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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 7 of 39

Knowing Your Ideal Customer

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

7. Knowing Your Ideal Customer

Lesson Info

Knowing Your Ideal Customer

Well, I'm actually touch on something that we didn't get to finish up in our last segment enough that I really wanted to do, which is to talk about our ideal days and in the workbook on page twenty four there's actually an outline for your perfect day and you ladies, I would love it if you would actually start to fill this out. And if anybody who's online watching, if you want to contribute teo and let us know in the chat room or on twitter, what? What are some of the components that make up your ideal day as a handmade business owner? And we'll tie this back into all the reasons that are important, but your ideal day is a reflection of your intentions, and your goals can help you determine what your tasks are that you need to d'oh, and I really just wanted to spend a few more minutes working on that excuse me, because it's really important stuff, nobody wants to spend their days doing things that they don't like, and your days add up to be your whole life, and nobody wants to be in bu...

siness tio have a crappy life. I mean, I've talked about that before that's, the opposite of why we're willing to start a handmade business. And I just so while you guys are working on that, your ideal days figuring it out, what how you want to spend your time, I want to just remind us all that we're all beginners, and no one knows how to do these things. We all have to figure it out by trial and error and by experimenting and just learning. So I want to really stress that no matter where you are in your life journey er in your business journey that we all start somewhere, and for us, we can start with what's in this workbook and weaken start together I saw online during lunch that we are already building a community. I was approving people into the facebook group while I was eating my delish, his lunch, and so we've already started so many things, and we've just begun today, we're building a stronger community were really figuring out how we want to spend our time and what we want our life to look like, and then we're going to figure out how to inject our business into that versus letting our business be our life, which is really important because you are not your business, and if somebody were to criticize something that happens in your business or if your business isn't going the way you wanted to do that is something that you do in your other time. In your ideal day, you're doing so many activities that make you the kind of person you want to be and that in turn helps you build the kind of business that you want to build, so I just really want to stress that you need to be respectful of yourself and of your time almost everything takes a lot longer than we think I don't does that anybody else suffer from that you're like, oh yeah, just about fifty things on his to do list today I was totally reasonable and then it's the end of the day or like, oh, coffee check shower, check, email, check um so you can do it is what I really want to say you can make this happen for yourself and figuring out who you are and what you want to dio is that is the beginning of that you're going to be able to create the business and the life that you want, and you're going to be able to take things away from our course, you're going to be able to learn things from one another online, you're going to be able to look back through the workbook when you're done with it and really put together this big picture of everything that you want to make for yourself, and just by being here now you're already doing a good job we've already started we in the last segment, we talked a lot about fears and how to wrap them up, and I just want to say, is you're working on your ideal day, do your fears pop up in there? No, because it's your ideal day. So you're not worried about what people are saying or what people are thinking, or if people are buying your product because it's your ideal day. So it's already working for you? And does anybody want to share anything any points of their ideal day where they are usually what do you do after lunch? They're your ideal day, uh, did not put lunch on my ideal day. What's your ideal life in my ideal life. I e could you repeat that, please? I thought in my ideal life, I don't eat and I'm very fun. Well, maybe that's not what you're going to really miss food. I say I will add it. Okay, yeah didn't go back and put that in there because this is, you know, your ideal day. So what? What? What are a few things on your list? Well, one of the main differences in my ideal day versus what I'm currently doing as that I wantto get up in the earlier morning and leave my house because I find that they sleep in a little bit later like I sleep in and so my husband has to go to work and then I just want a putter around the house and do chores for a long time and procrastinate that way I'm so being productive but I'm also procrastinating so I need to get up earlier and get out of the house yes, some boundaries for yourself between your life and your work which can be really hard when you're do some of your work from home I know when I'm serious about what I'm doing I do it at my desk and when I'm just thinking about what I'm doing are kind of halfway doing it I totally do it for my sofa so it makes a difference where I'm working inside my home tio heather do you have anything on your ideal there you can show yeah I would like tio be able tio go to my studio which unfortunately tohave and meet with my assistant who's going to be doing all the things on the to do list that I don't like to do on the o that would be so nice wonderful I'm glad that you put them in there that's hurry I did include lunch but I said with friends and because I do like to eat what you like to eat okay leslie what's on your ideal day ah there on my usual day but they actually get done that syrian state my usual day