How to sell yourself from the inside of an envelope
Well it's that time of year when as a designer maker I start to plan where, when, how and to whom I will sell my designs to throughout 2018. This can be a challenging task at best but here's how I do it.
My starting point is to review where, when, how and to whom I sold my designs last year. This can be a painful process but essential to avoid repeating any expensive mistakes.
My overall view for 2017 was that I did some great events however less could definately have been more. I recognised that you can take more away from an event than just cash and being in front of the correct audience with the right marketing tools can be so powerful for follow up sales later on in the year.
I don't give up on an event just based on sales. If its the first time I have tried it I will take time out to review my stand location within the show layout and look for potential areas to move to if I feel the audience is right.
WHERE TO GO.
Most of my events are 4 days trading so if travelling a distance of more than 3 hours each way plus a set up day I block out 6 days on the calender. Based on my financial commitments I attend 1 event a month and I try not to revisit an area within a 3 month period as the events I attend can attract the same customers.
Based on experience I understand my own customer and use this as base to make a decision especially if its a show I havent done before.
Despite all of that one of the best tools I use is listening to my fellow designer makers to see where they have been and what has worked for them. If a show has a waiting list for traders it is usually a good sign however if you get a call a week before an event offering cheap space that tells the opposite story.
If in doubt go to the event as a visitor first and see how you feel you could fit in and ask those at the event how its been for them.
Based on my financial commitments I attend 1 event a month starting in March and I try not to revisit an area within a 3 month period as the events I attend can attract the same repeat customers.
Although it can be a great compliment when someone recognises you from a previous show, if its been very recent and they have already bought from you its unlikely they would need to purchase again so soon.
The obvious "when" has to be Christmas. If you have the physical stamina, the mental capacity and the emotional strength then start your Christmas events 8/9 weeks out and don't miss a week!! Not for the faint hearted but it's where the easier money is.
Selling at events gets your products in front of a huge audience and its an audience that you can choose to target however it has its risks.
Costs can be huge and a rule of thumb would be the stands fees can be up to 25% of your overall sales therefore for every £1 you take 25p will go to the show organisers. Add that to the cost of your designs to make, your wages for the 6 days you are away from home, your accomadation costs and finally fuel costs and only then will you get near to have made any profit.
Online sales for me can feel cold and impersonal especially if I am to create something personal with customers precious photos however most of my contacts via the website are from people who have already met me whilst out and about at my events. The HUGE advantage to online selling is the massive reduction in cost to sell and for me personally, I get to spend more time at home with my family and my two Jack Russell terriers Marmite & Pickle
Knowing your customer can sound simple but I'm a few years in now and feel I am only just getting an understanding of who my customers are. Talking to people is an invaluable tool and creating an email data base even more so as you can keep your audience interested with whats new or where you are next.
Never judge a customer and never take for granted the lovely comments you may get without them making a purchase....a compliment may not pay the wages but it gives us invaluable feedback about what we sell.
So back to my original statement ..... if a show has a waiting list (and the best ones do) How to sell yourself from the inside of an envelope???
I start by being clear and honest on my application form. I make sure my writing is neat and ledgible and that all my contact details are up to date. I always post using a coloured envelope again to help me stand out even before the envelope is opened.
This is then where the little magic happens........with each application I pop in a little pack of loveliness which shows the organisers my brand, my designs and hopefully a little bit of my personaility.
It creates a professional feel with a handmade touch and hopefully when its reviewed with thousands of others mine will stand out for the right reasons.
So that is it....thats how I sell myself from inside an envelope.
To find out more about the events I will be attending in 2018 just click on the link EVENTS and it will take you to a list of our planned events for 2018......hopefully the list will grow slightly once my coloured envelopes have landed and the magic has done its job
Happy trading wherever or whenever you do it