BUSINESS BRANDING, MOMMY TIPS, GRAPHIC DESIGN, ART & VARIOUS OTHER THINGS.
6 TIPS FOR Building Your Handmade Business
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I am Heather Bunker: Designer, branding genius, mom of 4 and DIY lover. This blog is a mix of business and fun - full of helpful tutorials, marketing insights and design inspiration!
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DONT LET THE THOUGHT OF DESIGNING AND BUILDING YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS DRIVE YOU TO DRINK.
I know that the thought of building your handmade companies brand probably makes you want to grab a bottle (or two if you are a winery or vineyard) and hide in your closet…but don’t.
Instead grab a glass, pencil and some paper and let's brainstorm a bit.
Sometimes it helps to have someone give you a little outside perspective. Even I have had to have a little help now and then and I totally dig those moments. Those times have really helped me push myself and my own business past those monumental hurdles. Let’s sit for a moment and think about your handmade business.
Marketplace or E-commerce What?
So I have a lot of friends that make a few crafts here and there, and some sell some of their goods on marketplace sites like Etsy. Now don’t get me wrong I love shopping on Etsy. It's a fun way to find new products or handmade items for my two littles. The only problem with using Etsy as your primary online store is that you can get lost in the wonderland of products.
There are so many other sellers that you get lost and it can be difficult for you to compete. When someone buys a product from Etsy and they are asked about it the convo might go like this:
“Where did you get that amazing necklace?”
“Oh. this? I got it on Etsy…”
So instead of saying the specific maker or brand they just list Etsy as the location of purchase.
Online marketplaces are great but they are built for discovery and not a great place to build a sales funnel. Marketplace sites leave a lot of wiggle room for customers to click to another page or view what a competitor is selling.
Possibly losing you the sale. Having a well-designed stand-alone site will not only increase your sales but also help earn you more referrals and build a brand following.
I recommend having both…a well-designed website and listing your products on a marketplace website.
If you are just starting out and don’t have a budget established for your website there are plenty of free or do it yourself websites. Sometimes you just don’t have the money I totally get it…but It really does make a huge difference if you can find a designer you can trust to guide you through the process and give you a product you really love and want to share. Hint….I can do that for you.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Social Media
Social media is your friend…you can enlist all of your friends to like share and be your own personal brand ambassadors. Be sure to comment and post in places that your target demographic might hang out. Also be sure to like any publications or magazines that your target audience might read or subscribe to. I also like to frequent those to drop in and say hello.
Oh while you're at it go like my page and follow me on Instagram.
Social media helps you tell your story and people like real authentic stories.
People want to buy the story and a well-made product. Make sure to share real things, like photos of your messy studio. The crazy neighbor cat that sits outside your window while you work or the silly mistake you made when you were buying supplies (we all know that happens).
Really what I am trying to say is American shoppers love to buy products that have a unique story, something they can share with their friends. They like to buy something that is different. So don’t be afraid to get on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram…tell your story proudly just don’t be too loud. No one likes it when you yell.
According to Doug Hart from Consumer Business Compass, “Ethical consumerism is on the rise.” That means that people are willing to pay a little bit more for products and services from companies that care, and are committed to positive social and environmental impact. What is cool about handmade businesses is that they are already cool…you don’t have to try and make yourself something your not.
People love Transparency
I have decided this year to be more transparent with my clients….and that means sometimes I have to take a call with my kids yelling in the background or my office is messy because I have kids toys all over the place so I can get just a minute of work done. This not only lessens the amount of work I have to do at night but it also helps people see that I'm a real person who loves design and loves her family too. It's important for you too to pull back the curtain a bit on your own business. I promise as long as your being ethical you can’t go wrong.
I Believe In Authenticity
I have always said this and I believe it with my whole heart that authenticity really is important. No one likes a faker, a cheat, or a product that isn’t what it was described as. It's important to set your brand up to have an authentic reputation…Demonstrate how your product can make your customers life better and how you make the world better.
What is awesome is that you make your own products…you're already making the world a better place. You're not shipping your products to China and having slave labor create your awesome work. You do it by hand in your own little studio or office space.
I myself, love to do design projects for causes I am drawn to. Which reminds me I need to post some of those. lol.
Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
Just like in life, the day is more exciting when you try new things or walk home on a new route. Don’t be afraid to try new things. There is no one formula or path for success when it comes to your marketing endeavors. There are so many different options out there its just best to try one. Of course, it helps when you know exactly who your target market is and you can read more about writing user personas here. The trick is to try new strategies and when you find something that works, do it and tweak it until you get the best results and return on your investment.
Make Design A Priority
I know that a lot of people are happy with their current visual brand…and that's ok.
I just want to point a few things out. Your first impression says a lot, having a visual brand that is exceptional means that you not only care about your product but you stand by it. Your business isn’t a hobby or a Saturday afternoon yard sale and it most definitely isn’t a pretend store that you work on every once in a while. People measure your level of professionalism, the quality of your work, and your passion for your business by your visual identity. Take your job serious and make design a priority.