It's Business Timecomments (8) July 12th, 2008
If you make it, they will come, right? Well, sort of.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve peddled my jewelry and Prairie Girl Potions around Seattle to varying degrees of success. What I’ve learned is that while etsy and more well-known venues (like the Urban Craft Uprising or Renegade) are terrific, it also pays to diversify your outlets. If you analyze your customers, including their shopping habits and habitat, you’ll find myriad opportunities for promoting and selling your craft.
Let Price Point Determine Venue
I’ve found that the higher the price point, the more a customer is going to want to touch and feel an item (not to mention deliberate at length) before making a purchase…preferably in an intimate, relaxed setting. On the flip side, if you make items on the lower end of the price spectrum, a customer will treat it as an impulse buy and snap it up, even at a ginormous craft show with fluorescent lighting.
So, how do you look for small or large platforms to peddle your wares? If you can produce a large quantity of items at modest price points, go big. Look in your local paper and online for a calendar of events. Check out monthly and seasonal craft shows, as well as annual festivals and street fairs. Churches and schools frequently hold craft bazaars. In addition, consider setting up at a farmers’ market or flea market—crafters are popping up in unlikely places but places with a lot of foot traffic.
If you opt for a smaller, exclusive setting, go the trunk show route. Boutiques can be a tough sell, as they might already carry many items and lines. However, if you have a good relationship with a particular boutique, ask the owner if she will sell your pieces (many often do, usually on consignment) or if you can come in for a weekend trunk show. Your hair salon or favorite spa is another great place to investigate; increasingly, salons are featuring retail areas in their space. Who better to showcase than a favorite client?
Ask a friend to host a party for 15 to 20 friends who are most likely to become your customers. Give the hostess a one-of-a-kind thank-you gift. Throw a small cocktail party yourself, again thinking about friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances who might appreciate your craft and might also have the coin to buy en masse. We all need a patron, n’est-ce pas?
Pool Your Resources
A couple of years back, I got together with three other woman—all crafty, but in complementary, not competing, ways—and we split the costs to host a small craft show. One gal supplied a lovely backyard for the event, we all chipped in funds for food, beverages, and marketing materials (we created a color postcard for the occasion through Vistaprint), and we met several times before the event to check in and support each other. We each had different displays and cash boxes, and the show was a huge success for a small individual investment.
Some crafty people have been known to band together at their workplace to host seasonal craft shows. Reserve the conference room for a couple of days from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. to let busy coworkers peruse your wares on their lunch hour. How easy is that?
Keep your eyes and ears open to opportunity and who knows? You just might end up selling your high-end goods at a car dealership or setting up shop at a three-day folk festival.
Developing a Clientele
- Always wear your creations and carry business cards that detail your website and etsy address.
- Alert your inner circle: Post signage in your apartment building or favorite coffee shop, e-mail parents’ groups, send out an alert to your coworkers.
- Grow your mailing list. Bring a notebook to every event and ask customers for e-mails or business cards.
- Send out a monthly e-newsletter, via an online service like Constant Contact (which will also maintain your mailing list).
- Print a passel of postcards featuring examples of your craft, and give a few to friends and family so they can spread the word as well.