5 Tips for Launching a New Handmade Product

5 Tips for Launching a New Product

If you are anything like me, the fast approach of the New Year has your creative brain buzzing with ideas for new products.

Ideas development, product planning, and market research are all very important – but there are a few more things to think about for a new product launch in order to give it it’s best chances of success.

 

1. Create suspense

This is a good time to get people to sign up to your email newsletter. Entice them by letting them know that subscribers will have exclusive pre-launch offers or event invitations.

A very important part of your creative business is creating customer engagement. You need to engage as many as possible in the launch of the new product weeks or even months in advance.

This creates positive word of mouth and suspense or ‘buzz’ around your brand and your new product, which means when it comes to the launch you will have a higher chance of success.

 

2. Share the process

Let your customers have little sneak peeks into the process and planning of the new product. This shows your customers the time and effort that goes into what you do.

It also helps in creating that ‘buzz’ in the lead up to the launch. Don’t be afraid to show the human side of creativity either! Mistakes and accidents are all part of creativity, and sharing the good as well as the not so good are great for that customer engagement. Facebook and instagram are excellent tools that will help you do this.

 

process

 

3. Take pre-orders

Once you have a product completed or near completion it is a good idea to take some good quality photographs so that people can see the item.

Customers who are now engaged will want the product as soon as possible! If you have the resources, offering limited pre-orders can be a great way to gain confidence in your product, offer exclusivity and back to the most important step, it keeps that ‘buzz’ going!

 

 

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4. Set a date

Once you have an idea of time set a date and stick to it! This is a great way to stop procrastination and get those products finished.

It also tells your customers that they have something to look forward to and will assist with those initial sales. You can give all of your new mailing list subscribers exclusive access to the new product prior to the official launch also as their gift as well as invitations to your official launch.

 

5. Create an event

It is great to launch your new product online but having a physical presence can also be a great boost. Somewhere people can come to hold, feel, and engage with the new item and of course you!

See if you can make your launch date coincide with a local market, a retail outlet, gallery or even a private gathering to celebrate.

 

By taking the time to launch your product – rather than just popping it it your shop with little fanfare – you have an opportunity to not only boost sales, but build the story of your business in an authentic way that will win you new fans and potential long-term customers who feel connected to your brand.

[20] Handmade Business Holiday Prep Checklist (with Downloadable PDF)

The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 20

I know it’s only the end of August, BUT – for those of us in handmade business, the time to start thinking about the holidays and Christmas sales is now. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to get prepared for the (hopeful) Christmas rush, and by getting ready early, we can ensure we’re organised, stocked up, and don’t miss any potential opportunities.

No matter how many years you’ve been in business, it is worth setting aside a bit of time around the beginning of September to plan your holiday strategy. How? Well, that’s exactly what I’ve got for you today. I’ve created a checklist of the most important tasks and steps to take in order to have your best Christmas sales season yet.

Sound good? Right on, let’s do this!

 

 

Ep 20 Quote - Create & Thrive Podcast

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

I reckon the downloadable checklist is enough for you to be getting on with this week – so download the image and/or the pdf printable version below! I go into a lot more detail about each step in the podcast (including sharing a few stories where I got these things VERY wrong and learnt my lesson the hard way).

Please feel free to share the image of the checklist below wherever you’d like – Pin it; share it on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram; email it to a friend; print it out and stick it on the noticeboard at your local craft shop or cafe – whatever! – and help other makers get prepared for their own holiday sales.

 

Handmade Business Holiday Prep Checklist - Create & Thrive (1)

 

 To get a FREE downloadable PDF of the checklist, just enter your email below!



This download is available as part of my #HandmadeBusinessToolkit – which is packed full of free resources (ebooks, downloadables, and guides) that will help you grow a thriving handmade biz.

The Handmade Business Toolkit is available for absolutely FREE to my C&T email subscribers.

If you’re already a subscriber, check your inbox for the most recent email I sent you – the password for access is inside!

If you’re not already subscribed, just pop your email in the box above and click ‘yes please’ to get access to the #HandmadeBusinessToolkit for absolutely free!

 

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You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher

6 Top Tips for Market Stall Setup Success

 

 

6 Top Tips for Market Stall Setup Success

So, you’ve decided to do your first market, or perhaps you’ve done a few and are struggling a little with your setup.

Here are some things I’ve learnt over the past 6 years to make the lead up to a market and your setup time easy and fun.

  1. Plan Ahead

Setting up your table a couple of days before your market will not only make your setup time quicker and easier, it will also allow you to play around with how best to exhibit your products, give you time to work on your display, and allow you to setup with confidence and joy on the big day.

Set up just as you would for the market.  If it’s a night market and you need lighting, set up at night and use your lights to ensure they highlight your work in a way that will draw customers to your stall.

If you’ll be in a marquee set up in one or if you don’t have one, measure out the space so you can get a feel for your table layout.

