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Craftpreneur Advice From the Pros

craftpreneur post it

Is craftpreneur even a word? I’m not really sure. But I’m going with it for the sake of this post because I think it fits. It fits the description of any crafter who works hard at turning his or her crafting pursuits into a successful business. It covers the “craft” (as in what you do) as well as the “preneur” (as in, well, entrepreneur). But let’s be honest. Most of us craftpreneurs are more comfortable with the crafting side of things, as opposed to the actual business side of things. That’s why we need the pros to guide us through those murky waters of sales, marketing and social media.

 

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My Go-to Online Business Advice Pros

Tweak Your Biz

One online pro source that I turn to for advice is Tweak Your Biz. As the name implies, Tweak Your Biz deals with all aspects of business including sales, marketing, finance, management and technology. It’s an online business publication as well as a community. They encourage you to share your opinions and ask questions of their contributing experts. I’ve found their blog posts to be pretty insightful as well as humorous. For example, one of my favorite posts is entitled, “Eat a Bowl of Dog Food, Improve Customer Service.” I’ll admit I was intrigued. And the post did not disappoint. I’ve found that Tweak Your Biz is an invaluable resource for craftpreneurs at any stage of their business.

Arts Business Institute

Another online resource that’s sure to jump-start a craftpreneur’s business side is Arts Business Institute. ABI keeps me up to date with timely business strategies, sales tips and marketing ideas for my handmade vintage jewelry business. Topics run the gamut from regularly featured artist profiles to how to start a wholesale production studio.

Launch Grow Joy

If you’re the type who prefers to receive your business advice with more of a personal vibe to it, I highly recommend Andrea Ayers of Launch Grow Joy. She’s both a savvy entrepreneur in the online business consulting industry as well as an actual craftpreneur who successfully launched her own handmade soap company from the ground up. You can find her honest hard-won business advice for craftpreneurs on her blog, Launch Grow Joy, as well as in her free instructional videos that cover topics such as growing your online sales and getting your products in stores.

Social Triggers

Now I can’t mention videos without mentioning my all-time favorite business guru Derick Halpern of Social Triggers. Social Triggers encompasses his blog, podcast and web tv-show. And don’t say that I didn’t warn you: Derick’s approach is pretty unorthodox. And that’s what makes watching his videos so much fun. He shares practical, in-your-face advice on topics such as building your email list and increasing online sales. He shares his fresh perspective in such a way that you can’t help but think to yourself, “Now how can I apply that to me and my business?” Which is pretty awesome when you think about it. Learn something and laugh while doing it. It’s a win-win.

Time to Get Productive

I hope my little list of references at least gets you moving in the right direction with regard to your “business” side, and that it gets you started on a productive phase in your crafting business. While focusing on the business side of life may not be most craftpreneurs’ idea of a good time, it can still be accomplished effectively with the help of my favorite go-to business advisers. And that leaves you with more time to devote to your creative pursuits, whatever they may be.

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Is there anyone you think is great when it comes to giving business advice? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

 

Indie Crafters, Are You Crafting Irresistible Product Names & Descriptions?

In this age of online marketing, the ability to create product names and descriptions could be just as important as the craft itself.

Indie Crafters

Craft Clever Product Names

Create product names and descriptions using adjectives which appeal to the buyers senses.  This creates emotions that will sell more of your crafts. Your product descriptions also need to accurately represent the product and its contents, along with the intended use to the customer.

Craft Unique Descriptions

When writing descriptions, consider what the customer wants. Convey your message with passion using various methods like storytelling or testimonials. The goal here is to create a personal feeling between the customer and your product.

Descriptions should go beyond the standard list of features and ingredients. Highlight what makes your product unique. Tell the customer why your product is better.

Creating  a clever product name and description is only the beginning. Your creative writing skills will also create useful and purposeful content.

Craft Great Content

Think about what your customers are looking for and find out what they are buying. Your descriptions must match the product, yet be original. Avoid becoming just another duplicate listing by creating unique, descriptive content. Make sure your product descriptions are always accurate and make sense to the reader.

Improve your search engine optimization by including a variety of relevant tags and keywords in your product descriptions while still sounding natural. Useful product names will incorporate keywords to allow easy search results for your customers and improve traffic to your product.

Great Examples Of How To Do It Right

RaynasCreate Kids Couture is a clothing pattern company who makes good use of creative writing in their product naming. They give each pattern a girl’s name. This gives each pattern its own personality and creates a more personal relationship between the pattern and the customer. Nothing says fun more than Chloe’s Party Peasant DressRayna’s Retro Romper sounds just right for the upcoming summer months.

Several keywords are added to the pattern names which make it easy for the customer to identify the unique features of each pattern as well as creating improved search results.

Another company who writes beautiful product names is Urban Threads. They use brief but brilliant product descriptions to entice their customers.  With embroidery pattern Dolphin Doodlenames like Light And Shadow Swallows and Dolphin Doodle  they make it fun, yet keep it descriptive to the unique details of each design.

I love their simple yet impactful product descriptions.  With the Summer Bounty, you will “Craft a natural, vintage look with this abundant summer design”.

