How to get fame for a small craft business
People will tell you that fame is only for the artists. As an artisan the best you can hope for is to sell enough of your crafts to justify the economics of your passion. Well that's not true. Fame is a relative term. There are many degrees of fame and in fact if you hope to sell enough crafts you need to be famous, in a matter of speaking.
Most of the points apply not just to the field of art and craft but to almost all other kinds of small businesses as well. All businesses do better when they are well known and popular. So if you are not an artist or artisan and are reading this, you can apply the same principles to what you do.
Why do only famous artisans make money.
There’s all kinds of famous. It makes obvious sense that in order to sell your wares, people have to come to you to buy things from you. For them to come with this intention they need to know about you and what you do.
Artisans sell their crafts through various outlets. They sell it through their studios, to other businesses, wholesale and online. If you want targeted customers who are looking for what you make, you have to get your name and your work out there.
Why I mention targeted customers is that large generic numbers mostly never transform into an equally large number of sales.
In fact a generic audience converts pretty badly. You can see an example of this in any craft fair. Thousands of people Pass by your craft stall but how many of them will actually buy something from you? Of course, certain categories of every day utility crafts tend to do well in exhibitions and craft fairs.
Likewise, even if you have a craft studio in a marketplace with a generic footfall, it is not likely to convert in many sales.
The kind of customer that converts the best into profitable sales is the kind of customer who has come looking for you specifically and the work that you do.
And that is why the more famous you are, the more crafts you are going to sell.
What is fame…
How famous do you need to be? There are different levels of fame, aren’t there? You could have been very famous in high school. Maybe you are very well known in your community.
For the purpose of being a successful artisan the more famous you are the better. But it's very acceptable if you achieve something less than International fame. You are going to do very well if you can manage to come out of your obscurity to a more selective audience.
Here are a few steps on how to become famous artisan…
Study more | Improve skills | Learn new techniques
It goes without saying that in order for you to become well-known with your work, your work needs to stand out. Devote more time into studying and learning more about your craft.
It's very interesting to discover all the different techniques and mediums that are used in different parts of the country and the world.
Within the framework of what you do with your craft there are many new things that you can learn, and introduce your audience to something that they have never seen before.
In this way you will also be able to establish a niche where you stand out from your competitors.
Make lots of things | Create variety | Boost creativity
It's a funny thing but creation is a process that often comes from itself. What I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't wait to create something till the time you already have a clear and preconceived idea in your mind. Ideas and inspiration flow more freely when you immerse yourself into the creation process.
But continue to create, you must.
Creating things on a regular basis requires focus and dedication. Sometimes it can be hard to feel inspired all the time. Specially if you are just starting out and perhaps not seeing enough traction in your sales. So also figure out a few ways outside of your craft that help you feel inspired.
You can follow some other artists, subscribe to magazines, travel, explore famous art, go to museums and get outdoors to conceptualise and design.
Making lots of things might also help you figure out what interests you the most, or just the sheer variety of things you make might open you up to a wider market. Don't be afraid to try things.
Besides practice only makes perfect and the better you get at making things the better it is going to be for your overall success.
Make a plan | Be organised | Know your path
Craft business is very much a business. Don't think that you are only going to get to throw pots or busy yourself in your wood shop. A large part of your time will be devoted to looking after the business aspect of things which involves marketing yourselves, handling your finances, making sales, dealing with customers et cetera. A well-known artist recently commented that he thinks of himself as a business man who is into making crafts, and not the other way round.
So do not shy away from making a good business plan that includes details on how to set up the business, find the money to run the business, buy equipment, where and how to sell, what’s will be the marketing strategy et cetera.
Work like an artist | Be creative | Be unique | Stand out
We recently wrote a long post about this. We spoke about why you should draw your inspiration from an artist no matter in which field of work you are in. The reason for it is quite simple. As far as general perception goes, an artist is supposed to create something original that comes from his own inspiration and thought process.
