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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 19 of 39

Engaging Marketing

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

19. Engaging Marketing

Lesson Info

Engaging Marketing

We have will and betsy or with us now I want to say in my great oh hi hi did you guys hear me? Yes oh good I had made this power point presentation for creative live and I had never really done that before but I used a great picture you sent me and all kinds of pictures of your jewelry but it didn't show up at all like only one image came upon my rights so that mom will in betsy says also you you can't really see us right? Wait okay so this is my studio audience and then online we have the whole world we have people watching from lots and lots of different countries and their training in our chat rooms and I have been bragging about you both to everybody because I genuinely love these two people. I would like to say that very important personal people in my life and so it's really worked out for me that they're also great business example so great job you guys doing double duty for my personal needs good friends and good business people that's really working out for me and I have put w...

illing betsy and tina in every book I've written constantly trying to spread the word about them because there's such a handy example so not only do I genuinely believe in what they're doing but they make it incredibly convenient so how are you guys great good do you feel like saying anything really nice about me now I want to compliment your lovely sweater is really pretty color thanks. Did you guys notice my necklace? Yeah it's a sign necklace and there's actually a woman here who works at creative live and she was walking down the hallway the other day and her hands she has on three different that cnn earrings and I was like, no, I wanna considering that that's so awesome so before we get started him into the conversation if we could let everybody know who they are where we can find them because I didn't pop up that I'm going to have earlier but okay, you can find them on cnn dot com they have a wonderful website there and a great blogged they also have phenomenal social media. So if you're looking for a great example of a social media campaign where people are really talking to their ideal customer where people really know who they're writing teo and who they're talking to you are highly suggests checking out that cnn is instagram feed on their twitter is also really amazing. You guys, I've already said a little bit betsy about how you went to the coffee shop and you made a big list of all the things that you might possibly be able to d'oh and you circled jewelry on now look you're in you're awesome new space yeah that your coffee shop list bills yeah so do you want to tell us a little bit more about that that'd be great absolutely so I was sort of in a crossroads at a crossroads in my life going really hard in one direction and then decided that maybe that wasn't quite the direction I wanted to go in and so literally with a pencil and a little bit look I wrote down jewelry and I had a very little experience with jewelry making but I thought I feel like I know enough and I have enough interest in that category human to export further and I was living on very little money at the time so it didn't feel like a huge stretch I wasn't you know making a six figure salary and had to drop that to go in a different direction I had little and I knew howto teo live off a bad so s so I basically put myself in a small studio for a month and said let's make some collections and see what happens and then I opened my studio and will was my boyfriend at the time and his band played at the studio opening and I made back my really modest start up costs in that weekend andi I will reiterate my and that to me was the sign that it was the direction worth we're going in that's great so it just a little under like six years do I have that right that's right and then to six years ok so you have been so much to grow your company you loaded up your jewelry in the trunk of your car and you took lots of road trips one time your car even broke down you to buy a new car when you were on the road right so but you went from store to store to store with your jewelry in the trunk of your car and got your wholesale accounts where did you get the courage to do that that did you make that well that would scare you guys right like I would be hard to walk into a store and say hey got some jewelry in my pocket would you like to buy it like but it totally works because their work is sold in not just the united states but all over that you guys are represented in like forty six of the fifty states is that I have not counted recently but you might even be fifty one I mean I might have been created just to sell that cnn jewelry it's so incredible so I have important actually so yeah ok we're going to count that fifty one so how where did you get the courage to do that but see what made you say this is the way that I'm going to go this is how I'm going to make it work something that will says a lot is that what the failure is not an option for us? And I think that that was sort of in me from the very beginning even though it was terrifying I I just I didn't think in my mind like this might we're from that weekend I'm or might not work I just said I have to make this work and so I trying to be smart about it, you know, I didn't I didn't walk in with trump because people hate that you're taking this we don't like it either, you know? You have to you're skeptical of people but it's kind of that it's sort of that way the listening to what people are interested in and yeah, the courage saying I don't know it's just got me just got it not think about it too much it's like it's like jumping off a really high rock and the pool is scary yeah, I mean it's super scary and when I first came on board with business, one of the first big things I did was prepped falls for those cross country road trip see you were talking about and those I don't know if they're more terrifying than working and but my heart would like race I would if I was successful I would say scream and lie on the floor and shake this's true, I believe you it's very stuff