Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Thoughtful Thursday – Branding: Lots of words and a little math

As a small businessperson, I sometimes feel a little bombarded by advice. Usually, it’s a different version of the same information, or an article about something I already do without really thinking about it, so it can feel redundant. I don’t stop seeking out those “business for dummies” kinds of articles, though, because sometimes you come across one as good as this:

http://diybusinessassociation.com/gobrandyourself/

In fact, I’m finding this site has a lot of well-written, easy and fun to read, legitimate information for entrepreneurs.

So, this particular article discusses the 20/10/4 method, which, simply put, means you come up with 20 words or short phrases to describe yourself, then narrow that list to 10, then, finally, the 4 most important words on that list.

Now, even if you don’t own a business, this is honestly a pretty cool exercise to try out to help you figure out who you are and what you want to present to others. Obviously, we’re all complex people with different aspects of our lives and personalities, so the list may change depending on the context (social environment vs. work environment, for example,) but it’s worth the effort.

I won’t re-hash what’s already been written – I encourage you to visit that link up there – but I will share my 20/10/4 journey with you. As a self-proclaimed eclectic, it hasn’t been easy, but keeping our first shop, Buy Me Love, in mind, that narrows it down some. It starts with these words:

artisan
crafty
persistent
detail oriented
eclectic
geeky
classy
theatrical
thoughtful
optimistic
sweet addict
open minded
wordy
eco-conscious
animal lover
planner
tactile
creature of comfort
introvert
friendly

Then it goes a little something like this:

artisan
crafty
detail oriented
classy
theatrical
thoughtful
sweet addict
open minded
eco-conscious
friendly

In the end, though …:

artisan
classy
theatrical
eco-conscious

So, my personal brand is a theatrical but classy, eco-conscious artisan. I can’t wait to share this exercise with my mom to see what she comes up with, and to use the exercise to brand our newer shop, JuJu Eyeball. I’m sure we’ll come up with all kinds of fun words for that one!

Share the Love,

Chelsea

Leave a comment

Filed under Thoughtful Thursday

Friday’s Favorites – Handmade Holidays!

This month, we participated in Etsy 817’s first show – Handmade Holidays! As members and vendors, we were excited to see how it all turned out. Other than some issues with signage and the university, including employees forgetting to lock the downstairs entrance to the upstairs jogging track above our gym (helloooo, random joggers above our heads,) it was a great show!

I have to say, I was impressed by the variety and quality of the vendors’ items. We’ve been to lots of shows, and jewelry and baby items can sometimes dominate the scene. (Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t give you many choices!)

We had a bit of a snafu with our setup, but that was quickly remedied by nice neighbors and the show organizers. Here’s how it looked:

 

To check out pics of the other amazing vendors, go here.

Luckily, we had my hubby with us to help setup, and got to browse the show and do some Christmas shopping! I bought some yummy smelling soaps from Clover Hollow, Iron Man coasters for the bro in law from Make It Sick, a bookmark for the MIL from Book-Inz (our neighbors!) and some local photog prints.

Hoping all of you had a merry Christmas!

Share the Love,

Chelsea

Leave a comment

Filed under Friday's Favorites

Whatever Weekend – Arts & Crafts Season, Part 2

Wow. Where did this week go? It’s suddenly October, and there are a million things on my to-do list! I need this week back.

Since I’ve seen so many posts from newbie show vendors this week, I thought I’d add to last weekend’s Ultimate Arts & Crafts Show Checklist, by typing up The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Show Tips. It’s a list of suggestions to help get you through the day with as few snafus as possible. After all, who likes snafus? I like saying “snafu,” but that’s about it.

One thing I have gotten done on my to-do list is the collection of cross keychains for the show:

I decided to use some of the vintage faux pearls I inhereted, and I think they turned out pretty well! Next, I’m working on some beaded lace statement necklaces and earrings.

Enjoy the weekend!

Share the Love,

Chelsea

Leave a comment

Filed under Whatever Weekend

Whatever Weekend – Arts & Crafts Season

Whatever weekend is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s what weekends are supposed to be all about! (Except for those of us who work on weekends, but … well, whatever.)

I can’t help notice a hot topic all over etsy has been the arts and crafts shows that are held in droves this time of year. The fall weather is perfect for outside festivals, the winter weather is great for bringing buyers indoors to see what you’re selling, and you can almost bet on the fact that people haven’t finished their Christmas shopping yet. Vendors are gearing up for all the excitement, and new artists and crafters are being added to the sign-up sheets as we speak.

If you’re new to this side of the business and you’re planning on reserving that first booth, you’re entering an exciting new world. A world were people speak face to face instead of through electronic message; a world where people can touch, smell, or taste your items. There’s so much to take advantage of, and so much preparation.

