn’t digging deep and truly telling my story in the communications I was having with my customers.

Sure, you can just use auto-messages to notify customers of sales and shipping. Or, you can take the time to manually communicate with them – human being to human being.

That, I’d been doing for a long time. For years now, I always sent each and every customer a personal ‘thank you’ message when they bought a piece of jewellery from me.

I wanted them to know that I was a real person, who really did care about them and was SO very thankful for their order, because they were the reason I could wake up each day in charge of my own destiny. Because without my customers, I’d be back working for the man or woman again.

But was I using these traditional (usually pretty standard and boring) communications to actually tell them my truth and THANK them from the bottom of my heart for the fact that they chose to exchange a part of their life for my jewellery?

(Because that’s what they’re doing. Money is time – so the money they send to me represents time that they have worked – a little piece of their life spent in exchange for what I create for them. Ever thought about it that way before?)

No, I wasn’t. So I decided to change that.

I sat down and re-wrote my ‘thank you for ordering’ and ‘shipping’ messages. I wanted these messages to tell my story. To get across the true heartfelt joy I feel when each sale hits my inbox, and the thankfulness I feel towards every single one of my customers.  I ALSO wanted to make it easy for them to communicate with me – to share their experience of the Epheriell brand with both me and the world.


Here’s the result.


Here’s what my ‘thank you for ordering’ message used to be:

Subject: Thank you for your Epheriell order

Hi ________

Just a personal note to say thank you so much for your order!

I’ll have your jewellery made and in the mail within 3-5 working days.

If they were international : [A reminder – as you’re outside of Australia, shipping will take 1-3 weeks to reach you once I have posted your order. ]

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or requests at all.

Kind Regards,

P.S. If haven’t subscribed already, and you’d like 10% off your next order, pop on over and sign up to the Epheriell Silver Service list – You can also follow Epheriell on Facebook

Here is my message now:

Subject: Thank you for helping to keep our dream alive!

Hi _________

Thank you SO much for purchasing a piece of Epheriell jewellery and putting a smile on my face! Your purchase means that me, my husband, and our two kitties can keep living the life we love: waking up each morning as our own bosses, handmaking modern, recycled sterling silver jewellery from our home studio.

YOU are the reason we get to live our dream – thank you. I’m honoured that out of all the things in all the world, you’ve chosen to spend your hard-earned money on one of my creations – that’s really amazingly fabulous of you.

Sometime in the next 5 business days, I’ll sit down at my window-lit jewellery bench here in sunny Queensland, Australia, and handcraft your jewellery with care and passion. You’re not getting a pre-made stock piece – I’ll make your jewellery with your name on my mind, specifically and specially for you alone.

Once I’ve decided that your jewellery is as beautiful as I can possibly make it, my husband and packer extraordinaire, Nick, will carefully wrap it up, finish it with a ribbon tied in a bow, and slip it into a bubble mailer, in which it will safely nestle as it embarks upon its epic journey from my hands to yours. We’ll be in touch to let you know when it’s on its way.

[As your abode is across the ocean from mine, this journey will take around 1-3 weeks.]

[As you are a fellow Aussie, this journey will take 3-7 days.]

Being able to talk and work directly with you is one of my absolute favourite things about being an artisan, so if you have any questions or requests, please message me at any time! I’ll reply within 24 hours and help you out in any way that I can.

In Happiness,

P.S. If you’d like to follow the Epheriell journey, you can connect with me on twitter + instagram (@JessVanDen – #Epheriell), Facebook (/Epheriell), our blog ( AND, if you’d like the chance to win a piece of our jewellery each month, as well as get notifications of new products and special treats, subscribe to our email list right here –


Here is what my shipping notice used to be:

Subject: [Your order has shipped]

Hi _________

I just wanted to let you know that your order is on its way – it went out in the post today.

Cheers, Jess 🙂


Here’s what it is now:

Subject: The time has come…

Hi _______

Your order is on its way!

I have finished crafting your jewellery, Nick has packed it up and finished it with a bow, and it is now in the hands of the postal system and on its way from our hands to yours.

[As your abode is across the ocean from mine, this journey will take around 1-3 weeks.]

[As you are a fellow Aussie, this journey will take 3-7 days.]

I fervently hope that when your parcel arrives, and you unwrap the ribbon to see what I’ve brought into being just for you, that you find yourself overjoyed with the jewellery you receive.

