We feel the tension of making a quality-driven, handmade product in an age of instant streaming and on-demand expectations. As we take strides to meet that demand, make adjustments and solve problems, we remember to never compromise the quality of our product. No matter how sophisticated and instant our society becomes, there is always a demand for those artisan skills that help sustain a culture. The more rare these skills are, the more valuable they become.
If you’re just trying to make more of something, you can lose the depth of it, the quality of it. It’s really easy to think you have to somehow lure everyone and every type of price point in, but if you focus on quality and mastering your craft, you’ll develop it into something that no one else is doing. People will pay for quality and for something they can’t get anywhere else.
I talk to too many sellers who tell me, “I want my own successful business, but [friends/family members/work/organizations] can’t find out about it!”
Trust me, that strategy just doesn’t work!
To have a thriving small business, you have to own it! You have to tell all of your friends about it, and let your passion escape and surround you everywhere you go. It’s a mistake to think that you can limit and expand yourself at the same time.
Always make it about the customer.
Too often handmade sellers are advised to tell their story, but I believe this is overdone to a fault. As a paying customer, I want everything to be about me! This is true for most as we are narcissistic creatures; it’s our nature. When you go food shopping, do you buy for the groceries you want to bring home, or do you spend money because the grocer tells nice stories about his life?
You want the customers to feel like they’re treating themselves when they shop with you, not like they’re donating a sale to the cause of you. If your story was so good that it did compel someone to buy, chances are that was their good deed for the day rather than the beginning of repeat business.
Because I have always made my shop about serving the customer, most of my business is repeat. I turn every sale into a personal experience, and I strive to build a relationship with each buyer.
Forget the stories you read, check the facts. None of the top sellers on Etsy are using their retail space to talk about themselves. Talk about your customer. Don’t talk about how you felt making the piece, talk about how they’ll feel when they’re using it.