These are notes from the classes I took at SNAP and are obviously the things that stood out to me, things I want to implement, etc - check out their blog for more info on the sessions, better pictures, fun times, etc.
I wanted to go to this class, not for the topic (handmade business - my etsy shop hasn't been open in months!), but because I loved several of the speakers and wanted to hear their thoughts. They were:
Lindsay - The Pleated Poppy
Ashley - Lil Blue Boo
Elizabeth - Dear Lizzie
Jessica - Alora Handmade
So, even thought I thought I wasn't interested in the topic, it turned out to be really inspiring. It gave me a push to want to focus again on making things. It was a great class. It was packed pass capacity - they had to turn people away - glad we got a seat!
Anyways, on to my notes for those who are interested (warning, it was at this point in SNAP that I realized I should take notes so I could bring the information back to you, the blog readers - so this post is really long because I didn't want you to miss anything):
--treat your PASSION as a BUSINESS!! set goals, etc
--Gain confidence in yourself and your product
--Make connections and be open
--Pay yourself - treat it as a business (ex: pull out $ on the 1st and 15th) - ACCOUNTING!!
--if you are excited about your product, others will be too
--have GREAT product photos - very important! show your products in use.
--Focus on YOUR STRENGTHS and find experts for the other areas (example, if you love to sew, do that, then hire out photographing your product or shipping or whatever)
--make your customers loyal
--How you is your product DIFFERENT (among millions on etsy, etc)? don't get discouraged about the crowd
--look into the future and try to predict trends - get comfortable with taking risks
--get inspiration from RANDOM things and places, not from other sellers of the same product.
--Ready to ship is easier to stock and less stressful than made to order
--Avoid burnout - just keep going! - take breaks
--if you don't post a tutorial on products you sell, someone else might - with the tutorial, you can capture that traffic
--consider your materials, then double it. Then considered time and labor (pay yourself per hour). Add those together. Keep in mind time includes ordering, marketing, shop updating, shipping, etc.
--trial and error on price points - just keep adjusting
--if nothing is selling it's either a market problem or a price point problem
--when you price your product too low, it DE-VALUES your product (people might think it's cheap because it's priced cheap) and it de-values the whole handmade community
--if you have a blog you can promote yourself and your product - people feel like they know you better and that they're buying from a friend - it's the handmade community
--there's an extra personal touch if you "know" who made it
--BE HAPPY! - when you're in love with life and others, you can create better
--you need a cheerleader, someone to encourage and uplift you and your business
--find a mentor, someone slightly ahead of the business than you
--stay encouraged in a saturated market - don't compare yourself - focus on you - remain engaged
--hire out what you don't like to do
--hiring - - word of mouth, friends of friends - - start with a trial period - - find trustworthy people that care about your product
--pay assistants either by the piece or by the hour - independent contractors - paycycle.com
--local highschool career fairs - possible interns
--collaborate with other sellers - make connections, promote each other, group sales and events, etc
--monthly ads and giveaway budget - giveaways more valuable than a sidebar ad
--give product to bloggers for a review - more effective than giveaways - tell your story
--news stories about you - send press releases to the local paper
WHAT YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU STARTED
--do the official things (set up a business license, etc)
--make a schedule
--plan when you will work - it gives you the freedom to be a mom
--separate bank account - DBA "doing business as"
Start on Etsy, then move off
--etsy fees can add up
--on etsy, it's hard to stand out - lots of the same thing
--if you can drive your own traffic, then get your own site
--use both your own site and etsy together - capture both crowds
--off etsy you can show your own personality (backgrounds, etc)
--big cartel, store envy, olive manna - amazing tips for customizing Big Cartel (follow that link to check it out)
Method of payment - paypal, batches at stamps.com, authorize.net, inventory tracking