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This week, I’m introducing a new type of post: business evolution. For anyone else out there who is wading through the logistics of starting a small business, I’m going to share the lessons I’ve learned so hopefully your journey to success will be a little bit shorter than mine.
I’ve touched on presentation before in my post How I Prep for a Craft Show, but this week I’m going to go more in-depth into the nitty-gritty details that all add up to a brand. I’m talking about the tags you put on your products, the bags you send home with your customers, the notes you include in packages. All of these are important puzzle pieces in the way you present yourself to your customers. After all, since your customers aren’t always close friends or family members, these details are likely the only things they know about you!
Detail #1: Product Labeling
When I was prepping for my very first craft show, I was a stay-at-home mom with no idea whether or not this would be a lucrative endeavor. To mitigate the financial risks I was taking as much as possible, I went with the cheapest options available and scribbled the prices on with a permanent marker. These tags got the message across, sure, but they were far from attractive:
Having done a mountain of research on marketing in between that first show and my most recent one, I decided that I was going for a more cohesive, brand appropriate look. Back to Michael’s I went, this time buying tags that were specific to the items I was selling:
Not pictured: the cute tags I found for my crocheted items, which can be found here.* The earring cards are also easy to find.* On all of these tags, I used a calligraphy marker to write the prices not only legibly, but also attractively. Bonus: if I do decide to move this business into the realm of calligraphy service in the future, I’m already on track with brand recognition!
Detail #2: Packaging
You have to send your products home in some kind of packaging. Why not make it pretty and brand-specific? Personally, I’m big into recycling, so I haven’t actually bought packaging for my products. Instead, I’ve curated a collection of nice boxes and small bags that match the aesthetic I like for VanDuinen Studio:
I’m toying with the idea of buying stickers of my logo to add to the packages I send home, but so far I haven’t gotten around to actually making that a reality. I do send home a business card in every bag or box, though, so the logo is included.
Detail #3: Business Cards and Logo
Speaking of my logo, I’m doing everything I can to make sure it’s instantly recognizable as part of the VanDuinen Studio brand. I had help with this aspect – the owner of Megan Made It Designs (AKA my lovely cousin) was kind enough to turn my crude sketch into a streamlined, beautiful, professional design. (I talked more about that process in this post, if you’re interested.) I then used the Vistaprint business card tool to design my cards. This turned out to be really easy and fun to use, even for someone like me who has no background in graphic design! I love the way they turned out:
Detail #4: Thank You Notes
These are totally optional, but I’ve always thought they were a nice, personal touch in the packages I’ve received from Etsy sellers. I recently grabbed this pack of scrapbook paper* on super-sale at Michael’s, and lo and behold, there are a few pages of small cards designed to look like vintage seed packets:
I love them, and I’ve already started adding thank-yous in calligraphy on the back when I ship to customers. (Again, working that calligraphy skill into the brand!) This is also a great way to include offer codes for return customers – another trick I learned from fellow Etsy sellers.
It’s a huge learning curve, this business of mine, but I’m up for the challenge! Do you think there are any details I missed? Any secrets you’d like to share?
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