Monday, April 29, 2013

Creating Success from the Inside Out: The #1 Thing You Must Do to Prep Your Business for Total Success

I have to admit that I groaned when I found out what this one thing was because it is not an easy task.  In fact, it is incredibly difficult. 

It is something that a good friend of mine, a product manager at my day job, has been telling me that I should be doing for my business.  He even went so far as to telling me to stop everything I was doing for six months and go through this process because it is so important.  I ignored him for the last year and then recently I started an online business class – the whole first week of class was devoted to this one thing.  That finally sent a strong message to me that it is really important!

So what is this one thing?  In very short terms, Voice of Customer (VOC).  We must identify and understand our ideal customer(s).  To do this, we need to interview our customers/potential customers so that we can understand their wants, needs, fears, and desires.  Once we have this information, we can create an image of our ideal customer and tailor our products and marketing to that customer.

You may have more than one ideal customer for your products.  For example, I sell bridal jewelry and everyday jewelry.  So I have bridal customers and regular customers.  I can also look at my regular customers and break that down further into my customers who buy the more modern jewelry I make and the people who enjoy more classic, ornate work that I create.  Each of these types of customers has their own set of wants, needs, fears, and desires. 

To start, come up with a survey of questions to ask your potential customers.  You want to gather information like age, gender, marital status and occupation.  But delve deeper to find out what kinds of magazines and books they read, what music they listen to, and what their interests are.  How do they live their lives?  What is important to them?  What are their concerns and fears (related or unrelated to your product)?  What are their dreams and what kind of life would make them happy? 

Here are some suggestions for accessing your customers to get this information:

1.       Who in your inner circle of friends and family are customers or meet the criteria you have set for who you think your potential customers are?  Talk to them first to go through the survey and tweak it based on these early interviews.
2.       If you have a Facebook page or website, put up a link to the survey (you can sign up for Survey Monkey for free and create a 10 question survey) and offer a coupon or some incentive to those who fill it out
3.       If you do art shows or craft fairs, have surveys available for people who come to your booth.  Offer them incentives to fill out your survey.  You might also glean some good information just by chatting with them casually.
4.       Use your email list and send out a survey request to your current customers.
5.       Do you have repeat customers with whom you have a working relationship?  Talk to them, too.
Once you have enough information gathered, you can look at the trends and start to come up with an ideal customer that represents these commonalities.  Make this ideal customer into a real person.  Give them a life and a story. 

At first I thought I was my ideal customer.  After all, I make things that I think are nice and that I would wear.  But once I started this process of identifying my ideal customer, I realized that I am just one person amongst many and not everyone thinks like me, wants the same things that I want, or even has the same fears and desires.  I realized that by limiting my customer experience to just myself, I would be cutting off a whole world of potential. 

Once you have an ideal customer created, it will help you to see whether the products you are offering fit what this ideal customer wants or needs.  Maybe it will generate some ideas as to new products you could offer that you hadn’t thought of before.  Perhaps you need to tailor your products to fit the price range of your ideal customer.  It may also give you some insight into where and how you could be marketing and promoting your products. 

Consider who your ideal customer is and leave a comment below.  Who is your ideal customer?  What insights did you discover from doing this exercise?  What other ways have you used to glean information about your customers?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

Head on over to Pine Bush this weekend! Multi-talented Amber H Lynn will be selling her polymer and multi-media creations at the Pine Bush UFO Fair on Saturday, April 27, from 9AM-3:30PM. Along with Amber and other vendors there will be a parade, a 5K run and a whole slew of other activities. So stop on by, pick up something from Amber's booth and have some fun!
Amber H Lynn
Amber H Lynn
Amber H Lynn
Happy shopping!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY: Matting & Framing Art

DIY: Matting & Framing My Fantasy Art
Part 3

Tools and Materials

DIY metal frame 
Picture hanging wire (any wire will do, even tough string)
matted artwork
wire cutter

This is the final part of the tutorial.  Previously I had completed the matting of the art, and now I assemble the frame and put the artwork in it.  I buy my frames from American Frame, Graphic Dimensions, and sometimes from the art suppliers like Dick Blick, Pearl Paint, or AI Friedman.  I like American Frame because most of the time I'm framing artwork for conventions and I expect the art will do some traveling before it sells, so I prefer metal frames for toughness. I use plexiglass, which American Frame will cut for you as well, instead of glass because it is much lighter, and may crack but not shatter as glass will.  I like color in my mats but a clean, austere look in my frames.  

I assemble the frame as per the instructions, leaving the top open for insertion of the art.

I insert the corners at the top and the piece for hanging wire about 5" down.

I dust off the top of the matted artwork so there is no lint.  The plexiglass comes with sticky paper on both sides. I peel off one side and place it quickly on the matted art so there is minimal chance of getting dust on that side.  Then I peel off the other side, revealing the artwork.  I scan for lint and specks.  If I find anything, I carefully lift the plexiglass and use a bit of masking tape on a finger to trap the lint and remove it.

