In my last post, I focused on why our story is important and how it helps connect customers to our products, in this post I’d like address how you go about sharing your story.
Let’s start with social media, it’s a big part of marketing for business these days, a fantastic way of building further credibility online, where shoppers can’t talk to you face to face. Especially when it comes to demonstrating authenticity of what you & your lifestyle is about, how it relates directly to what your work is about. Sharing the process of creating products, the environment they’re created in is a part of this story telling.
The journey you’re embarking on as an artisan is a big part of what captivates customers & connects them to you.
Changing direction in my creative career was to include my family in my adventures. Sharing snapshots of our travels, especially when we’d head off on a weekend adventure together to trade at a market or festival.
The flexibility of just selling through an Etsy store meant my shop was still working for me while off exploring.
During these events I’d place my Etsy store on vacation mode, with most of my products being one of a kind, I didn’t want to risk double selling an item.
I’d state in my vacation notice exactly where I’d be trading, during that period, to give online shoppers living nearby the opportunity to visit my stall in person.
As well as direct them to my social media feeds to share the experience with us, for those who were not able to visit.
Sharing snapshots of the experience helped potential & exciting customers stay in the connection with what’s involved in travelling to trade – both the ups & downs. Early starts on freezing cold mornings; car filled to the brim; beautiful inspiring natural surroundings… along with inspiring fellow creatives we traded along side of.
HOW YOU LIVE
Images that validate my use of recourses relating directly to the way we live. Our waste not want not approach to living means everything is viewed as a resource with potential, not discarded unless it’s truly deemed useless.
May sound like we’re hoarders, but I can assure you we’re not… keeping our surroundings both beautiful & comfortable is just as important in my workspace as it is in our home & garden.
Sharing snippets of what we as a family engage in to create & sustain the lifestyle we choose to live, based on what we truly believe in, stands to strengthen what I speak about in my work.
Handcrafted customers support authenticity. As a sole trader, artisan, artist, designer or micro business, giving customers a true sense of what you stand for through your story telling is far more beneficial than trying to keep up the appearance of being a large company when you’re not.
BEHIND THE PRODUCTS
Sharing sourcing, selecting materials & resources, the process of creating, the tools of trade, helps customers understand what goes into the work you create and why.
I’ve often shared images of our buying trip adventures, including videos & snapshots of where we get our supplies from. For me sourcing materials is a big part of the story of the final product and my experience as an artisan.
When I first visited the tannery that I buy my kangaroo leather from, seeing bins of offcuts of perfectly good material that would otherwise be considered waste lead me to design items that could utilise these offcuts rather than just buying full skins all the time.
I’ve already mentioned that I started working with kangaroo leather after moving to the country where I witnessed culling & dumping. I completely understood the need to cull, but the waste of a resource I did not.
The fur on hide skins I work with are a result of Australian National Parks & Wildlife harvesting, keeping our local eco-system in balance.
BEYOND SOCIAL MEDIA
Every opportunity you get to speak to someone about what you do is an opportunity to share the why behind your what.
Product descriptions you write for your online listings gives offer you a chance to go deeper into why you create the work you do and build emotional connection with your potential buyers.
Rather than simply sticking to the facts relating to your products give insight into:
1. Why you’ve chosen to make them.
2. The materials you use & why.
3. The process & tools you use and why.
Product tags, especially if you’re selling through retail stores where you personally don’t get to speak to people to share the story behind your work, include a snap shot of it on your product tags so that it goes with your product when purchased.
Will + Bear, hat designers we sell on behalf of do this very well, simply through postcards included with every delivery, images on the postcards share the story of their adventurous life on the road (plus their social media feed is filled with alluring photos of their products in use on road tripping adventures).
Their product tag has a simple tag line & hashtag that sums up their story:
‘1 Hat Sold = 10 Trees Planted’ #adventureoften
Their social media feed tagline is:
’Hats designed for the road’
These simple phrases say so much about what they’re about and why they do what they do.
Provide the store you sell through a summary of what your work’s about and why you create it so they have an understanding of the story behind your work and can share it on your behalf.
Take out your journal & write down:
~ What sets you & your offering apart from what’s already available out there in the market place?
~ What do you want your want potential customers to understand about your work & why you do what you do?
Keep in mind you’re not competing against the department stores in this handcrafted industry, focus instead on giving potential customers a reason to invest in you & your work, by presenting them with the story behind what you’re doing & why.
Large companies (if not selling on a cheap price) try to create story boards for their promotions that capture the imagination of their customers… artisans live those stories!
Don’t be afraid to share the story you’re living, as it can both inspire others to work on living their own dream as well as provide buyers confidence to support your work.
After these last few posts you’re probably thinking; I just don’t have time to do all this on top of making the products I wish to sell… let a lone repeat the process to earn an income doing what I love!
I’ll address this in my next post – blocking time.
Ps. Are you finding this series of posts helpful? Let me know in the comments how these have helped you so far? Also, if there’s anything you’d like to know more about that’s not covered, leave a comment and let me know.
Want to catch up on what you’ve missed out on so far.
Here’s a list of the previous posts: