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Hi! I’m Lucy. Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
Handmade business owners are a unique bunch, aren’t we? We love to create things. Yet asking someone to buy the things we create can feel like we’re abandoning our core values! Figuring out how to sell without selling can be tricky.
The last thing we want to do is annoy people.
We all have those friends who seem to push their latest products at us. They post a LOT about their new business venture, and seem to weave it into every conversation. It may get to the point where you try to avoid them.
So when it comes to selling our own items, we may go too far in the opposite direction. We say nothing! But that doesn’t work for business. There is a way to talk about your business and the things you make without feeling sleezy.
You can develop a marketing strategy that gets people excited about what you make and who you are, without those “salesy” feelings we’re looking to avoid.
Let’s talk about how to sell without selling.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you don’t think your items are awesome, no one else will. It’s a simple fact – how you feel about your own products will come through. Be confident that you make something that another person will love!
Think of this scenario: you’re walking through the mall and one of the workers at the kiosk in the center stops you. You’re already slightly annoyed, right? You’re busy and have places to be! Then the worker says, “I made these bracelets and I think they’re pretty. I liked the colors of the stones. Do you think you might like to buy one? Please?”
I would guess your answer is going to be no. Not because you’re mean, but you have a bunch of bracelets already, and maybe the salesperson’s desperation is a little off-putting.
Now go back to the beginning of the scene, but this time the worker says, “I bet you have a lot of jewelry at home, but I notice you’re not wearing any bracelets right now. I have the most beautiful stones and I handcraft bracelets out of them. They look great with everything, and are so comfortable to wear! I swear, every time I wear one I get asked about it. Let me show you one that would look perfect with what you’re wearing right now.”
Even if you’re not in the market for a bracelet, you may just stop and see what they have, right?
While the 2nd worker wasn’t pushy, they identified their product as a solution to a possible problem (not having jewelry that’s comfortable and compatible with many outfits). They were confident about how awesome their jewelry was, and that confidence led to a positive marketing experience.
You can convey the same messaging in your product descriptions, email marketing and social media posts online. Believe that your products are amazing, and it will shine through everything you do.
If you’re not sure your items will sell, do some research and see what you can do to make them ready for shoppers. Maybe you need to improve your skills a bit, or maybe your color combination is not quite right.
Look at your competition and see what their customers are responding to, and then use this information to take a good hard look at your own products.
You can read more about gauging if your products are ready to sell here: Can You Sell Your Handmade Products Online?
Once you have a collection you love, have the confidence that your perfect customer will be thrilled with owning what you make.
When you come from a place of confidence, it will result in marketing that is specific and positive. You can explain how your products are the solution to your customers’ problems, and they’ll be ready to buy!
Every product on the market could be considered a “cure”. It is the solution to a problem. Yes, even handmade items!
If you make decorative signs, you solve the problem of making a home feel cozy and personal.
Hand knit baby clothes solve a number of problems: keeping the baby warm and cozy, giving grandma a way to give something special, etc.
Jewelry artists help people feel unique and good about themselves. They help someone find their style and individuality.
As you create your product descriptions for your online shop, remember to address how your items are the “cure” for your customers’ problems.
In addition to listing the materials you use, the colors available, sizes and variations, tell your customers how your product improves their life.
Forbes.com has more about how to communicate the effect your product will have on your customer’s life, check out their article “Five Easy Ways to Sell Without Being Salesy”.
Remember, when shopping online, the shopper cannot touch the item they’re viewing. The customer relies on your photos and your descriptions to give them a 360 degree view of your products.
Knowing your perfect customer is the first step in developing effective product listings. Using that information and then addressing your customers’ problems will create product descriptions that sell without selling.
Makers have a unique relationship with their customers because there is a little piece of us in everything we make.
Creativity, talent, time, sweat and tears go into each item we make. We then ship off our creations to someone who will hopefully recognize what went into making it.
Most handmade buyers are aware of what goes into our process, and they want to get to know the maker as much as the products.
So don’t be afraid to get a little personal in your marketing. Tell the story of how you created the piece. Tell your customers why you chose to make whatever it is you make.
Why did you choose the colors you chose? How long does it take you to make the item? Do you listen to music while you create? Where do you get new ideas from?
Opening up a bit to your customers is a great way to get rid of those “salesy” feelings you might get when you post about your products.
Stories are intriguing and they form a connection between the writer and the reader. You can use stories to create a true relationship between you and your customers.
When they know and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you – and also spread the word, which is the best form of marketing!
Hopefully you can see it is very possible to sell your handmade items without being desperate, pushy or salesy. In fact, you can do it in a way that is positive, fun and rewarding! It just takes a bit of preparation, confidence and knowing your customers.
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After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!