Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Run your own small Handmade / Craft Business....?

So, How's things been then... ?
I have found that, certainly the latter half of my last tax year and the beginning of this, have been my toughest in a long while. I have found that people are spending 'less' when they do shop online (with me) although my regular big customers are still shopping the same. I think it is the luxuries and the IMPULSE buys that have been hit hardest. And this makes sense - i have reacted the same as a consumer in this recession, haven't you?
 We had the HIKE in Postage prices, yeh? and that was a tough one. International went through the roof for a small online shop like mine (ours) ETSY shops will know how hard it was to put up those postage prices. But i found the UK parcel much easier to work with and could set an easy and fair lowest postal cost and could then 'reward' bigger shoppers with free postage on bigger orders.... so its been a bit up n down, hey?
WHAT can we do? when business is slower and spending is down? How do we keep going when handmade is being asked, on some levels, to compete with other online bargains? 
The answer is NOT to reduce your prices.... DO NOT undervalue / undersell your own time and design efforts. Think outside the box and make changes to your business that will help YOU make the sales you need.....
 I cannot speak for all of us or help personally, but here are some ideas to help us get through the lowest times and keep our small handmade businesses growing:
 - Define your brand. Spend time getting your product range smaller and tighter and more coherent so you know exactly what you are marketing and who to.
 - Keep up stock levels it is hard to think MAKE when sales have dipped but use this time to us up your stash, and get stock levels to a point that you are ready to SELL when the sales come.
 - Clean & Tidy & Organise your office, your stash, your stock, your book-keeping. Get on top of all the areas you neglect. I WILL be doing this in January!! be sure on that. Untidy business is untidy selling.

 - Blog / Twitter / Flickr / Pinterest...   i am guilty of neglecting online interests. strike the balance between talking about yourself, your passions, your products and ramming U down peoples throats! why not get together with a few other small business people and cross promote each other?.... these people are NOT your business rivals! They are selling different things to the SAME customer base as you. Use each other.

STAY WITH:  Original - Valued - Top Quality - Good Design - Customer Service - Personal Touches - Good Communication - Listening & Working with People.... because...
THE BIG COMPANIES cannot ever compete with that. They have low prices and speedy couriers and glossier websites and telephone (non) help. Your business has YOU!! and that is the power you have.
So use it!
 x x x

11 comments:

  1. A great blog post, I think many people are suffering at the moment but don't want to speak out about it. Personally I always find the winter quiet business wise but have learnt to accept that and make more time for other things (like sewing, business planning and reading lots of books).

    I have to say as a buyer I am impulse buying a lot less and shopping around to make sure I get the best deal before buying. I keep seeing lovely things I want but instead of buying bookmark them, or pin to Pinterest to come back to when I have more money (hopefully!).

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    1. Fiona, thankyou for your input. I think the handmade community should def support each other more. It is tight but its workable x

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  2. What a great post! My business is rather different (hand made, but digital so no postage fees!) but I can relate to so many of these points. Thank you for a great post, you might even have inspired me to tidy my office! Maybe... ;)

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    1. haha Kate - i tidy mine every other day - then BBOooom!

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  3. Postage had definitely been a factor in my shopping habits of late, less inclined to order just one thing and little impulse buying. Still try to support small businesses over big ones though.
    You need to get on instagram mrs. I see so many peopl sell their wares on there like their products are catching. Friendlier than Twitter, less time consuming than blogging. Would love to see you on there.
    Hope you, wee fishy and the doggy are well my love. X

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  4. a brilliant blog post, we are certainly in a struggling tiem, esp as I have just opene* up a han*ma*e gift shop too
    fantastic i*eas to jot *own thank you

    ps my * isnt working on my laptop lol x

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  5. hey! i read ur article and its a good food of thought for my tiny handmade crafts.
    im not able to excel in it since im working and spending on it since 3 yrs. i have made very few good customers, and even showcase my craft at a shop in town. but im not able to make most out of it.
    my work space is messy most of the time, rather all the time....
    can untidy work-space be a major drawback in my work!!!?

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  6. Your site has been extremely informative and its featured content helps in the process of what is being created on the web. Keep it up. Paul As Harlequin

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  7. Your post is fantastic and I am sure that many will be inspired from this post. After starting a handicraft business you need to have a proper labeling and pricing for your products and this can be done by using craft software.

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  8. “Think outside the box and make changes…”—Absolutely true. You (or your business) would never have the chance to get noticed if you don’t catch the interest of your prospective clients. A trendy business won’t give you an assurance that you will succeed on the field, especially if competition is tight.

    Clint @Franchise Match

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