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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 9 of 39

Ideal Customer FAQ

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

9. Ideal Customer FAQ

Lesson Info

Ideal Customer FAQ

Art spirit had said so why is it important to go into such a detail about potential customers is it to make the customer feel like it's more customized to them I think it's the more you know your customer the more you're going to be able to sell things that she or he likes you know like I think one of the things that we talked about anthropology a lot is not thinking necessarily about I mean obviously we think about the bottom line and we think about the product but we're thinking about the experience you know kind of person foremost so the experience brings the sales but you don't necessarily want to go at it in a way that's just like I just want to sell this thing to you I just want to make money like you want your customer to be happy and I would add to that that that sometimes a headband is just a headband what do you need to sell that your customer needs ahead way that it's hard to like really get in there and think like why do I care why they won't have a head band like what by i...

t put it on your good let's move on idea so I know that sometimes it seems like hard they want to think so much about your customer but the reason I really wanted to do it and the reason I want people to build a very clear and detailed customer profile is because I want to make your work easier, and I know that if you know who you're selling tio, you're giving me business is going to do that much better, and your work is going to be that much easier. You're not going to struggle when as much when you're doing your photography and if you are struggling, it's going to be more like you need to learn something about your camera or the light, not about how should you photograph your work? If you know your ideal customer, I want you to get and down into all this detail, not just so you can customize the work, but so that you can customize your listings so that you can customize your connections and so that you can just worry about reaching the right person the first time, rather than struggling about I mean, one thing that comes up again and again and again in my line of work is how do I stand out online? How there's, you know, I recently read I was talking tio, a woman who works at at sea, and she was saying that there are over one million shops on etsy right now, so a big thing that that comes back, as people say, how can I make myself stand out there and make jewelry? And it's the most popular craft I how do I get into that show and make my jewelry stand out? How do I make my store work? This is one of the best tools that we have to do that and that is to know your customer so if three million people which I think is the last statistic I heard and if I I'm off base I would love for somebody to china in the chat room and give us the actual statistic but last I heard there were three million people who shop on etc you cannot talk to three million people you just can't and I don't even want you to try but if you can narrow down who your customer is and just talk to that one person and you do a really good job with your customer profile and then you direct your product descriptions you're shipping policies like maybe you want to have a return policy if you know that your customers kind of flighty or if you really feel like the kind of person who's going to buy your product is an impulse buyer, then you might need to be thinking about your return policy. I want you to go so deep with who your customers because I want your job to be easy and that's why this stuff is important it's not just because you don't have anything better to do that's because down the road I want you to have more time to do the things that you really like and what emily was saying in segment two about how she's surprised that she's spending eighty percent on business admin tasks and twenty percent creating that's that's a pretty son reality for almost every successful handmade business I know even as a writer I spend the least amount of time writing and I spend most of my time doing things like this and it's so that I am able to write and that is the case for him made businesses too would you agree without definitely yeah, I mean, I think with handmade businesses to your generally not selling like food or shelter or water or you know something that people need to survive, but you're selling something that's emotional to people that's like an emotional connection, you know, something that enhances their day or makes them feel happy about themselves or, you know, makes them like, if there if you know you're selling paintings and people look at that every day and they're thinking like that's such a beautiful painting that makes my day better, you know, it's it's getting into the emotions of that person on really understanding those that will make your job easier? Yeah, really making your products and you're asked for your request for sales about your customer is going to make them buy from you more we're going to feel like you understand that I have I don't really purchase things all the time just because it's for sale, we all purchased things because we really want to have the thing that the thing against us exactly and what when somebody has me figured out of here, it's like I'm a customer for life, man okay, but yes, so there's a conversation going on in the chat rooms and I think it's a really important question from christine, who summed it up. Well, can you have more than one ideal customer is narrowing down your ideal customer actually inhibiting? Does it limit you too much and just a lot of people asking if I just say all my my deal customer is a woman you are, can you dude, multiple profiles or what's your take on that? I say absolutely you can I mean so you might know one hundred women and I bet a lot of them are all different and would respond or want different things so you can have more than one customer profile, but I would take a