Each different work by an artist is supposed to be unique and have its own particular style. The style of the art is supposed to be synonymous with the artist and he has unique skills which he puts down into his artwork every time. He is recognisable by the art that he makes.
What this does is segregate one artist from another. Because his style, work, his ingenuity and inspiration stands out from another artist, and he is known for creating a particular style of art.
This can be very beneficial if you can imbibe the same qualities and the same way of working in your crafts. Crafts are usually thought to be utilitarian. Not much of the artisans identity necessarily reflects in the final craft.
But this is not necessarily how everyone makes crafts. Even though most of the craft serve a practical purpose they have huge scope for personal inspiration and design from the artisan. This is what will set you apart from the other artisans.
There are many potters and ceramist who have a very well defined style of making pottery that is completely their own. Many of them even make fine art, which means that they do not make objects that are meant for practical use. Their pottery is only in decorative in nature.
Even though the line between an artist and an artist and has become blurred in several instances, the distinction still exists between the two. But this has more to do than how the artisan works, rather than the bias in people’s mind.
If you imbibe the same principles as an artist and make a conscious effort to promote yourself as one, the same benefits and advantages can be yours.
Promote your work | And then promote it some more.
So you are already making some good stuff. Now it's time to let other people know about it. The philosophy of “just build it and they will come” sometimes works and sometimes it doesn't.
If you are lucky you just might get known for your work through some kind of a viral movement. A single act on your part or an event can catapult your popularity at any stage of your career.
But this philosophy will work even better if you make an active effort into promoting yourself. I have many friends who run a small craft business and are very well-known in local circles circles, even though they have never marketed themselves more or less through word of mouth.
Word by Mouth
Word of mouth is actually a very effective technique of promotion because it results in interested buyers coming to you.
But here is the important thing if you want word of mouth to be the primary method of promotion. You need to have a strong and expansive social circle. And of course, the work has to be loved for people to go and talk favourably about them.
However, get exposure for yourself and your craft in every way that is relevant to your work. How you promote yourself also sometimes has a lot to do with what you are selling and how are you are selling it. Certain kind of craft-making are limited to being done locally. Where as others can very well be promoted all over the country and even internationally.
Word by mouth often works quite well for small businesses that are just starting out. If you have a substantial social circle, friends and family members, this is a good way to get the momentum going.
Social media content
Be prepared with content and material for your social media account even before you launch the business. Social media is mostly about posting interesting pictures and some interesting write-ups. Since I assume that you will not start making a craft the day you start your business you will already have enough things to photograph and write about.
Instagram seems to be a very popular platform these days. So is Facebook. And Pinterest is very popular with crafting people. If you already don't know about it, you will be surprised at the prominence these platforms have in peoples lives. I know I don't use it much, but it's very important to get traction for your business and to reach out to new and interesting buyers.
Accessibly on mobiles
People actually spend a lot of time on their phones and during that time they are exposed to one social media platform or the other. It is estimated that an individual spends an average of five hours on a mobile device every day. This is a lot of time for you to get yourself and your product in front of interested customers.
Paid campaigns are easy to run on all social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram as well as search engines like Google ads .
Think of it this way. If you have the power to reach thousands and even millions of people easily and quickly and repeatedly, what is stopping you for being famous? You even have the ability to target the exact kind of person you want seeing your craft. You can specify regions, age, gender, profession, interests, hobbies et cetera.
This is the magnificent part of promotion yourself online. You should learn to leverage it well. It will go along way in making you and keeping you famous.
Promote yourself through local and national craft fairs and exhibition.
I can safely assume that you want fame not just to feel glamorous but to actually make better sales and make more money with your craft work. In this sense, promoting yourself locally through craft fairs and exhibitions also works great.
Travelling to other exhibitions and well-known fairs in the country not only boost your sales but also get you a wide spread clientele, allowing you to tap into multiple sections of the society.
Just like word of mouth, craft fairs and exhibitions is a great way to build a network of clients for a business that is in its infancy stage. They are also good places for networking with other artisans, which is something that might forge new profit making business relations in the future.
