Notes to Self – Press Kits

PART 1

We are a group of people trying to sell handmade custom items: I make glass bead artisan jewellery. And we have little money to splash around. Our office location is often in the back bedroom, on the kitchen table, or in our basements. We all need ideas that cost little or no money  and we can do ourselves.

One of those indispensable things is a press kit. There are 2 types:  1 ~ a version that will fit into your handbag or pocket., and 2 ~ a full blown carry-in-your-briefcase version. The whole idea is to be ready at all times to advertise your work and your internet site. It makes sense but sometimes you just have to see it written down for it to really sink in.

Type 1:

Business cards ~ yours and others’ (see next) and perhaps a brochure or postcard about your business.

See? It doesn’t have to fill up a great lot of space.

Type 2:

Business cards ~ yours,  business cards of other businesses you have found helpful, a brochure or a newsletter where your business is advertised, pictures of your work in your portfolio.

For both types, you must shamelessly advertise your business as well as others. Don’t offer your business card, let somebody ask for it: and a great way to make somebody ask for your card is by asking  for theirs first.

With both types of press kit you need a ‘patter;’ a description of your business that you can give in an elevator. It should be only a sentence or two and it must be well practised. Keep saying it out loud until you’ve got it down pat. Saying it out loud lets you hear how it sounds. Sure, you think you don’t need to because, after all, it is running in your mind. Trust me on this, you need to say it out loud. Practise it in front of the mirror or while you are drying yourself after your bath or shower. Practise it ~ OUT LOUD ~ while you are stirring the chili.  But practise it out loud you must.

PART 2

If you are off to visit  a potential customer, you have to do a bit more. Nobody is going to buy anything from you if they can’t see what your product is. If your product is artisan jewellery  it’s easy: wear your own designs. Never go out without wearing something of yours. You are a walking, talking billboard for your business. It’s a bit harder if your product is baby booties. Put your custom handmade baby booties on your baby.

And carry photos. It’s properly called a portfolio. It’s the grown up version of Gramma’s Brag Book.  Get practising your photography and editing the images. If you think you are just not good enough at it and you have some money, take your pieces to a professional photographer. That decision will cost you time as well as money. And, after all, we are our own worst critic. If you need validation, show your pictures to a mate for her opinion.

Everything in your Brag Book /Portfolio should be of the same size; whether it’s an 8X10 or a 5X7, keep the photos the same size. Have some closeups in there: just keep the physical size of the photograph the same. It looks more orderly, not more arty.

Part of your portfolio is an expanded version of your 1 sentence patter: a mission statement. Why are you doing what you are doing? What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from? Don’t make it too much longer than half a page: anything longer is just noise and it tells people that you really don’t know which end is up. Have it typed on the same size paper as your photos.

Another item in your Portfolio is your contact information and your business cards. Always be ready to give more than just one business card per contact. I like getting more than 1 card because I keep them in different places. And remember, you want to carry one in your card case for the time when it could be given to somebody in need of that service.

And put your portfolio in an attractive binding: make it 3-ring so you can pop in and out with new shots. You won’t be leaving your portfolio behind. But, if you’ve thought ahead and placed more than 1 copy of each picture, you can slide it out of it’s plastic sleeve and offer it to your potential client. Details about the photo can be printed on its back .

PART 3

John Donne, an 18th century philosopher, coined the phrase, ‘No manne is an yslande.’ It was true then and it’s true today. These press kits are a small part of social marketing. Social Marketing. You’ll burn out trying to do it all yourself. Let others help you. And make it a 2~way street. What you give freely and in good cheer will be returned to you in like kind.

And that’s where the business cards of other entrepreneurs becomes important. If I need a handyman and you have just the perfect one I would be awfully glad to get that card from you. And now there is a bond between us. And I have your card to be passed on to somebody who has a new baby in her life and  needs your beautiful children’s clothing. You helped me with the handyman and I’m more than pleased to offer your card to the person needing your products.

More than just handing that person your card, I will be saying how generous you  are and that you would be pleased to help her out with new baby clothing.

Word of mouth is the single best way of gaining customers. It holds more weight than a TV ad or a spot in the newspaper. But good word of mouth ads are hard to get and easy to lose.

A person will tell 1 other about their good experiences with your company. That same person will tell 7 others of their bad experience with your business. 

If your customer has a bad experience with you and you are able to make them happyt again they will pass on to their friends the bad and follow it immediately with something like this; ‘ what they did was no good but they redeemed themselves by doing ___.’

