Would you like to take your handmade business to the next level? Well, you should start by working into your branding!
Branding is what will make your company stand out in the crowd. It is how customers will perceive your business, your statement, your voice, and visual. You don’t need to be a huge funded business to market and boost your sales, you can do several things, even on a tight budget.
These are some efforts to brand your handmade items successfully.
#1. Market Research
As a handmade business owner, you are an artisan and entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur you should understand your market. Running a market research will help you identify who is your target audience, what solutions are they looking for, how much they are willing to pay for your product, and who are your competitors. You can use several tools to help you through the process, such as online surveys, government statistics, market places analysis, and by visiting local artisan trade fairs.
Once you find these answers, it is time to position your brand.
#2. Brand Purpose and Positioning
Before anything, you need to have a clear picture of why does your brand exist, to whom is it aimed, and how does it differentiate from competitors. A clear purpose and positioning will guide you through the entire branding strategy.
If this is your first time ever thinking about this, take some time to reflect. Consider how your brand and products might change someone’s life, what it can offer as value. Also, think about who would be impacted, and which similar solutions are available in the market.
#3. Brand’s Visual Identity
Every brand needs a name and logo. This is the first step you need to take before planning your packaging, labels, and any other marketing materials. Besides the name and logo, you will also need to define colors, fonts, and style. You can hire someone to do it, or you can do it by yourself. Both options have pros and cons, such as costs and level of expertise, and you should take into consideration your current situation.
If you decide DIY, there are plenty of free logo tools, which can help you do it, from designing your logo up to finding the best color. If you are not an expert, start with a simple design that can be replicated in all of your materials, unifying all of your marketing efforts.
When developing your logo, keep in mind it should reflect your brand’s statement, mission, values, and be relevant to your business and demographics.
#4. The Importance of Labeling
Labels are a necessity for any product. They provide not only helpful information about your company, but also the product origin, care, and content. Labeling products is a standard branding practice, and you can try to do it by yourself, but it from a fellow artisan, or order customized labels online.
Customizing your labels online is undoubtedly the best way to go, and you don’t need to spend too much money to do it. Most shops allow you to design your own label and print at minimum quantities such as 10 labels per order. You can choose between woven, leather, or silk labels. Remember to select the label that can translate your brand identity, and due to its small size, don’t add too much information. Prioritize either your brand’s name or logo, and have a font size big enough to be readable.
A package adds value to your product, and it will help you turn customers into big fans. Depending on the type of product you sell, and how you sell it, different types of packaging might apply. The most common ones are the product package, shipping package, protection layers, and promotional elements such as tags.
As a starting business, you might consider doing the package yourself. If so, there are some practical and low-cost materials you can select, such as custom stamps, washi tape, recycled boxes, and colored tissue paper. You can also add a handwritten message, giving credential and a lasting impression to each of your customers.
#6. Business cards
Business cards are an excellent manner to exchange contacts, to build a network, and promote your brand. It should contain your logo, company name, and contacts. Take it always with you when participating in trade fairs, display at a local business, and include one at each product sold.
When creating your business cards, take advantage of all your creativity. Don’t be boring! Create a beautiful business card design and select an appropriate paper texture. If you plan to do it by yourself, consider using Photoshop or the free software GIMP.
#7. Online presence
If you have an online shop or active social media, be ready to replicate the same brand’s guide to it. Use the same selected fonts, colors, logo, and tone of voice. If you sell through market places, such as Etsy, also consider creating appropriate covers, so you have unified customer touchpoints. The message should be clear and concise throughout all the platforms.
The handmade market is visual, so we would also recommend you to invest in professional photos of your products. You can do these photos by yourself; you will just need good lighting and a white background scenario. The camera could be your mobile one’s, as long as it can take high-quality pictures; meanwhile, you might DIY the white background scenario or easily buy it on Amazon.
#8. The customer experience
In overall, branding is a manner to make customers remember you, and eventually come back. The best way to do it is by offering an impactful first impression. All customer touchpoints count for an outstanding experience; since your customer first contact, up to using the product itself. Be careful about establishing honest policies, always replying to questions, and offering a reliable customer service.
Branding is essential to any business to grow, and your handmade enterprise is no different. You don’t need to spend thousands in branding as a big company would, but you can carry out some crucial steps to build a foundation and scale up later. Do your market research, position your brand in a segment, create your brand’s identity and develop further efforts, such as labels, package and online presence. Seek further education into those areas you are not so strong at and prioritize things you think you would need professional help. And remember: sometimes done is better than perfect, so don’t be afraid to risk.
About the Author!
Annabelle Carter Short is a writer and seamstress of more than 7 years. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. Annabelle is a mother and she likes to make crafts and DIY projects with her kids. Annabelle is very active in the crafting community. She’s passionate about selling handmade items and starting a craft business.