With August nearly half-way through, it’s time to start planning for the holiday season. I know it seems a little soon. Believe me, though, getting ready for the most critical season of the year takes time.
I wanted to put together a simple guide that will help you prepare and plan your holiday strategy.
There are three things you need to know about creating a brand for your business that will make you stand out:
- Business is all about relationships.
- Three seconds are all you have.
- Perception and perceived value is everything.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes your business unique?
- What niche is available that only you can fill?
- What attribute do you have that best fits your clients’ expectations?
Putting the answers to these questions together in one sentence will help you know your brand and develop a successful branding statement.
Visual Design and Marketing
Visual design is a critical part of brand identity. It all starts with a great logo.
If you don’t have a logo, and you’re not able to design one yourself, many graphic designers offer these services online at a reasonable price. I would recommend searching the marketplace sites at Etsy.com and Artfire.com.
The fonts, colors, and layout of your logo, business cards, postcards, and other marketing materials should evoke your brand. Use the same color scheme and fonts so your identity remains consistent. Your brand image (user icons, banners, and backgrounds) should also be consistent across your social media sites.
Pricing Your Goods
Most handcrafters start their own business because they love to design and create. Even if your main motivation isn’t raking in large profits, you need to make some profit to re-invest into your business to make it flourish.
When you price an item, you should always figure in the cost of your materials and the time you have invested in each piece. Make sure your profit makes it worthwhile.
It’s important to offer items in a variety of price ranges. While many shoppers are looking for gifts priced at $50.00 or more, even more are looking for more affordable items for less than $25.00.
If you’re planning to bring in online sales this holiday season, but you haven’t opened a website yet, it’s time to get started!
The fastest way to start selling your handcrafted goods is to open a shop within an existing, online marketplace such as Etsy.com or Artfire.com. Marketplaces inspire buyer confidence and drive traffic. They also require hardly any investment to get started.
Setting up an Etsy shop doesn’t take very long. The most time-consuming part is writing copy (information about your store, your store policies, and a background piece about yourself). You also need to create a banner (artwork) for the top of your Etsy shop. This can simply be the name of your store or a logo. (You can pretty it up later).
Etsy offers a great deal of online help to make the process of designing your shop much easier. Each year Etsy also offers a free Holiday Bootcamp that covers everything you need to know about preparing your Etsy store for the holidays, including tips on taking beautiful photos.
Sell at Craft Shows and Holiday Fairs
Selling your goods in person is the perfect opportunity to meet customers and get their feedback about your products. It’s also a chance for you to network and get some marketing exposure and leads on wholesale orders.
While you’re selling at a craft show, make the most of your time. Bring business cards, promotional items, talk to other vendors, and look at other displays for inspiration.
To find craft shows in your area, go to festivalnet.com or do an internet search. Craft shows can fill up quickly, so you should register early.
Sell to Local Gift Shops and Boutiques
Selling wholesale to retailers isn’t for everyone because you can only expect to receive half your retail price. Wholesale may be a good avenue if you’re looking for ongoing sales, as well as the prestige of selling your goods in a popular shop.
Before you approach retailers, be sure they offer items similar to yours that would appeal to the same demographic.
Whether you’re selling online or in person, you should expect your customers to want to pay with a credit card. That’s why this topic is so important.
You don't need a formal merchant account to accept credit cards these days. Paypal is an online payment service that’s widely used by buyers and sellers alike. If you have an Etsy shop, you can also sign up for Etsy’s Direct Checkout which will allow buyers to pay by credit card, debit/bank card, and Etsy Gift Cards.
There are a variety of companies that offer mobile payments using a card reader that connects to your smart phone. These are essential for craft fairs and other venues where you sell in person. A few mobile payment services are Paypal Here, Square, and Amazon Local Register.
Getting the Word Out
Whether you sell online or at craft shows, it’s important to share photographs of your products on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media sites you actively use. This will allow your fans to share your photos and offer their reviews so you can increase the reach of your message.
If you’re selling at an upcoming craft show, share this information with your followers and post pictures of your finished booth. If your customers can't come to you, you have to bring your products to them through your photos and videos.
If you have any questions about selling your handcrafted items, feel free to post a comment. I'm more than happy to be of help.