How being generous can help you sell more crafts over the holidays

Are you wondering how you are going to find time to market your craft over the holidays? A lot of people let their marketing fall by the way-side between Thanksgiving and New Years but this can lead to slow sales in January and February.

One of the best methods to sell more craft is to make sure it’s seen at holiday parties.

If you have friends or family who host holiday parties in their home or office, ask them if they would like to borrow some of your art for the party. Whether it’s wall art, table-top or  wearable, your work will be seen by lots of new potential customers. Just be sure your friend has cards with your contact info handy to give to anyone who admires your work.

If your make jewelry or wearable art, you should wear it every single time you leave the house, even to run to the grocery store. And always have cards with your contact info in your pocket. But especially over the holidays, you can get other people to be your billboards as well. My employees and friends always knew they could borrow a piece of handmade jewelry, a scarf or other wearable art to attend special luncheons or parties. The only requirement was that they keep my cards in their handbag and anytime someone complimented the piece, they told them who made it and where they could purchase one or something similar. It’s not imposing. They’ll love wearing and talking about your work. It’s often a good ice-breaker at cocktail parties.

If any of your friends work in a place where they see lots of people every day, they can be a great source of marketing for you just by wearing what you make and telling anyone who admires it how they can contact you.

Don’t over-look how many women are shopping for the perfect outfit to wear to the holiday parties. They will need accessories as well so it’s a great idea to approach some upscale boutiques and ask them to display your work with their dresses. If they don’t already sell jewelry or whatever accessories your make, they can up their average ticket by showing the customer a piece of yours to match the outfit. They have nothing to lose if you do it on consignment. And you have everything to gain.

For more easy, fun ways to sell more crafts, check out the audio course: “12 Easy Ways to turn your Creative Hobby into an Extra $1200 a Month”

When you make gifts for men, remember who the shopper is?

img_2299 Most crafts seem to be made with women or children in mind as the end user but you’re missing out if you don’t have something in your line for men. True, many men aren’t shoppers unless they are shopping for or with women, but the women in their lives are shoppers and they buy for men.

Think about all the women who have taken the Handmade Pledge. They’ll be looking for holiday gifts for the men intheir lives  Continue reading

How to make sure you don’t have holiday credit card debt.

major-credit-card-icons  Because I’m committed to supporting makers and indie businesses, I don’t participate in the Black Friday madness.  Still, I’m very aware that many people in western cultures dig the deepest deficit in their bank accounts during the 4 weeks preceding Christmas. For many, this gift shopping frenzy results in painful credit card bills arriving in January. So how can you make sure you don’t have holiday credit card debt?

Ideally, many of your gifts will be handmade with love. Even so, expenses mount up during the holidays but it doesn’t have to be that way. What if you could not only get ahead of those holiday bills but make thousands of dollars to give you a head start on 2016?

Retailers generally make the largest chunk of their income during this last quarter and as a maker, you can too, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or craftsperson. If you make bath and body products like soaps and lotions, edible treats such as preserves, cupcakes or sauces, home decor items, hand poured candles, jewelry or wearable items you can earn thousands before the end of the year.

I’d love to see everyone give handmade and I’d love to see every maker be in positive financial shape after the holidays so I’ve put together  a couple of guides to help you turn your craft into a cash cow.

NONE of these income generating ideas require an Etsy site or doing traditional craft fairs. (I give you plenty of tips on those things in other courses.) Most of these ideas are things you can do any time of year but are particularly relevant in the next few weeks.

None of them involve icky, uncomfortable marketing.

EACH ONE of these tips I’ve either tried myself or recommended to clients and have proven to generate between a thousand and fifteen hundred a month. That’s from EACH idea. Imagine if you do several or all of them.

Get Your Copy of “21 Ways to Turn Your Craft into a Cash Cow” HERE

Do you learn better by LISTENING than READING?

If so, you might prefer the audio course
 “12 Easy  Ways to turn your Creative Hobby into an Extra $1200 a Month”.

It’s got many of the same tips and you can listen rather than read.

If you’re shopping, please do your part to support indie businesses. The recipients will love you and so will the makers.

When “done is better than perfect”

img_2189 if you’re like most of us, you probably don’t want to put your offers out into the world until they’re the very best you can do but sometimes just getting it done beats not putting it out until it’s perfect.

Recently, I’ve been consciously embracing the concept of “wabi-sabi” (perfectly imperfect) and I’ve asked myself if that is just my excuse for not doing my best. I’ve had a few clients who procrastinated so long because they didn’t want to put less than their best out into the world that by the time they were ready, their offers were irrelevant. Yesterday, I did something that confirmed for me that “done” really is “better than perfect”. I brought some handmade ribbon bracelets to a couple of markets recently before I got good photos of them. Friends have been wanting to purchase more and I haven’t had time to put up a dedicated site. I also didn’t want to create more bracelets simply to get good photographs to post so I took a leap. It was uncomfortable and still makes me cringe when I look at these terrible photos that I took with my phone in a poorly lit market.