Passing on another business’ card and telling people of their services costs you nothing. And it gains you the respect of the recipient. And don’t get grumpy and refuse to pass on your competitor’s card: you can say something like, ‘if you can’t find something in my shop, maybe you’ll have better luck with ABC Widgets.’ You end up looking honest and truly wanting to help. And that person may decide to buy from you based on that alone.

The whole idea behind Social Marketing is to develop a rapport with customers and other entrepreneurs. Making a customer faithful to you in the long run will pay off. These loyal customers will let people know of you through word of mouth advertising. It is the long game you are playing: don’t jeopardize your business using get-rich-quick tactics.

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FLASH – My Christmas Gift

I got my Christmas present early this year. And it’s just what I wanted.

In September this year I joined a directory of shops where only handmade items could be listed. My shop is Glass0Beads~- the 0 is a number, not a letter o. I added some of my glass bead artisan jewellery on the site. But it went nowhere. It just sat. I had no idea what to do.

Well, I joined a ‘team’ at Etsy but I was very unhappy there: it seemed to have too many backbiters and I didn’t want to be associated with that kind of team.

Then I found THE TEAM to beat all teams. It is a team, or guild, that supports one another while utilizing social marketing practices. You know the kind of thing: I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.

Well, still nothing was happening. I had no clue about how to get somebody to buy something – ANYTHING!!

I received some tips on photography from a lovely lady, Anna Lee, at Gahoole Tree.  She was supportive, not what I would consider bossy ~ and I know bossy ~ and patient with my efforts.

Here comes the Christmas present part. Are you ready?

I was invited to work on the management team for this wonderful guild. It has a team shop where monies from your purchases are donated. And the people there advertise not just themselves but other members, too.

I suddenly found myself on Twitter talking about other sites I’ve found that would be of interest to folks. I suddenly found myself with followers. I suddenly found myself actively seeking the work of other team members to twitter about.

And suddenly I found myself  having fun. And it’s been a long time since I’ve had fun. I feel ten feet tall. I was given the task of editing everything the eSMArts Guild team will publish.  That brought me crashing to the earth ~~ in a good way.

My first task is to develop a mailing list of all our team members. And then to invite some of the guild members to write an article.

I sure hope this post will publish: I’ve got a lot of links to other shops in Etsy that really are worth looking at.

And I even have an idea for an opening article myself. As we don’t have a name for our new eSMArts newsletter, we will be running a contest and the winner will receive a gift worth $20.00 (cannot be converted to cash).

We have some really good times ahead of us on the team. There are guidelines to follow that will help anybody, eSMArtie or not, move up the ranks and start making sales. Of course, as with anything, you get out of it what you put into it: no work, no glory.

You and your Etsy shop can become a member of eSMArts by sending an email to the Guild team coordinator ~~> she’s the Big Cheese but her friends call her Anna Lee.

You won’t get anywhere if you don’t take that first step. And you certainly reap what you sow ~ toot the horn for somebody else’s site and pretty soon people will be tooting your horn for you. And if enough people do it, pretty soon your business is going to increase.

Well, that’s what I think.    ~Helene    ~Glass0Beads

I am red faced. I accidently linked to a site that is not a part of the eSMArts Guild team. I’ve made the correction, and thanks for bringing it to my attention, so if you click on one of the links you should be reaching eSMArts members.  I’ve even put me in there a couple of times. Shameless!    ~~H

Lampwork and Beads

Depressed? or happy?

Last week my ties with Stores OnLine, my Lampwork and Beads glass bead artisan jewellery website host, were severed.

What I know now is significantly more than what I knew when I first signed on with Stores OnLine. I had found Stores OnLine lacking more and more as time went on. It’s only my opinion and other webmaestros will argue the point with me. And that is as it should be.

For me, it was time to move on.

Now, my lineup is: http://glass0beads.etsy.com (#0), http://glass0beads.blogspot.com (#o), and this blog, https://baublebabble.wordpress.com.  I visit several forums and I still write articles at eHow and Articles Base, too.

The artisan jewellery that was listed at Lampwork and Beads is gradually being moved to my Glass0Beads (#0, not letter) e-shoppe.
It is at Etsy that I am a member of the eSMArts Guild team. The membershipof this  Guild is  Social Marketing Artisans.

And it is this Guild that opened the doors on our Etsy shoppe a short while ago. The eSMArts shoppe  donates money from sales to people and organizations needing a helping hand.

When I review my activities I realize I have quite enough on my plate for now.  I think I’ll just rest on my laurels until after Christmas : kind of a Christmas gift to me from myself.