look through if you were to develop more than one and see where those common threads are common thread might be there are mostly ladies, they're mostly moms, they're mostly students, you know you could find your common thread in your ideal customers but still target your marketing efforts towards the particular average car that you want to work on for that product. I think a good example of that is I'm going to use myself, I actually made this call to action, which is I'm people have been doing this in the online gallery in the creative life gallery, but I would love to know what makes you my ideal customer so let's start there. What made you want to take a class? How to start a handmade business? What made you read one of my books? What made you want our svp for what I'm doing like let's? And I was scared to do this so that's when I decided to do it because it was also a fear of mine because, you know, maybe nobody will respond so it's a little frightening to do it. So you guys, I need you to do it during the break, at least, but what makes you my ideal customer? What are the things that you have in common that would make you want to take this course? And if you could put it an image or something that represents your business up either in the creative life gallery you're on twitter, instagram, I would really like to see who you are and I would like you to look at who each other is I would like you to connect this way and find your ideal customers through our community because that's really how how we all get started I mean, we're all somebody's ideal customer and yet we're all incredibly different, but we all have one thing in common, and that is we're interested and handmade businesses so it's entirely impossible to have more than one profile. Yeah, and I mean, we have, like I said, we have several different concepts that we develop every season and anthropology, so we realize that, you know, not every single woman is looking for this one specific thing if she doesn't like that, she might like this and that our customer inherently is someone who, because she's creative because she's kind of whimsical, she might change her mind every day. Um, you know, sometimes I wake up in the morning and I think I'm this person and I'm going to get dressed up like this and then other days I wake up and I think something totally different and I think that's fine, teo, you know to know, especially if that's what your customer is if she's really creative or if he's really creative, you know that that's a person who evolves a lot because there, you know, kind of tuned in teo all the sorts of, like, interesting aesthetic things that are going on in the outside world what else is happening online? Oh, you know, no parties here and there, but I mean, I think it's a really important again point of, uh oh, no, we did have I don't have a really great question so weak he wanted to know and says maybe this is a silly question, but what if my customer is not like me? How do I know about how do I know about them? How do I know what they like? That it's a great question? And I would say that for a lot of us are customers aren't aren't like ourselves, sometimes they are sometimes we our own customer and sometimes we're not, but you do know something about them because you made something that you knew somebody would want to buy. So you are starting from somewhere you have made something that, you know, fulfills a need or answers a question or make somebody's life better, so you just start there. We're not all our own ideal customers and in fact, that's kind of a good thing because it's hard for us to be satisfied with what we do ourselves, right? If I was my own customer would never finish my work because I would definitely be saying, like, I can make it better, I could make it better, you know that? I think that you know more about your customer than then you realize and I think that if you have the workbook and you're going through these props and answering these questions this person will sort of form right in front of you they will begin to take shape when you really think about why they're buying what you make do you have any advice for that if you're not your ideal customer I think I mean one of the things I do a lot as I just do tons of research and whether you know I mean a lot of it is kind of anecdotal research so you know, it's just talking to people asking people their opinions you know, like reading blog's reading you know, looking at the competition I think is always a really important thing especially if it's something that's a little bit foreign to you but I think like kerry said u I probably know a lot more than you think you d'oh about that person because why would you be making that product if you didn't you know so you have some sort of understanding and empathy of them to begin with yeah like I would never make um a car engines because it just doesn't matter I don't know anything about that person, but if you make something it's because you know a little bit about who wants it and you could just start there yeah, yeah like I have often made things for kids, I don't have kids myself, but I love kids and I love, you know, thinking about making creative things for children, so I'm sure if I were to go forward with that more, I would, you know, I'd need to know a little bit more about the practicalities of making things for children, but the creative side of it, I think I would already have kind of formed in my head. Kathy, what are you figuring out about your ideal customer? Um, well, I'm trying to think about what if my ideal customer is different than my current customers, um, or because I was thinking that, um, my ideal customer, my current customers are moms who have kids, and they like to decorate their children's rooms, but I also make things that aren't specifically geared towards kids, so I always have that problem should I put in the children's section, children in the etc, a column or should I say it's just too core home decor? Because I I know other people other than moms buy my stuff too. So that's one of the cases where two ideal