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.
Ceramic Hand Necklace
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)
·         Unique
·         Memorable
·         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?


  1. This is a great article and well said. I have done the same thing. I stick to what I know, and my work looks like it is mine. If each person followed what they naturally love to make, and make well. Think of the variety that would be out there..

  2. I'm just starting out, so I don't have any tips for you. I just wanted to thank you for your article, it has given me a lot to think about.

  3. Am in the same boat as you. I opened my store in June, 2012, and have only had friends and family as customers. I don't have a lot of time to spend towards marketing, so am a bit disappointed with the way things turned out.

  4. I'm really new too, just opened an Etsy shop in June 2012. I would never have even thought to do that, but my daughter wanted to open one to try to sell her creations --she's 12, and I thought it would be a good learning experience. It has been. I had no idea how many wonderful jewelry artists are selling on Etsy!

    I'm lucky, in that this is just for fun, and not my day job (which I love). One thing I'm trying is to offer my jewelry as donations to local sales for my church and my daughter's school, as fund raisers. I am hoping that might spread the word a bit :-)