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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 18 of 39

What is Marketing?

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

18. What is Marketing?

Lesson Info

What is Marketing?

Marketing is my favorite subjects when it comes to our handmade businesses I could talk about how do you share what you do with the world all day long? One thing I'm not exactly an expert at though is making these slides, but I used some provided for me clip art so that to get this marketing party started so because marketing is fun it's a great conversation between you and potential customers current customers people who don't know they need to be your customer yet it's just the way that you share what you make with the world and that is fun and feels like a party and if it doesn't work on it and make it make it a party for yourself so we're going to start with what is marketing and this is the definition from the handmade market place and I would say that this is in the top five things that people email me about as they say I read the him a marketplace and now I feel like I understand what marketing is because it is not very it's not as complicated or confusing as as we think when we...

think of the word marketing if we don't really know what it means that can feel really heavy and loaded and marketing is simply how you sell what you make so there's a lot of different ways to look at that there's a lot of different lenses and filters that we can create around that concept, but when you boil it all down, whether you're focusing on your social efforts, whether you're focusing on printed materials or in person sales or you're selling door to door, no matter how you do it, marketing is how you sell what you make it is the connection between you and your audience it's the thread that links you to the rest of the world so that they can know about your products and it's it's a simple as that what the mean questions people ask me it is what do you find our people's number one stumbling blocks to starting handmade business? What are people most afraid off? The number one thing people are most afraid of in my experience is marketing they really are like what? No, thank you. I don't want tio talk about myself, I don't want people to think I'm conceited, I don't want people tio, um, I feel like I'm just today that somebody here creative lives said I don't want to be hogging up their news feeds with information about myself. I don't want to make people mad. Um it is it is such a big thing for people that they're really nervous about it, so I want to start off by asking the studio audience, you guys and also you guys at home to start thinking about what are your fears around marketing and then send those them because we're going to spend most of our marketing time talking about how to get past those fears because I do know that we were going to touch on things like business cards and other things that you need to market your business but it's the best in most easiest way you have to sell what you make us by utilizing your online connections in communities that's the least expensive you don't need tio purchase anything really to make those sorts of connections with people and it's where a lot of us started feels really safe because you're on the internet, you're at home in your day pajamas making, making your business happen and it's it's one of the easier ways to actually market yourself. So while we're going to talk about other tools that you have for that, we're going to really focus a lot with communication, the communication part of marketing and I know that there's a lot of fears around that, so I want those not that I want you to have a lot of fears, but if you do, I want him to come rolling in so we can talk about them and figure out how to get past them marketing is like making friends for your business, and we talked a little bit yesterday about how you are not your business, your business is a separate thing from you do you know? Have you ever had a job where you're like working all the time and you just kind of feel like you don't have anything but that job going on like you are your work? And then you go to the bar with your friends and you come home and you're laying around being sad and you think, am I working to live or living to work that ever happened to any of you guys? Then you cry all the time in the work in the bathroom at work e I guess, but you were not your business, you know, in your businesses is separate from you, so when you want to talk about your business with people who want to know about your business, you're not really always pushing yourself in front of them. You are sharing what you make, which is how you can sell what you make and if you want to have a business than you need to commit to selling what you make. If you want to have a business, you need to be prepared to sell what you make to make money. If not if you just want to share what you make and give it away or donate it, then you have a hobby where you have a very generous hobby where you're just a really kind person and you want to make things, and then give them away freely, and I bet it would be a lot easier to say, like, I made this for you and it's free, like it's, easy to give gifts, but hard to say, I made this and it's forty five dollars, you know? So how you communicate that message to your customers and your potential customers is really important, and you are not your business, so separate yourself from that, you know, try as hard as you can, tio not represent, not to put your personal self into your business efforts is what I am really trying to say to you, marketing is about educating your customers. Marketing is connecting with your ideal customer, you know? So we did some work yesterday to find out who that person is, where they are, how we confined them, what they're doing, what they're thinking about, so we already have some places where we know we can look for ideal customers, and because we know them so well, we know what we're going to say to them when we find them. We know that when we write our item descriptions, when we write our marketing copy that we have this person in mind, and that makes it a lot easier to figure out what to say, because we've we've investigated them a little bit of we know the kind of things that that they want to hear, so we're going to say those things about our product and present that to our customers and