Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Customers and Brand
When I opened my jewelry business in July of 2011, I never imagined how much work it would be to build a customer base. I figured that all my friends would come to me when they needed a gift or something for a special occasion. And of course my family would buy my stuff and promote it to their friends. And then there are the people at work. Once they saw my beautiful baubles, they would become lifelong customers. And then there’s Etsy – surely people would flock to my store.
The reality is that it doesn’t work that way. Sure, I get sales from friends and co-workers (and I appreciate every one of them) but not enough to sustain a business. As for family – they love my stuff but most of what they have of my jewelry is by way of gifts from me. And Etsy? I’m just another small fish in a very large pond.
What I’m finding is that it takes a lot of work to build a base and stay relevant to my customers. I’ve also learned along the way that I can’t be all things to all people. I have my style and I need to stick to that. There have been countless suggestions from people – “you should make this” or “I’ll bet people would buy if you only made that.” I’ve decided to focus on what I do best and get really good at that. For those who are looking for something else, there are a lot of talented designers who would appreciate the business.
It has taken me almost two years, but I think I’ve finally discovered my niche and what I want my brand to stand for. I’m working with a graphic designer to create a logo and in the process came up with some bullet points on how I want my customers to view my work and my business:
· High quality (this above all else)
· Organic (but not sloppy)
· Outside the box
I’ve still got a long way to go before I have a strong customer base and a recognizable brand but I’m on my way and learning something new every day. How about you? Do you have any tips to share on building a brand and a customer base?