It took several classes, a bunch of cash, and patients like no other to get at the stage I’m at, now. I started with costuming, because that is what I knew and I needed a subject for my classes, at college. Now, I take all that and turn it into something that makes better sense in my life, and I can sell off my costuming, because I no longer have anything to do with. I had branded myself, already. Thankfully I used my own name and the word ‘Designs’ in it. Here’s what I basically did, several times, but finally applied it to something tangible and realistic, and that is jewelry. Here is my process.
- Name your company, your product(s), price & package everything, including your cards and mini catalogs, and whatever else you need to market your brand. Do your research and make sure someone else isn’t doing it, or your name isn’t already being used. Simple Google searches will help keep you from making such an innocent mistake. Otherwise, prepare to be accused of plagiarism and social networking will eat you, alive. If this happens, apologize and make it right. Don’t respond, continue to ignore the problem it will only get worse for you. I see it happen all of the time.
- What is the story behind your company/product(s) what is so great about it. Make it great. Scratch that. Make it fucking amazing.
- Figure out your demographic. Is it for everyone, or just women? Or dogs? Or goats?
- Shoot professional photos or select files that showcase your product, and make them easily available to send and show at a moments notice. The light box is a saving grace in this mix. Otherwise, find a college kid who’s taking photo class.
- Take advantage of coupons & discounts for ever bit of your materials. Office stores, print shops, craft stores, hardware stores, photo labs. They all have sales and offer discounts. There are companies that make photo books, now. They have specials, all the time. Photo books = Lookie Books
Look for ways to save on pamphlets and cards. Research online. Etsy has merchants that do custom stationary sets. Just ask them to tweek the package, or customize it for you. I would start with;
- Company cards
- Thank you cards
- Mini Lookie Books
- Master Lookie Book (yours, only)
These four things will come in so handy! If you can afford to do so, I would suggest investing even further into regular sized envelopes and letterhead stationary. As well as manila envelopes. I found this to be something I could handle in my own office. Just be sure to have your templates ready to send to the card maker. That is the most important part of your brand.
There are free apps to make mini commercials for your company, as well. I have utilized all the free marketing tools I need, including Facebook Pages, other’s Facebook groups, and Intagram. The mini commercials are linked to my FB and IG. I use Google photos to edit, store all pics, and make animated loops and collages of my products.
Set Up Shop
For me, my business will start locally, at a grassroots level, besides my Etsy shop. I have researched where I can sell my products, and what are the smart moves to get my name out there. Farmer’s Markets, First Friday’s and donating pieces to a cause has been the outcome of results for the avenues I need to take. I have already sold a custom Earring Necklace Bracelet set, and donated two Earring Necklace sets to a silent auction, in support of funeral costs for a beloved friend.
While the signs and displays are being built, I list the costs for these opportunities and figure in the budget. I also look to the short and long term of how long will I be utilizing these areas, and when and how will I move from there to, oh say, a shop. And since I have enough inventory to sell, I can continue to make new custom pieces, in the meantime, and using that profit to fund the new supplies and materials. My own shop went through quite a bit of changes, through school and life. And thankfully, I was able to tweek its name to serve me, once again. You can change your brand so many times, before you start looking like a sketchy kook. You want to be trusted.
Your booth should be as amazing as your products. You should have a sign or banner with your name. An EZ-UP would be ideal, it gives you the feeling of an actual room. You need to set up the tables so that you can easily assist the clients, but you aren’t in the way of your product. Table covers should flow with your product and the signs and displays. If your signs and displays are in pinks, a random table cloth with hot dogs and hamburgers is going to screw it all up. It all has to make sense. It all has to tell the story. Mine product has the feel of the elements, so I am able to use greens, blues, and browns. But I also have themes, although they still involve my favorite theme park and are introduced in a subtle manner (Bounding comes to mind) I can use the themes with my natural elements. Features are another way of getting away with not flowing, if you create something that is more unique in comparison to the rest of everything.
While it is important to have your pics and stats for your Etsy shop, it serves as the same value in your booth (which is where I choose to start). You need to be on point, prepared, and ready to sell. Don’t allow anyone to talk you down, or spend too much time chatting you up. Be polite, but be firm. Anyone that starts becoming a nuisance, offer a card, and suggest they look at your shop, online. Don’t bark out prices or offers. Let the customers ask. Your displays and signs should tell the customers all they need to know, but if they want to know about a discount, you need to be accommodating. For instance, if a customer wants 3, or more, of something. Or senior and Veteran discounts. These need to be taken into consideration, and that determines the success of your company, in the future.
Now is where I would list my short term and long term goals. But, you get the picture. Once you have there, to look at, it all starts to fall into place, just as you listed it. Paper, digital, it doesn’t matter. You need to see what you want, and how it’s going to happen. It is the catalyst that motivates you to put it all in motion. Once it written, it is done. No excuses or backing out. Right? 😉