Know Your Market!!!

For those of us who have on-line stores, sometimes trying to get them noticed is a full-time job it seems! But when the hard work we put in to our stores pays off with sales and gets us noticed (whether the attention is good or bad), it's then we realize why we do what we do and why we continue to create beautiful handmade items!!

Lately, I've received some feedback from the redesign of my store logo and new tag line for my business. If you would like to see my new logo, you can visit www.shadesjewelry.etsy.com. It's nothing special, rather plain as some have put it, but I like it! It clearly represents my store and what I do.

But the tagline I have added (stylish-unique-affordable) is what is causing some to raise their eyebrows at me in the big internet world! Not that first time it has happened and I'm sure it won't be the last. Some are saying that I'm not being fair to the creative world in offering my jewelry at such low prices and that I shouldn't have the word "affordable" in my tag line. When I receive these comments I simply back and laugh. Having had my business for 6 years now, I must be doing something right to continue to receive sales and interest in my jewelry!!

It is then that I proceed to share why I sell my jewelry at the prices that I do. A lot of my business comes from my off-line promotional work. I have several repeat customers that are friends and family and they like my affordable line of jewelry that I offer. They like being able to get something handmade and that is one of a kind, but without breaking the bank.

The area in which I live is one of the poorest areas in the country. We have lost hundreds of jobs and what most make in this area who work full time is well under the poverty level believe it or not! And since I have no major plans to quit my job and do jewelry designing full time, I feel that I can offer my jewelry at lower prices to recoup my cost and put a few cents in the bank afterwards! I realize that many in the handmade world are creating their items to supplement their incomes and to live off the profits. I commend those who do this!! But I'm not one of them.

Jewelry is a competitve market these days. And I take nothing away from the many who create it and sell it for much more than I do. Only YOU can know your market and what you can get out of your jewelry. If you can sell your bracelets for $20-$50, then I encourage you to do so. But my market won't pay that for my jewelry!!

In closing this article, I want to encourage you to know your market. Ask your customers why they shop with you. Is it price, quality, customer service, a combination of all these?! Once you know your market, you can advertise your business more effective to them and begin to stand out in a crowd. Then you can stand firmly on your response to those who may want to critcize or claim you are hurting your particular handmade items by advertising them as "affordable!"

And in return, figure out why a person markets themselves as they do...especially before you criticize them or get upset at them for pricing their work as they do. All of us who create handmade items have a different agenda in mind with our stores. Let's all celebrate those differences and do what we can to support the handmade idea in general!

Until next time...Blessings! ~ Dawn


Leave a Comment Today and Win!

Decided to have a little fun today with my blog! Anyone who reads through my blog and leaves a comment today (7/21/09) on any article, will be registered to win 3 pairs of earrings!

Just a little break from all the writing and a way to say thanks for reading and looking through my articles and leaving me some feedback!

Blessings, Dawn


New Store? Try Multi-Shop Advertisements!

We all remember when we first opened our on-line store. We feverishly created new merchandise, posted the items, then waited for the buyers to come. But when the buyers were slow in coming we realized that we needed to advertise our business.

So we did our homework, found the best advertising we could, and then realized that the best advertising wasn't in our budget. With only a little money in our pockets for advertising we quickly realized that getting a nice size, high traffic ad was going to be a little harder than we thought.

For some business owners, finding out that you don't have the extra money to compete with effective ads can be discouraging. But it doesn't have to be. Have you ever considered talking with some other store owners to see if they would be willing to do a multi-shop advertisement with you? A multi-shop ad lisiting is a creative way for small business owners to compete and land highly visible ads in this big advertising world without breaking the bank!

To start this process, browse the ArtFire and Etsy stores. Make a list of 3 or 4 stores who offer products different than what you offer. Then, talk with the store owners and find out about their business and if they would be willing to do some shared advertising. You will probably find that most store owners are open to this type of business venture and will gladly listen to your ideas. Getting a nice, large size ad on sites with lots of traffic (without breaking the bank) can prove to be beneficial in advertising your business.

Once you have decided on doing a multi-shop ad, remember to keep the development of the ad simple and easy to read. Every store involved must be clearly represented and given an equal chance of being seen. Ads that are cluttered or hard to read could discourage readers, making your ad uneffective.

Multi-shop ads are becoming a highly effective and easy way for handmade businesses to reach new customers. Network and find some new business owner friends and start your advertising adventures together. Supporting each other and succeeding together will be a fun adventure on the road of being a handmade business owner.

Until next time..Blessings! ~ Dawn