I mean but right now the thing is like, you just have to like I would literally dial the first you know, like nine how many's the nine numbers and then like force myself to dial the last corner push send and then and then once the phone is ringing your you're stuck so you have been talking to be friendly and trying to make a personal connection and on dh then, you know, try to try to land that appointment, so now you're on the other end of that situation where your phone is ringing and people are saying, hey, I want to sell your stuff versus the other way around, so how does that feel? Are you still screaming and laying on the floor? Yeah, yeah, it feels really good. I mean, we actually decided this year to pull that on trade shows we've done trade shows twenty thirteen for the first time, actually a ton of time and energy and money, so yeah, that's the phone ringing and be be on the receiving end is really is a really good feeling, good right feel good. So what? We're talking about marketing in this particular segment and you guys do such a good job with your social media and then I know we definitely have a question about lights at craft shows, so I want to remember to ask, but how did you decide who the betsy and I a girl wass if you were to go to betsy and his website and look at the jewellery they always have like this little sentence that the girl who might be wearing that piece might be experiencing you're thinking and you guys actually run a really successful contest around that where people could do that work for them by like writing their own little couple of sentences describe how they felt about the jewelry so they were getting, you know, in one sense of the word free labor, great customer engagement really getting to know your person a lot better because they were sending you situations that they themselves would fantasize about or want to be in. So how did you figure out who the betsy and I a girl is because you're really talking to her consistently and I know that the person who helps you with your social media is a part of that awesome formula but you had to explain to her what to do and how to do it how did you get to know your ideal customer so well um a lot a lot of ways, so first of all, I think betsy's personality sort of has always been central to the brand and that's something that we talked about from day one like you mentioned while we were waiting in the ways you know, that's his blogging and actually started probably a little more personal and has moved more towards you know, sort of a balance of maybe twenty percent personal and eighty percent business sort of stuff but it started with betsy I would say that be ideal but I think beyond that a lot of what we do is trying to figure out ways to engage with our customers so that we are not just saying that these really pretty things we made on don't you want to give us money for them but rather finding ways to to hear from them? So the short story contest is a great example any coast we put out on twitter or force facebook or instagram were always want to hear back from people so I think listening to what we hear back andi just observing you know, seeing the people who walk into our store or seeing the people gravitate to our stuff is a great way to identify that as well. We took some time earlier this year actually with the whole staff to generate three different personas sort of archetypal personas of three different customers that we have and really laid out everything from what they eat for breakfast what publications they read, how many kids they have tio how many girlfriends they have like on that was a hugely informative lesson this well yeah so you really got to know this perceived person as best as you could absolutely I think I'll just check on that I think I think the main ingredient it's just sort of hard teo, you know, put it into a form but is to be genuine and I saw you know, we're watching before we came on your the phrase be yourself e cannot reineri that enough for you in your audience that that is what it's about and I think you know, whenever we feel ourselves going off track and not quite being ourselves or not not being genuine in our message it never works and we know so it's always about going back to that the real genuine message and interaction relationship with our customers because presumably you like what you make so you you are one of your ideal customers, right? And so if you are yourself, I think there's especially if you're confident and on awesome but you know that gathers that gathers more people everybody here knows that ah excellent now will you once told me and I don't know if you're going to remember this but you once told me that putting up lights aircraft show booth made a huge difference in your sales and this came up yesterday we had a question about lighting in booths so do you recommend? That is my main question I hesitate to say yes because then that means we need even brighter lights you guys are bright lights, all seriousness yes, they have the extra seventy five dollars or whatever it is for electricity and invest in some good lights that make your product look pretty. I was just going to say that's really good, because so many people are wondering how to stand out with jewelry. So yeah, additional steps to apply really great lighting to what you're trying to sell, then you're ahead of most people. I really don't see enough lights at craft shows on people's tables, but when you are in such a competitive field, anything that can push you a little farther out is a great is a great idea. Yeah, the thing is, like, pay attention next time you go and a big, you know, corporate retailer, they have so much like you'll never walk into, you know, a really well done store and find it dark, and I think, uh, yeah, that's a good lesson, and then the numbers changed for us instantaneously. I mean, and I remember the first teachers I've been on my own, I thought I could make that much of a difference yet looks great, but but it really is like a moth to the flame type of thing, you know, when there's like people want to see, and then when those people are there, more people want to come and see so and it helps you get the value that that you know your work is worth when people see that you're taking this time