Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Value of Promotions & Giveaways

Customers love to get little extras, especially around holiday seasons (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc.)  It can be as simple as offering gift wrapping services for all purchases. Or you can send packages directly to the recipient of the gift (with a note from the sender), as long as shipping costs would be the same either way (typically within the same country).

Free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount is another common practice.  Or you can give customers who purchase from your online store a secret discount code that they can use for future orders for a specifed period of time (6 - 12 months).  Keep track of those customers and send out reminder e-mails, especially around holidays, to generate more business.

Enter everyone who makes a purchase, in a given month (or time frame of your choice), into a draw for a free giveaway.  It's a great way to build customer loyalty and boost sales.  Make the giveaway special, different from the products you are selling, to encourage them to make a purchase for a chance to win.

There is no time like the present to start planning for the upcoming holiday season.  Make sure you have lots of business cards, packaging supplies, gift wrap, and plenty of beads & jewelry making supplies (or whatever you require for your particular craft) so that you can replenish your stock as you sell.

Planning ahead will save you a lot of stress down the road. Most importantly, have fun!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Displaying Your Wares

With a big indoor event coming up in mid-October, my thoughts once again go to how to best display my wares.  As you may or may not know, the majority of shows I have been doing are outdoor events, many of them multiple day camping events.

The kind of displays needed for those venues must be light weight and fold down flat for quick & easy set up, packing and transportation.  They need to be able to withstand any weather condition; soft showers & torrential rain, gentle breezes & 100 km per hour winds, extreme heat & near freezing temperatures.

While my current display pieces are 'functional' they lack the 'sophistication' I'm looking for at a high-end indoor event.  And, admittedly, they are a little worse for the wear having been exposed to the elements on more than one occasion.

There are a few things that I've learned that would apply to both types of events.  That is as good a place to start as any.

1. Never lay handmade jewelry flat on a table.  Try to have several different levels to provide more interest and catch the eye of potential customers as they walk by.

2. Make sure that every piece is clearly marked with a price tag or sign. Some people will not ask if they don't see it, even if they really love your work.

3. Don't crowd pieces too close together.  They stand out more when there is a respectable space between them.

4. Always have at least one mirror available so potential customers can see what your design looks like against their skin.

5. Use appropriate settings for the event and use colour effectively to highlight your jewelry, not detract from it.

My son has constructed a couple of display stands that I have used at the one big indoor event I've been at before and they will be the base of my set-up for this event in October.  Looking at the photo of my booth (above), I do see things that I need to change this time.  For starters, this will not be a holiday event, so my colour scheme will be totally different.  I really need to 'step it up' a little because this could open many doors for me.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pay It Forward - Handmade Gifts For You

Alicia from All The Pretty Things posted about a marvelous blog game to play that involves "Paying it Forward".

Here’s How It Works:

I’ll send a surprise gift to the first three people who comment on this blog post. The gift will be a handmade by me and will be sent to you some time in the next 365 days - both the gift and the time you receive it will be a surprise. 

Here’s what you need to do, leave me a comment and make sure you include your e-mail address (if your profile doesn’t include it).  I’ll e-mail you for your snail mail address and ask a few questions (likes/dislikes, favourite colors, etc.).

To complete signing up you MUST play along too.  To do this you must blog a similar post and pledge to make a surprise gift for the first three people who comment on it.

So, do you want to play? Comment below and I’ll send a thoughtful handmade gift to the first three people who do.

This is going to be fun!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Creating Colour Palettes

I have a very old version of Adobe Photoshop on my computer.  In spite of the fact that the tool bars & icons were different from the ones in the instructions, I was able to learn how to create a colour palette from any photo that can then used for inspiration when designing jewelry. 

I’ve been practicing with images that I found online.

You can choose any five (or more) colours to drop into the palette.  Then, print the image and take it to the bead store when selecting materials.

If you’d like to learn how to do this too, you can find the instructions on Brandi Girl Blog.