Thursday, 15 September 2011

Selling Your Work To The Right Person in The Right Place

All of us a crafters would like to know how to sell more of our stuff. We all try hard selling online on etsy, our websites, on facebook and through markets and shops. Recently I've come across a few opportunities that has opened my eyes when it comes to selling my work. I have a wide range of products that I sell at a weekly market, The Milk Market in Limerick City. Even though it has a great footfall and I've tried really hard trying to brand and display my work properly, sometimes I worry that the right type of person isn't seeing my products. For example I might have a cool geeky badge, but because it looks like a girly craft stall a male hipster is not going to stop at my stall. So I lose a sale.

I started thinking more about what type of person would buy each of my items, and then trying to think about where that person shops. I wanted to bring my work directly to the right person, place it under their nose, rather then wait for them to come to me. Here are a few examples of the products that I'm now selling in a different way.

I make an alphabet magnet set for children, they are all my own illustrations, and obviously all handmade. So the kind of person I'm aiming at is probably someone looking to give this as a gift. At a €20 price tag it's not something you pick up on a whim. Also because of the price I'm not aiming towards the Pennys cheap and cheerful buyer. My friend Claire runs Ecobrats an eco friendly business that caters towards a mother and baby's needs. The type of people who buy from her are willing to pay a little bit more for a higher quality product, her customers think about the materials used, and the work that goes into making something. Exactly the type of person who will pay a few quid extra for handmade. On top of the obvious fact that if they are at a baby stall they will be more open to buying baby products. We work together at the market and she kindly suggested to me that she could sell some of my sets, and within an hour she sold a box. Also over the next couple of weeks I will be making christening and new baby cards for her to sell at the stall. She gets a lot of people asking for them. It's better to have them there, rather than if she sent them to my stall they might get distracted by something and forget to come over to me.

About a year ago I invested in a badge maker to make my own pocket mirrors as I was frustrated with ordering them from the US. In the past year it's really helped to expand my business. One thing that I've been really pushing lately is hen party orders. If someone would have said to me this time last year that hen parties would become my bread and butter I never would have believed them. Part of what has helped spread the word was contacting bridal and hen party websites and facebook pages directly. Rather that hoping that prospective brides would find me I went out and hunted them down myself. It was free and very easy, I just sent off a bunch of emails. If websites got back to me and asked me to pay a fee for advertising I politely declined; there are plenty of bridal blogs looking for things to write about that will do it for free instead.

There is a a vinyl stall at the market I sell at. I approached the stallholder a few weeks ago to see if he would mind me putting a board of rock and pop badges at his stall. We go 50/50 on the sales so both of us are happy. Since putting out this board a record shop has approached me about doing a similar deal with them. It was simple idea that grew legs under it-music people go to record stalls, music people love badges-simple! (Note: I know I'm breaking copywrite laws with these, but I figure Bono won't mind about a little stall in Limerick making a few quid, I won't be selling them online, and won't stock anywhere else with them).

 Facebook is an amazing marketing tool. It was Pride week in Limerick last week, I was very disorganised and only made up a batch of Pride designs the day before the parade. But I snapped a few pictures, uploaded them to facebook, and then sent a link of the album directly to the organisers of Limerick Pride, LGBT, and a few others. I had quite a few customer who came to my stall the next day to specifically buy them. After I finished work I pinned all my badges to my canvas bag, walked down to the after party and sold them to people on the street. I figured I'd make a few extra quid on my walk home! Again I went directly to the person who I knew would buy my stuff, rather than wait for them to stumble upon me.

Try to think about what you make, who would buy it, where that person normally shops, and how to get your products into that place. It's all about the right context. Has anyone else had experience with this kind of thing? I love to hear your feedback..


  1. Ruth, you are brilliant! Very enjoyable read!

  2. Ruth you're an artist and a business woman - a powerful combination. Well done.
    I'm thinking I really ought to do the Christ church Christmas fair this year and get my Connemara marble seen by a few tourists...and am working on other such ideas....

  3. Thanks ladies, glad I was able to share some tips!
    Anne-Marie you should try it! You never know until you give something a go. I was approached by my local tourist office to make stuff for them, maybe you should try one in Dublin. It would be a great selling point for them and you to say it was handmade in Dublin.

  4. Wow Ruth, Great tips as always. I have to write a few marketing e-mails me thinks.

  5. That was great!
    Thanks Ruth for sharing your clever ideas on the matter!
    Need to do some thought into it too! :D

  6. I recently invested in a badge making machine too and I'm delighted with it. I've been pondering the exact dilemma you've voiced in your post too as I've a few avenues of very diverse ideas at who to pitch various badge ideas at. Thanks for sharing your very valuable thoughts.