Crafty Business Part 5: 7 Ways to Market Your Business
So, this post will conclude our Crafty business series for this month. I have enjoyed reading all of the admins of Sew Much Talent kend their feedback and experiences, whether for hobby or for business. Now you have options. However, I will continue this month, February with the bonus guest posts that I promised you. These posts will include more topics on business matters, and maintining your health in this crafty arena. It is a must to stay healthy and fit.
Well, without further delay I can't wait to read what Elizabeth has to tell us about ...
7 ways to market your business
When Alethia asked me to write about Marketing Your Business, my first thought was, I am the last person who is qualified to be writing this! But the truth is is that I think deep down, we all know more than we think we know when it comes to business. So with that in mind, here's 7 simple ways you can market your business.
1. Always be prepared: You never know when someone might approach you with a business opportunity, so always be ready. If you sell custom clothing, wear your own creations whenever you go out. Always have a stash of business cards handy to give to people who might ask about your skills. I have some of my work in a local boutique simply because I happened to have a magazine handy that I wrote an article for. I met the owner, she liked the article and trusted me implicitly to make things for her store. You just never know when those moments might come up, so always be on the lookout!
2. Be present on social media: It's true that social media can give your business a spotlight beyond wherever it is that you live, but it can also be an online portfolio of your work. You might not be able to do a full business pitch to someone that you meet, but if you can point that person to your blog or your Instagram or Facebook page, that person can get a really quick idea of what your work is about and may choose to purchase from you. This leads me to my next point.
3. Learn to take nice pictures: Sewing is a visual medium and often the only way we have to convey to our future clientele the quality of our work is through photographs. You don't need a fancy camera to take good quality pictures, but investing in learning about photography will have a great return on investment for you. Places like Craftsy and Udemy are excellent places to take basic photography classes that will help you take better pictures. And better pictures will help you establish your brand. Udemy has some great classes for taking pictures with your smartphone. Remember the advice of Ansel Adams on what kind of camera you have:
4. Have a business pitch ready: Let's say you walk into a boutique. You like the store, and you think that those fun skirts that you make would really sell well here. Could you walk up to the owner, introduce yourself and convince her that selling your goods there would be mutually beneficial? Here's a quick formula for a pitch. Hi, my name is ..........., I make/teach/do ........... I really love your store. You do a great job with ...........! I think that my work/products/skills would be a good fit here because....... Let me know what you think about it. I'd love to work with you!
5. Collaborate: You may not know a lot of people that you can sell to, but you may just know someone who does. Say that you make custom handbags. Maybe you have a friend who sells makeup. Ask your friend if she'd be willing to do a home show for you both to sell your goods. You can both invite people, and her customers will get exposure to your work and vice versa. And since your friend is your friend, her customers will already be more inclined to trust you enough to buy your goods.
On a recent house show with my good friend who sells Mary Kay, I sold a couple dresses and a skirt and gained some good advice from tall friends about future garments. We had a great time together and she was able to sell some makeup too!
6. Keep your customers: Get to know your customers and listen to their feedback. If something is not working, be humble enough to fix it, and then thank your customer for their help in making your product or services better. None of us has infallible business sense, and if a customer is willing to give you free consulting advice, listen to it (with a grain of salt if needed!). Doing so will go a long way in helping establish a relationship with your customers that will keep them coming back to you for years to come and hopefully referring others to you for your excellent work!
Enlist your customers as models for your product shots too! Styling your garments on other people and not a dress form gives your work a context for other potential customers. They will be able to see themselves in your work better.
My friend and neighbor modeling one of my dresses for the shop
7. Don't be afraid!: Do you like your work? Are you really proud of the garments that you make? If you can say yes, be bold as you approach people about it. Your enthusiasm alone will go a long way in convincing people that they should buy from you. It's true that you will face rejection when you go and try to market yourself, but really, the worst that someone can tell you is no. That person is probably not your ideal client anyhow. Brush off the hurt and keep moving. The next person might still say no, but eventually, someone will say yes.
Elizabeth Farr lives in Colorado with her husband and 4 children. She writes at elizabethmadethis.com where she is always sewing up something creative. Her sewing videos aim to help other sewists sew better, sew faster, and sew creatively. Her line of one of a kind dresses and skirts made from many upcycled materials are showcased at the local Denver boutique SEWN.
Thank you so much, Elizabeth and the rest of the SMT admin team, for such a great series! And, thank you to all of you who stopped by and read, even commented on each post.