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6 Ways Pinterest Can Boost Your Handmade Business

Okay, pop quiz: Which social media platform has the most potential to boost your handmade business? Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? Something else?

Well, answers may vary, but my vote goes to . . . Pinterest! If you haven’t already set up a Pinterest business account for your handmade biz, you SHOULD!

Here are 6 reasons why:

6 Ways Pinterest Can Boost Your Handmade Business

#1 Pinterest allows you to show your products to more potential customers.

If you haven’t read this article from the Pinterest blog, you should. According to a recent survey conducted by Millward Brown Digital, 93% of the survey participants stated that they use Pinterest to scope out products to buy. And 87% said that they purchased a product, thanks to Pinterest. That’s some powerful statistics right there, folks!

Pin your products to Pinterest directly from your Etsy shop by using the “Pin it” button, or pin product photos that appear on your business blog. Choose photos that show your product “in use”: display your product with minimal props to show the size of the product and possible ways to use it.

#2 Pinterest helps you show other products that complement your product(s).

Here’s a fun idea. Create a Pinterest board for each of your products (or product categories). Pin images to that board that coordinate with your product(s). Think of colors, patterns, themes, etc. that complement it. Name your boards “What to Wear with _____ (your product).” Mood boards and/or color scheme boards are fun ways to showcase your product(s) as well. This technique can help customers imagine themselves using your products and could potentially increase sales.

This type of board would be great for including upselling images, too. See this post for additional information about the upselling technique.

Polyvore is another fun tool that allows you to create product collages.

#3 Pinterest enables you to answer your customers’ questions or solve a problem that they have.

An easy way to do this is to add some text on top of a product photo. For example, if you sell handmade scarves, you could create a Pinterest-friendly image that includes your product photo with the words “5 Amazingly-Easy Ways to Tie a Scarf” on top of the image. When the Pinterest user clicks on your image to read how to tie a scarf, they will see your scarves and perhaps make a purchase (now or in the future).

The key to this technique is to link the person to your blog, where you have step-by-step images of the scarf-tying process and then a link to purchase your scarves online. If your Pinterest image just links to your online shop and not the 5-step tutorial, people who clicked the image will not receive what you promised. And believe me, unhappy people don’t make good customers.

Tip: Use a tool like Canva or even PicMonkey to add text to a photo.

#4 Pinterest provides links to tutorials and tips for great product photography.

We all know how important great product photography is for a handmade business, right? Create a secret board and pin articles to read now or later. Search for pins about:

#5 Pinterest helps you find creative, new packaging ideas.

Handmade sellers are (or should be) always looking for creative, memorable ways to package their products. Pinterest is filled with great ideas for beautiful packaging. Create a secret board and pin to your heart’s content! Visit the board again later when you need some packaging inspiration. Possible ideas to search for are as follows:

  • items to include with your product in your shipping box (tissue paper, filler material, etc.)
  • creative labels for the outside of the box
  • pretty thank-you notes to include

#6 Pinterest inspires you to create new product designs.

Handmade sellers are always looking for ways to keep up with current trends, patterns, colors, etc. for future product lines. Pinterest is a great research tool that can help you with that! Keep your inspiration board secret if you’d like, and fill it up with images that might be potential design ideas for later.

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How else have you used Pinterest for your business? We’d love to hear any strategies you’d like to share! I hope you’ll try some of the techniques mentioned in this post, and see how Pinterest can boost your handmade business!

Juliebio

Julie Corbett – On The Dot Creations

On the Dot Creations features handmade creations and shares biz tips with those who sell them. Check out Julie’s free video series3 Reasons Your Product Photography Might Be Turning Customers Away, or her brand new online workshopDIY Product Photography.

5+ DIY PACKAGING IDEAS

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Having your own handmade business is hard work.

You’re busy creating your fabulous product or service.

You’re working tirelessly behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly so that you have a life beyond your business.

You’re being diligent about your social media/marketing and getting yourself out there.

You take care in presenting your fabulous product or service for those repeat sales.

You have a solid logo or colour scheme, but may not have the cash to get a professional to design your entire branding package.

Let’s be honest, you’ve spent a good chunk of change getting to this stage.

Here are 5 ways to keep your branding consistent without breaking the bank:

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1) RUBBER STAMPS

A fairly easy way to keep your brand consistent is to invest in some custom rubber stamps of your logo and/or secondary marks in a few different sizes. Keep it simple with black ink or use similar colours in your brand palette. This way, you can create simple hang-tags, calling cards, Thank You notes and packaging items, while experimenting with different stocks or styles while maintaining the basics of your brand.

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2) BUSINESS CARDS

You should always include a business card with any package you send to your customer/client and if you don’t have the cash to have one professionally designed, you should at least spend some time making one uniquely you. You can check out some great ideas over on my  “Calling Cards”Pinterest Board,

5-DIY-packaging-ideas-thankyou

3) THANK YOU CARDS

One of the easiest and impactful way to show your customer/client that you care and that they MATTER to you, is to send along a handwritten Thank You note/card.