mostly marketing is about developing relationships marketing is about helping people either solve problems that they have with your products by educating them about what you make her, what you sell, helping them have the kind of lifestyle they want you're doing people a favor if that helps you by that helps you to reframe how you think about marketing by sharing what you make with them because they need those things I needed somebody tio martin we know we all did we all need people to market to us so that we know what teo get to me any kind of me that we might have. So the marketing section in the workbook starts on beach fifty five and so in fifty six peach fifty six you guys, there is a big chart for you to write down any fears you have about marketing and I'd like to see your pens and pencils scrolling across the page writing all of that out and getting all of it down and then page after that is what sounds like fun about marketing because I promise it is loads of fun but I see that we already have some questions for you what do you got going on I think you're going to be a little bit proud of me because I was actually working on the section on the bus this morning I had to climb to kill on on the bus and I broke down a bunch of the things I don't like about marketing and then they kind of addressed dems I have a couple of my own marketing is is um wrote that I hate selling non essentials to people because I guess juries really a non essential you could live without it um I don't like making anyone pay full price when I wouldn't I love a good bargain um and I don't want to describe my jewelry is better than it is that's it's like I put beads on a chain it doesn't seem that exciting to me but I know I could describe it better than that and I don't like that idea but my my way of addressing that was marketing is making sure the people who want to buy from me know where to find me and marketing is putting my best foot forward like interviewing for a job so if I want somebody to be interested in my jewelry, I'm not going to show up in my sweats and say yeah, I just threw this together I'm going to say yeah, I've got this background and this is the skills that I have that make this quality and I have no I've got my slacks or whatever on I'm presenting myself well and that's what the marketing needs to be is the best that I can give without being fake you're right, I am proud of you but I was kind of you before, so although thank you for doing that work you said a lot of really interesting things that are going to resonate with a lot of people there actually so thank you very much and a lot of what you said isn't up to you to determine I don't want you to think for me as your potential customer and this goes for all of you I can think for myself and you all can think of yourselves all decide if what you make is essential or nonessential that's not your decision to make for me, so this is a little little bit of tough love I don't want to feel that if I want to treat myself to a necklace, so by you saying, well, it's not really essential you're just like, you know, affirming my my wondering like this should I treat myself to that? Do I deserve that? You're thinking for me and making me think twice, which is the opposite of what you want to dio if you want to have a busy this it's your job to sell that for me and if if I was your employer, if I was, um carrie, carrie, tape and headquarters and you worked for me, and it was your job to sell my books, and you are on the phone with people, and you're like, oh, it's a good book, but do you really need it? You need another book to have room for that you would be fired and you would be fired with lightning fast quickness, but but but but you would never say that if you're working for me because I would be paying you and you would know that it was your job to sell my books, so don't do a worse job for yourself then you would do if you worked for me, why would you come and work for me and be the best employee you could possibly be? But when you hire yourself to run your own business, you're just like, well, I'm just going to tell people is kind of crappy and maybe they don't really need it, and they should think twice before they buy for me. Why would you work like that for yourself when you would never work like that for me? Fire that version of leslie, get her out of here because that's crazy talk and your customers don't want to hear that what your customers want a year is this necklace is going to make you feel awesome this necklace represents who you are on the inside, it's going to change the way you feel about yourself and it's going to be a constant reminder that you are worth it if you want people to feel that way about themselves, you need to start feeling that way about your product. You got it. Okay, okay, also, you love a good bargain. You don't know if I love a bargain, I might have the crazy spending shopping addiction or I might not care about bargains. Or I might say, the one thing I always buy for myself and never feel bad about is jewelry, you know, you don't know that about me, so don't make those assumptions that I'm only going to buy something if you I feel like it's a low enough price point because you don't really know what my price point is. If you really researching your ideal customer, you do have some idea. So if you know that your ideal customer thinks that one hundred fifty dollars, is a reasonable price for a necklace, then that is already a bargain to them that fits into what they like. And if that's how much you want to charge you guys, you and your customer than aligned, so if here they don't want to bargain from you, they want something really special. So there's all kinds of ways that we need to learn as new business owners and as business owners who are scared because what we're selling this stuff that we actually make to not make these source of us not to think for our customers and our marketing not to tell them you might be able to find this cheaper somewhere else just so you know, you might find something better you like I'm not sure I only buy things on sale. What about you? You know, it's just it's, just not your business and it's not it's, not your business to make something or to have a price point that everybody is going to like her respond to that would be impossible. It would be impossible to try to market toe every person out there. It just won't work and the more you try, the harder it's going to