Thursday, March 15, 2012

5 THINGS WITH REGINA MORRISON


Hi, lovely MaieDae readers!  I am so excited to be here today to share with you all 5 things I have learned about running a handmade shop.

About two years ago, I opened an Etsy shop, {Acute Designs}, on a whim.  I was working at a mind-numbing day job and wanted a little hobby to keep myself from going crazy.

After a few weeks of running my hobby//business, I was hooked and knew this was what I wanted to do full-time.  I didn’t want to get up every day and go to a job I hated and live for the weekends.  I wanted a life that I felt like living every single day…not just two days a week.

With the support of my husband and a lot of hard work, I left my day job  just over a year ago.  This past year, as I have been finding my way in the handmade selling world, I have learned SO much.  And I am still learning on a daily basis.

Every week, when I read a new 5 Things post here on MaieDae, I learn something new.  Today, I am thrilled to be sharing with you a few important things I have learned.

1. It is so important to support the handmade community. ---> Handmade is more expensive and not everyone can afford to buy everything handmade.  However, I have found that it is important {and a lot more fun} to spend what I can afford on handmade.

By supporting handmade artists, I am making a pledge with my hard earned money to grow a side of the economy that was forgotten about for far too long. Every day, I am faced with hundreds of cheap store options, and I do buy some of them, but I always make a point to support handmade and small businesses when I have the opportunity.

2. I need to value myself and price accordingly. ---> I wrote a piece about pricing//valuing yourself on my blog and on Design*Sponge and both received a huge response. When I first started selling, I didn’t have a “formula” for pricing; instead, I just pulled the prices out of thin air. Not a good idea.

Since I opened my business, I have learned that I need to factor in all the costs of creating a design + labor cost for all the time I put into that particular design + a profit.  On top of that, I need to work to make the price realistic.

Pricing can be a challenging thing to get just right and the biggest mistake I made at first, and I see so many new handmade sellers making, is in pricing.  It is tempting to offer super low prices just to get a sale.  But I have learned that the right customer will pay what my product is worth.  A customer who wants a super low price is not my customer.

Learning to walk away from those customers, and not sacrifice my value or the value of my work, has been one of the biggest things I have learned in the past two years.


3. Treat every order like it’s your first one. --->  I cannot stress this enough. One of the reasons people buy handmade is because they want to support an artist and they enjoy that connection with the artist. I treat every single order like it’s my first. I never skimp on anything and if something goes wrong, or the item is going to take a few extra days, I am honest and upfront with my customer.

If someone is willing to spend their hard earned money on one of my designs, then it is my obligation to give them the best buying experience I can manage.

4. Branding! ---> I struggled with this a lot in the beginning and I finally feel like I am getting it. Having a consistent brand and look is so important. We all know a McDonald’s when we see one. We all recognize their packaging, logos, jingle, etc. Imagine if it was different every time? That would be so confusing and it would prevent the brand from sticking in our minds.

Think of a logo, font, color scheme, etc., and stick to it. If need be, find a graphic designer to work with you and bring make your vision a reality. It is totally worth the extra money.


5. Networking is so important. ---> Don’t ever underestimate the power of blogging and social media.  That being said…be genuine. Do your best to make real connections and be yourself.

I think Twitter and Facebook are great places to promote your new products. However, when I first opened my Twitter account, all I used it for was promoting my products. I quickly learned that I was using it in the wrong way.

Once I started using Twitter, Facebook, and my blog as a mix of promoting my business, connecting with customers, and making real friends in the blogging//handmade community, I saw a huge increase in followers, connections, and sales.


Find Regina Here:  Blog  |  Shop  |  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Thank you, Regina, for taking the time to talk to my readers about running a handmade shop! I loved your insights. :) I especially love what you had to say about treating every sale like it's your first and creating a great experience for your customers. Such a powerful and fantastic business strategy! 

Savvy about business, blogging, balance, or staying inspired? Consider participating in 5 Things and offering your tips and best practices! Contact me at Savannah@maiedae.com if you're interested. :)



6 comments:

  1. Thank you for this, ladies. I have a small shop that I started last year and I find the pricing to be the hardest part. I need to really factor in all of the elements (mostly my time) that go into each item! This is a great reminder to value yourself, your work, and the love you put into your shop! I actually have spent almost ALL of my profits on etsy supporting other shops, and I am happy to do so! Thanks again!

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  2. I really love her heart earrings! And these are some great tips. I definitely struggle with the "branding" aspect. I have a hard time committing to a specific logo, font, or color scheme and I know I need one of those. I tend to change my mind a lot, or not feel confident enough to keep it the same for longer than a few months. Any tips on getting passed that feeling would be helpful! ...if I'm not the only one. Haha! :)

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    1. Thanks Jenny! I am the same with branding...it took me over a year to really find my style and what I wanted my logo to look like. I say just stick with one look - but it doesn't have to be forever. All major brands change their logos over time and re-brand every so often :).

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  3. This is so great! I loved getting to read her tips

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  4. i love gina and her wealth of information! thanks for featuring her!

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  5. I am in the process of opening up my own shop (a process that seems to take FOREVER). I am finding the 5 things more valuable than you probably realize. Thanks Savannah!

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