Either purchase some lovely cards that echo your brand’s style and/or colour palette or look for ones like these to download and print yourself.

“TOP TIP: Use a thicker or specialty cardstock for that extra-oomph if you’re printing them yourself”

Upgrade the look with some simple white envelopes lined with coordinating scrapbook paper or again, some downloaded templates.

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4) WRAPPING ESSENTIALS

In order to maintain that professionalism that you want your customers/clients to experience, it’s sometimes better to splash out on a few key branding items. A good, solid logo and colour palette FOR SURE. Often a professionally designed business card can really set the tone. Digital design for your main portal of reaching your customers/clients (whether it be an online shop such as Etsy or a Facebook Page or an actual website) is often best left to the professionals.

There are some great and inexpensive ways to accompany these big purchases, though, all the while maintaining consistency.

a) Use a rubber stamp or coordinating label to mark any generic boxes, envelopes or packaging material you may use.

b) Wrap each package in kraft or hand-stamped (see? those rubber stamps come in handy!) wrapping paper and tie with sumptuous ribbon, baker’s twine or linen thread to echo your brand’s aesthetic.

“TOP TIP: Instead of plain tape, use a coordinating or contrasting washi tape to secure the wrapping paper/package”

c) Print out some simple (or silver or gold) labels with your logo and stick them on some inexpensive coordinating coloured cardstock, punch a hole and thread it through the above tied ribbon/twine/thread.

d) Buy some inexpensive shred (from somewhere such as Staples or U-Line) to give that extra-special feel as well as protective padding.

5) MAKE IT YOU

Let your imagination shine through here and don’t simply copy something you’ve seen somewhere else; use those ideas that you like and build on them to make it wholly your own.  After all, your brand is who you are… let that personality shine through!

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Have a great weekend!

Geribiowashi

Geri Jewitt — The Languid Lion

Geri Jewitt is a graphic designer gone rogue from Corporate who now owns The Languid Lion, a design studio focused on branding for small businesses and helping them stand out from the madding crowd.  Recently adding custom letterpress design + printing to the studio, she loves working on custom projects, such as wedding stationery or branding collateral! She is also the editor of The Lion’s Den, a blog where she writes about owning a small creative biz and offers tips, tutorials, templates and design inspiration.

The Languid Lion – CharlieBoy Press – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest – Instagram

Links for Thanksgiving, Business and Holiday DIY

Hi! Just popping in to share a few goodies with you!

diyguidesmall100 DIY Holiday Crafts and Gift Guide – be sure to check out last year’s guide for inspiration and tons of ideas for crafting and gift giving!

handmadebusinessebookThe Branding, Blogging & Social Media Series for the Handmade Business – the lovely Janet Walker from Best To Keep It Simple created an ebook for you from her recent series of blog posts from herself, Megan Eckman, Jess Van Den and myself.

gratitudecardssmallFree Gratitude Cards Printables – this time last year I reflected on what I was grateful for (you being one of them!) on my personal blog and created some cards that you can use at Thanksgiving or as journal prompts to reflect on what you are thankful for. There are two different sheets.

DIY Origami Envelopes

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Show your wonderful customers that you care by popping a little something extra in their package.  These easy to make origami envelopes are super-cute, versatile and with all sorts of wonderfully patterned paper out there, can be customized to your branding needs.  You can use them to put all sorts of things in them, such as business cards, receipts, stickers, discount cards, extra goodies or simply write a nice thank you on the inside!  They can be left folded over, or you can secure them with twine, tape, wax seals, stickers or anything else you can think of that matches your current branding.
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The ones I use are made from an origami set that I got from Omiyage and they’re 6”x6” (folded down they fit a standard size business card perfectly), but you can play around with sizes to fit your needs – just make sure they start out as a perfect square!
So, go on… use the handy free downloadable instructions to make your fabby little origami envelope and start wowing your customers into coming back for more 😉
origami_envelopes_DIY

 

Geribiowashi

Geri Jewitt — The Languid Lion

Geri Jewitt is a designer gone rogue from Corporate who now owns The Languid Lion, handmaking eco-friendly invitations + stationery, paper decorations & illustrated art prints in her Paper Boutique as well as helping those who are in need of fresh design!  She is also the editor of The Lion’s Den, a blog where she writes about love, life, design, colour + handmade.

 

How to Sell on Etsy

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It’s Lisa here, and you know me as a monthly contributor for Handmade Success. What you might not know is that I’m also owner of the Energy Shop on Etsy: a spirited little spot where I sell gemstone jewelry and Feng Shui supplies. In that, I turned $100 worth of supplies into thousands of sales and a second income for my family. When I opened the Energy Shop, I soon realized that I loved the business side of my shop as much as I loved making the products that I sell. I devoured marketing strategy, and I turned my hobby into a successful small business.