Now go and check out the eSMArts shoppe:  everything there is made by hand with close attention to the quality of the articles. There is much more there than glass bead artisan jewellery and everything is unique and handmade.

Merry Merry and Cheery Cheery ~~Hélène  at Glass 0 Beads

Notes to Self – The Art of Gift Giving

We have no money. And Christmas is fast approaching. Already Christmas decorations are appearing in the shopping malls and Halloween hasn’t arrived yet. Every thing you see appears to be so ‘commercial.’

To avoid getting the wrong gift, gift certificates and gift cards are available at many stores, both in the ‘real world’ and in cyberspace. You aren’t giving money, you are giving the gift of choice.

Instead of giving a gift like artisan jewellery, give a beading kit or even just the instructions. It will introduce a lucky person to a new craft which can lead to many hours of fun and creativity.

To make Christmas more meaningful for you and your family, consider my friend Heather’s tradition. Each fall she gets a ‘boy stocking’ and a ‘girl stocking’ from the Salvation Army. She fills them with toiletries that a family in need can always use: soap, shampoo, a mirror, comb and brush, toothbrush and toothpaste, and so on. She also includes mitts and scarves. And a book or toy: one for a boy and one for a girl. Heather has her own children and grandchildren  and even a couple of great-grandchildren. But she includes another 2 childen she will never meet. Is that not a gift of love?

Maybe adopting a child in need or volunteering as a Big Sister or Big Brother is a way for you to give the gift of your time throughout the year.

A favourite of newly weds, especially the very young ones,  is a gift tailored to your spouse. A book of coupons to be redeemed throughout the year for special attention and costs just a bit of paper and little time to think up the special part. I know from experience that this kind of gift is a very big hit at any time during a marriage. Expand the field and make a coupon of love book for everybody in the family. Maybe babysitting will fit the bill for a new mother. It’s a gift of thought you will be giving with your coupon book.

With a bit of effort you can come up with many gift ideas that ‘keep on giving’ throughout the year: things that won’t be thrown into the back of a drawer or closet and soon forgotten. Give the gift of your thoughtfulness, give the gift of your time.

About the Author: Helene Turnbull is an glass bead jewellery artisan who writes about beads and beading techniques. She has held a needle and thread in her hands for over 40 years and during much of that time there are beads involved with her embroidery.  You can see some of her work at http://www.LampworkAndBeads.com and http://glass0beads.etsy.com.

Around Town – Gift Giving and Your Budget

It’s that crazy time of year again when people forget their manners and spend way too much money. The buying of gifts at Christmas is meant to follow in the footsteps of the 3 Magi who brought gifts precious gifts to the baby, Jesus.

What’s so bad this year is the economy. Both Canada and the USA are facing elections and the economy is on everybody’s mind. What can we do to help our own financial situation? Go into this shopping season with a plan. A budget. Sit quietly in your own home and think of each person who will receive a gift from you. Armed with this planning and your budget, attend the Crafts Shows in your area. Wherever possible, buy something made by an artist’s hand: these are the gifts people cherish year after year. How many years have you hung that horrid paper chain your child made in preschool?

Now, about the budget! Following is the plan format I follow. Print off a few copies. Send them to your friends. They need this plan as much as you and I need it.

 

Christmas 2008

 

NAME

 

SPENDING

PLAN

 

GIFT IDEAS

 

 

 

Miscellaneous: Show Entry

 

 

Parking / Transit

 

 

Rentals:   Wheelchair

 

 

Coat Check

 

 

Dinner after the Show

 

 

Office Gift

 

 

Unexpected Guest

 

 

 

 

 

Family:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you are armed, strengthened by your plan. Where is the best place to get all these things on the list?

Artists and artisans hope to make you a happy customer at the Christmas Crafts Shows. Supporting a local artist is a great way to spend your gift money. Artisan jewellery helps span the distance between junque and precious gems and precious metals. A good piece of artisan jewellery is something you will be pleased to pass down through the coming generations.

‘Give a fish to a starving person and s/he will eat for a day. Teach her/him to fish and s/he will eat for his/her lifetime.’ We’ve all heard that bit of wisdom but how can you do that in a gift?

Purchase gifts that are patterns for the receiver of your gift to make. Buy a video teaching techniques. This gift may be the start of a lifelong passion: perhaps, even a career.

Do you have any ideas about what would make a good yet inexpensive gift? Let me know and I’ll publish it in the next Glass Bead News monthly email newsletter.