be and the less you're going to enjoy your work and the last you enjoy your work, the less you make, the less you make the less choice I have the last choice I have, the unhappier I am and by I I mean the whole world. So, you know, I'm generalizing now and speaking for the whole world, but there are you know, I mean, we could keep doing that for most of the segment, and actually we sort of are going to really talk about these marketing fears and problems that people have and how we can solve those problems for you, which is awesome carrying because we have so many coming through from online as well. Yeah, it's z one of the hottest topics that I yet repeatedly is people are just afraid to share what they make, which is, you know, unnecessary skill if you want to sell what you make. So this is something we all have to push through and get over let's, keep breaking it down, throw something, be y o s you want us to bring more? Yeah, ok, let's do it the way I left. Ok, so we've got weedy and art spare who are fearful that it's going to take too much time so not even starting so not having the time to keep marketing or social media updated on dh, then says, I guess that comes with being organized of an art spirit says marketing seems really time consuming. My fear is that the marketing will become more of a focus on my art. Okay, well, those are both very interesting concepts because as we talked about yesterday with emily, running a business is just that it's running the business it's work and even though we could design around jobs and decide what we want to dio it still comes with work there's not a single job, I think of that doesn't come with work and that's because it's a job and you know, it would be awesome like I really don't like this question when people say if you could do anything in the world, what would it be? Because I was think, oh yeah, you know what that is that is drinking coffee and taking naps and reading books and walking my dogs like but nobody's going to pay me to do any of those things? And even if I had say, a job as an editor and it was my job to read books, well, then I would have to mark them all up and I would have to read a bunch of books that I wasn't really interested in because that was my job as an editor and if I got paid to walk my dogs, you know, my dogs don't have jobs, so they really couldn't afford my hourly rate anyways and there's just it's just no matter what you do its work and so you have says commit to that and just know that from the get go if it because so overwhelming to you that you don't have time to be creative and the onus of that is on you a gesture time schedule figure out where you can make things easier for yourself and then do it. Is it true that as a hand maker, you won't just get to primarily make things by hand for your business? Yes, because if you want to sell those things and have a business, then you have to make the time in the space to do everything else, and we can talk about lots and lots of great ways to simplify these efforts so that you can convince them into eso you can sort of do your work in batches, which will make it a lot easier, but it's going to be possible, and if you find that you have no time to create because you're all business, then either you need to hire somebody to help you that's what that says that your business has grown so much that you can't keep up with all of your administrative tasks, and so you either need to get some help or you need to restructure. So once you get to that point, you will figure it out. If you like what you're doing, you're the answers in the solutions to tackling that will will appear, but if you use that as this might happen as a reason not to start your business or is a reason not tio grow your business or a reason not to try then maybe you didn't really want to have a hand me business to begin with I didn't radio interview once with a very popular radio host and she has more than a radio program and she kept throwing problem after problem at me during our live interview on the radio about well what if what if I don't have a computer? Well then you're not going to have an online business unless you have a computer that you could that you could borrow like so all of these questions you know we can really answer ourselves if we try hard enough to do it if you want to make it work your going to make it work so it's far spending too much time on page sixty four in the workbook there's actually a marketing calendar that you can build a little editorial calendar schedule because you can use utilize services where you can pre program in your tweets or your facebook posts you khun devise an editorial calendar you can write on themes so that it's easier and on sunday if you know you want to update your block three times a week on sunday maybe you spend three hours doing your social media for the week and scheduling in a new right your block post for the weekend reschedule them through your blogging platforms so that they show up when they need to be you can even their services that help you that will tell you winner most people in your area or who are interested your followers when are they on instagram the most so that you can target your photos to those times of days when your followers are more likely to be online and engaging with instagram as a form of social media so there's lots and lots of ways to figure it out there's not one single argument that we can not solve about marketing and fears except for you're not going to do it that's the on ly thing that we cannot fix together as a team because if you don't want to do it or don't want to try then you have already decided and no great solution that any of us come up with is going tio teo propel leave forward and that goes for all of us there's lots I don't do for my business that I know I could especially when it comes to marketing and it's just because I don't like it, so if I don't like it, I'm not going to do a good job and if I'm not going to do a good job, you know I mean I've already told you that story you already know that so that's pretty much how it works but fearful of it taking up too much time manager time manager, time by batch posting by working things out in advance by utilizing an editorial calendar by signing up for a service that allows you teo post two different social media platforms more than once, if that's the direction you want to take every time you instagram something, you could connect it to