I probably wouldn’t have had the nerve if it were my first exposure but I knew if I didn’t get them up and into the world, I wouldn’t have time to fill orders for the holidays so I posted the terrible photos on one of my existing blogs and orders are pouring in.

Are there things you’ve been meaning to get done this year but haven’t because you haven’t perfected them yet? Are your products, writing, art or other offers still on your desk, in your studio or still in your head because they aren’t “ready” for market? If so, I’m going to give you a challenge: Take one step today to put your offer out into the world knowing that you don’t have it exactly right but that you’ll get some great feedback, learn from the experience and hopefully make some money or make a difference.

Sometimes that challenge can be as simple as making a phone call, email or in-person visit to set up a home party trunk show, reading or introductory coaching session. What’s holding you back from getting your work in front of those who will become your fans? I’d love to hear how you acted on that challenge.

How to make lots of craft sales without tooting your own horn.

 

I know-it’s not even Halloween and already some big box stores have Christmas trees. I personally think it’s too early for Santa but it’s definitely not too early to start working on the things that will make your holiday season the most profitable yet.

If you are like so many makers, you love to create things but don’t like the selling part. Most of us find it so much easier to talk about our friends’ work than to promote our own. That’s why one of my favorite ideas is a VIRTUAL CRAFT FAIR-because it allows you to reach a much larger audience for your work WITHOUT having to market your own.

It’s always fun to share something that someone else made, isn’t it? I love raving about SOMEONE ELSE’S creations. Do you know what I mean when I say virtual craft fair? Maybe not because I think I made it up and it the best way I know to get more sales without having to toot your own horn. Here’s how it works:

Continue reading

Leverage Your Creative Genius to Make More Money from Your Craft

Do sleezy internet marketing and get-rich-quick schemes have you wondering if anyone really makes money in their  sleep? Can you run a business from a place of integrity, sell quality products or services, stay in lne with your own deeply held values and still make more money?

When you started out on the self-employment journey, the ultimate dream was to be able to fill your calendar with paying clients or have orders for as many products as you could make, right?

Something happens, though, when you hit that level of success and you realize that even though your clients or customers love what you do and are happy to pay you for it, you can only produce so many products by hand or provide so many hours of service. Does that mean you either raise your prices or you’re stuck at an earnings plateau?

You know you could make a lot more money and serve more people if only you could clone yourself. Well, that hasn’t quite been perfected yet but you know what? If you use some creative problem solving, you really can make more money and still get plenty of sleep.

Whether your business is a product or service, you can expand your reach Continue reading

How to Write Winning Descriptions for your Etsy Listings

Pre-internet, I shopped by mail-order and two of my favorite catalogues were Coldwater Creek and JPeterman’s. The clothes probably weren’t any more stylish, the price or fit better than other catalogues but what sold me was the delightful product description. My eye was drawn to the visual but it was the language used to describe the items that captivated me. Even now, on their websites, the copy tells a story. The product descriptions give you the experience of adventure or romance. The words make you imagine how you’ll feel wearing the clothes and that emotion is what makes you hit the “Buy Now” button.
With these  tips, anyone can write winning product descriptions to make their Etsy or other crafts listings sell.

Keep your tone conversational. Writing like you speak. will allow visitors to feel they know you as a person not just your product and that likability factor creates a sense of trust that is key. People shopping for handmade want the experience of buying from a real person not a manufacturer.

Speak to the buyer directly as you would a friend. Make it personal and emotional, “When YOU wear this piece you’ll FEEL…”
Attach the item to a story: “The inspiration for this scarf came to me when I was shell collecting on the beach at Sanibel and I noticed the turquoise horizon line where the sea met the azure sky.”
Use attention grabbing, descriptive adjectives: sparkling, dazzling, shimmering, luscious, plush, dangling for your product title.
Whether you make home decor items, edibles or wearables, talk about the benefits, not just the features. “The toggle clasp on this bracelet is easy to close with one hand. This clock is so lightweight you can hang it with a pushpin.”
If you’re struggling to come up with good descriptions, I’d recommend the book “Words that Sell” by Richard Bayan.
When someone lands on your page, they are initially attracted to the images but the language of your product description is key to taking them from browsers to buyers.

Are you doing this one thing that could sabotage your new craft business?

You know the increase in creative energy when you’re in the company of enthusiastic, like-minded artists or crafters? We keep hearing that the most successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with other successful entrepreneurs, right?

Well, that’s all true but there are times when you can actually sabotage your creative business if you’re hanging out with the wrong tribe. What do I mean by the “wrong” tribe? Aren’t all aspiring or growing entrepreneurs the right peeps to connect with? Not all. Here’s why:

Let’s say you’re starting a business making organic herbed olive oils. You tested them at a local farmers’ market and had a great response so you’ve decided to give an Etsy shop a try. You buy a few how-to-sell-on-Etsy books or videos and put up your shop and wait. Nothing’s happening. No one is buying.

