C&T Q&A – Wholesale? Consignment? Help! {VIDEO}

should you sell your craft via wholesale or consignment - and how do you go about it

Hey there Thrivers!

I’ve got a video for you today, answering a lovely reader’s question about wholesale versus consignment.

Have you ever wondered if you should be selling your work on consignment, or only via wholesale?

Or do you wonder just how on earth you go about getting your stuff in shops at all?

In this video, I give you the 6 steps to follow in order to get your work in the right shops – whether via wholesale OR consignment.

I also explain when you should go with consignment – or when you should stick to wholesale.

If you’ve gotten your work into shops, I’d LOVE to hear your tips below in the comments!

I’d also love to hear if consignment has worked well for your business – and if so, why?


 

Want to sell to retail shops, boutiques, and gallery shops, but don’t know where to start? Join us for Wholesale Know-How. This eCourse will take you – step-by-step – through everything you need to know and do to get your work into retail spaces.

Ever Wondered How to Pitch Blogs? Here’s How I Do It…

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Beautiful interior photographs by Twig Hutchison

{Editor’s Note – I have had Megan working with me for a few years now, and she’s pitched umpteen blogs for me – she knows her stuff! Do what she does and you’ll be well on your way to getting your work out there in the blogosphere! Jess}

One of my favorite ways to get press and market my creative business is to pitch blogs.

Now is the time to start polishing your pitching procedure so that you’re ready in October to share your holiday gift items with bloggers.  So today I thought I’d share my process with you to give you an idea of how easy it is!  Personally, I pitch one blog a day every other month to make sure my business is constantly getting the attention of customers.

Whether you’re pitching a guest post or a product, the steps are the same.

I start my pitching process by finding a blog!  I do a simple Google search (using the ‘blog’ setting to refine my look) for the topic I’m pitching.  If I’m looking to share my embroidery patterns, I search ’embroidery,’ ‘sewing,’ ‘crafting,’ etc.  I will also look through the blogs I’m already following and reading because I’ve probably commented a few times and built up a repertoire with them.

Then I have to decide if that blog is a good fit.  How do you know if a blog is a good fit?  I look for:

  • commenting readers
  • nice pictures
  • featured products or guest posts in the previous posts
  • regular updates
  • similar aesthetic to my business
  • they have the same target market (it’s not worth my time to pitch to a blog whose readers will not like my work)

If I feel the blog is a good fit, I will next look at the about page to get a better sense of the blogger.  Do I have anything in common with them I can mention in the pitch?  Is there a milestone they just celebrated that I can congratulate them on?  Most importantly, when I write my pitch, I want to make sure that I get across the point that I am helping them by giving them content.

This is what most makers are afraid of.

They feel that they are bothering bloggers.  But guess what?  The blogger’s job is to write up and share amazing content with their readers.  By sharing your work with them, you’re saving them time and energy!  You’re making their life easier!  Plus, you’re sending your readers and fans to their site as well because goodness knows if you get featured, you’re going to share it on social media.

So in your pitch, you want to send them a low-res image of your work along with a link back to your shop.  You want to explain why your work will make their readers happy.  Remember, it’s not about how this blogger can help you but how you can help the blogger and their readers.  Keep your pitch short and sweet.  Bloggers are busy and, like all of us, we tend to glaze over long emails.

Now it’s your turn!

Start small.  Pitch one blog a week.  See what happens.  Oh, and remember that October and November is the time to pitch bloggers for inclusion in their holiday gift guides and present posts.  If you wait until December, it’s far too late.

Bonus points: Look through the blogger’s list of links or sponsors.  You’re likely to find many more great blogs to pitch in there that fit your target market.

 

Success Stories ~ Hania of Moose Design

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Hania of Moose Design

Since I can barely sew in a straight line well enough to hem my pants, when I find a maker who creates handbags that look like they belong in a museum, I’m instantly enthralled and want to chat them up.  That’s exactly how I found Hania, the entrepreneur behind Moose Design.  She’s based in Poland and sews the most amazing handbags characterized by minimalist style and originality.  I think you’ll really enjoy her interview today.

Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?

As a child I loved to sew, embroider, and draw porterty. Creation always gives me a lot of fun. That’s way I decided to become an architect. I graduated architectural studies and started to work in an architectural office. Unfortunately, in that profession creation was only a small part of the whole process…too small for me. After a few years working in architecture offices, I decided to change something in my life. I quit work and I started designing handbags.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your business?

When I decided to change my life and run my own company making bags, I needed to become a boss of my own company instead of simply being a worker doing jobs requested by someone else. I think that has been the biggest challenge for me so far.

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Felt Bag with Leather Handles – Fox Bag

What has been the biggest ‘fist-pump’/successful moment for you so far?

