Posted on June 6, 2012 in Build Your Brand by Katie Oskin
Welcome back to our Build Your Brand series. Today we are talking about business decision that you, your small business, & your brand will have to make. Sometimes these decisions are easy. Other times they are not. So how do you make these decisions and what are some of the big ones that you need to look at now?
Do you have a brand? This is the question that made us open this series. Yet for some of my readers, you are still trying to figure out what your brand is. Some of you are really struggling with this too! Your brand is the most important part of your store. It’s how people recognize you, connect with you, but most of all what keeps them coming back. If you still have not figured out what your brand is, go through your store and answer these simple questions: what do you have the most of? What do you enjoy making? And most importantly, what do you buyers keep purchasing from you? If you answer all these questions and one item or type of item stands out from all the others, then this is your brand and how you need to market your store.
Change your name? A long time ago when we opened up our shop on Etsy, we wanted to keep our current customer base from eBay. In order to do this, we kept the same username on Etsy that we had on eBay. This being said, it was a bad mistake. Your business will change and grow and so will your store and your brand. You need to be willing to change with it. A long time ago we changed our name from “CELLestial BeadWorks” back to “Kater’s Acres.” It’s a long story as to why and how this happened, but the bottom line was that our business changed into something that only God could have foreseen. Many of you will remember the business logos that first appeared in our store as the one shown above.
It required not only that we change our business name, but our blog and all our social media accounts. This required that we rebuild from scratch. It was basically like opening up an entirely new store all over again, but it was necessary to give Parker and his friends a proper home. This even required us to get new graphics, new banners, avatars, the complete works. So rather than the DIY version that you see above, we sought out a professional graphics designer to help us rebuild. So don’t get all worried over changing your business name. Yes, it will take a lot of work. But, if it will help you build your brand, then you need to do it. After all…don’t you want to quit your day job?
Take a hard look. You may have sale after sale after sale; but what happens when after you have paid your fees, overhead, and shipping you look in PayPal and there’s nothing there. There is one obvious reason: you are not charging enough for your work. We were recently challenged on this as well. Sometimes seeing things in black and white is hard. You need to not only do justice to yourself and your brand, but you need to make something at what you do. Whether it’s graphic design, custom jewelry, bags & pouches, knitting, woodworking, it does not matter. You are the artist and your things are handmade. You did not go to WalMart, but your product, and then choose to resell it. Give yourself the value and the worth that you deserve, but don’t price gouge your customer base either. Check on Etsy and see what comparable work is selling for. And be honest with the quality of your work. There will always be people who do what you do better than you can. Likewise, there will always be people who do what do you and you are better than them. Price yourself accordingly. If you don’t know where to start, visit Etsy labs and read up on pricing your handmade items.
Vacation mode or not? A big decision for many sellers is whether or not to close your store while you are away. Here’s my honest opinion (please keep in mind there are a million out there and this is just my opinion). If you truly need a break from your store, the orders, & the computer (remember we’re talking about online businesses here)…put your store on vacation mode. I’ll be honest, that most of your buyers do not read your shop announcements. I used to stuff my announcements full of coupons that never got used, vacation & sick notices that also didn’t get read. Wouldn’t it be nice to go on vacation and know that you’re not coming home to an upset customer because their order didn’t ship and they didn’t see your store announcement? Allow yourself a break – after all, you work hard and deserve it.
While your store in on vacation though, use that time away creatively. It’s one of the best ways to revive your store, keep your customer base, and feel energized and inspired when you return. Take a notebook with you and write down or draw your ideas. Do something new and exciting to beef up your brand for when you return. When we went on vacation, we took a new Vacation Parker with us and Parker had a great vacation in sunny Florida. It was our way of interacting with our fans and Parker not only had a good time, but our fans enjoyed watching his adventures. Use your brand and allow it to do the work for you.
Thanks for joining me today. Join me next week to Build Your Brand on Etsy & experience success.