Trend Forecasting with Anna Joyce
I wanted to just mention a few little more things about courage because that's, what was that's, what kept showing up in my inbox and on my comments in my social media feed and that I just want to say that most of you, as sewers are by nature probably really organized people, probably really thorough people, you understand that to get to the finish line of their project, that they're certain steps you need to take on that if you skip one of those steps that you are, you're finished object isn't going to come out the way you want because, you know, you don't really have or it's not really smart to make a choice not to put a button on something if you're supposed to put a button there because then it won't be held together, or you just can't skip the zipper because you don't feel like it if you need something to actually stay shut or stay on your body and s o I want to know that I really respect that part of sewers, personalities, that you're really good at, following directions and patt...
erns and figuring things out and finding. Short cuts that don't affect your work at that at the end of the project, and that all of that is really difficult in that sometimes the same attention to detail and the parts of all of those steps of your full process are you don't necessarily need tio be that structured when it comes to your business, or or when you are wondering if it's the right thing for you to do that you can as the boss, which is something that we mentioned a little earlier. As the boss of your business, you get to make those decisions and take a twister turner change your mind or skip a step if you want to see if that works, because if it doesn't work, you can go back and correct your mistake, our pet that at any time in your journey, airier process that as the boss you get toe fully decide what your business is going to look like and how you're going to make it work. So I really just want you to be clear that you get to make these decisions and that that's really incredible and awesome, and and I just want you to feel the freedom that in this process of starting a business or growing your business, if that's really what you want to d'oh, that all of those things are are wonderful. So I just wanted tio make a point about that right off the bat. But a couple of things that I want to talk about before anna comes on is definitely want to make sure that you're getting your question is ready for anna and that you're sending those. And because, again, we just really want to make the best use of our time with her. And if you are enjoying looking at her photographs or if you really like what she is about. But if you really like something particular about her photographs or about the way she runs her instagram feed, our the way she's in corporate's did and uses social media as a research tool for her business. Then you have those questions ready so that we could just jump right. And, um, but I wanted to talk about trend forecasting. As far as a business tool that goes, that goes hand in hand with starting your selling business on I want to talk to you about a couple of different ways that you can use the internet for research, product development to get feedback from people before you invest a lot of time and money on something so there's a couple of different ways that you can go about figuring out what's going to be hot or what's going to be popular in the sony accessories business. You know, for instance, I think if you have a really good trend that you've noticed this coming up again and again in the sewing world, I would love for you to share that with this in the chat, we did that during the paper business fast start, and it was really fascinating to see all of the trends that people had noticed and came back with them, like owls or foxes or hand lettering, those air, some of the really great examples that we got during the when I ask people what they thought the current trends were in the paper industry, so I'd like to actually do the same thing with you here, whether what do you think are the current trends in the sewing industry and share that with us in the chat? But I want to talk to you about how you're going to find your inspiration or how you're going to determine what you want to d'oh. If you're trying to design a whole entire line, then I want to remind you that you can utilize the secret boards on pinterest. Tio sort of create a mood board. Like, maybe you. What if you had a bulletin board up in your selling studio and you tacked up fabrics to see if they went well together? Or maybe, ah, picture from a magazine that you're really attracted to any the thing that you found to be a source of inspiration. You know, maybe you would put it up on an actual bulletin board in your office. But you can also do the same thing on pinterest, which would would give you access to a lot more sources of inspiration. But their secret boards there. So you can conduct a lot of the things that you need to do for your business, or the ways that you might experiment for your business. On a secret board in pin chests and you can do that, teo, really gather your sources, and the colors that you might be liking are where you want to take design elements from or something else that you want to study or look forward to. Our trends that you noticed other people was sewing business is utilizing and their marketing or their social media or their outreach that they're doing for to increase the popularity of their business, you can find all of that and collected, and those private boards on pinterest you can also use instagram is a great way, tio test your marketplace or to connect with your customers over what, what they might want to enjoy buying or what they want, tio what they want to see you make. And so this is something that in and I actually talked about in our podcast. How if she's curious about adding a new color or she's curious about a certain sort of element of the design of something she's working on, and she wants to see what people think, sometimes she'll decide a picture of it on instagram, and then she'll wait to hear back from people if it only gets one hundred likes, then maybe it's something that her audience is not overly interested in, but if she gets hundreds of likes and a lot of comments of people saying I love it, I love it, I love it, she knows that that's the direction that she can go in so there's a lot of free resource is that are available to you that can help guide the direction your business goes in. And while I think that it's easy to say that the social media sites consent him, I feel like a way to procrastinate when we're doing our work or time