your twitter. So if you have followers on twitter who don't follow you on instagram, they can still see your great product photos, you know, there's loads and loads of solutions out there. The other concern that we had was the time one and not not having the time maybe to keep all the social media lines updated and then also yeah, marketing seems really time consuming, but we have many more do you want to move on with anymore? I do, I will, I will take two more, okay? Uh, curious, kerry said, I think my biggest fear is that I'm boring and I just I just don't have anything interesting to say on social media. Who said that? That was curious carry, curious carry yeah carries about your name getting kerry's carrie, I'm going to decide if you're boring that's, not for you to decide if you really feel like you're boring than spice it up, doing it needs to do to feel like you're not boring, but as your follower, I will determine if you're boring that's, not for you to get to decide what I may or may not like if you don't put it out there, I don't have a chance to respond to that or a chance to engage with you, so you will never know. So instead you're just sitting at home thinking, I'm boring. I would love to know if you're boring, I'll straight up tell you, and so will your followers by not engaging and by not responding, it will be clear if people think you're boring. However, if you want some tips on how tio start out not being boring one of that my favorite, and please forgive me if you are watching this die in guilderland because I have a wonderful friend dying gilliland, and she is very popular in the craft communities. She has a website called craft ipod. She actually is a creative life course coming up, so on making t shirt quotes, and she told me something back in two thousand nine that which seems like an internet ages ago, like so long ago and internet time, she told me that the best way to blogger was to view the world through the lens of your craft. And back in two thousand nine, we pretty much only had blog's I mean, twitter was around a little bit and facebook, but that was a really great way to look at it. What do you love making and what do you love doing? And how can you relate that to the information that you want to share with the world? Um, so sorry, diane, if you're watching and I butchered that, but that it's definitely the gist of it, but creating an editorial calendar will also help you to feel like you're not boring and by editorial calendar, I mean, and I believe there was an editorial calendar template in the enrollment so that if you want to our svp, even though you're already here, you'll get the enrollment bonuses that have an editorial calendar template in them. But that is where you decide in advance what you're going to talk about if you just sit down in front of your computer and say, going to write a block posts and I'm going to tweet about it and then I'm going to put up a picture that could be really daunting and take up a lot of time, but if you think about it ahead of time, like on monday, I'm going to talk about something that you that your customer will find interesting, and if you know your ideal client well enough, you're going to know that they love stuff about kids or they love stuff about catcher, they like healthy eating and s o if you want to show them the dishes that you make with a great salad on it, that is in line with what they might find at the farmer's market this weekend, you can keep your content short and engaging by just thinking about it in advance. It is a lot of pressure on yourself to sit down and say, I'm going to knock all this out. I mean, I've had a blogged for a really long time longer than most people back when there was a website called geo cities, and everybody was like little pixel people, and it wasn't attractive like it is now. So I've been blogging for such a long time that even now, if I sat down and just said, I'm just gonna whip something up, I would still sit there for a while, being like, maybe people want to hear about shoes, I don't know, you know, it's, it could be it could be a challenge if you don't set yourself up for success, but you could do that with an editorial calendar, you can come through your feedback to find out where customers are talking about reiterate that engage with them on those kinds of topics there's lots and lots of ways to solve the boring problem all right last one let's see if we have any from our studio audience if not we'll go back to the chatter marlo you have won I dio I'm right so I happen to love marketing I think it's really fun to engage with a lot of people but I also have a really really strong addiction to perfectionism so for instance I keep telling myself I'm going to revitalize my blog's I'm going to do an editorial calendar it's going to be awesome and easy and it's going to be all laid out for me ahead of time and because that perfect editorial calendar doesn't happen in my head I totally stops there like I haven't touched my blog's and way too long s o you know a lot of what you're saying about just kind of do it anyway try it anyway it's really kind of helping me out a lot with that perfectionism is there any reason why you think you stopped blogging? It got really overwhelming I didn't have a plan I had a a schedule that I put for myself like monday tuesday wednesday I'm going to post on all three blog's three times a week and and then I added social media on top of that at a certain point and it just became too much so I just stopped everything and there's a lot of things that I want to share with the people that know me so people want you to share e so why was this kind of engagement you know, so number one give the people what they want and number two if you know what will make it easier for you to do that, why aren't you doing it solvent age old mystery yeah, I think I always go back to the perfectionism thing where I feel like well, if I don't have it all figured out ahead of time that I don't know how it's going to end up and if I don't know how it's going to end up, then that's dangerous feeling um but I'm trying really hard tio get over that kind of thing because it's so it sounds like you imagine sort of the worst case scenario and then just let something that hasn't really happened in reality stop you from doing something right now and it sounds like you spend a lot of time worrying about that thing that didn't happen that you never did tio making yourself