HBW - Turn your creative hobby into a business

Hello folks. Continuing on with our Handmade Business Weekend, please welcome Belinda from BrisStyle with some tips on how you can turn your creative hobby into a business. So if you love to craft, sew, or create, why not try your hand at starting your own market stall and/or online store?

Handmade Business Weekend - Marketing Tips, Ideas and Giveaways

BrisStyle Pinterest Page

BrisStyle Pinterest Page

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your dreams realised.  Taking your creative passions to the next level may be a dream to some but it is not so hard to achieve if you follow a few simple steps.

Think about your branding… First up, give your business a name. Think about who you are, what you’re making, and how you would like your business to be perceived. At this stage, you can enlist the assistance of a designer, or you can try your hand at designing your own logo with photoshop or a free software program.

Setup an online store… The internet is an amazing resource for independent businesses, and setting up an online store has never been easier.  There are heaps of websites to choose from so do your research and find out which one best suits your products and budget and where you can really stand out from the crowd. Online marketplaces like Etsy, Madeit, Tittle + Tat, Big Cartel and Blue Caravan are a great place to start.

Gain an online presence… Set up a blog, website, facebook page, twitter account and/or pinterest account.  You don’t have to do them all, just do as many as you wish and see what works for you and your fan base as it builds.  Social networking is a priceless avenue for connecting with the public to gain feedback on products and to show off new ones as they come to light.

BrisStyle Handmade Markets

BrisStyle Market Stalls

Take it to the streets… Get your products out and about by joining in at local art and craft markets.  Visit local handmade shops and show them your wares.  Sometimes it’s a little nerve-wracking to put your craft on the line in this way but you are your best advocate for building your brand. There is nothing more rewarding than meeting your fans and having that interaction with your customers (and hopefully making some sales too).

Speak to the bloggers… You might not have the budget to engage in paid advertising when you first launch your business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get noticed. Make a list of all your favourite bloggers and start contacting them to introduce yourself and your wares. Make this contact personal (i.e. avoid spam) and tailored specifically to the blog you are contacting. If you have a fabulously unique product, you might find that they are keen to talk about it with their readers. At this stage, it is important to have good quality images available to increase your chances of editorial success.

Nat from Quill and Ink making a sale

Nat from Quill and Ink making a sale!

For heaps more hints and tips, please check out the weekly ‘Your Creative Business’ posts on the BrisStyle blog featuring valuable topics and handy links so that you can take your hobby to the next level.

Belinda Harris is the Operations Coordinator at BrisStyle; A cooperative group of Australian artists, crafters and artisans committed to making Brisbane the hottest destination for everything handmade. You can connect with Belinda and the BrisStyle team via their website, or Facebook page.

 

Share the love!

Handmade Business Weekend + Logo Giveaway!

Over the past couple of years I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting hundreds of amazingly talented work at home Mums and Dads (and friends). So this weekend, I thought I’d do a little something special for all crafty folks that make up the extended {KID} independent family. Stay tuned over the next four days for handy business tips and fabulous giveaways to give your indie brand a boost!

Handmade Business Weekend - Marketing Tips, Ideas and Giveaways

To start our Handmade Business Weekend in stellar style, I’ve invited Anna from Design with Style to share her top tips for successful business branding. Anna is also giving one lucky small business owner the chance to win a “Winter Logo Makeover” to give their brand a competitive edge!

Design with Style Business Logos

The Three Keys to Successful Small Business Branding.

I love the energy in our business world and I especially enjoy watching the birth of so many clever small businesses. I can tell straight away which ones will be noticed and which will disappear in the crowd and it usually comes down to branding.

I have been a graphic designer for over 10 years and in that time I have helped many businesses, small and big, create successful brands. These businesses understood the importance of branding.

While the definition of branding includes much more than the logo, design is the foundation on which branding builds. It’s not just about creating something beautiful but also about connecting with your target market. Your brand is what sways a customer towards your company instead of your competitors. When a customer looks for a business, it will be your logo and website that they connect with first.

First impressions count!

Successful small business branding includes these three key elements.

Message.

The message must be simple and clear. Don’t try to be too clever because the message might be lost. Think about what sets your business apart. It will be different to the others because you’re different.

Ask yourself why your potential customers should choose you. What will you do for them in your own special way?

Your logo and brand should convey this information in a simple way.

Feeling.

Images create a feeling the moment you look at them. Pay attention to your reaction when you look at the image of a flower and then of a screaming toddler!

Your logo, colour choices and branding needs to convey a feeling immediately. If you are a counsellor, your branding should show that you care and nurture people. If you are an entertainer, your branding should be bright and filled with fun. Your customers should be able to connect with you with just one look.

It is important to have a verbal message as well as visual. A logo says a lot, but your words say more. Taglines, headings and website content all need to be consistent so they accurately reflect your brand. Your words take the reader on an emotional journey with you but one little word out of place is enough to lose your customer’s attention.

Remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it that counts.

Consistency.

Once you have found a brand image that works, be consistent with it. This is how people start to recognise your business. They associate the visual with your brand. Don’t alter the colours or the shape. Keep them consistent because that’s what your customers will be looking for when they come to you. They have come to know you through your branding and your colours and website will be very welcoming.

It is also important to change any aspects that don’t seem to be working. If you aren’t getting the response that you intended, start again. Survey your market, get some feedback and then rebrand. It’s far better to give no message than send out the wrong one.

Working the three key elements into your brand takes planning and clever design. Don’t try to do it alone. Invest in the services of a graphic designer who will help you get your branding right the first time.

About Anna.

After 10 years working as a graphic designer, and the birth of a beautiful baby girl, it was time for a change. In early 2009 Anna Matjasec was inspired to establish her own business, design with style.

Based in Brisbane, design with style is an online business that specialises in graphic design for small & large businesses. The individual attention Anna invests with her clients is what sets her ahead of the pack – every project is personal at design with style.

A graphic designer for over a decade, Anna has more than earned her stripes in the design world. She appreciates the power of colour and form in the design process, and can readily transform her client’s ideas into striking design concepts.

Competition - Giveaway - Win{KID} independent has teamed up with Design with Style to offer one lucky independent businesses the opportunity to have their logo completely redesigned by Anna! To enter, simply tell us why your logo needs a makeover via the Rafflecopter widget below. You can also score extra entries into the draw by liking us on Facebook or tweeting about the giveaway! Australian entries only, entries close on 28 June, 2012.

Design with Style Logo Makeover Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share the love!