wasters in general, that there's ways to turn the time you spend on these websites into productive time that benefits your business. So just keep those things in mind as you are going about your day and wondering what you should be working on that there's always time to make to make a productive procrastination list if if that's what you'd like to call it, that helps you determine what you could be doing when or how you can get a little bit of work done if you're not at your sewing machine, trends that people are seeing off from our online community. Thank you so much of you are seeing trans you'd like to share them in the chat room just jump in there, let us know thin black captors saying personalized products seem to be selling much better than batch stock superheroes and cute sea pastels are popular fabrics of the moment studio in october, saying, though I honestly do not know what that one of the trends, I simply follow my own aesthetic, always. Hey, how about coming up? Don't go with the flow on beauty could sure who I think is in france is saying items with quotes are very trendy right now, best copious, saying trans a very different depending on who the intended audiences that is so true. Trans are really different, depending on who the intended audiences, which is a fascinating thing about actually trying to track trends and keep up with what people are interested in that it's really interesting to see what's happening in one one segment of the market and then what's happening in a different one and have eventually, usually at some point, they sort of inter sector cross over, I think that that is so interesting to watch and figure out and as faras not carrying about the trends, that is fantastic to whatever works best for you and your business. Is what's really imperative? Because you want to make sure that you enjoy spending all of your time that you have to put toward your business as much as possible? And so, if there's something that feels like a real emotional slager that's a lot harder for you to dio than you could ever. Then you ever really thought it would be, then that's something that you're going to want to try to rework from the beginning? And this goes back tio are the conversation that we started when we first started this course, which was you want to try to build healthy business habits? You want to start off on the right, but you want to end the way you are. You want to begin the way you want to end, which is strong, which is passionate, which is believing in your work and what you're doing, which is communicating what you want to communicate with the world through your sewing business. And so it's really important to make sure that that you're doing what really speaks to you as a person and that that's a filter that you create for yourself. If you put your idea or your concept through this filter on dh, whatever the parameters are that you've set up for the filter, this is what I like this is, you know, I only want to work with green fabrics. I only want to work with environment tio friendly items. I only want to work with things that are washable, or I only want to make fine super artistic one of a kind pieces of work. You know, whatever your filter is, whatever the characteristics are that are really important to you about your own business, you have to filter all of your, like tours and tasks and stuff through these, and then what you don't like is going to be what you want to do last and so that's, what you're going to want to focus on, to try to make better for yourself, and that is just a really important part of making sure that you are interested and managing your business for the long term. So I wanted tio talk for a few more minutes about knowing who your ideal customers, and this was great. This was brought up in the chat room about the trends that it really depends on who your customer base is that getting really clear on that it's going to make things a lot easier for you, knowing what they want to buy, knowing how to develop line, knowing what colors they're interested in, that sort of an area where the trends play play into that. If you were trying to make something for children like, obviously, you would want to make sure that it was appropriate for children and there's some laws that you need to keep up with us faras. Fabric if you were making clothing items for babies or children, there's a lot of different reasons for you to build up community around what you want to do, because it's going to help your business be stronger in the beginning. You know how? Ah, you know it says back to just starting those habits, those healthy habits early? Is there anything happening in the chat room? Yes, and other people are saying that that laura lisa, for example, saint children's clothing with multiple fabric she's notice, is very much a trend right now, almost like patchwork. I'm imagining, perhaps that's, not what she meant, so clarify lisa on dh studio. Nokko is saying she does tio have the transit had to depend on the country, but she lives in slovenia, just two million people there, so that it's? Not quite. She doesn't seem to see the same trend think some u s states have less than two million people, so why not? Well, I think that the trend of customizing products it's really interesting, tio, because there's so many different ways that you can diversify your sewing business. If you want to so many ways that you can develop additional revenue streams if you're interested in following that path, when it comes to your sewing this snus so there there would be personalizing products are offering to do that for people as in, you know, an add on to something that you make there could be making patterns there's all different ways that you can branch out away from just sewing accessories if you're looking for some other ways to make money or some other ways to give your audience with what they might be asking for so that could be pattern developing that's something we see a lot there's a great trend out there with people are designing their own fabrics, which can really help make your product stand out and make them work unique to you and who you are and what your vision is and there's a few different websites that now will actually print your fat your design on fabrics for you spoon flower is one of those and I've seen some actually cem personalized customize fabric comes out of spoons flower that people have used in really interesting ways that might have a name or a special word repeated over it that's been really fantastic also there is making kits, so if you are interested in sowing in any kind of if you're interested in sowing in general but you just don't want to