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Road to Success is Paved with Chocolate

Chocolatier channels her inner child into a thriving cake-pop business.

For Autumn Gadbois, chocolate is a passion that takes her back to her childhood.

As the owner of Autumn Lynn’s Sins on Etsy, Gadbois makes and sells chocolate lollipops, cake pops and cupcake toppers that “are the perfect accents or party favors” for kids’ parties.

Gadbois began selling her tasty treats in 2010. Initially, she offered her creations on eBay. She discovered Etsy several months later while looking for items for a camo-themed party she was planning for her children. After exploring Etsy, she thought about the site for weeks and decided to try it out by listing four items. She made sales “here and there.”

Then, when January came, sales began pouring in.

“I was selling so many items on Etsy that I had to close my eBay Store because I couldn’t keep up with the orders coming from Etsy,” she recalls. “I chose Etsy over eBay because I feel that I have a better opportunity to communicate with my customers, and sellers’ fees are much more reasonable.”

Chocolate memories

“Chocolate is truly a passion for me,” Gadbois continues. “I love making new creations and sharing them with my customers.”

“Today, each new creation takes me back to my childhood and all the memories that chocolate has created in my life”

The seller began working with the delicious material as a kid. Her mom and aunt would make candy for every holiday, and share it with friends and family, she explains.

“Today, each new creation takes me back to my childhood and all the memories that chocolate has created in my life,” Gadbois notes.

Her children have become the inspiration for her designs of Thomas the Tank Engine, penguins, farm animals and more. For instance, Gadbois’ popular penguin cake pops were the result of her 3-year-old’s love of penguins, and his special request for cake pops in the shape of the lovable birds, she explains. Before she knew it, they become Gadbois’ top sellers.

“Seeing the world through the eyes of my children has allowed to me to connect to my target audience: children’s parties,” she continues.

But it took Gadbois some time to create the many designs she offers today. When she initially began making lollipops, she only had two molds, she explains. Today, she has more than 300 and she welcomes custom orders.

Trying to achieve perfection

The full-time seller gets about 60 orders a month. Gadbois gets a few more during the cooler months, and a few less during the warmer times of year. She thinks her items’ fun-loving nature is what attracts buyers to her listings.

“Say you need Batman symbols for your son’s birthday party, or pony pops for your daughter’s first birthday, I have you covered with reasonable prices and excellent customer service,” Gadbois says. “I believe that buyers return to my store because I provide a product that arrives well packed, professionally packaged, tied with customers’ choice of ribbon, and the lollipops or cake pops surpass the customers’ expectations. These qualities, paired with excellent customer service, bring customers back to my store.”

However, Gadbois admits that it can be tough drawing the line between work and home, and some days she spends 18 hours in her kitchen working on orders. She’s learning to set up a time each day specifically for working on her orders, so she’s able to pull herself away.
“If you want to run a successful company, you need to keep your customers happy… Bottom line: Honesty is the best policy”

Still, Gadbois likes working from home and having a virtual store since she can decide her work hours. And she likes knowing that her treats are making someone else’s party memorable. She notes that she puts extra care into her orders, trying to pay special attention to all the details.

“I make sure that each item is as close to perfect as possible, and that each bow is tied so the customer will just be able to remove the item from the shipping box and use them on their dessert tables or as party favors!” she continues.

A focus on the customer

Her hard work and attention to detail have paid off, as Gadbois has a 100-percent positive feedback score from buyers. The secret, she says, is good customer service.

“If you want to run a successful company, you need to keep your customers happy,” she adds. “I try my best to be up front with my customers about any situation that may arise that might delay shipment, or any change in their order status. Bottom line: Honesty is the best policy.”

Her advice to others who may be thinking about starting an online store is to jump in with both feet.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, build a shop that represents who you are and promote yourself because no one is going to do it for you. And the most important advice: The customer is always right!” she continues. “The one thing that I wish someone would have told me when I started this is, ‘Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new ideas.’ You never know where your risks or ideas will take you!”

Visit Autumn Lynn’s Sins on Etsy.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



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