I got the most marvelous email last week from Claire in Delaware. She said she liked my web site: “I have done a lot of favors for different showers,” she said, “and just the overall layout/selection that you offered was great. The different tags and ideas were very cute. Also, the fact that they are wrapped and everything for a reasonable price is a great convenience!!”

I could truly retire now on an email like that. That is just the fantasy world we’d all like to live in: “Everything was perfect and wonderful! No complaints!” But that’s not reality, not the whole picture. There’s always room for improvement, and that’s why criticism–intended as “constructive” or not–is such a gift.

I admit, I haven’t always had an easy relationship with criticism. Ask my poor mother, who read and corrected my high school papers–a truly thankless job for which she received little praise (and copious punishment. Sorry, Mom.). In the past, I think I took things too personally. I interpreted negative comments as an attack rather than an opportunity. I’m working on it–and thanks to some of my other customers, that’s not all I’ve been working on.

The week before Claire’s email, I received a phone call from Leslie, a great customer whose previous ordering experiences at my site were straightforward and uneventful. This time she expressed real frustration. “You need to get some help with your web site,” she said. (Ouch!) I swallowed my pride and asked her what was wrong. She explained that she’d found a design she liked and then found it difficult to order it. I started to explain how she would go about ordering, then realized that she was right! Sure, it was possible to order what she wanted, but it was not easy. And honestly, I was lucky that she’d followed through and ordered over the phone. Another customer might not have had the patience to call.

So, back to the drawing board. I looked at the page she was browsing–the page with our tag and label designs–and I added links directly to the favors. Now you can look at our designs, write down the ID numbers for the ones you like, and order lip balm, lotion, or bath gel favors right from this page–not just for bachelorette parties or baby showers, but for any party. I’m hoping this will make it easier to place orders for these other events. (Thank you, Leslie, for your help with this.)

So why am I telling you about this? I order things several times a week, and I do almost all of my personal and business shopping online. I have filled out countless feedback forms and customer service surveys, often with no indication that my comments are reaching another human being or that it matters at all. I’m sharing this word today–and these stories of my customers’ feedback–because to me, it REALLY matters. I love to hear that things are great and that you like what you see here, but I also need to hear when things aren’t just right and should be improved. It helps me to know what’s working, and it’s vital to know what isn’t.

I just wanted you to know that your comments, whether here at my blog, through an email, or over the phone, come straight to me, and I use them to make improvements. So thank you for sharing your feedback and your criticism! And please feel comfortable sharing more!