customer so you have a great opportunity there to do some testing to put to put your work into both categories and see where you get where you get the best response from that, so that is a very interesting place to be when you're figuring out who your ideal customers and how to reach them because you do want to communicate with that person. Leslie, what do you coming up with? I just I want to tell everybody to that. During lunch, leslie told me that she got a sale, so moved by your story and went right there online shop, and she was talking to her ideal customer, and she didn't even realize it. So congratulations! I have placed three pages. Yes, and we're I don't know if my ideal customer is who's currently buying my jewelry, or if it's who I want to target, I don't know if that's the same person is that you have to separate that out, but if you're feeling like you're not getting enough traffic to your store or your sales aren't where you really want them to be, then this is one of the things I would recommend that you try todo to solve either one of those problems so you can go back and look through who's purchased from you before and see if you can figure anything out about them that matches up to who you want to sell, teo and then you can also try selling to the person, of course, that you want to sell tio. So and maybe you'll find a lot of crossover maybe you'll find a whole new market that you didn't know existed for your work you know, maybe it's possible that some people want to buy what you make even if they don't want the visual reminder of something deeper maybe they're just going toe dig on your necklaces and that's good enough right but you know when you're struggling the more you know your customer the more you know how to get yourself out of those tough situations is there anything else coming in from online so there is this concept of jordan bowers says my issue is feeling like I need to charge more than I would pay so I guess my ideal customer is just richer than me and I feel like a target for I'm a darfur and we always say in the photography industry that you have you have to price it so that you can't afford it so you guys have any comments about that? Um I mean I have had that situation definitely with being someone who makes things from time to time I'm not like a constant maker that sells I'm always making things but when I did make things by hand um I didn't need to charge a lot more money for things and I felt I think you just feel bad about it because you are a maker anyone other makers love it and buy it but I think it's just kind of the reality of the situation that you have to respect the work that you make and charge really you know what it's worth and not not bring it down you know, just to like hopefully entice other people to buy it you know, you you have to realize like if you're selling something that's more expensive, you're going to sell fewer of these products but it kind of evens out, you know, and just the side like if that's something that you really want to dio and you believe in the materials that you're using which are maybe more pricey that's just you know, the nature of the business that you have to charge more for it yeah jordan I would be interested to know if you ever needed to save your money to buy anything because if so, you were buying something that may be the maker didn't have you in mind when they made it and I think that we all find ourselves there buying something that they're making something in charging an amount for that item that isn't something that we would be able to just easily pay for ourselves this no hindrance, I think when you're when you're trying to figure out who your ideal customer is again, you might not be your ideal customer and second of all we all make purchases that are stretch us a little bit no matter what and that doesn't mean that that I might not be I might be your ideal customer even if what you make us normally out of what I can afford to pay but it's just it's aspirational from here I wanted or there's some other incentive that you don't need to worry about that so much if you can pay for it because you could make it so you can get it for cost and also it's fine everybody prices their work differently and prices I mean different things to different people but if you really know if if your ideal customer somebody who would generally need to save for the kind of item that you make then you can easily work that into your product descriptions and into your marketing and into your messages like what to do in the meanwhile are why this is worth it or how this is going to be worth so wait there I like you only need to buy one of these instead of you know, fifty of something else yeah or you can figure out if you're going to offer them an incentive like bye q and you're gonna and then maybe through your newsletter you send somebody has made multiple purchases from you a discount later on or something like that that that's really good information tohave and it can really help you structure how much money you can make by knowing that about the cost of your good and who your ideal customer is so that's a really great question. Yeah, I definitely last year I decided to start buying some original art, and I kind of realized that I spend so much money on buying prints and, you know, just like little bitty things here and there that it really wasn't that big of a shift for me to buy, you know, I'm not talking about, you know, rembrandts or anything like that, but buying a nice painting from someone on git is so much more meaningful and that's something that you can always speak to, you know that this is an original piece and it is an investment but it's worth it. Yeah, I just want to say that this is another heart from emily and that you, you already are someone's ideal customer. So you are my ideal customer, and I'm glad that you're here and I can't wait to see what you post online that makes you my ideal customer really learned that. But you know, and that goes for everybody. We're all world somebody's ideal.

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.