Selling your products is a great way to start building income and brand awareness. We have compiled some tips so that you can be successful in starting your personal creative business online and off.
Know who your customers are:
Before you can begin selling online or in any store, you need to know who your customers are. You cannot sell to everyone and will not be successful if you attempt to. Know your customers age, budget, hobbies, likes, magazines, social scene, and style. By marketing to that group directly they will learn to know you and your brand, like it, and trust it. Building a good reputation for you and your brand will bring in customers, give value to them and they will then become loyal to you.
Start with Facebook and Instagram:
There are billions of people on Facebook and Instagram. Because everyone is on it, invite people you know have been interested in your work to like your page and join your customer group page on Facebook. Make them know you, like you, and trust you by marketing your work and your passions to them via video, newsletters, and promotions. Don’t be too pushy with your products but engage with your customers and cater to their needs.
Give your followers tips and advice, show examples of inspiration, sketches and fabrics so they get a taste of your world. It is best to give them three post that are inspirational, informative and interesting and then pitch your work instead of repeatedly trying to sell.
For more advice on building your brand with social media have a look at this blog post.
Selling online will help build your brand and income. Make sure you link your online store to your social accounts like Instagram and Facebook. Some great platforms to start an online shop are:
Squarespace (make your own site)
Not on the High Street
When taking pictures of your products make sure they are clear, high quality pictures that show how beautiful and high end your work is. Try taking multiple angles with more solid backgrounds and good lighting. Pictures with more negative space and simple backgrounds convey a sophisticated and clean look.
Photography resource: Emily Quinton who runs Make Light is a brilliant photographer, she teaches you about taking beautiful images and producing flat lays via online tutorial, her website is https://makelight.com and you can join her membership site for just £6 , a month, bargain price!
Go to local markets and craft shows:
Depending on the type of work you are selling you can go to local or city wide markets and shows. If you are trying to sell your work at £10-£30, selling at street markets and shows may be a better option because the lower prices will allow for customers to make decisions more quickly, rather than prices in the £100s which they might not have expected at this setting.
If you are trying to sell at £150+, avoid local markets to make sure you are reaching a better market. Consider higher end craft shows and possibly markets in more expensive areas like Chelsea Town Hall. Consider attending wedding shows to build your brand and connect with potential customers. Small shows are good when you’re starting out but make sure to get people’s email address, and get their info so you can reach out to them, rather than wait for them to reach out to you.
Brides designer show
National wedding show
Local wedding fairs
Hand made in Britain
100 percent design
Affordable art fair
British craft trade fair
Clerkenwell Design Week
Collect Country living
Craft in focus
Local markets and art fairs (Greenwich Market Portobello)
Selling to other businesses:
Selling to boutiques and businesses in your area is also a great option to generate income, sell your products, and attract customers. Selling wholesale in larger ordersto shops can help you sell lower price items quickly. When doing this make sure you are linking pictures and information about your product in their shop through your social media and website pages. This will help create press and traffic to your products and pages!
Trade show top draw, section for new designers, this is a cheaper way of showing your work and meet great buyers.
Host your own event:
Consider finding a location with open studios where potential customers can come in and look at your work. Open studios and open houses are great for finding potential clients and finding out who your brand is attracting. These can be found by Googling things in your local area, or by entering shows like London Craft Week and Handmade in Britain.
To sell you work you need exposure:
A great way to get exposure would be to hire a PR person. Hiring someone in PR can be a costly layout so I have listed a few alternative suggestions below.
You need to get your work seen so getting press in magazines, newspapers, luxury supplements, shopping pages and blogs is great exposure!
To do this you will need to find out who the sub editors are for each magazine that you like as well as the features editor and shopping page editors for your relevant sector. I would recommend sending them a press release once a month.
Magazines may ask you for products from time to time which are called call outs. If they do, then send your products neatly packaged and labeled, they will return them to you. If you are lucky they will use your products in a feature or shopping page. Do not demand that they use it or get upset if they don't, this happens all the time and you want to keep them happy.
Working with stylists is also a good way to get exposure because they often work with magazines and celebrities. If this is not an option, think of someone who might be able to use your product in another way, like your friend who writes blogs or has a popular Instagram feed!
Other ways to get attention is to appear on:
Get on blogs that are run by people that you admire or who have the same customer base as you.
Collaborate with influencers, celebrities or designer.
Write your own blogs once a week and send a newsletter to your clients data base once or twice a week, give useful information as well as tips, keep them interesting so your clients enjoy reading them. Build your list!!!!
Contact local companies who might have your client base and ask if you can give a talk or put an event on for them.
Learn as much as you can about Facebook adds, test your adverts to see what add converts the best, start small but be prepared to invest, this will give you a good return if done properly. Facebook ads and videos are creating great exposure for brands, a lot of people think its better than Google ads and much much more powerful than the old fashioned ads in magazines.
Keep positive relationship networks:
The more positive interaction you have with potential clients, the better relationship you will build, and the more you will sell. When going to shows and events, make sure to get contact information from those who you are talking with and giving your card. The likelihood that people will lose your card or that they will forget about your card in a pile of 20 is likely, but do not let that discourage you! By taking down their information, you can send check in emails, ring them up, and add them to your Facebook page. It is important not to make your clients and followers feel like you are constantly asking them to buy buy buy, so make sure you are building relationships, making friends, and adding value to their lives.
When selling online, try sending emails occasionally offering discounts or first looks at new collections and products. Inbox your new Esty followers, or people who like your products and offer them free shipment or a certain percentage off of their first order. Direct them to your Facebook page or website and set a certain time aside during your busy day to engage with customers through these platforms! The most important thing is to stay positive and keep networking your way to success!