includes I'm going to do the dishes today so stuff like ok really that would free up your mental space to focus more on your business if you felt like you had less home things to dio I know that's been a really big part of things for me kathy anything on your ideal day? Well, one thing that I do currently is a soon as I wake up I just jump on the computer in my ideal day I wouldn't do that, you know, make coffee do a little stretching chat with my husband and kind of center myself instead of saying oh who like my pager right instead of working, we had to make a rule in our house no phones and bed in the morning because we're slow wake are uppers and I realized at one point like, oh, we're both awakened is that a word to each other in like twenty minutes? We're totally like so yeah setting those boundaries is really important in figuring out what you want your day to look like, which is the life that you really want to have is anybody from online shared anything about their deal? They absolutely christine said my ideal day include sea glass hunting at a nearby beach inspired and at the same time collect materials used in my jewelry that's perfect that is that's really great reach scavenger anne as well though the distractions of working from home my deal day is to get out of the house even if it's to walk the dog you know walking the dog perfect way to get at that that's true let's see, we also have somebody who said they're ideal day let's see don't mean you know yes your honor I found this's from surely and leading lady who said my perfect deal day would simply consist of family time alone time exercise time community time, business time and creating time that's good that's really good you can really see the connection between your ideal day and the intentions that you cited for yourself as anyone seeing a connection like that so far as you've been working in the workbook like not their promise you what's happening okay? So if they're there any questions about ideal days or how that whole exercise works it's really great if you read the martha back book that I mentioned before follow your euro north star and if you happen to have the audio version of that book quit your library sometimes we'll have which is how I got it she actually guide you through it like a voice meditation and I had one that lived on my website for a little while but had to be taken down but she's has this really peaceful ways and she's like you're in bed how how do your sheets feel? Are they soft or star ged? Or? And so when she does that, I really never make it past ten a m because I'm totally like sleep, but it's really a good exercise, okay, way are going to move on, tio, who are you doing all this for? Who was going to buy what you make, and how are you going to communicate with them? This is goes back, teo, and this will start on page twenty six in the workbook and there's lots of exercises that we're going to dio during this segment, we're going to create a customer profile, which kate is going to help us dio and I've listed some promise in here, I think there's about fifty prompts, maybe that are going to help us figure out who's going to buy what we make, and then we're going to tie this into what we want our visual brand to be like, and I know that most of us aren't just starting from scratch. Nobody really woke up today and said, oh, I I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to start any business, you know, something that we've all been thinking about for a little while, so well, you might not have a lot of branding going on or while you, you might not have a clear picture of how you want that to work or how you're going to communicate. I want you to know that you you probably have more information than you realize you probably have been turning around ideas for a while you've been thinking about it while you've been crafting you have been forming and shaping these concepts in your mind, even if you don't really realize it. So hopefully there's a couple of ah ha, moments that come up for people as we move forward, but the reason we really want to know who were selling for is because we want to know how to sell it, and we actually I want to sell it. We want to make money, we want to have a successful business that allows us to have our ideal days. Where are tensions air reached? Our goals are our milestones are easy to get you, and part of that happens by finding out who is going to pay you so that's what we're going to start with, um, the knowing your ideal customer will help you in, as I've listed here in the way that you take your photos, because if your ideal customer loves a certain look or certain a certain visual when they're imagining their lives because they're buying your products to make some part of their life better, more attractive, easier gift they want to make somebody happy. They have some sort of personal reason for wanting to buy what you make, so your photos actually speak to them, and if you were selling shawls, you know, maybe you would not want to photograph them well wearing a bikini, because that is two different messages, you know? So you want to be really consistent with what you're doing, so if you can connect all of these dots, you'll come up with a much easier strategy and make all these tasks and goals your task easier on your goals, easier to reach, knowing who you're writing to, and you're writing item descriptions or you're about page or any kind of writing that you have to do that's going to connect a customer cheer business it's great to be able to write to somebody directly. And if you have your ideal customer mind, you can just write to them. You know what that ideal customer wants to know about your product? You know why they want to buy it most likely, you know what they're going to use it for, and it makes all of that writing business. So much easier than just trying to write for the whole world. If you were trying to write to me and to rosalie and to my grandpa and anybody else that exists, you might possibly be a customer, you're you're feel the focus is so large that it's hard to reach