A brief guideline about how to start a business in your own home by doing what you love the most: creating homemade & handmade treasure
Can a housekeeper become a business-keeper without losing her vintage charm?
When we say “business” out loud, the very first image that comes in our head may be: a classy man wearing a perfect suit, with intimidating self-confidence...
Fortunately, the reality says that this is just another old fashioned cliche. The “men’s world” is no longer relevant nowadays. Women are no longer accessories for strong men. They have already proved that they are strong personalities and they know that their imagination and ingenuity can be turned into profitable businesses, without losing their vintage charm!
So take a seat in a comfortable chair and allow me to describe your story as a future Entrepreneurial Vintage Housekeeper.
And, because it’s all about the story, I’ll try to tell the old-fashioned way...
Once upon a time...
You used to stay in your own home, putting all your love and imagination in to a creating a range of home-made treasure. Handmade goods that brought surprise and joy to the people that you gave these as small presents. Your work, your creativity and the hours you’ve spent have been paid back every time with priceless gratitude and compliments for all your hard work.
Sometimes you looked for inspiration on the internet. You researched the ideas you were planning to bring to life at the kitchen table, and soon realized that plenty of handmade goods like yours sold well as long they were placed in the right spot on-line and described by the right words.
At that moment you dared to ask yourself:
“What if I create my own on-line shop for my handmade goods?”.
And you were on the road to making your dreams come true.
Chapter 1: The Exposition of your new brand
All your beautiful handmade goods have familiar names. Earrings, pillow, jewelry box, bracelet, curtain… Everybody knows what to call them.
But your handmade goods were born and raised in the same family. Under one big umbrella. And now it’s time to give this “umbrella” a name. A good one. A name that will beautifully reflect your style, your moods, your dreams and your story. The tricky part is that this name has also to be unique & catchy in order to sell well.
It may take you several hours or even days until you reach a satisfactory result. But, trust me: it is worth every minute spent. This will be, after all, your name in the internet world, for always...
As Dani Marie says it in her book - The Handmade Entrepreneur:
“Your shop’s name is the foundation for everything”
I’ll go further with some great advice for finding a good name for your shop coming from Dani Marie:
- “Try to find a name that really embodies your shop’s vibe.”
- “If it’s possible, try to describe what you make as well”. For example, if you sell hats choose a name like “MegansMadHats”. A name like this will help your customers understand from the start what your business is all about. Another great benefit will be that this will help you later “rank your shop’s page on Google, Etsy or other platform”.
- “Before you settle on a name, check the various social media websites to make sure that the name is available”. Save your time for a complex research like this by using the Knowem tool. This will check over 500 sources to see if anyone else is using the name.
Great name + beautiful handmade goods - means that you are one step ahead from building a brand. And the branding part is not optional. It is a MUST.
As Dani Marie says: “You have to sell yourself along with the products and that includes forming a memorable brand identity.”
It may be difficult for you to create a great design according with your name. Don’t waste time on trying this on your own. Great visual identity sells well and the investment for a great design probably won't be as big as you imagine.
So, use a professional to do some graphics for you. With less than $30 you can “get a logo as well as graphics designed specifically for each of the popular social media sites”.
Chapter 2: Select your platform for your on-line shop
It’s time to select the platform for your on-line shop. The natural question that comes into your mind is: “Where should I set up my shop?”.
Good question. Multiple answers. I’ve selected some useful platforms names from The Handmade Entrepreneur:
- Etsy - “is the most popular choice for crafters” and “still gets the most amount of buyer traffic”. “To list items on Etsy you pay a small fee per item that you list (currently $ 0,20 ) and then Etsy withholds 3,5% of your earnings to cover the transaction fee.”
- Inselly is owned by Instagram and they don’t charge you to list your products. Inselly may not generate as much buyer traffic as Etsy, but do have plenty of advantages over it, starting with the previous one first presented. If you choose to list your items here, keep in mind that you will have to use PayPal as your transaction service.
- Handmadeartist.com - “is exclusively for handmade products and no wholesale items from overseas are allowed”. They also do not charge a fee to post your items but you will have to pay a monthly membership fee to use their service.
It may seem like tricky choice but it isn't. There is no bad answer. In fact, the truth is that websites come and go. In the end, “If you build a good foundation for your business, then it will not matter where you set up shop.”
Chapter 3: Advertising your handmade goods
Starting a business like this is a great adventure. It is like you've bought a ticket to an unknown destination. For a while the pilot leads the plane over the clouds and suddenly it is announced that you need to take control of it. You've never been a pilot before - that's for sure. And now it’s up to you whether the flight is smooth, or the plane falls out the sky.
You see knowing how to advertise your business is like keeping your plane flying over dark clouds.
- Free advertising. Everybody wants free advertising. Not many know how to really do it. I’ll give you some tips pulled from the same book I’ve mentioned all the time - The Handmade Entrepreneur:
- Listing sites: “No matter where you sell, some websites listing allow you to post your products and your shop link for free.”
- Use Pinterest as a free tool to promote your business and your products “When people tell me that marketing is just too overwhelming for them, I send them to Pinterest.”
- Join Facebook Groups “To promote products you want to look for groups with interests related to your shop”
- Paid advertising. There are plenty of ways to advertise your business online. The tricky part is that you have to select only the best ones. Nobody knows your business better than you. So, I won’t make any definite rules but I dare give you some suggestions:
- Facebook Ads: I won’t tell you step by step how to do it. But in Dani Marie’s book I found 4 important rules that you have to obey if you want to get the most out of Facebook ads:
- “Choose four nice images that all look good together.”
- “For the text, try to intrigue people without being too wordy.”
- “Optimize your ad according to your audience.”
- “Target the kind of people who would most likely be interested in your product.”
- Forum ads: Take a look at this tip: look for smaller forum groups filled with people interested on your products. Ask the admin how much the banner ads cost. Usually forums like this are less expensive and have more impact.
- Local ads: Reasonable prices for posting ad banners and a target closer to your home. Can you ask for more? Local magazines and newspapers with websites may be a real treasure for your business.
- Listing sites: Some listing sites offer the opportunity to advertise your products and your shop for free. The same sites have also the option of paid listing. The paid option comes with the main offer of placing you on the first page or special advertising space. In my previous article I’ve already mentioned two of these kind of sites. Extended info may be found, of course, in Dani Marie’s book.
Chapter 4: The happy dénouement of a Vintage Housekeepers' Business
The story goes on. You are now addicted to this entrepreneurial challenge! But you do wonder to what degree building this business will impact upon your daily schedule?
You really don't need to. Time is now ticking in a very special way. You treasure every moment now because each one is dedicated to creating the life you want. And so you do not want to neglect, forget or abandon anything that you've learnt so far.
Don't not worry about it. I will be back soon with 20 magic days carefully scheduled for a great start as a vintage housekeeper in the entrepreneurial world, and everything I have taught you so far will be included in my timetable.
Until then, you may want to read the book summary and get the free eBook with 100 nuggets from The Handmade Entrepreneur, and you can do so here.
Ilinca is Content director at nugget.
nugget is a highly visual app that helps you discover, remember and share the best content of books that make you better.