to showcase it if you're more valuable to people as items actually have any questions for willing betsy I have a question here from sandra b who wanted to know what you felt work best going personally to businesses that they wanted to sell or calling for an appointment you really feel like this the face of face thing is important should you should you make that part of your marketing? I think it definitely I feel like it's kind of a copout cancer but it's definitely a combination I can say when I first started on my own I did not call because I that terrifies me more than anything that way so for me it was always like I said walking and not with my trunk of jury but saying for example I'll be more specific I my family lives back east so I wouldn't I wouldn't go brain my trunk of jewelry which stories is small so it's an easy thing to travel with and so I will be in town for about a week and so I would go I would hit the shops first and say, hey, I'm going to be in town for a week is there any time that you have that you could that would create an appointment together and I could come back and that that really worked for me I also tried teoh one thing will got to me too you don't approach any store you know you really do what you don't go straight to the counter you walk in and you make sure that it is actually a place where you want your jewelry or that anything they would want your jury so it is, you know, it's really listening I can't reiterate that either, but yeah, it's a fine balance with the making sure it's a good fit um, because not every story is going to be perfect, right? Like, you know, I have encountered some business owners that are really hung up on getting like that one perfect account and I I can't stress how this kind and I think that isthe so but also not overstating because no one wants to be told like I know for sure that my product is perfect for your store because you know, you just walked in five minutes ago, so so I think is again about listening um I I have another is on the you know, oh, I was going to say when we make phone calls to that is also proceeded by as much online stalking as weaken dio make sure good fit no matter how we're approaching store before we walk in and say, you know, we've got nothing rio so a question from nicole k who is just wondering for jewelry was it better to go wholesale first or retails first or did you do the both at the same time if you could clarify that weii did both I did but at the same time the very first thing I did was to print flyers when I knew I was opening my studio and I took the flyers to all of the shops around town that I thought might be interested in myself and inviting them to the party so I had both hard from the beginning I opened the shop I did not however have a shop that no space where I mean it was a space for people storefront space that people could come into but not in a busy area and also really my focus was well yeah, but also I mean that he one of the things that we work that we've been working on I think for the course of the business is saying no more often because when men started out she really didn't say noted very much I mean she was doing what she was a one woman show she was doing every church bizarre every street fair um you know and so it really was about hitting hitting it from all different angles I think the important thing is you know, to just due to know that it's going to be a lot of work and to be ready for it on dh then just to listen to where the opportunities are you know maybe it's online for you maybe maybe you find some huge online retailer that you want to work with her you know I think every business is different but listening and working really hard well that is a great way to wrap that up listen and work real hard so you can find them again at that sea and I dot com and they're on twitter, instagram, facebook like all over the place right? Yeah okay thank you for what and also in portland if you're ever in telling you if you're ever in portland you can see them in person or you could just find a retailer in your in your statements likely if you're in the us right there yeah ok thank you so much for inviting us thank you so much eyes wow this had like a bunch of variety of their necklaces and this great picture that they sent us that happens to be the necklace and wearing so that's funny that that wouldn't would show up but um you got to see them and they're adorable and really great business people and that was some pretty good information in a great way to end that topic so thanks willing betsy you for watching still so the biggest piece of marketing advice that I actually have for you is to be yourself that's going to make all of the efforts that that you do have to put forth out into the world genuine and authentic which is something we just heard from them that made a big difference in their business if you're worried that you're boring or that it's not going to be perfect like if you're not perfect but no one is really going to expect all of your marketing efforts are all of the outreach all of the times you try to connect with your customer to be perfect and that's something that I think we could all use a good dose in reminder of that it doesn't have to be one hundred percent right tio work so that's you know maybe cut yourself a little bit of slack there but so I've got tio come through these a little bit differently because they're in a different order than there in my book but essential details that relates here marketing we have the same page fifty eight of the workbook other tools that used for marketing that you need to consider our your business cards which is really important to have some way to give your contact information to potential customers when you are not working so whether that's a sticker or business card or postcard or magnet or something that you want to carry around with you just make sure you have some way that you can physically hand somebody away to find you later on dh these days it just doesn't have to be business cards like I was just saying it really could be anything but other ways that you market with your customer our through your logo that says something about you if you choose to have a logo for your business I don't have a logo with my business because I've