 Now I'm ready to slip the matted artwork and plexiglass in together into the 3 sided frame.

And slip in the final top side of the frame.

I turn the whole piece over and screw the sections in tight.

I don't know the technical name for these curvy things, but they apply pressure between the frame and the backing board to keep the art in place.  Slip them in along the edges, about 4 or 5 to a side.

They don't fit in all the way, and they occasionally pot out, but they do the job.

 Cut a length of wire about 4" longer than the width of the frame and put them through the holes of the frame's wire hangers.  Wrap the ends around the wire.

Finished and ready for show!



Monday, April 22, 2013

Hudson Valley Etsy At The Annual Garden Fair

Time to get back to the garden! On Saturday, May 4th from 10am to 4pm, several members of the Hudson Valley Etsy Team will be among the featured vendors at the Annual Garden Fair, sponsored by the Hudson Valley Garden Association. The fair will be held at the Orange County Arboreteum, Thomas Bull Memorial Park, Montgomery, N.Y. The fair is the place to buy all your plants, see demos of new products, and sign up for educational lectures.

As an added bonus you'll meet team members: Patti Ursel of GetGlassy with fused glass home decor; Lisa Walbridge of merryalchemy with floral and nature-inspired jewelry: Lynn Isaacson of NewProspectPottery stoneware pottery for the home; Sue DiGilio of digiliodesigns, folk art soft sculptures and works on paper, Karen Berelowitz of Karmabee, nature inspired paper goods, and Kathryn Luciana of HuzzahHandmade, felted wool bowls, vases, market bags. This event is perfectly timed to kick-start your gardening season, shop for Mother's Day the following weekend, and perhaps pick up some lovely handmade items for yourself.

For general fair information:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

Two Hudson Valley Etsyians are selling their creations in person this weekend.

Elena Rosenberg is heading over to the good city of Boston. So why not hit the road and support Boston and wonderful artisans like Elena. Spring CraftBoston is located at the Seaport World Trade Center at 200 Seaport Blvd. Hours are Friday, April 19, 10AM-6PM, Saturday, April 20,  10AM-6PM and Sunday, April 21, 11AM-5PM.
Elena Rosenberg
Elena Rosenberg
If you're staying in the area go check out Cerulean Blue's gorgeous pottery at The Chancellor's Sheep & Wool Showcase at the amazing Clermont Historic Home in Germantown over in Columbia County. The fair is open Saturday, April 20, from 11AM-4PM. The rain date is Sunday, April 21.
Cerulean Blue
Cerulean Blue
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Treasuries

Treasuries are a great way to check out many of our items at once. See more of our April treasuries on Etsy for great gift ideas from our members!

'Daffodil Yellow!' by geminiriverrocks

Sprightly yellow from the Hudson Valley Etsy Team and others

Owled, Daffodil, Yellow, Nature, Flower, Floral, Digital, Macro, Fine Art Print - RavenfireDesigns
Owled, Daffodil, Yellow...
Yellow Wedding Guest Book - Coptic Stitch Binding, Hand Bound Book, Yellow and Navy Blue, Made to Order - nickelplatepress
Yellow Wedding Guest Bo...
Small  Pouch Small Change Purse Small Wallet  Small Card Pouch Yellow, Black and Grey Marimekko - handjstarcreations
Small Pouch Small Chan...
Bubble Skirt in Bamboo - Made To Measure - Ureshii
Bubble Skirt in Bamboo ...
Antique 1927 Butterfly Print, Paper Ephemera, Species Identification Full Page Color Illustration, Home Decor, Art for Framing (IV) - YesterdaysSilhouette
Antique 1927 Butterfly ...
Vintage Knitting Needle Bracelets Daffodil Yellow  X LARGE - sewnewthings
Vintage Knitting Needle...
Size UK 4, LUNA Handmade womens Leather Fairy tale Shoes, Daffodil 2256 by Fairysteps - Fairysteps
Size UK 4, LUNA Handmad...
3x3" Square Thank You Tent Card - Yellow Daffodil - sjensenphoto
3x3" Square Thank ...
16 in. Square Throw Pillow - Sunshine Yellow with Birds on a Wire print - wickedmint
16 in. Square Throw Pil...
Yellow Bird in Mini Yellow Bird Cage - FELTITNYC
Yellow Bird in Mini Yel...
CITRINE Hand Dyed Yarn Merino and Tencel Lace Weight Yellow Orange - spinningmulefibers
CITRINE Hand Dyed Yarn ...
Sunshine Yellow Flower Earrings - Rose Stud Earrings - Lemon Yellow - pulpsushi
Sunshine Yellow Flower ...
Yellow Lampwork Glass Necklace, Daffodil Yellow Glass Beads, Springtime Yellow - CPArtistic
Yellow Lampwork Glass N...
Yellow fleece bathrobes for girl size 5 and matching robe for 18" doll - MarshaSueSews
Yellow fleece bathrobes...
Wedding Guest Book, Mums in Canary Yellow, LARGE 9x7, MADE upon ORDER - EmersonBindery
Wedding Guest Book, Mum...
DAFFODIL Bright Yellow Eyeshadow Pigment 5 Gram Jar - SpectrumCosmetic
DAFFODIL Bright Yellow ...

