Imagine you’re looking for a dress to wear
to an upcoming wedding. You’re searching through two different websites looking
for a soft yellow dress in a light material, perfect for an outdoor celebration.
Example 1: The first website displays their dresses on
a plain bust form and background. Simple and clean but for each yellow
dress you come across, you need to take a few minutes, switch back and forth
between the photos to see it from the front, back and sides to imagine how you
would look wearing it.
Example 2: The second website models their dresses on
real people. They also match the model’s surroundings to the feel of the
outfit. The model is grabbing coffee at a café in a casual cotton dress and is
outside on a sunny day in a light chiffon sundress. They’ve accessorized the
dresses with matching jewelry, shoes and handbags. With each photo, you can
immediately picture yourself in the dress, know exactly how you’d style it and
where you’d wear it.
What does the second website do differently
that results in double the sales?
They get the shoppers to imagine themselves
in the product.
When they help the shopper picture the
product in their lives, they’re halfway to a sale. In the shoppers’ head,
they’re already wearing that dress and shortly after comes the realization that
they must have it.
This is the reason Pinterest and Instagram
are such powerful tools for fashion. Brands pay bloggers big money to post
photos of themselves wearing their clothes or accessories. They know that
bloggers have loyal followers who love seeing how they’ll use their personal
style to wear a piece. Seeing that product in action, worn in everyday life, as
opposed to hanging on a rack adds a powerful punch to influencing purchases.
So, that’s the fashion industry. How can
you implement this technique in your handmade business?
The same principle applies: you need to get
your shoppers to envision themselves wearing, using, displaying, etc. your
product. It’s not about the product. It’s about what it will do for the
consumer. What are your customers going to get
out of using your products?
- looking as stylish as the model sporting
your handmade hat?
- finally getting clear, glowing skin by using
your skincare products?
- showing off their quirky style by hanging
your art on their walls?
- having the cutest kid at the wedding
wearing your handmade tutus?
Once you know the benefits of your products
(which I’ll help you determine in Chapter 9: PERFECTING YOUR SELLING SKILLS of my
e-book) you can play those up. You should be starting with a niche product
(download our free chapter: MAKING PRODUCTS THAT PROFIT to learn the steps to
take your existing products from basic to exclusive with just a few small
adjustments). Then you can reinforce their selling features through various
Tweaks to the Product
Your actual products may just require small changes to offer something unique. Let's imagine you knit hats and sell them online and at craft fairs. Check out how a few small details can take a handmade hat from
basic to one that stands out and makes you want it.
Before: You don’t really have any. You make
what you feel like based on the patterns you find and what seems to be trendy
among other handmade hat vendors.
After: You offer 3 Collections based on the
season and warmth level. Cable Knit in Alpaca wool for colder days, Stockinette
stitch in a Merino wool for cool days and a Lace pattern in an Acrylic yarn for
warm days. You name your collections after the first names of the celebrities
who wear the looks.
Before: You make your hats out of any yarn
color that catches your eye at the store.
After: Each collection comes in the same
colors. Your staples: grey, cream and black, as well as two colors that are on
trend for the season: peach and mint for Spring.
That’s it, just an adjustment to simplify
the type of hat you offer and the colors you offer it in.
Tweaks to Surrounding Elements
Now let’s take a look at the elements that
surround the hat and strengthen the message of them being suited for each season and designed after a specific look.
Before: "Knitted Hat"
After: "Selena Slouchy Beanie" - you named it
after a casual outfit Selena Gomez wore with a slouchy beanie while out on a Starbucks run in L.A.
Before: "This hat is handmade using soft
wool in a light grey. The hat comes in small, medium and large."
After: "This hat is perfect for a Starbucks
run before you’ve had time to do your hair. It’s made out of a lightweight
acrylic yarn in a lace stitch so it’s perfect for those warmer days when you
want to cover your bed-head without getting hot. Pair it with aviators, a fishtail
braid, t-shirt, distressed jeans and Birkenstock sandals."
This gets the shopper imagining when, where and how they would wear the hat and how it solves the common problem of needing coffee before you have the energy to get ready.
Before: Picture of the hat on a Styrofoam
After: Picture of the hat on a model,
styled the exact way Selena Gomez has worn it with the model wearing sunglasses,
hair in a braid, casual t-shirt and distressed jeans, showing people how to wear a beanie in the warmer months. The photo is taken outside and the model looks as
though she’s been photographed out running errands.
Display at a Craft Fair
Before: A few hats displayed on mannequin
heads and stacks of them in every color of the rainbow.
After: Hats are displayed on wooden head forms
that don’t distract from the hat. The display focuses on 3 key looks as worn by
celebrities. Photos of the celebrities (obtained legally of course) are
displayed next to the hat, showing the shoppers how they can be worn and
displaying the different size and color options in front. You separate your
displays by collections, with one composition for each look and warmth
A composition is a collection of items grouped together in a pleasing manner. It should pull several components together without overwhelming the shopper and while communicating a message. You want to lead the eye around the composition using lines so one element is taken in at a time and each strengthens the next. Line & composition is covered briefly in this article WANT TO STAND OUT AT A CRAFT SHOW? TRY THESE DISPLAY TRICKS and in full detail in my e-book.
Before: "I knit all these hats and I can
make one in any color you like."
After: "I knit hats based on celebrity
trends and offer the styles and collections for one season only." Lets shoppers know how your hats are different and creates a sense of urgency: these styles are only here for one season so get 'em while they're hot!
Before: "That hat comes in small, medium and
large and I can make it in any color you like."
After: "That hat you’re holding is
perfect when you don’t feel like doing your hair on warmer days. It’s made out
of lightweight acrylic and is a looser lace knit so you don’t get too hot. This
peach color is really popular for spring and goes awesome with military green." Shares the benefit of the specific hat the shopper is interested in and helps them envision themselves wearing it.
Before: You hand the hat to the customer in
a bag and thank them for their purchase.
After: You wrap their purchase in tissue
paper, which is the same color as your branding. You use a sticker with your
logo on it to keep the tissue paper wrapped around your product and place it in
a branded paper bag. As you hand the bag to the customer you thank them for their purchase and let them know that
you included a postcard, which has some styling tips on how to wear
the look as well as care instructions. And if they have any questions, your
contact info, website and social media pages are on the back of the postcard.
You can see through the above example that
it doesn’t take much to create a niche for your products. "Hats" is not narrow enough of a niche. What kind of hats? Who are they specifically for? What benefits do your customers get that they wouldn't if they bought from the other hat vendor at the craft fair?
If you need some help determining your product's niche (it's there, you just need to dig it up!), download our FREE Chapter: MAKING PRODUCTS THAT PROFIT. Just a small change can give you a unique edge and increase sales.
Refining the hats into 3 collections and
select colors doesn’t do much without following through in other areas of
the business. Each aspect: product titles, descriptions, photos, displays and
pitches will further strengthen your message and communicate the benefits of buying from you vs. the other guy.
If you want an easy to follow plan to take your products and the elements that surround it to the next level and make more sales, download our full e-book: MAKE
MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS. Everything you need to know is in this one handy guide so you can learn the essentials and get back to creating!
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