never really felt that it was very necessary but I do have specific kinds of avatars that I use which are sort of like my social logo's speaking of that next on my list is social media avatars that's a great way to communicate with your customer um you know what you're doing or what your bill is this is about your branding elements you are marketing when you were putting together the banners for your online shop when you are styling and staging the photographs that you take for your work, all of your branding is a communication about marketing to your customer your packaging is another way we're going to talk about that in a lot more detail tomorrow but your packaging is another way that you're continuing the conversation with their customer and marketing to them your item tags whether or not you have your business name on your products whether it just has a price tag or whether it's removable or not the way you identify your products out in the world is one way that you are marketing to your customer your product descriptions, which we're just going to move that to a different segment today so we still are going to cover that even though we didn't get to it on our last segment. So I want people to know that that's really important information and so we're going to make sure that we get that covered your website and and or your blogged your online home is one way that you market to your customer that's where people can find you that's where editors for the media will often get their first impression about you, your business, your company what you do, you can find all of that there and what are some other places where you might expect to find your marketing opportunities that you guys can think of? Yes, I came up with it it's kind of a thing that my mom kept in her purse she had gotten photos then in a studio somewhere and they gave her this cute little mirror in a little like rubberized sleeve, not even really a compact, just the little mirror and it had like their contact information and stuff on that, and I was thinking that would be a really cute little free me to new and even came up with a little saying to put on well, look atyou well, because I wanted to be and we don't reflections mirror hers worked together really we'll be really, really fun, little, right? They and then they do. They can keep it in their person rather than a business card or anything. If somebody says where'd you get that I have their info right here but it's also useful? Yeah. Also useful iran's exane of actually useful promo guess you're going to give something like that. I like it to be useful. I feel that when I toss stuff like that when when it's something that's new, but that I just didn't really like it. Um, well, let's, see lots of room here for to write your reflections on your marketing in the workbook. But on page sixty one, we start talking about community, which is one of your strongest tools for marketing, building the community around your business, which we're all doing right now by talking to one another online and by sharing our stories were building resource is and making connections right now that are going to be useful avenues. As for marketing our business and what we do and on a personal business level, two of being having police is to find support and to connect with people were doing that as we build our community, but your community cannot be undervalued when it comes to spreading the word about what you make. And you know, was somebody buys something that you like? I mean, how many times is somebody said all of their shoes and then you tell him right away where you got him? You know, the same thing happens for this stuff that we make. So you want to make sure that your community is armed with enough information about your business and your products to be able to share that with others and that they are wanting to share that with others that you're encouraging them to engage and help you spread the word um so that's happening right now, I mean, you've sold things online just from being here. So just by sharing your story, you were effectively telling somebody about yourself, which was a form of marketing. You made a connection enough for somebody to get two orders in a custom order in one day just from being in the audience here. So you're marketing without being I'm now marketing marketing robot doing my marketing, you know, you were able to make that work for yourself just like that it's pretty it's pretty incredible. We have a few more minutes to wrap up this if there's anything from online about marketing that we could address quickly, I was hoping we can address the avatar. A lot of people were confused about what an avatar is. Yes, ok, the logo and yeah, about that. So your avatar is a little picture that you put up on social media it's like your profile picture or that little tiny square visual image that is on your social media pages? For the most part, there's actually, a website called I think it's called gravitate are, and I might I'm not quite sure how to spell it, but that's a website where you can upload one logo or photo a picture of something that you make and it'll sort of populated all over the internet for you. If you're in somebody else's, blawg, it'll make sure your pictures next year vlog comment, but the avatars, the visual representation of yourself on a website or social media site that you are active or participating on. So if your twitter feed is really about your business and you are trying to sell people, yarn reads, it might not be in your focus is business. You might not want to have a picture of, you know your toes in the sand at the beach because it's just it's one other way that customer is not making a connection with you. People like to see products that you haven't people like to see you people really like to see the maker behind the behind the business, so if you have a great shot of yourself, that's a great place to start if you really pump and push your logo and are constantly putting that in front of people and that's going to be the best way for them to recognize you, then you might call that air your logo. But if you're a person and you're interjecting your personality into your business, and people can connect with that, people like seeing people that's. Just a fact.