Crafters who can write as well as they craft are going to put their products at the top of the search results. Once you’ve gotten potential customer’s attention and wow them with the distinctive features, just watch as the sales come rolling in!

Have Fun Creating Loyal And Repeat Customers

So, you’ve started your online craft business. You’ve made product, it’s listed on one of the various online marketplaces or maybe you’ve already started your own webpage. The orders are starting to roll in. What now? Have you thought about how you will package them for shipping and delivery? This video has some fun and easy ways to make your orders stand out from the competition!

Five Less Known Websites For Marketing Your Homemade Crafts

The handmade market is booming! The growing interest in handmade crafts has also driven the need for online marketplaces. While Ebay and Etsy are two of the more commonly known DIY markets, there are many more to choose from – all of them offering a variety of custom features.

Artfire

Artfire Screenshot

Cool features include the ability to add an Artfire Kiosk to your Facebook page and increased flexibility when designing you Artfire store page.  They have included an Amazon payment option and buyers can add Artfire items to their Amazon Wishlist.

While some sites like Etsy charge per listing, Artfire offers a monthly subscription. This will save you money if your shop has a lot of items for sale.

Folksy

Folksy Screenshot

Folksy is a British website.  They currently only allow buyers and sellers located in the UK. They regularly feature designers and will mail a weekly gift guide to buyers.

There are useful business tools unique to Folksy, like Google Analytics integration and exporting data to Excel. This simplifies record keeping.

Sellers may choose between an item listing fee or yearly subscription. Either choice offers the same features.

DaWanda

DaWanda Screenshot

Features particular to DaWanda are the ability to create categories for your product and to purchase and print vouchers, similar to gift certificates. They also feature special collections by theme.

DaWanda has no listing fee, but instead charges a 5% commission on all items sold. They also charge an extra fee for listing any item in a second category.

Zibbet

Zibbet Screenshot

Zibbet makes importing from Artfire and Etsy available.  They offer business cards and up to 50 listings free of charge. You can link your worldwide domain name so that when customers click on your website, they will be automatically sent to your Zibbet page.

With a monthly or yearly subscription fee, you can also customize your store page, use their Facebook app, create multiple listings, offer coupons, and receive sale and gift exposure.

Supermarket

Supermarket Screenshot

Supermarket is quite different than most other handmade marketing websites. They refer to themselves as a “curated collection of awesome design products”.

A designer interested in selling with Supermarket, must send them information describing who they are and what they  make, including photos. Supermarket will use this information to select their designers. Once chosen, designers are charged a commission every thirty days.

Choosing Your Marketing Website

These are only five of many websites to market your crafts. Go to each website and take a look around. Read about their features and fees. Each one offers advantages to help you grow and become a successful DIY business. With the right information, you can choose a website to market your handmade crafts that will best fit your needs and goals.

Summer Marketing, Part 1

scissorsI am writing this in the middle of May. Believe it or not, there are less than two weeks until Memorial Day – the “official” kick-off to Summer 2013!

Here are some ideas to help you market your biz during the next few months:

Father’s Day -Father’s Day is just around the corner. Do you have any products that are targeted towards men? If not, can you create a limited edition product for Father’s Day? Try putting a masculine touch on your items by changing a color scheme or adding a few “retro” touches to one of your current products. But remember — many of the people who buy Father’s Day gifts are mothers, so you have to reach out to the mom market!

Americana – Have you been to any stores lately? They are already filled with red, white, and blue stuff. Americana-inspired items will remain popular throughout June and early July. Do you have anything that fits that description? Can you add some stars or stripes to something? If not, you can just borrow that lingo for your sale. You can have a “Stars & Stripes” sale without having any products that literally have stars and stripes on them!

Graduations – This is also the time of year when people are celebrating graduations.  Graduates fall into all age categories – from children “graduating” kindergarten or elementary school to teens graduating high school and adults of all ages graduating college. Many types of businesses can benefit from this using this theme. Do you make invitations? Try incorporating all types of graduations into your business. Do you make cool pillows or blankets? Market them as “dorm room staples.” Do you make planners? Market them as the must have accessory for young professionals starting their first post-college job. The ideas are endless!

 

This is part 1 of a 2 part post —For more marketing ideas, click here to read part 2

 

How To Get More Publicity For Your Craft Business

news-girl copyDo you want more publicity for your business? I’m sure you answered “YES” to that question (I don’t know many people who would say “No thanks!)

The following is an excerpt from a post that I wrote on my main site:

“Every business needs more publicity, and that includes your business! “Publicity” is a pretty broad term, but basically, it means getting featured in the media.

This can be a traditional media outlet, such as a newspaper, or it could mean being featured in a blog post (which is part of the “new media.”)

Here are some tips on how you can start getting more publicity:

Write Guest Posts – A very simple way to start building some buzz for your biz is to write guest post on other people’s blogs.

Work With Bloggers – You can also work with bloggers by sending them items to review and / or giveaway on their blogs. Be cautious about this, though – you don’t want to….”

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