You’re not even getting many page views. You’re feeling a little discouraged but you realize it takes awhile to grow a business so you try to connect with other makers to see what they are doing. The obvious place to go would be to get on the Etsy forums and connect with other sellers. Maybe you can get some positive suggestions so you post in a chat room and ask for help. You might be lucky and get some helpful tips but you’re more likely to find people saying things like “oh, you can’t make it selling that on Etsy. There are 700 other people selling infused olive oil on Etsy.” They aren’t asking you what you’re doing to stand out from the competition or giving you advice on how to get traffic to your page. Most likely, you’ll find other newish sellers who are on there complaining that they aren’t doing well either and you all start commiserating and discourage one another.

Recently, I asked a friend who is an uber successful Etsy seller if she ever goes on the forums to help newer makers or goes to meet-ups with local Etsy teams. Her answer: “Are you kidding? Successful Etsy sellers don’t have time to be hanging out on the forums. We’re busy filling orders. When I take a break from making, packaging and shipping, I’m updating listings and posting new photos on Pinterest to drive traffic to my site.”

So how, as a fledgling creative entrepreneur can you find people who not only answer your questions but understand what you’re going through and encourage and support you?

Here’s what I would do. I’d look for a few successful sellers whose products are complementary but not in competition with yours. Let’s say you make custom diaper bags. You might look for someone who is successfully selling baby shower invitations or hand knit baby sweaters. Contact them and be honest. Tell them you admire their work and were wondering if they would be willing to chat with you. You might even contact a few successful makers in your local area and invite the to meet for coffee. If they are so busy that they don’t have time to help you, hopefully they’ll at least give you the names of resources they used or a coach who helped them get started.

If you’ve already found people who boost you up, please share in the comments-we’d all love to hear your successes and cheer you on.

Does your Etsy site look like you’re closing up shop? Here’s how to fix it.

sell lhandmade scarves Yesterday a client asked me to check out her Etsy shop and advise her on why she wasn’t making many sales. There were a number of reasons which I’ll talk about in future posts but the very first thing that stood out for me was how few listings she had.
Her product was gorgeous and the photographs weren’t bad. There just weren’t enough of them. She makes adorable purses in some really cute fabrics but because she only has three styles, she showed images of the three styles in two sizes and a handful of different fabrics. She had a total of nine photos.
Imagine you’re out walking through a cute village with a bunch of sweet little shops. You step into one and there are only two racks of handbags in the whole place. If your online shop has only a few listings, it’s like walking into a brick and mortar store that looks like they’re going out of business. You’d quickly move on to the next one, right?
Can you make money selling handmade online if your shop looks like you’re almost out of inventory? No way. Can you be successful on Etsy if you only make a few items? Absolutely. Here’s how:

Let’s use the handbag example. Photograph each purse you make in as many different fabrics as you offer. You may only have two styles. Let’s say you have a polka dot, a gingham, a chevron pattern, a floral and a paisley and you offer a variety of color-ways in each pattern. You might be inclined to just show each of the two styles in each of the five patterns with a drop-down menu for color but that only gives you ten photographs. Instead, make up samples of every single color offered in each design and that will give you at least a couple of pages of images. Make each image a separate listing. (You can still use a dropdown menu with color choices.) This gives you the appearance of a well-stocked shop and shoppers will stay on your site longer and be more likely to purchase your handmade items.

Watch your inbox because in the next article, I’ll address another reason my client’s shop wasn’t making enough sales and what we’re going to do to solve it and get her making money.
If you’re not receiving these tips, fill in your name and email in the box on the right and you won’t miss out. You’ll also get a great resource of the best places to sell handmade crafts online.

 

 Turning those excess craft supplies into recurrent income

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If you’re like most makers, you’ve got more craft supplies than you’ll ever use. Maybe that’s not a problem if you have a huge, well organized art studio but let’s face it, there’s always some new yarn, paint, fabric or tool that you just have to have, right?

Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of the supplies that you no longer want and turn them into cash? You could always list them individually on Etsy or Ebay but I have a better idea that’s fun, easier and will bring you recurring monthly income. (Or extra cash to buy more new brushes, paint, beads or fiber.)

When I look at my crafty stash, I see ideas for combining different elements like wire, yarn, beads and fabric. You’re obviously a creative type too or you probably wouldn’t be here now. Here’s a great way to turn those excess craft supplies into what I call a subscription for ongoing monthly income.

Gather the supplies that you’re no longer using and design a project that uses those supplies. (It should incorporate supplies you have a lot of.) Write up, illustrate or make video instructions of the project and offer a program of monthly bundles. Depending on the quality of supplies and uniqueness of design, you could charge anywhere from $5 to $50 monthly. Your social media friends can subscribe to receive a different bundle for a new project each month. If you have only 150 subscribers at $10 a month, you’ve created an extra $1500 a month. That’s a pretty significant profit center, don’t you think?
Please share some of your cool designs for your new project-of-the-month-bundle. You can post them over on the Craft Biz Blog Facebook page. I look forward to seeing the magic you come up with from your craft stash. For more great ideas on how to turn your craft into cash, check out “12 Easy Ways to Turn Your Hobby into an Extra $1200. a Month” HERE 

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