Thursday, November 27, 2008
Take advantage of the FREE SHIPPING offer and save $$$ on your Gift Purchases. FREE SHIPPING is available on your Finished JEWELRY AND LOCKET NECKLACE purchases ONLY. FREE GIFT BOX is included too!
Thanks for looking....Happy Holidays!
Friday, November 7, 2008
SALE Ends on Sunday November 9th at the stroke of midnight EST
Thank you for looking!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I just added many new Cameo Locket Designs in my Etsy Store.
These Lockets are Beautiful... - Unusual - ... and done in various styles -Victorian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Contemporary Designs. Great Christmas Gifts!
Visit my shop: http://www.GerrysJewelBox.etsy.com and click on the 'Locket' Section.
Thanks for Looking!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
We have our sights set. We know what we want to accomplish. You can see your goal so clearly you can almost touch it. Its real. Its there. Yet you still can't seem to make it happen. Why?
Now you start wondering if you were ever really destine for such a big endeavor. Maybe you are reaching too far. Maybe all the things you've heard and read about goal setting and achievement is wrong. Or maybe you just weren't born to be a high achiever. After all, you've heard everyone say you were crazy to want so much. MAYBE THEY ARE RIGHT!
Its easy to look at Donald Trump and say he is where he is today because he was born into a rich family. Its easy to look at Tony Robbins and rationalize that he was born with the gift of communication. In fact, we can look at every great achiever in history and say they had an unfair advantage. Something we lack.
However the less publicized stories are the ones that talk about the struggles that lead to these huge successes. In reality these are the stories we need to hear. These are the stories that will inspire us to realize that every great achievement has been the outcome of great struggles.
Everyone is born with a unique talent. A unique gift to offer the world. Now the question is, why do so few ever succeed? Why aren't we sharing our unique gifts with the world? The answer, FEAR.
Fear comes in many disguises. Doubt, second-guessing, poor self esteem, closed minds; all relate some sort of fear. It shuts us down before we even begin. It immobilizes us. And worst of all, it helps us rationalize why we can't do what we want to do. Fear becomes a shackle that keeps us in mediocrity.
Imagine what you could create if you destroyed fear. If you know without a shadow of a doubt that no matter what happened, you would accomplish your goal. Nothing could stop you. Zero limits.
So how do you destroy fear? How do you free yourself from this tyrant? Here are four ways to destroy fear and achieve success in anything you choose.
Expect obstacles. You need to realize in advance that there is a distance between your goal and where you stand today. Within that distance there will be obstacles to be overcome. Notice I said overcome and not surrender. Every goal you set for yourself will bring with it detours, delays and obstacles. If you truly want to accomplish your goals you must commit to overcoming these roadblocks.
Commit to becoming better. Every problem you solve makes you wiser, better or stronger in some way. Doesn't that sound good? Getting wiser, better or stronger. And on the other side of the coin, every problem you give into makes you dumber, worse and weaker. How does that sound? Each of us has a choice when we set goals. Become wiser, better, stronger, or dumber, worse or weaker. There are no two ways about it. The very act of setting a goal puts that choice on the line for you. Chose to be wiser, better and stronger.
Take time into consideration. We have all heard that we need to set a timetable for the accomplishment of our goals. Good advise. The problem is that many times we are a bit overzealous with our time frame. The date comes and goes and we haven't accomplished our goals. What then? Most people give up. They become dumber, worse and weaker and move on to another goal. And since they didn't accomplish their goal, they go into the next goal with that much less self-esteem. What happens? Pretty much the same.
Before you realize it you are on a downward spiral that crashes and burns all your goals and your hope of accomplishing them. When a goal you set doesn't meet your time frame, don't give up. Keep working. Work harder. Work longer. But don't give up on the goal. Sooner or later you will create the outcome and arrive at your goal if you simply stay the course.
Try new things. Try new things doesn't mean jump to another goal. It means try to hit your goal from a different angle. If you are promoting a business and you try advertising on the Internet and it doesn't work, try advertising somewhere else. Try changing your ad. Try getting free publicity. TRY, TRY, TRY. How many things do you need to try? As many as it takes for you to succeed. A stonecutter hits a huge boulder and doesn't even produce a scratch. He hits it again. Nothing. And again. And again. And again. You might look at him and say to yourself, "This guy is an idiot. He hit that boulder over a hundred times. He hasn't even scratched the surface.What's wrong with him?" The error is not with him. The error is with you.
