NEW Business Branding TIPS!

Congratulations on your New Business.  If your handmade business is your full time job or just something you do on the side here are some helpful tips to get you started on the right track.

1.  Take yourself Seriously.  For the life of me I can't figure out why handmade business don't themselves seriously.  You are an artist.  People want to pay your for you wonderful work. How Cool is that.  Not everyone can do this.  So when someone asks you What do you do for a living.  Most of you say.  I am a stay at home mom and I make bows on the side. WTF...say what?

I am create custom one of a kind handmade children's hair accessories.  Here is my business card.  Let me know if you ever need one of a kind custom hair accessories for the children in your life.  Then leave it alone (no one likes to be oversold) and let them ask the questions. They will.

Who would you buy products from.. ? the mom who doesn't seem excited about herself or her business or the one Who is rocking it out.

2.  Create and sell what you LOVE.  You are going to be working for hours,and until you get your business launched you will fell like you have very little return AT FIRST.  If you don't love what you are creating it will reflect in your creations.  Or you will get burnt out super fast and then their goes your dreams of owning your own business.

Not only should you love it...You need to be unique.  If you all you do is copy you are not an artist. You are a copycat.  You will always be late to the party.  Just like mainstream businesses fads come and go.  If you can't come up with your own creations how will you last?  Also what sets you apart from everyone else.

3.  Have a FANGTASTIC logo with full business branding packages Nothing says I am a professional one of a kind business like a professional one of a kind logo.  A great logo makes a statement and sets a mood for what you sell and who you are.  This is another thing NOT TO COPY.  If you don't make a logo YOU LIKE that is in your taste then what will set you apart from the rest.  Pick a logo you like and you can live with for awhile.

Here is a great example....I have 3 kids, 2 boys and 1 girl.  My little girl is very girly but at the same time...she can be a tomboy.  I have a photo of her I love...below.  She is in a lovely dress swinging from the Monkey Bars...and that is her...IF I HAD to make a HAIRBOW or CHILDREN Accessories logo...80% of my business are these company's I would use this photo of her which his her personally to a T. And design a logo around this.  I would have a girl swinging from Monkey Bars and I would call my shop something like.   Monkey Bar Bows & More.  Or Swinging Boutique, OR Hanging Around Bows & More, Or Playground Doll Boutique,  Playground Angel,  You get the idea.  if you look around you will not find anyone with these shop names.

Also love it when folks use the city or state they live in as a logo inspiration.  For example I live in Texas.  I would put a long horn in a bow, or a horse in a bow, or call my shop BlueBonnet Bowtique and have a bluebonnet as on my logo as well as bow with a yellow rose in the middle.  I would also have a facebook album called TEXAS bows that are all Texas Themed.  There are NO SHOPS LIKE This.  If you are from California and you LOVE surfing a surfing logo would be AWESOME. Then Have a section where you only sale beach or surfing logos.  If you live in Maine, a lighthouse on your logo...or a lobster mascot in a bow.  You get the idea.  It really will reinforce your brand and A handmade bow from???  is so cool and unique because offering inspiration from the city or state you live in...very few people can do that.

Hope this helps with an idea...if not check out my brag album on facebook.  I give lots of before and after photos...

4.  Take GREAT photos. You have worked really hard on your handmade items, you have paid for a professional logo (if you don't have a logo you should contact me), and now it is time to sell it.  So you take your product photo and you wait for the sales to roll in. 

It is my option that if you don't take GREAT product photos then you are missing a key factor in your business.  GREAT photos SELL your products, show off your hard work...You will sell MORE.  Brand your photos...and OMG...Your products look so Awesome.  Look below which bow would you buy?.  

Here is a photo I took with my Samsung S4 phone it is a high res file.
This is what alot of product photos look it is not bad.  My floor isn't the best
background for this reflected the light of my camera flash.

Here is a different photo...Same S4 camera.  I just took the photo near a window Not in direct sunlight.
I didn't use any filters or special tools.  I just took a blank sheet of white cardstock and using one of my
sons blocks propped the bow up a bit...and set it on a table and moved around until I liked the photo.
I Added a photoframe to the back with and watermark to BRAND  my photo.  (included with your purchase)
Be unique.  I can't tell you how many folks use old fence panel looking logos.  Come up with a unique logo just
for your business.  Each business is unique.  so it depends on what you sale and your logo.
I use a CORK board for my logo, so this is my frame.  If you don't have photoshop you can use pick monkey.
For more help check out my blog post here.

5. Use Social Media to promote your business.

Facebook rules are changing.  It sucks that I have over 1,000 fans and only about 200 people are seeing your posts.  So it is important to have a strong presence online.  BUT don't post so much you annoy folks and they hide you, but not enouph so everyone forgets you.  You can use a network of other moms or Groups to promote your products.  I love the facebook groups where they have a theme...such as Disney and then all the vendors make Disney themed items.  So cool..  Make your post stand out with a great business branding and AMAZING product photos that support your business branding.  

Pintrest is so popular it is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips and projects, organize events or save articles and recipes.  So if you create your own page.  Post your product photos and link it back to your etsy shop, your facebook page, or website you will increase you business exposure.  This is another important reason to have a great product branding in place, such as a watermark.  Pintrest, Instagram, Twitter use photos to attract attention so PUT YOUR NAME ON YOUR PRODUCT PHOTOS....BRAND IT .  So people know who you are and where to find you.  

6.  Websites, Blogs, Etsy and others.  So many of my customers have websites but they are a ton of work.  And they can be pretty exensive.  Most designers charge $75-$450 just for the creation.  I can design them but I don't because I am having a good time just with designing business branding for handmade business.  And they are soooo hard to managae and maintain for someone who isn't tech savy time you could spend making inventory.

I personally love Etsy.  I have had an etsy shop since 2010 and I love the traffic it brings to me. I find customers come to me that I would have never reached. Make sure you have your branding in place and your etsy shop is full.  AND folks can pay with several different methods.  Etsy takes care of the $ part.  Also Etsy allows customers to LIKE your post on Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest. Another reason to brand your photos.  Also when folks LIKE your etsy shops they can view any new posts or likes you have just like facebook.   If you purchase your OWN domain name you can point your ETSY shop to that cute.  

If you must have a website I suggest Big Cartel .   You will need to bring customers TO YOU...they will not just come.  Big Cartel is free for the first 10 posts.  Any after that is just $10 per month. Not so bad at all and super easy to maintain....  If you purchase your OWN domain name you can point your Big Cartel shop to that cute. and very easy to manage.  I highly recommend it...I can add a matching set for a low price.   

Storeenvy is also really popular but you have to bring business to you.  Business will not come to you...

Blogs are fun.  Tells more about you and who you are and what you sale.  I love reading blogs of other crafters.  There is one I read where the lady walks you through the process of raising her Llamas, then sheers her Llama and then makes yarn from it...It is so amazing it shows you the real value in her product something you can't describe in a product post or facebook post...A blog post tells a story.  Each business is you have a story to tell. Tell it on a blog without being so SELLish  Someone will follow your blog if they find value in what you say.  Make sure you make your posts pinable with pintrest you can find info on how to do this on this website...