feel bad about a situation that you made up in your mind that didn't really happen yeah, and then it goes a step further where I realized that all of that is happening, so then I start feeling bad about feeling bad so um the thing you said yesterday about being human yeah that's really you know, I see the guy with the lens of that on your marketing happened saw a lot of us, I think for sure and that goes back to yesterday when I was talking about the fear of success to exactly just framed it as perfectionism for yourself and I think if you can just start out with whatever project you're doing and just say right from the get go give yourself the permission this this isn't going to be perfect I don't expect it to be perfect I am going to do my best and I'm going to get this work done but tio to a certain extent and I think I think my dad would disagree with this, so hopefully he's not watching but dunn is better than perfect in most cases done is something down is starting done is getting you through the block done is giving you experience done is propelling us forward and whether or not something is perfect probably on lee, you know that? How often do you read other people's blocks there, look at their social media and say, this really sucks and this is I'm not ever on friends it was leading you and I'm not ever really going to buy your probably your products again because well, you put on your web site and she say was clearly only seventy percent of your best effort hey, my dollars to one hundred percent a lot. How often have you done that? Oh, never. Yeah, I love reading other people's thoughts, even if it's something like shoes. You know, if you were to block about you shoes, which I think you have blogged about your shoes on and I love that kind of stuff because it does kind of give a glimpse into your life kind of thing, and I think the idea of anybody being interested in my life in that way is really foreign. But again, like you're saying earlier, I don't I don't need to think for you and that's like a huge thing. Yeah, don't a huge lesson don't think for me, I want to think for myself and this world of handmade is so big and so creative and so amazing that I want to discover things, and I want to come to my own conclusions, and I want to be offered new things that I can try that aren't available in regular stores, and I want to make those experiences for myself don't think for me, world is all decide if you're content is something I want to reach a price or I'll decide if I want to buy your products again. That's not for you to decide and if it turns out that I don't want to do it again, it just means I'm not your right customer it's not because you weren't perfect it's because I found something that was more aligned with the lion and that's what I'm supposed to dio and if you do what you're supposed to d'oh, then the full world, this keeps turning in a much, much, much better way, so just start and don't give yourself right permission from the get go, it's not going to be perfect, but I mean, I've never done anything that's perfect, so I can certainly isn't one of my fears because e expectations like that, you know, mine, I frame it through success so it's very similar, but a little bit different, but if I have the expectation of everything I'm doing being part, I mean, I already would have left creative life today because I grant stressing in my ear earlier and did not even know that so it's it's not up for you to decide what I can like and what I think is perfect, but it is it is your job to offer me something so I could make that decision, heather yeah, I was wondering along the same lines with that is when you're doing the marketing I always I'm concerned about how much is the business and how much is personal, because I feel like the business is personal, but I don't want tio overwhelmed people with my personal stuff, like all my accounts there's a lot of me and my artwork, but there's also me and my family, one of their hobbies, but as an artist, I I feel that people want to know about my life. I like reading about other people's lives, so I'm just wondering how you felt about how much people share with the business side of their in the personal side. We're definitely in his hack a lot more about that during the segment that we have coming up tomorrow about websites, blog's and social media's, social media, I like a good mixture, but that might be because I come from blogging from a long time ago where it really was personal before we had a lot of businesses online, so I really like it both ways, but particularly if your personal stuff is a reflection of your creative stuff. So, you know, if you have, like, a health problem or or something like that, I don't know that, and I go to your blogged to read about inspirational art worker to, like, get a big pick me up, I don't know if that. Part of your life on a regular basis would be something I wanted to read. I would definitely want to know that you were okay or what your struggles were, but if that was a primary focus, then that would maybe be a little bit too much personal for me on that particular level. But you can actually gauge what your customer likes and doesn't like, you know, because they will decide by by how they respond to it, so you'll know it. You need to, like, pump up the business side or tone down the personal side that will become clear to you after a little while, but I prefer both, and I stopped blogging a few years ago in two thousand eleven because I had always written a personal block, and then people started wanting more business stuff for me on my block, and I just didn't want to write that. I would think I write all day for work. I don't want to come to my personal log and now write more about business. I want to write about my shoes and my dogs, and when people say no one cares what you had for lunch, I heat that because I actually do care, I want to know what you had for lunch, I love her great food pictures, and I like seeing that and I am launching a new block in a few weeks from now, and I have decided to put that personal back it because I miss blogging. I'm not going to ever be a big business blogger. That's, not a part of my personal business model, so I'm just going to do what I like. And if people don't like it, then don't read it. That's, not my job. I'm gonna like writing, and I'm going to put it up there and you're it out.

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.