Class Description

Most artists and crafters are easily inspired to create new work, but getting inspired to build a business that shares that work with the world can sound like a much more daunting prospect. Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business, is ready to teach you everything you need to know to break into the online marketplace and share your work with the world.

Kari will help you determine the online sales venue that’s best suited to your handmade goods. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of both selling through an existing online marketplace (like Supermarket or Etsy®) and setting up your own independently-operated website. You’ll also develop the optimal marketing strategy for sharing your products with the world, from social media to blogging to branding and packaging. Kari will cover essential best practices for running a successful crafting business, including confidently setting price points, creating media kids, acting as your own publicist, and much more.

No matter what you make, this course will give you the confidence to see the things you have to offer as uniquely valuable to customers, the inspiration to take your work to new heights, and the foundation you need to ensure your business’s success.



Kari Chapin's course, Start a Handmade Business, was a game-changer for me. Her content was presented in such an accessible, engaging, easy-to-digest, and oftentimes hilarious way. At the same time, she did not sugar-coat things. Having a handmade business is a job and requires work. I love that she emphasized that fact. Not only did she give the nut and bolts of how to start a handmade business but spent a lot of time on the emotional component of being an artist trying to sell her work. Her guests (Skype and in-studio) were well-chosen and showed the rapport she has with her community. This showed that she lives what she teaches. The interaction with the studio audience and online community was integral to the course because it showed real-life examples of business owners at varying stages in their career. (I was so lucky to be one of the studio audience members. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!) This class was a comprehensive look at handmade businesses that everyone from fledgling businesses to more established businesses can benefit from. I highly recommend this course! Thank you Kari for sharing your mind-blowing wisdom and warm and fuzzy heart with us! And thank you CreativeLive for having this awesome resource for the creative community! --Cathy Pascual,


Well, it's been a few days since the course and I am still pumped. Kari said a few things in particular that I needed to hear and I'm so grateful for that. I have been involved in the facebook group she put together and I am so happy about that. It's an awesome resource and my fellow creatives have been very helpful and encouraging. I totally recommend this course to any creative entrepreneur at any stage in their journey. Plus she is cute, funny and has just the right amount of snarkiness. I so enjoyed it!

a Creativelive Student

I loved this course with Kari Chapin! Her wealth of information delivered with such an honest and funny voice was refreshing and inspiring. I have accomplished things in the last few days that have languished on my to-do list for a year or more, largely due to this class. Kari is very down-to-earth and just plain adorable! I highly recommend this course for anyone creative who has or wants to have their own business.