First of all, I am not sure that I ever went pro at anything. Don’t those guys get paid the big bucks? I have dabbled at being a newspaper delivery boy, concrete laborer, waiter, freelance stagehand, wallpaper hanger, Invisible Fencing installer, group home counselor, and elementary and high school teacher before happily arriving at the help desk at Spoonflower.
Were the skills that you learned at these jobs transferable to your role at Spoonflower now?
Providing good customer service requires so many skills that I am thankful for having begun to develop in my life before joining Spoonflower. I am often reminded of my first summer waiting tables where I was forever delivering entrees before appetizers and steak to the vegetarians. I am glad that I am not paid in tips here. Mental organization, follow through, clear communication, patience and humor stand out as critical skills needed to be able to do the job well. The experience gained in years of working in the classroom with young people who are learning and practicing new skills is invaluable when helping a customer who is using Spoonflower for the first time. I feel very lucky to be able to continue to develop these skills each day when I come to work.
I know you’ve only been here for just over a year, but has anything changed either for you or for Spoonflower while you’ve been here?
Spoonflower has changed a lot in the last year. The staff has nearly tripled, adding interesting and super-creative members to the daily office environment. (Their design/decor/recipe ideas adorn our office, production facility, and meal table.) New roles have been created and with skilled people to fill these roles, we've been able to increase significantly the amount of fabric we are printing and shipping while maintaining a very harmonious and remarkably low-stress environment. It really is fun to come to work here every day.
Speaking from personal experience, customer service can sometimes be tough. What do you enjoy about this work that keeps you coming in?
I leave Spoonflower at the end of each day feeling that I have helped. This is the same great feeling that keeps beleaguered teachers returning to the classroom each day. I really enjoy the experience of teaching our users how to achieve success when using our site and system. Generally the “tough” ones teach me a lot about myself, and the abundant numbers of grateful customers remind me of how much people actually do want to be nice and be happy.
What have you learned about fabric printing while you’ve been at Spoonflower?
I have learned that there are these little color fairies and gnomes with magic hammers who work very hard while we sleep. When we arrive in the morning, we find your lovely fabric all printed up and ready to pack and ship to you. These beings are incredible and I do not know what we would do without them. I leave them small treats in hopes that they will stay. I also am in awe of all of the other incredible technical stuff that happens when the engineers and print crew use their magic hammers. I should start leaving them small treats, too.
What are the most commonly asked customer service questions you get?
Where is my order? I actually know where every order is, so this one is easy to answer.
Can't you just print my design one time covering the whole piece of fabric? This one results from the misconception that our “centered” layout option will actually enlarge your design image without pixellating it and fill the fabric with your design. Not so. Email me. (I'm sure you will!)
What sorts of things do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
One of the things I most enjoy when I am not at work is not being at work. This may sound funny and I like to be a funny guy but in all seriousness, when you are a teacher work follows you home every night and even follows you into the shower. So far, Spoonflower hasn’t gotten into the shower with me.
I really love spending time being with my incredible 16-year old daughter, sitting on my front porch singing and playing my guitar to the helpless neighbors, playing basketball before most people wake up, creating improvisational musical oddities and sonic explorations with my great friend in our band Submariner, and puttering around my fixer-upper pretending to get ahead on the endless list of unfinished projects.
Do you have a favorite design or designer on the site right now?
Like many of my colleagues here at Spoonflower, I love Holli Zollinger’s designs and her way of working with design themes and colorways. When I think about curtains for my windows or upholstering a chair in my house, hers are the first designs I peruse.
How about a favorite base fabric?
I like the organic cotton sateen for garments, and I imagine a shirt collection in my closet made from only the wildest designs on this fabric. I even imagine me sewing these shirts….
I think that the linen-cotton canvas is excellent for reproducing art to be stretched onto a frame and hung.
Complete this sentence: If I could only ______at Spoonflower, ______ would be much _______.
If I could only _hang by my feet while working at Spoonflower, my back would be much less compressed.
Is there anything else you want Spoonflower readers to know about you?
I really like people and the sounds they make.