so what you're making, you know kits are really another great alternative and another lucrative income stream that you could consider adding to diversify how you're making money so we have just gotten word that anna is ready so yeah welcome and a joyce high how are you? I'm good nice to see you carrie oh my gosh it's so nice to see you, teo so ana lives in my town and this is from true life fax we just actually met a few weeks ago and but actually I feel like I've known anna for a really long time she was somebody that was just easy for me to really talk to her and I think the first time we met you came over to my house, right? Ah yeah yeah, it was great. So I have a podcast called aim with carrie chapin where I talk to people who have created businesses about their action they take to propel their business forward, their mindset and where they get their inspiration and I asked anna to be a guest and she has not really ever been in skype or on a google hangout before yes, your first time doing this my first googling out ever. So you created life creative live is saying hello to you so I asked anna to be on my podcast in tow have a skype chat with me and she said nope but I'll come over to your house so she did she came over and sat on my couch and then when I asked her to be uncreative live then she uh came back over again so we could record the bonus put podcast and I was really nervous about doing that with you because I thought oh man, we just recorded this other podcast but we talked about completely different things not was great yeah so even though that's a few hours of audio I've already clocked with anna we really managed to talk about completely different topics so thanks for being here with us you're so welcome thank you so much for having me I appreciate it I'm really excited this it was fun it's our pleasure we've asked our audience tio have some questions ready to ask you so that we're sure to maximize our time with you but I want to start off with a question that somebody actually e mailed to me personally and it's a little bit of a longer question but the person who wrote this to me is how to sewing business for a few years and so I think that it's important tio I know that even down the line this woman who has been in better business for four years and still have questions and still needs help and direction about figuring out yeah like it doesn't that's some that's a part of owning a business that just as an end like you just don't wake up one day and think, my god, I've got it I now know the answer to everything about my own business anything I feel like the right down the road of the business you get. Sometimes the more questions you have is your growing and scaling, you know, there could be more questions. So yeah, it's so true, because you change your business changes, right? Absolutely. And as you learn you, it kind of almost a ziff you you learn how much you don't know and a lot of a lot of ways. What do you know? Nothing. Yeah. Accident. Yeah, s o this lady says this is a question that I find to be really interesting. She says that she that she wants to know how she can scale her business. So that's, really good that you just brought that up, actually, because she's curious to know how she can scale her sewing business, she says to scale their businesses. Jewelers, for instance, can have their components cast for them. Stationary can be reproduced by a printer, bath and body can be made in large batches, et cetera, do you or your guests have any tips to approve improve efficiency? When a maker sell, it gets to the point that they can't keep up, or they just don't want to work twenty four seven to get their work done, so you were a one woman show. And you you pretty much a one woman show yes and you produce a massive amount of work you have retail clients you have whole so clients you found time to write a book you have two children at home and an active family you make your fabric and then you make your product so ana what's your secret it's going I'm gonna go take a nap right now after you just said all that so I do have help I am a one woman show I don't have people that are in studio with me all the time but one of the ways that I was able to find help was helps always about my products. So I do accessories for wardrobe in home and I have a certain segment of my product line that I make exclusively myself in my studio and then I have certain things that I hire out tio a woman that you're in portland so my production is completely a little awful but she has an industrial sewing machine that's able to handle the leather and the notions and things that I used for my handbags. So I d'oh most of the cutting and the preparation and then she picks up the bags and assembles them and then delivers them back to me and I also have someone who's helping me put my fabric I'm ready every election yeah, that is that is good one of the things that I think is really time consuming for a lot of business owners but that you have down pat and that you have gotten help for on this is important when it comes to really investing in our businesses and making the most out of them is going to be your photography I am really stressing during all of these fast starts that for target if he cannot be undersold the horns of that can you give us a couple of reasons why photography is so important for sewn accessories? I think wolf photography especially when you're selling online and people can't touch and feel your products you really need to inform the person that's going to hopefully by what you've made why your products so special a professional photography not only underscores that you are you know someone who cares about your business and the chip in your kid's photographs but also gives you the opportunity to let your buyer know what lifestyle you are selling to them you know I mean is it an item that's very utilitarian what's the styling is it that an aspirational model and it really gives the opportunity to give the entire lifestyles it's not just first purse but it's the entire outfit that goes with it it's the model you use its location where you photograph things and it gives the person he's practicing your item a really, really good idea of what type of woman they either are or want to be when they're wearing your piece when or even if it's home goods for photographing and a beautiful home. So the feeling is kind of like, gosh, if I'd buy that pillow, my house will also be incredibly stylish and beautiful, and you see people doing it in editorial magazine, in catalogs all the time that photography is so important and selling that story. So I think that that is a really interesting thing