all those people, so we just want to find one person that you can continue to communicate with and all of these different ways so that they can find you easier and they can buy your products he's year, this also helps you determine your pricing. There's absolutely nothing wrong with, uh, owning ferrari. I think I said that earlier, but I am not for ari's ideal customer because I'm never going tio pay them for a car thiss was like a lot smoother in my head a minute ago, but just because just because I'm not going to buy their car doesn't mean that they shouldn't try to sell it, they just need to focus in on the person who wants that kind of car. I have a twelve year old while the station wagon that makes a lot of noises that drives down the street and and I am that person's ideal customer like show me an old wagon that's falling apart. And I will somehow scrape together a thousand dollars and purchase it, but but that's just me. So I am somebody's ideal customer when it comes tio to buying a car and so are you so know your ideal customer also helps you optimize your social media efforts and helps you build community around your brand if you know where you're talking to you know what to say, so your job this becomes so much simpler then if you're just out there winging it. So starting on page twenty six, we start talking about building your business story and your brands, and we are going to now create a customer profile for somebody in the studio audience and that's kathy so but first I want to introduce cates, everybody, this is kate terry, so I met kate a few years ago when I took a workshop she did, and the workshop that she did was on visual merchandising, and I thought since I had had my own store for a long time and created good displays and I've also I don't know if I had it on my list, but I've worked as a stylist quite a bit for magazines and books, and it was a prop stylist in a food stylist here and there that I thought I would pick up a few tips, but I walked out of kate's workshop like I just knew so much more than I ever thought possible, and I really wanted you to be here to help us with that. It was amazing. So may I offer you o e would love one. Thank you so much. And, kathy, are you ready to come up and get to know your ideal customer? So and you guys, I want you to follow along in your workplace. Teo, I'd love to see your pretty kathy. Kate hello, kitty. We're all a bunch of a bunch of cases. So kathy makes party decorations and party supplies. Correct? Do you do want to bring him up? Sure. Ana grabem really like? So we couldn't see him. And we're going to figure out who kathy is selling. Teo and why cute. So the why is my mother's fault? She invented this pew clip and it slips over a church pew. And her idea was that wouldn't it be great if you put a little tooling in here? She had a dime aid and snapped this in here. And then you put fresh flowers on the church and then take them back to the reception the shuttle these to use against centerpieces. So she had all these pots and she needed something to cover them up with because they're green and they're white they're ugly well they're you know they're fine so a psa graphic designer I all started the pats and patterns and came up with this design and had a principle and now you can you know, cover that sleeves and they're reversible they're different colors and different patterns so as I grow, customers have asked us for something larger and something in other colors in more patterns and customizing and whatnot and then backing up a little bit um being new and agree I printed way too many of these so I said what am I going to do with all these? You know I can't if I don't if he's so so I designed a little cupcake rap with this little scallop feet and then how to die made from a local fellow and created these little cupcake wraps and you put your chicken and I worked with the local you know, bakery and kind of talked about the ideas and so then I'm thinking about designing paper cones that would work with the concept of the pew club with for weddings but a lot of times what's happening is people with planning baby showers and bridal showers are wanting these in their colors are the ones I have are custom colors navy blue graduation parties so it's kind of branching out to the party party and custom messages you know writings and messages like you know the greeting cards would be and then expanding it to the greeting card another thank you said the party invites and yeah so all right so I heard you say so much about your customer while you were just explaining what you d'oh it's somebody who goes to church somebody's attending an event or special occasion event people who have fancy weddings or weddings where they decorate people who eat cup case if you look about a baby showers or have baby showers so post yes I mean you really just said a lot about your customer when you were just describing your products yeah mothers throwing parties for little girls yeah baby showers friends of friends who's hosting the baby shower mothers who are trying to help their children plan weddings cost effectively uh yeah and florists and forests oh that's a great force yeah and these air currently sold at a floral supply uh also so I'm marking to them about how different ideas can use so bride a couple years ago asked how can I can I hang a mason jar because they're really popular for the winnings with your pew club? I'm like I don't know so I thought about it and I just did a little wire with the loop and then hung it on the thing and covered so now I sell tons of these because I put up a little a piece about how to make it how to hang a mason jar with people that sybil everyone a lot of space and dress I think so just branching out teaching people how to use that the tools I have it's been a what do you do? I think that elevator's speech thing I know I make huge cliffs I mean it's just kind of have to educate my my customers so who are you educating uh bright florists mothers of brides do it yourself brides um people who want to make their their celebration with it bridal