I would adore it if you could take a moment to let me know that it has arrived safely – hearing from happy customers is always the highlight of my day! And, of course, if for whatever reason you are not 200% happy with your purchase, please get in touch with me asap so we can work together to make things as perfect as they can be.

Thank you, thank you, for helping us to live the life we love by buying a piece of our jewellery.

In Gratitude,
Jess (+ Nick)

P.S. If you love your purchase so much that you happen to share it on social media, please hashtag it #Epheriell, @JessVanDen me on twitter or instagram, or @Epheriell on FB, so we can take a peek!! Thanks!



I now feel like these important and fundamental communications not only tell my customer what they need to know, but also tell my story, the story of my life and family, and thank them for the small part they play in me being able to live a life I love.

Are you telling your story when you communicate with your customers?

 Image source: Vadim Sherbakov


Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.


Nicoletta - Fanchimp (@fanchimp)

Hi Jess, that is something I never thought about it neither and I think it would make a good difference for my customers. Thank you for the recommendation! Have a nice day!


I think it’s something most of us don’t really consider for a long time when we start out – or even when we’ve been in business for a long time!


I just downloaded this book to add to my reading list. I love the difference in putting your story into every aspect of your business…awesome advice!


I hope you find it useful, Lisa – I’m still reading it so I’m looking forward to seeing what else I learn along the way.


Bernadette’s blog The Story of Telling is a great way to tip the normal marketing expectations on it’s head. I also find that in the beginning it is easier to be more hands on but as you grow, sometimes it is hard to keep that personal touch. Looking forward to the new changes (especially love the your pic next the blog post header.)


Lisa, that’s very true. That’s part of the reason I haven’t ever expanded, and don’t plan to. I like having the personal connection to my customers. Maybe that will change one day, but for now we’re keeping it small. Also thanks re the changes!


Thanks Simone! In the week since I started using these I’ve already seen a big difference – my customers respond to these messages way more frequently than they did to the old ones, AND they are much more verbose and enthusiastic, which is fabulous!


I have really enjoyed this post and it has made me rethink my messages to my buyers. I have always gone with the short and sweet messages. But now I’m going to personalise them and share more of ‘me’ in them. Thanks Jess


I have had this post open on my laptop for the last few days, waiting for a chance to get to re-write the thank you email I send when I receive an order from my bigcartel shop. I got my chance today and am really pleased with the new, more personal and more informative version. It’s saved to drafts and I hope to be using it a lot this year! Thanks for a great post. 🙂


Awesome, Christina! So glad to hear this post inspired you to make your communications more personal 🙂


This is such a great idea. This is also a good idea as a thank you email for after they have received their item. Thanks so much for this post.


You’re so welcome, Ashley! I’ve been getting wonderful feedback from my customers since switching over, it’s well worth it.


Thanks so much for sharing this Jess.
I’ve sat here and drafted up my own copies to send off.
Very much appreciated!
T xo


You’re so welcome! I’ve been using these for about 6 months now, and the response has been AMAZING!

Fiona Mortimore

Hi Jess, Although I have a website and dedicated email address, most of my custom orders come from facebook messages. I do try to steer customers towards my website for purchases, however, often will put sneak peeks on instagram and custom orders once finished, on my fb page.
Many of these items aren’t regular stock items (so don’t make it to my website) and customers of girls’ clothes have conditioned themselves to purchase via facebook, as that’s how many businesses choose to sell.
Whenever I make a sale through my website, I do the same ‘thank you for purchasing’ and ‘your item has been posted’ emails from my website dedicated email address (although they’re not as beautifully crafted as your examples!) but when the sale has only been discussed via fb message, should I then grab their email address via their paypal payment to send these ‘proper’ emails or is that a bit intrusive, as they’ve chosen not to use email to contact me in the first place. I don’t want them to think I’ve been prying to find their email address.
I’d still like to send them these emails, but at the moment, just do a version through the fb message where we have maintained contact throughout my making process.
What would you recommend in these instances?
Thanks so much, Fiona


Fiona – I’d probably stick to sending the messages through facebook. You can put your email at the end of each message so they can choose to take the message to email if they want – but the main thing is that you’ve sent the message, rather than the medium via which you send it. I send my Etsy customers their messages via Etsy convo! 🙂

What say you?