to think about. I think when we're when people purchase handmade and I'd love to know if you have any particular thoughts on this, but when people are purchasing handmade, I think that they're making like five different decisions at once. Not only are they choosing to support an individual rather than like a great big company or a great big business, they're looking to help somebody in their community or their neighborhood, or that they know or an individual they're looking to support a person on dh that must matter to them, or else they would be at a larger chain store to buy what they need but something really, yes, so they're making a decision to support an artist to support a crafter, to support a designer that's important to them and one of their values, they also want something that is unique or special. So they're choosing to buy handmade because chances are there's not going to be a cz many of them in the marketplace or they're not going to go teo church or school or wherever it is that they want to go in see a million people with the same thing as them so they want somebody that stands out a little bit something that's individual something that sets them apart, something that starts a conversation with the people around them and I think that they also want those kinds of things for their lifestyle like they're just not saying like I need a pouch I'm just going to go get a pouch because then they would just go get a pouch I want from you it's because it fits into the kind of person they want to be the kind of way that they want to represent themselves out in the world at large and so there's so much that you can communicate to them with your photographs that would be awkward to read mike if you're if a description for one of your clutches said like are you a modern young girl who loves handmade and you would rather be at the coffee shop than you know making copies or whatever it is you know that's much different to read that about yourself and to think like well that makes me sound kind of shallow were weird or whatever it is but if you see see that in a photograph then and it represents who you want to be or what you want to feel like that's an important decision of making a purchase on the emotional side absolutely and it sets you apart from the other brands and I think that when people are purchasing handmade especially when they're buying through a small um you know, vendor or through a a new interface like at sea they're also looking for that experience I noticed that right now at the holidays I'm getting a lot of conversations from people that want to ask me questions and you know they're really looking for that kind of personal interaction and when they have that piece of their hand they really feel like they have purchased something really unique like you mentioned something special and a little bit of that lifestyle that kind of handmade that this woman that I talk teo you know over email or even sometimes on the telephone made this just for me and now I mean they're going to keep it for myself or I'm gonna gift it to someone really special and it carries the entire experience from the first time you saw that image and it captured you through the professional photography that you it's been time you know paying for and thinking about the idea and your customer you know all of those special details that you put into all the way through when the person makes that purchasing the transaction and receiving that came in the mail and having it just be really special. Thank you. I agree with all of that. So when you first started, anna joyce assigns we had sort of a really lively conversation at the beginning of this course about choosing a name. Oh, well, that's. Why you decided to go with your own name? You know, I actually went very, very first started. I was under the name of news, which was something that felt right to me. It was kind of, you know, being having the fabric be my news. And then there was a handbag line. I was speaking persons at the time and there's a handbag line out of san francisco called news that was doing really well. It was a lot more popular than I was, and I needed to change my name. So I decided to go ahead and use my own name. It was individual. I knew no one else would have it and that it would be unique to me. And I wasn't sure that I wanted to stay with accessories the entire time I had a vision that I wanted to have an entire lifestyle brand that would, you know, encapsulate. Um accessories for wardrobe at home, maybe clothing and maybe items for children I mean there's still things that I want to add to my product line and that name continues to grow with me on d I really I've been happy with the decision I will say that when you choose your own, you know, given name as your business name sometimes khun b a little bit difficult you know sales are down or having the hard day and people aren't buying things it's hard not to take it personally, you know that they don't it's your actual name and that can sometimes be a little bit difficult, but I would say that our is choosing a name that can really grow with you if you have I think that kind of you know, it's so easy to remember and rolls off the tongue and is something that feels authentic and that you're comfortable being your brand then it's it's a great something really been to choose because you're never going to outgrow it. Yeah, so you have not regretted looking back on that you're a lot of difference stories from people whose have handmade businesses and I love it when I have the story of if I was choosing my business name now it would be completely different because it just like feels more real or you know you just relate to that sometimes, so it feels good I'm you know, I'm really I'm happy I'm happy that I that I don't have that regret, so I'm actually happy that it was that that kind of how the accident happened, that there was somebody with the same name and you know that they've been in business longer and I needed to change because it feels authentic and it's, I'm happy, especially now that I've written a book that you know, that my name will, my brand will be synonymous with book, and you know it, just it may it made sense for me, so I want to continue to grow the business and the products and all those things and there's no way to outgrow my own name. So I think that that's a good think about when you're choosing a name for your business because you might be making you know coin versus today, but two years from now, you may have I found that you know, it's all about stuffed animals for you or even the bags for whatever it is on dh your name's something that you can kind of keep forever.