I know from my experience of the local exhibitions in my city that there are certain artisans who come there every time. I have several friends who go to those exhibitions specifically to buy from those people every time. That is their sphere of fame. They are known for what they do and people want to buy that. You know this. There must be so many, different kinds of local businesses around you that everyone knows about and wants to go to.
Take part in voluntary events if that applies to your craft. Think of all other ways in which you can get the word out about your craft. Ensure that what you promote is interesting to people. That is important and that brings us to our next point.
Work in a niche | Tap into demand | Create smart
I define a niche in two ways. One, you discover a selective interest that a selective audience is interested in. This is not a big market but it is a popular market. Not many people are creating this niche product. So it is also a small market a far as the number of sellers are concerned.
The demand is high because not many businesses are tapping into the demand either become they have not discovered the niche, are not aware of the power of working in a niche or it its not their market.
The customers in this niche market are highly motivated and interested and convert very well into sales. The advertisement costs and promotional expenses are less because the niche market already has willing customers who are already looking for that particular niche craft.
Second example of a niche craft is when you take something that already exists but you transform it in such a way that it becomes your own craft. In many ways this is not about reinventing the wheel but about improving on an existing idea or a concept.
There are many ways to do this and creative people do this all the time. They change an existing craft by using various methods like improving the design element, introducing new colours et cetera
A niche craft can also be discovered by creating something completely new. This can often be done by personal observation as well as observation of other people.
You will have had instances where you come across a certain need for a certain object or thing and you realise that it doesn't exist. And you think to yourself how nice it would be if something like this was available to make your life a little easier.
Well, the odds are that other people have also felt the same need. Or even if they haven't, sometimes the product idea that stems from such a need is so useful and attractive that even though they have not thought about it before, people want it once you introduce it to them.
So try and discover a niche craft for yourself in any of these ways and you will stand to profit from it a good deal.
Work on the brand image | Be recognised | Be remembered
I cannot emphasise how important this point is if you want to be well known and famous as an artisan. Let me explain what a brand image is.
Think of the number of times that you have bought a particular product because you trust the brand name, and quality of it. Think about the fact that you are also ready to pay more money for it because you trust it and like it more.
Also, acknowledge the fact that you remember that particular product because it has a memorable brand name, packaging, product design et cetera.
Having a brand is not just about having a particular design and logo. A brand image is about being associated with a certain quality, name, and a deliverance of consistency.
It is a way of making people remembering you and your product. This is really important because if you are ordering offering quality crafts, you want a brand image that gives out that message to people. They should know that whenever they buy from you they are purchasing that same quality and trust every single time.
Developing a brand image and a message around your product also tells your buyers that you are a professional. Buyers automatically trust a good branding. They put more trust in a product that comes well designed and well packed.
By well packed I do not mean that it has to be wasteful and fancy packing. Many craft businesses use recyclable and minimal material to pack the craft. You can use ingenious methods to make your packaging look attractive such as usage of rubber stamps, interesting logos, usage of environmental friendly packaging material like rope, using recyclable brown paper, which actually looks great and suits suits most crafts.
Branding is an extensive subject. You can do your own research on it and apply it to your own craft and the kind of work you do in which ever way it suits best. But what you must not do is ignore developing a good brand image around your craft if you want to be well known and associated with the work that you do.
Get online | Your own store or website | Have your own identity
I list these as one of the most important steps that every small business should take. We have written an entire post on it, why you should have your own individual page online, as a professional artisan or an artist. It doesn’t matter if it not a full fledged store through which you sell your things.
It is really very simple to get a professional looking presence online with ready made templates from Shopify. It is equally simple to list your items for sale as well. Since you are creating a page it makes sense to list your crafts as well. The payment processing is taken care of by Shopify as well. Try them for free today. Your own online store is literally just a few clicks away.
These are the few things you can do to make your small business famous and you along with it. All the best and do write your suggestions in the comment section below.