I love to talk shop!  And as time passes, I find that I have more and more to say on the subject. Therefore, and in honor of the Energy Shop’s third year of business, today I’d love to share and discuss how to sell on Etsy.

While there are mention-worthy alternatives in the world of handmade marketplaces, nothing has taken off the way Etsy has. When I started in 2010, there were approximately 400,000 active sellers on the marketplace. Today, there’s more than a million and counting.

Here are some tips for getting a head start when building your creative business on Etsy …

Take fresh photographs

Be sure to make your pictures bright, crisp, and clear. Without good photography, your products simply will not get noticed. You can follow a few guidelines for top-notch product photography, such as:

  • Use models (when possible).* 

The better you can help your customers imagine using your product, the better your sales conversion will be. In general, when people are considering any purchase, they imagine that product or service already in their life. If that’s an appealing idea, they buy the product.

Models show your piece being worn or used, giving the customer an even clearer mental image of where the product would fit in their own life.

*I’ve heard some sellers say that they’re not fond of products photographed on models because it makes the product look used. Most sellers taking shots on models are professional enough not to sell things that have been worn – I give the product away to the models who wear it (and so do the other sellers I’ve interviewed). You may want to disclose in the listing whether the stock for sale has ever been worn.

  • Simplify backgrounds and backdrops.

A simple background directs the customer’s eye to the product for sale. A creative or busy background forces people to search for the product for sale, and most potential customers won’t take the time to find it. Try to keep the photographs clean, clear, and bright. Remember: The more professional it looks, the better your overall presentation will be.

If you have an already simple-looking product (such as dainty jewelry or white porcelain dishes), experiment with different scrapbook and stationery papers.

Finally, make sure your backdrops and backgrounds have a matching theme and that every picture helps to strengthen your brand identity. For instance, I try to capture an earthy, slightly magical look in every product photo. I find that three to four different (but matching) backgrounds keep my shop looking cohesive, yet add variety to my listings.

  • Lighting matters.

Lighting is the most important aspect of product photography. If you can find the right natural light to shoot your product, you will save yourself hours upon hours of photo editing. Experiment with both indoor and outdoor lighting at different times of day to find the perfect shot.

For example, if your shop is romantic, model shots could be taken at golden hours (sunrise or sunset – when the sun is golden and appears soft and diffused). As I said before, my jewelry is shot in high, direct sunlight, and this often leaves distracting shadows in the picture. However, it saves me time in editing because I’m always pleased with the exposure (the brightness and vividness of the picture). You can defuse strong sunlight by shooting a product through the window or outside under cloud or shade.

  • Patience is key.

Give yourself all day to take the photographs you need because it’s the first thing that’s going to matter to your future customers. There’s a lot to learn and adjust in product photography: lighting, exposure, backdrops, focus, etc. Take deep breaths and allow yourself the space and patience it takes to improve your skill.

Write proper listings

One of my favorite lessons in creative business building is on complete copywriting. Copywriting is what you might already be calling a “listing” or “description.” It’s when the text you use helps to advertise your product, and your listing should absolutely help you make the sale.

Remember: (1.) Your customer can’t touch the product, so you have to describe the physical experience for them, and (2.) If you don’t take the time to list your product properly, you can’t expect the customer to give you the sale.

I see too many Etsy shop listings that look like they belong on Craigslist, i.e.:

5″ x 11″

Black with white trim

wood frame

No – n.o. Your visitor won’t go for this! Welcome them into your shop by pretending that you had a physical storefront, and a potential customer just asked you for more detail on this particular item. In actuality, that’s what they’re doing when they click on a picture in your shop, and you need to take the time to properly respond to their interest.

Start spreading the word

Again, this is all part of building your creative business, and we’ll discuss this further in some upcoming posts. In the early stages of a shop, time is most certainly on your side. Start a blog by the same name (or if you already have a blog, start a shop by the blog’s name), and use Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Set up all of your social media accounts and invest some time establishing them now, so that when you get busier (and time becomes harder to come by), you can choose which social media outlets are most enjoyable and beneficial to your small business.

Create an experience for your customer

Think about your favorite booth at an art show. It’s an experience. It has atmosphere and ambience, and it compels you to take a piece of it home. That’s what we’re going for inside your Etsy shop.

Think of what your brand represents: Is it warm? Magical? Cozy? Bright? Exciting? Innovative? Informational? Dainty? What adjectives describe it best? And once you’ve identified those adjectives, does your shop send that message upon arrival?

What might you do to create an atmosphere and ambience that compels your visitor to take a piece of your business home?

Start now

Just for kicks, have a look at my first sale. (For the record, my heart just swells every time I see that picture, and I broke many of the rules I preach today.  Why did I take pictures of my bracelets on a cell phone? I have no idea.) Please realize that your business will evolve, and you’ll refine your approach as you grow. I wish you all the best in your endeavor!

lisawashi

Lisa Jacobs — Marketing Creativity

Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching designed to help you get paid to be … you.