So, to make things a little less daunting, I’ve put together the Ultimate Arts & Crafts Show Checklist of things you might need before you start selling, whether you’ll be indoors or out. Of course, you might not need everything on the list, so feel free to ignore or mark out those things – you wont’ hurt my feelings. You may also need to add a few things to the list, which you can handily do at the bottom. There are even little “check circles” to the left of each item – just print it out and check ’em off! Most of all, talk to your craft show neighbors, be polite, professional, and firm, and have fun. Oh, and don’t forget your checklist.

Share the Love,

Chelsea

2 Comments

Filed under Whatever Weekend

Love on Wheels (Freebie!)

I love it when vistaprint.com has freebies! Check out their site, and click on the “free” or “sale” link for some great deals.

Now we can advertise while cruisin’ down the road. (And it coordinates with our business cards!)

 

Share the Love!

Chelsea

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

10 Ways To Improve Your Online Business

You see the question over and over again: “How can I improve business/increase sales/increase traffic on my site?”

If you’re new to selling online, you know that it can seem overwhelming. It can also seem discouraging when people aren’t buying your stuff. After answering the question above a few times now, I’ve decided to make a go-to list. So, here are the things we’ve learned so far that we hope will help our business, and yours too!

1. Be confident in what you sell. Focus on this first before you focus on “being successful.” If you can convince people that they like and need your product, they’ll buy it.

2. Know your target audience. If you could advertise your product in any magazine, what would it be? Got one? Now, who reads that magazine? Is it a teen mag, a decorator’s magazine, Women’s Daily? Think about who you want to buy your product, then market to that group of people.

3. Ask questions. It sounds simple enough, but many people wait to ask questions or to get feedback on their store. Then, several months in, they ask people why they haven’t been getting any sales, and BINGO! They wonder why they didn’t ask sooner.

4. Get a mentor. Find someone who can help guide you through the process of starting your business. Someone who knows the ropes, and who will be there to support you. Someone who will be honest with you, and who will tell other people about you.

5. Take great pictures. Granted, there are exceptions to the rule. There are some sellers out there to do really well without professional looking photos. However, your photos serve as the first impression of your product, and often the first picture a buyer sees is a thumbnail image of it. So, you want to make it stand out. That may mean using a background that doesn’t distract from the item, changing the lighting you use (natural light works wonders), and using closeup shots for your thumbnail images. You don’t have to have a fancy camera, either. Most cameras, with a little adjustment, are cabable of taking excellent photos. Start by reading your manual start to finish (a yawn, yes, but worth it!)

6.  Market yourself inside the box. If you’re selling on a “host” site, like etsy, use all of the tools that site gives you to advertise yourself and your work. For example, use forums to advertise sales, new items, and to get to know other sellers. Use widgets to help keep track of sales, views, etc. Use all of your tags, and utilize freebies like banners and “sale” signs to get yourself started. Use the site’s blog for tricks and tips of the trade.

7. Market outside the box. Many sellers forget this step, then notice that their shop isn’t getting much traffic. Here are ways to advertise outside of your host site:

– Start a blog.

– Start a Facebook business page (and invite everyone you know.)

-Use twitter to tweet new items; create a hash tag by putting the “#” symbol before the link or key words: “#etsy”

-Build a website to sell your items.

-Get involved with local arts and crafts fairs.

-Put a link to your shop in every bio you’ve written on the internet.

-Use widgets, such as etsy minis, to advertise on blogs and other sites.

-Use a site like Vistaprint.com to find inexpensive or free ways to advertise: business cards, signs, t shirts …

If what you sell is wearable, wear it! (Or have you kids, grandkids, dog wear it …) When people ask, and they will ask, tell them what you do and hand them a business card.

8. Creative tithing. Many people do this without realizing it. If you take time out of your day to give creative or business advice, or to buy something from another artisan, if you help someone set up or tear down at a fair, or donate your skills, you’ve committed creative tithing. It’s a wonderful way to give back and to keep yourself grounded.

9. Know your price point. Research other sellers with similar items – what do they charge? Is your product low, middle, or high end? Remember to factor in cost of materials, tools, and the time and effort you put into it.

10. Don’t give up.  Building a business is hard work, but don’t give up if that work doesn’t pay off right away. Sometimes you have to wait a while, years even, for a business to really take off. So, be patient, and always strive for something – a new product, a better product, a new technique, etc. Don’t forget to give yourself a break, too!

Bonus: Listen to yourself. Sometimes, good advice isn’t necessarily the right advice. It’s always good to take constructive criticism into account, but don’t forget to go with your gut.

Share the Love,

Chelsea

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized