Business 101-Chase Designs

28 01 2009

My business is making lampwork beads and marbles.  I have read a few of my colleagues are creating their yearly business plan and that just makes my head spin.  How could I possibly know what I want to accomplish in the next year?  Other than sell enough beads and marbles to pay my bills and save a little cash.  Though these days I think many artisans are just pleased to stay in business.

So, while I don’t write a business plan…ever, I do have goals.  I have a certain amount of product I want to make each day to list on various outlets.  Currently I list on Ebay, Etsy, Artfire, and my own website.  I plan for two new items on ebay, two new items on etsy, one on artfire and one on my website.  That is five new items in the form of a set, marble, pair, daily special, whatever.  Plus I list two of my husbands marbles every day.  Well, six days  a week.  I do not list anything new on Saturdays.

I admit, I almost never make my daily goal of new product.  That takes  a back seat to special orders, which I do get quite often and regularly.  It is still my goal though and when I reach it I get euphoric, then I panic.  It’s kind of sad in a way because I know if I met my goal I am caught up.  Then I am left wondering when the next order is coming in.  I know, I can be a mental case.

So my business plan is to always have new product to offer and of course provide excellent customer service.  Timely emails and fast shipping.  I cannot express to you enough how much these two things matter to our customer base.  Yes, the product should be well made and hopefully desirable, but in this world of do it yourself service, the customer certainly notices when you go the extra distance.

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Business 101 – Annette Piper

20 12 2008

I am lucky to be in a situation where I sell my creations – this validates my reason for making substantial amounts of jewellery and enables me to continue to purchase vast quantities of gemstones!  

 

But a lot of people don’t sell what they make – sometimes this is because they choose not to, sometimes it is because they don’t know how.

 

Here are some of my pointers to selling your wares should you want to sell but not know where to start.

 

* Ensure you practice until your wares are as good as they can possibly be. Don’t even attempt to sell goods of questionable quality and workmanship as this may harm your reputation down the track.

 

* Create a ‘look’ that fits your style.   This look will be utilized in such things as business cards, packaging and advertising.   Think about your target market and what they react favourably to in advertising.   Research first to avoid costly mistakes – you don’t want to pay for business cards and then change your mind a month down the track and find they no longer suit you! 

 

* Price your items fairly. A good guide is to charge what YOU would be prepared to pay as a member of the general public.   Once again, do your research – you don’t want to be either too high or too low compared to your competitors in the marketplace.  Make sure you add all your costs together when pricing an item –  don’t guess in the early stages.  You will often be surprised how quickly small amounts add up.

 

* Seek out local shows and events in your area and see which attracts your target market.  Attend these shows as a visitor first if you can to gauge the clientele and the other booths/stalls.   If you think it is a good fit, then start to apply for them (some shows have extensive waiting lists).   A lot of quality shows will be juried, so be prepared with examples of your work.

 

* When you make it to a show, think about your set up.  Do a trial run at home of your display to make sure it works and looks attractive.  You may not have time to tweak your display at a show!    Make a list of things you will need and tick these off when packing.   Make sure you turn up to the show in good time to set up before the doors open.   Greet everyone with a smile.   Don’t pack up until the doors have shut or the last customer has departed – open booths will benefit from last minute sales.  Sit down a couple of days after the show and think about what went well and what could have been done better and make notes to refer to next time.

 

* Think about alternate ways of selling your wares – eg. home shows, trunk shows in local businesses, through art and craft outlets, on consignment, online through sites such as etsy or your own website.

 

* Network with other business owners, artisans and artists.

 

* Enjoy what you are doing!   If you lose your passion it may be time for a rethink.

 

Amethyst and sterling silver ring by Annette Piper

Amethyst and sterling silver ring by Annette Piper

 

 

To read more from Annette, visit her blog at http://annettepiperjewellery.blogspot.com and view her jewellery at www.annettepiper.com