shower baby shar or wedding something special something unique I have hostesses and hopes to have a little toppers that I created so you this a special message that says, you know, happy anniversary or maybe it's happily ever after and so these little toppers kind of sticking in about it odd little angles and so it's like also with a message a celebration special it's a graduation party you know you put the graduates name on it so yeah trying to customize the event for the celebration and how many different kinds of papers when patterns you are where is it all custom? No, I started out with ease and have these printed so I had like, you know, one hundred thousand of these printed in this green black a white or sold out pink and then I have some you know, blues I went to a florist and spoke with several florists and said, what do your colors one of the one of the colors that have worked with weddings? You know, red has this burgundy that would work with the road, so I did research on what's the best green with blue and then but now I'm getting the import I'm getting is we want something bigger, so I moved to this, you know, we want something tiffany blue now where we want, you know, purple, whatever the colorants of that season, I need to be creating fresh material, so I have a stash of base, but I'm looking into the possibility of howto print these effectively on the manus custom, okay? So it would be good to also look into wedding trends, like what color is really big right now? What kind of flowers really big right now? So who told you that they wanted a bigger size, the customers, the floors, especially on and then once I started offering it, the brides were like, oh, yes that's a big much exercise for us and but basically it's a florist who told him, do you think she has something bigger and then they would ask for it, so I moved to that this is just something I'm introducing slowly because I don't want us right but I want to develop the idea before I go to farther to much further which is why the whole paper code of kind of designed a new product line for that that I'm still developing but yes definitely this smaller project will label needed to go with the wedding trends every season without meeting those requirements okay so when it comes to your ideal customer like let's really think about who they are so who's going to go into the florist and buy these products or who's going to come cheer online shop and buy these products and how are you because you know it doesn't really don't want to give them your whole sales pitch like what you're making and what you're doing because they don't really care about that they want to know how it's going to make their event better they don't want to know like what's really coming up next they want to know how you can help them today and right now so I followed the wedding trends if all of the colors every season and I do research on the wedding blog's the wedding style so uh question they come to me because so my photography I have a great photographer who we set a style shoot and will show how to use it what kind of flowers to put in it a list flowers of what to use in different combinations of flowers people are interested in that so there they're finding me by my photography or by their need I need to decorate my wedding isles on this so as a result I actually added two holes into this so I punched them and they could be hung with riven over the backs of ill of chairs for outdoor water so it's just kind of evolving is they asked for things do you have this? You have that then through your website or do you have a shop? I haven't web site and it's the store and then I have relationships with florists and then the wholesale place and you know, I went in recently to the wholesaler and they were on the bottom floor of their warehouse as balloon clips and like way to fix this and so I've been reaching out to them to say we need to get it in the wedding section and then I developed siri's of post ways you can use it the mason jar anyone's products from their store and then showed him how to use it with the pew club and they were really excited because they're like oh, I didn't know you could do that um so yeah so let's get into the mind of a person he wants to really throw a party he could use your product and let's figure out how we would talk to them and how we will sell them this product ok ok where should we start um well what's interesting to me is I've never actually seen these before on by really I think they're really great like I think they're really smart and fun and but if I looked at just the clip on its own I think I would be like what do you do with this I don't understand eh? So there's definitely like an educational part of it but I think it's also it's just thinking about like what kind of bride you're you know you're looking for like you probably want someone who's more die y and um you know not necessarily someone who is throwing like a wedding at you know the plaza it's someone who kind of has like, a little bit more of a creative thing going on to start with s o I would definitely think about like you know if it is for bride or for some sort of hostess like it's someone who kind of already gets it a little bit but then needs the education on like you know what the product actually is like she knows she wants citing creative and she knows she wants something different but she doesn't necessarily know this even exists right and I think they're looking for color you know there's colors yellow so she wants a yellow custom maybe different designs this is just one design but introducing the patterns people that want something whimsical so what do you what do you think of whimsical a person is not looking for in terms of design, but what is it about their personality makes some winds awful that you can connect? Tio uh, I think it's because they want something different that is not already out there, and so people like you want unique products products, something that's fun find it yet it can be elegant depending on what you put in it and that so people who maybe have a