I was talking about how some crafters just get by and others do well and ended up talking about getting my business name. That's not what I intended, so here we go again.
What I have noticed at the various markets is that people buy packaging as much as product. Take my underwear!!! I wouldn't call myself a name brand girl, but my shoes are Clarks and my underwear Marks and Sparks. I know I'm not the only one who feels the same way. But why? Why is my loo roll Andrex and nothing else? Yes, they're quality products, but they're not the only quality products on the market.
Think about my mp3 player. I've been an Ipod buyer for years (arrgghh, maybe I AM a name brand girl) I once bought an Ipod that broke, normally I would then change to a new brand of mp3, but something made me stay. Well, have you ever had a Mac product break on you? Have you tried their repairs department? I did. I phoned them and the next day UPS arrived with a little box for my ipod, then the next day UPS returned with a brand new ipod. No worries, no questions asked. And I am now a Mac lifer.
It's not just getting the sale, it's the whole shabang. You look in the shop window, see the product, but I am beginning to see that what sells you the product isn't the product at all, it's the glossy packaging, the vintage look label. It's the people who go to Harrods just to get a carrier bag with the name. They bought nothing, but the packaging. I could buy a packet of mints from Harrods or from the local shop, they're still just a packet of mints, but one comes in a green bag with gold lettering that says, "I can afford anything I want".
What's the difference between a crocheted bunny that I might make and sell and those little crochet bunnies in Cath Kidsons shop? They both would cost around the same, but if you bought one from Cath's shop it'd come in a bag with roses on, which says "I am buying a great luxury gift". If you bought it from me, apart from being able to haggle the price, you'd get the bunny, a hand written price label (white tag style), a bag if I remembered them or Sue lends me one, and if I remember I might persuade you to take a business card that advertises silver jewellery, not my crochet items!
But behind all of that there is a whole wealth of difference.
Sorry Cath if you ever read this blog, I feel like I'm picking on you, but in truth I really love what you do.
The fact that if you buy from me you meet the actual maker of the bunny, the number of bunnies I make are very limited so it's more unique, I can tell you the wool and even get the pattern for you. Not only that, in some cases I can even tell you the name and address of the sheep that gave it's coat up for you (I hope eventually to get a photo of the sheep too!) And talk about local business, A Yorkshire lass, selling items made in Yorkshire, from wool of Yorkshire born and bred sheep. You can't get any better than that.
In some ways, a bunny from me should be better that one from a high street shop, but I don't feel it is. It all comes down to my packaging, it's not selling for me.
A few days ago my mum took me to a wholesale place she found. I saw some little keyrings for £1 that I could sell for £2 easily. So I bought 10 of them. There were a lot to choose from but some were in boxes and some in plastic wrapping. All from the same supplier, same warehouse, same factory, but the packaging made certain ones stand out to me as better quality as the others. It's the packaging that sells the product.
I don't have any, and if you are a regular reader of my blog you will remember the blog of what to take to your stall. My most forgotten item is packaging, when it should be one of the most important things. I have a nice table cloth, some nice labels, I've made an earring stand and have some baskets for other items, but nothing matches. There is no running theme, and I've been aware of this problem for a while now.
Over the last week the planned blog-a-day idea went a bit off the mark, but I've been busy (honest), I've been looking into all of this packaging and marketing. I hadn't done much in the past because I thought a great business image would cost a fortune, but I've spent under £100 and am so happy.
I finally feel I'm coming out of a dark tunnel (it's not a light at the end of the tunnel. Just some blighter with a torch and more work!) Once items start arriving I'll tell you more, but here's a little smidge of the plan...
I've bought wrapping paper and personalised stickers instead of clear plastic zip bags. Pink carrier bags instead of, well nothing. Professional looking labels that advertise my products and all of my details instead of a hand written price tag, woven clothing labels, and I've bought the web name www.pixieandjoy.co.uk so my website is the same as the business name.
If I'm right, I should soon start to see the difference in my bank balance as well as the huge smile on my face.