Market Stall 2
  1. Promote yourself

Most markets rely to some degree on the fan bases of their stall-holders to drive customers to the event so make sure you promote your market dates to your customers and followers and in your e-newsletter if you have one.

  1. Packed and Ready

Packing your items and display pieces to take to market takes practice but having them packed neatly and concisely will make it easier to travel from your car to your stall site and to unpack quickly. 

Plastic boxes of various sizes are the most common way to pack your pieces if they are small.  Use bubblewrap for fragile items, you can use it again to wrap them when they sell.

If you sell clothes, you can set up a hanging rail in the back of your car so you can transport them to market without them getting crushed.

Buy or borrow a flatbed trolley and straps to keep boxes secure (you can get them both cheaply from lots of places and they truly are worth it).

  1. Display

You don’t need expensive display items to show your work off.

Creating height and balance to your stall can be achieved through using wooden crates or boxes or wrapping and painting cardboard boxes.

Look around your house and see what you can use to create a memorable display. 

Op shops are also a great source of display items and if you’re handy or got someone handy in your life, making bits and pieces for your display is not only satisfying but makes sure it’s the perfect size and fit for your products.  Remember that you’re creating a mini shopfront so make it inviting with business cards in a prominent place.

Market Stall 3
  1. Stock

Always make it bit more than you think you’ll need and be prepared with pen and paper to take any custom orders that might come along on the day if your business works that way.

Sometimes customers don’t like to ask the price so make sure everything on display in your stall is priced in a discreet yet clear manner.

Ensure that your items are priced clearly and that your table is not overcrowded. 

Price points are an absolute must so be prepared with entry (impulse), mid (affordable and the bulk of your sales) and high-end (draws people in) priced products to attract a range of customers and encourage repeat custom.

  1. Essentials for Market Day

It’s easy to stay up late the night before a market whizzing up last minute bits and pieces but it’s to your advantage to give yourself a cut-off point where you stop making, get your car packed and rest up for the big day or night ahead.

  • Wear your product if it’s appropriate and make sure to choose comfortable clothes and shoes suitable to the weather and your style
  • Have some healthy and wholesome snacks with you as well as lots of water
  • Pack a mini first-aid kit with some band-aids, pain relief, hair bands, safety pins, sunscreen etc in case of emergencies
  • Make sure you’ve got bags/packaging for your customers to take your products home in
  • Be sure to take business cards along so your customers can find you again!
  • Have a newsletter signup sheet so people who are interested with your work can keep up to date with what you’re making

And last but definitely not least, be inviting, courteous and gracious and most of all have heaps of fun!

Making Brand Reps Work for Your Business

 

Making Brand Reps Work for Your Business (1)

 

Browse Instagram and you will see handmade brands posting gorgeous photographs of their products in action. Small children going about their daily activities dressed in adorable hand sewn outfits, dreamy nurseries full of one of a kind décor and toys.

Where do these brands get such a variety of styled and perfect images?

They may have a brand rep.

Put simply, a brand representative or ambassador is someone with brilliant styling and photography skills that can help you promote your products via social media.

Here are 5 ways that members of our group, Handmade Cooperative, are successfully making brand reps work for them.

 

  1. Select a brand rep with a love and passion for your label.

There are different methods for hunting out a brand rep.

Some businesses will directly approach a repeat customer, whilst others will run a search for entrants via social media.

Whichever method you choose, it’s important to select someone who genuinely likes and supports your label. This will make the relationship much more natural.

Rachel of Puddle Ducklings (image below) says “You definitely do not want someone who’s Instagram feed is full of competition entries and no personality”.

PuddleDucklings

 

Visit the social media feed of prospective reps to get a feel for whether they truly love handmade and genuinely interact with your business, or are just looking for free products.

Rachel conducted her search by watching the way they conducted themselves with other people and brands and chose her reps based on their online personality, generosity and loyalty to handmade.

 

  1. Select a brand rep that takes awesome quality images.

In the online world, clear, crisp photographs are essential.

You are looking for a brand rep who takes stunning natural pictures, not in a studio, and whose styling fits with your brand aesthetic.

Karyn of KBS Designs recently ran a brand rep search via Instagram.

She visited the social media feed of prospectives over a period of time and “made sure that they were similar to the styling KBS Designs was already using” as well as looking at “who the reps followers were and what sort of interaction was evident on her posts”.

 

  1. Don’t stress too much about the numbers.

Although having a popular feed is a good thing, thousands of followers doesn’t necessarily equate to a better brand rep.

Jodie from Twinkle Star (image below) says that, “It may be tempting to choose someone who has lots of followers, but I have learned that choosing an existing customer is much more effective as their support and promotion will come naturally.”

TwinkleStar

 

As well as being a social media beacon, your brand rep should represent your business in public, demonstrating your products to their friends and family in “real life”.