smaller budget because they want to take this from the from the location of the wedding to the reception later. So these people are cost minded, right? So they're looking for you to be a double duty product. There is several things they're looking for, just that touch of I've never seen a tea cup, you know, they're looking for unique items, okay? I love the word whimsical definitely for this, yeah, yeah, they're looking, I have chevron patterns, and the whole fun thing for me is that now be able to introduce new ideas and more more to reach a broader market because maybe not everybody likes the floral that the polka dot says chevron and around comes great because every run is such a big now, yeah, and I follow the trends and trying to find out like I'm going to dio ah, floral pattern one I'm going to create do you know, keeping in mind that has to go with the flowers are not competing with flowers but so people don't want to set a trend or want a source ideal customer someone is looking for something they can special order and like the toppers when you add those they're like somebody's name on him so people can customize their wedding will customize, customize their weddings and so you could use that information tio right your block posts or to incorporate that into your photography um just based on those characteristics alone about how to address that specific person who wants to die why who wants tio keep their budget in mind? They don't have unlimited funds to pay for their wedding so they need to be able tio get their products to do double duty so that sort of who you're ideal customer is and the florist like them because it helps the florist keep their costs down in the forest. Kidman will this khun do the church on the reception and then you can give it a favor to your guests so they're kind of selling that whole who unique product and and cost saving for their I think that's really smart to to partner with another business to show that you know when you're planning an event or getting married you know it's like there are so many different things that you have to figure out so if you khun you know make it easier for them like here's a little package that you khun dio you know and you can cross that off your list a little bit easier to ask a question yeah speaking about trends talking about following trends so kate you are you you're somebody that I really look up to so e talk about this but it is and I'm not sure what your title is probably know that but you actually designed all of the displays for the store anthropology is that correct? I mean with the team yes there's so my title is visual communication manager so I'm actually more in charge of at this point concept ing it season so whether you realize it or not whenever you go into an anthropology there's always a few different apparel concepts and then there's all these different home rooms and they change every season on dwi really based them on um like a person like we'll make up the whole story all right like a like an entire story about this person that would live in this living room or that would where these items in this part of the store so um you know, I think the more you can think about like a person in your mind the better it is andi even you know, naming her or maybe for you you might have three different people, you know, because you have maybe a bride you have like someone who's planning you know different kind of party but I love to you know, they come up with a name for the person where does she live? What kind of music that she listened tio like what's your favorite color? Does she have a style muse? Um, you know, down to the nitty gritty and I do a lot of research on it too. So that's I guess the reason I brought it up is because I mean, for my group of friends, people like ken and I store anthropology in united states is the cutting edge of, like, what is what is trend what is trending in? What is its zx one step ahead, it just it seems so ahead. So when I think about what's cool, I look a bit anthropologie store, so when we're talking about knowing what was trendy or what trends, I mean, you're so cutting edge like, how do you do that? Um, we dio tons and tons of blogging research like I'm on, you know, probably thirty five to forty different blocks a day sometimes even more. I spend a lot of time on pinterest um I other than that, I think I just kind of keep my eyes open all the time toe everything out there, you never know when you're going toe find some like something really, really inspiring and it could be somewhere amazing, like I just went on a vacation to amsterdam and I'm you know, I've got, like, a million ideas from that so it could be something really amazing or it could be something really simple, like you walk down the street and see a really cute cafe or you see a really adorably dressed person, you know, like around the corner and, you know, immediately I like take out I either take out my phone or my notebook depending on what I've got with me and, you know, just kind of start writing notes it's s o I think it's just kind of always keeping your eyes open and your mind open to inspiration because it's everywhere it definitely is everywhere, and I do look at beholding yeah, ideas yeah, I mean, the holding is a great alice look for for wedding ideas trends I think you know, just to see with the trends are. So do you think your ideal customer is the bride or the person paying for the wedding or both? I both. Well, sometimes the bride will find me some points the mother of rival mean depends on who's most organized, you know who needs help organize right now, who's doing that was you, yeah well, thank you so much. Thank a shady. Oh, so we're talking about ideal customers like, you know, it's, who you're trying to reach. What do they like? What do they buy all of the things that kate was just explaining to us about? What is going to compel this person to come to your shop and click on your by your by button? What what do you, what do you need to know about them to get them there?

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.