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

'Neon Spring!!! ' by CorkyWhites

Paradise Carnivà le - Hand Painted Neon Rhinestone - bib - Statement Necklace - boho Jewelry - Ibiza - Festival Chic - one of a kind jewelry. - GreenEyeRocks
Paradise Carnivà le - H...
Letterpress Neon & Metallic Modern Fish scale pattern coasters - WishboneLetterpress
Letterpress Neon & Meta...
Popping Buds Framed Silk Screened Print - DeweyHoward
Popping Buds Framed Sil...
Necklace Minimalist Coloful Bar on a 14k Gold Chain - LaurenRoseJewlers
Necklace Minimalist Col...
Footed Nesting Bowl, Set of 3 - LandMstudio
Footed Nesting Bowl, Se...
Neon Leather Earrings Color Block Lace Floral and Leaves - Statement Earrings - BooandBooFactory
Neon Leather Earrings C...
Handpainted Multicolored Heart on Waterworn Stone Pin - geminiriverrocks
Handpainted Multicolore...
Jersey scarf in Neon Rainbow - Sariph
Jersey scarf in Neon Ra...
Red and Orange Pinwheel Flower on Yellow Tissue Cozy - FELTITNYC
Red and Orange Pinwheel...
Hoops Earrings (2") - neon yellow spiky feather with yellow and aqua glass beads - amieebyamiee
Hoops Earrings (2"...
Neon Multicolor PAPER BEAD Stretch Bracelet,  custom sizing - shipping included - itsmolly
Neon Multicolor PAPER B...
Women's Fashion - Pumpkin Orange Botanical Lace Knit Capelet- Bamboo and Silk - ElenaRosenberg
Women's Fashion - P...
Mini Planters set of 4, Neon Pink, Orange, Purple and Yellow, wedding favors, Spring Decor - WindandWillowHome
Mini Planters set of 4,...
Neon Green Resin Dahlia Flower Cabochons Earrings - mylittleaudgepodge
Neon Green Resin Dahlia...
Bright Neon Feather Earrings Spring Fling Fashion Accessory Hot Pink Bright Orange and Grizzly Long Feather Earings - PrettyVagrant
Bright Neon Feather Ear...
24 Pack Bright Neon Mustache. Cupcake Toppers. - BellasDressUpCloset
24 Pack Bright Neon Mus...

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

'Of Love and Grace' by handjstarcreations

Tee Tree and Lemon All Natural Handmade Essential Oil Soap with Coffee Grids - Kitchen Sink - BeyondThePicketFence
Tee Tree and Lemon All ...
Moms Day Book Collection Interior Design Vintage Book Decor - jaysworld
Moms Day Book Collectio...
WINTER SALE, Grace, grey Flats, flat shoes, leather shoes - TamarShalem
WINTER SALE, Grace, gre...
Winter Scarf - Fiber Art Scarf - Luxurious Organic Merino Wool Knit Scarflette - Winter Women Fashion - ElenaRosenberg
Winter Scarf - Fiber Ar...
Pyrite Tiny Boulder Earrings - LaurenRoseJewlers
Pyrite Tiny Boulder Ear...
New York City Photography -  Empire State Building - Manhattan skyline - gold pink fog - wall decor - city at dusk - Raceytay
New York City Photograp...
Royal Purple Czech Bead and Multi-Strand Chain Necklace - pulpsushi
Royal Purple Czech Bead...
PRINTABLE Vintage Couple Folded Notecard Set - silentlyscreaming
PRINTABLE Vintage Coupl...
VTG 100% silk 90th blouse olive grey - Silkheaven
VTG 100% silk 90th blou...
Vintage Sterling Silver Flower Earrings and Brooch Set, Silver Roses, Antique Rose Jewelry, Signed  Sterling - YesterdaysSilhouette
Vintage Sterling Silver...
Vintage 1950s Cocktail Dress - Brocade Gold & Brown - Small - TwoMoxie
Vintage 1950s Cocktail ...
Hydra Crater Sextans Felis Noctua Corvus Constellations, set of two vintage celestial maps printed on parchment paper. Buy 3 and get 1 FREE - DejaVuPrintStore
Hydra Crater Sextans Fe...
Metallic Brown and Gold Lampwork Glass Bead Pendant - Gift Box - Under 25 - MySelvagedLife
Metallic Brown and Gold...
Old Paper. French antique bills .Paper pack . Authentique  .Paper ephemera.Wall hanging - CabArtVintage
Old Paper. French antiq...
Set of six french vintage hemp table napkins ----free shipping------ - ChicFrangine
Set of six french vinta...
Paris etching, no 33 - sadieolive
Paris etching, no 33

Treasury tool by StylishHome.