Jodie says to, “look for someone who genuinely loves what you do. If they already love your product, they will be excited to post about it and post regularly.”

 

  1. Be clear about what you want.

Providing photographs is great, but a brand rep can be so much more to you in the course of your journey.

A brand rep can help to build your brand via a number of different methods, so make it clear what you expect them to do for you.

  • Do you want them to test products?
  • Are you expecting a certain number of photos per week?
  • Would you like them to search hashtags and make comments about your label on social media?
  • Are you hoping for someone who will promote your sales and new releases?

Write up a contract for each brand rep and make sure that you include your expectations and a clear time frame for the role.

 

  1. Be upfront about the reward.

Your brand rep is going to be doing a lot of work for you, so make sure that you reward them.

At the very least, your rep will need to receive free products to style and photograph.

You may also wish to offer them discounts when shopping at your business, or family and friends discounts. Don’t forget to give them a whole lot of love too.

Engaging a brand rep can be a solid way to bring your business to the next level. Over to you – have you engaged a brand rep?

What tips and tricks would you recommend?

 



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Want more help to craft a compelling brand that connects with your Ideal Customer, and helps them fall in love with your business?

Enrol in our self-study eCourse, Brand Your Craft – available now!

Click here to find out more.


Your Brand Is More Than A Logo

 

 

 

Your Brand Is More Than A Logo

Branding is your like business’s personality.

It is the story that you tell around everything you do in business.

It is often the first thing that customers see of you and your business.

It should not only be totally unique to your business; it should be the way customers distinguish you from your competitors.

So what does make up a brand?

Your brand is the public image of your business.

It is the voice and feel that you portray for your business.

It is the image that you create around your business that reflects your style and your values in a way that appeals to your targeted audience.

Some elements that make up your branding include:

  • Business name
  • Logo
  • Colours
  • Business values
  • Products/services
  • Customer service
  • Packaging
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Price
  • The language you use
  • Your images
  • The context in which you operate
  • And more.

Your brand is the idea or image of your business and it is what customers connect with. By building a strong brand you increase your consumers connection to you and your business and this helps to build trust and loyalty.

Brand awareness, brand recognition and your reputation are all important for your businesses success.

The more recognisable and easy to remember that your brand is, the more likely you are to have success in business.

Today I want to talk you through some criteria that you can use to evaluate your brand, find the places you excel, and see where you might need some improvement. Go through each of these elements and make notes as to where your brand is currently and where you like it to be.

Focused

Does your business have a strong and clear focus?

Ideally this should be just one or two words.

What is the CORE of your business?

Why does it exist?

Intangible

Hoe does your business make people feel? 

Effective branding taps into what the customer feels.

What is the emotion you want people to feel when they connect with your business?

They may be loyal customers, or potential customers looking over your website for the first time – how do you make them feel the way you want them to?

Unique

The essence of a brand is how your business is different from your competitors. You need to find that thing that makes your business unique and let people know about it.

Try and think of one thing you do better than other businesses.

What do customers thank you for?

What is your point of difference?

The Experience

How does your customer feel during their interaction with your offering?

Does wearing your clothes make the customer feel beautiful?

Perhaps your coaching gives them an experience of feeling in control and empowered?

Jot down how you hope to make your customers think and feel while they are consuming your products.

Consistency

Is the essence of your brand delivered to your customers on a regular basis?

All your marketing, advertising, social media etc needs to feed into the same story.

Is your branding consistent and clear?

Are their ways you can improve it?

Authenticity

Is your branding credible, believable, and authentic?

You need to be able to deliver (and ideally over deliver) on the promise your brand offers.

Sustainable and recognisable

Your branding, colours and logo might all change over time, mine certainly have, but it should always remain consistent with your core message.

Rebranding is sometimes necessary but it shouldn’t be done without a lot of planning and consideration.

Your style will evolve and that’s OK but be aware that often the smallest elements that make up your brand are what make it the most recognisable so if you do mix things up a bit be sure to bring your customers along for the journey.

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Where is your Branding now?

Now that we have talked about the many elements that make up your brand, and this is not an exhaustive list, think abut your website, your social media, your customer emails, business cards, packaging etc and how they help to tell your brand’s story. Can you think of some simple ways to tell a clearer story?

What is your overall message and is it coming through in your content?

Is it clear what you offer and the benefits of your offer?

Are the colours, images, fonts you use consistent across the different platforms?

What kind of language do you use and is it consistent?

What about your overall tone and attitude?

Do you stand behind your branding? Are you proud of it? If not, what changes can you make so you do.

Have fun thinking of ways to better share your brand story with the world!

 



Brand Your Craft Banner Wide Final

Want more help to craft a compelling brand that connects with your Ideal Customer, and helps them fall in love with your business?

Enrol in our self-study eCourse, Brand Your Craft – available now!

Click here to find out more.