It was when I started to cooperate with foreign companies (e.g. from Belgium, UK, Germany, etc.). At the beginning I planned a small business selling bags only in Poland, but it turned out that there were a lot of requests from abroad for my bags and with that I’m really happy.

Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?

Of course there are lot of ideas in my head I wish I had time for but there are so many things to do right now that I need to take care of. I’m planning now to hire my first employee. It will be a big step for me.

Are there times when your creativity and inspiration seem to disappear? How do you handle that?

I like running. It helps me rest and clear my mind. Then when I’m tired after a long run, before I fall asleep a new ideas comes to my mind easily.

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White Cotton Tote Handbag – Seal Handbag

How do you balance your work with the rest of your life ~ what does a typical day in your life look like?

I wake up, go out of my bedroom, turn left into the next door and I’m already at work 🙂 My home is also my workshop. It cuts both ways. I can walk in sweats all day but as I don’t have to rush to work, I have big problems to wake up and get started.

I’m a seamstress, designer and manager in one person that’s way my day is a bit crazy and chaotic. I answer on e-mails, order materials and of course sew and design handbags.

What has been the best marketing move you’ve ever made for your own business?

I believe the decision that I made to cooperate with a professional and talented photographer was a really good idea and had a big influence on my business. I believe that a great photo is needed to attract the attention of customers and sell an item.  (Megan here – I think you can agree with me that Hania’s photographs are absolutely breathtaking!)

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Gray Cotton Tote Handbag – Bear Bag

What is one piece of advice you’d like to give fellow makers about running a successful creative business?

You work needs to be your passion; you do not need anything else.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I hope to develop my business, have a big workshop, and cooperate with shops from all over the world.

You can find more of Hania’s work online at:

Her website: www.moose-design.eu
Her Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/MOOSEdesignBAGS
Her facebook fanpage: www.facebook.com/MOOSEdesignBAGS

Ask the Makers: Email Marketing Incentives

I’m so excited today because we’re debuting our new monthly group post.  Getting advice and tips from one of us Create & Thrive writers is wonderful but what if our business doesn’t look anything like yours?  With five of us giving our personal solutions and know-how on the same topic, you’re bound to find something that fits your business.

This first month, we’re talking all about email marketing incentives.  What do we offer our visitors to get them onto our mailing list?  How did we decide what to offer?  Is it effective?

Jess’s answer:

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I’ve experimented with a number of different incentives – and it’s different depending on the mailing list. For example – my Epheriell jewellery list has a number of incentives to sign up – you go in a monthly draw to win jewellery, get access to exclusive specials, and you get 10% off your next order after sign-up, too. I think a combo of things works well in this case. For the C&T list, however, the incentive is simple – a free ebook you can’t get any other way. And the incentive of getting a round-up of the blog sent to your email once a week, too – I think for those who are busy, but don’t want to miss the C&T posts, that’s an incentive in and of itself. I know I sign up to similar emails for that very reason!

 Danielle’s Answer:

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I have an opt in on my blog.  It is for a free download of a perpetual calendar that I designed using an image of one of my hoops. I think it would be more effective if I showed a picture of the download file… I am going to experiment with that later on! I decided to offer this as my opt in because I thought it was useful and different!

Katia’s Answer:

plushka mailing

The incentive for Plushka’s customers to subscribe to our newsletter is a monthly giveaway that is exclusive to subscribers. Every month I pick one of my creations that is seasonal or just something from a new range to give away and draw a winner in the last newsletter of the month (my newsletters are weekly). When the winner is announced, the subscriber needs to reply with the postal address and this way I can see that they do open and read my newsletters. If the person doesn’t claim the prize within a month, I re-draw a winner. So far I have had a good response and once I post a prize of the month on Facebook, I get new subscribers. I went with monthly giveaways because I wanted to motivate people to stay subscribed. The subscribers also get exclusive offers and discount codes so in combination with a giveaway, I make sure it is worthwhile for people to subscribe to my updates. However, the content is important too so I make sure I include some interesting links and some unique content along with Plushka’s updates.

Megan’s Answer:

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My opt-in sends out a free, illustrated book.  It’s a very short story about ‘The Luxurious Life of Rigel the Cat’ and includes 10 pages of text and cat drawings.  This introduces people to my artwork and humor.  Plus, it gets them primed for the weekly emails that I send out about new creations and more silly stories.  I originally contemplated giving out free shipping but I know that my customer is there for my creativity, not to get deals on my products.

Got a burning question you’d love all of us to answer?  Email me at megan@epherielldesigns.com.  Also, let me know below if you enjoyed this post.  Above all, Jess and I want to make sure you’re getting the most out of us.