He knows that if he continues to hit the boulder, hit it from many angles, and continue hitting, eventually the boulder will split. Sometimes it even crumbles from a single hit. It may look like that single hit produced the split or the crumbling effect. But it wasn't. It was the sustained effort. The continuous hits that achieved the outcome. We need to look at our accomplishments in the same way.
Anyone of us can come up with excuses as to why we haven't reached our goals. We might even come up with totally logical reasons why something can't be done. But the fact of the matter is achievement is a science. The four step discussed here are the formula. Conquer your fears. Get wiser, better, stronger. Keep going until. And keep trying new things. Use this formula and nothing will ever keep you from your goals again.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Wow...I don't know about you, but I think this tool will be extremely useful to me. Valuable tools for those of you who do business on the internet.
Calculates your Projected Fees for these sites...
PayPal Fee Calculator
eBay Fee Calculator
Half.com Fee Calculator
Amazon Fee Calculator
BidPay Fee Calculator
ePier Fee Calculator
Also on this site...
Currency Exchange Rate
Check it out here. http://www.ppcalc.com/
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Are you an artist or crafter who has been considering selling your items on the internet but find yourself overwhelmed with all of the places to sell? Should you... Set up your own store? Sell on Ebay? Yes, there are a number of ways and places to sell your creations on the internet and I have tried many of them. While all of the marketplaces have their pros and cons, I have found one place that I would highly recommend for you to consider. That place is called 'ETSY'.
What is 'Etsy' you ask? Etsy is a place to set up an internet store FREE....no kidding! It is a place specifically dedicated to promoting and selling EVERYTHING HANDMADE although you can sell some supplies and also some authentic vintage items as well. But, this place is definitely NOT an Ebay!
I have been selling my jewelry designs and jewelry making supplies on Etsy for almost a year now. I highly recommend this site for a number of reasons:
1. The listing fee is reasonable...20 cents to list an item for four months of exposure. The commission fee is extremely reasonable as well.
2. The artists and crafters who sell on Etsy are very helpful and friendly and supportive. They have a forum where you can post questions and you will get a lot of helpful advise from everyone there.
3. You can post and promote your items in the forum there and gain exposure for your shop a number of ways.
4. It is very easy to open a shop and list your items, even if you have never done it before. I have sold on ebay for a number of years so when i went to etsy, I did have experience, but it is a pretty easy site to navagate overall.
5. You can accept payments from customers a number of different ways, personal check, money orders and yes, Paypal which is the most popular and convenient method of receiving payments.
6. Selling on etsy give you the opportunity to accept customers from all over the world...OR...you have the choice of just accepting customers in the good old USA.
7. You do not need to host the pictures of your items at a hosting service and pay additional fees. You can upload your pictures from your computer and put them right into your shop ad. Etsy will crop your pictures to a 'square' size for you or you can do it yourself. You have the opportunity to list 5 pictures of your item in the shop ad so that is a definite plus. Best of all, there is No Additional Fee for this service!
8. Etsy offers a lot of different promotional opportunities and they are working on that aspect to offer sellers even better opportunities in the future. One of the best ways, as a newbie, to learn about the workings of etsy and how to promote and sell your items is to join a 'street team.' These street teams are put together by other etsy sellers and are groups make up of either people sharing a common
craft skill, people selling a common item, like jewelry, people who all live in the same area and this type of street team offers the opportunity for 'meet ups' where people can actually get together.
9. The administrators of etsy work very hard to make it and keep it a friendly and supportive atmosphere....a positive place that you are actually 'proud' to be a part of.
10. Last but not least, this is something that I found out quite by accident and I still don't totally understand it, but having a store on etsy has given me google search engine exposure, which is a definite plus! I am not too familiar with how search engine optimization works but I have come to find out recently that my etsy
store ranks 2 out of 10 on the google search engine, which isn't too bad, I understand.
There are so many positive reasons that I could give you for giving Etsy a try to sell your jewelry or any other art or craft so feel free to share this information with any of your other non-jewelry designer friends too. Yes, Etsy is made up of a gazillion 'JEWELRY' sellers, that is true, but if you have a good product, and you offer good customer service, promote your items and have fair and competitive prices, you should do well on Etsy. I am not saying to quit your day job....but it could become an additional income source with your hard work and determination. Remember, as with anything, you will get out of 'it' what you put into 'it'...nothing more and nothing less.
I hope that this information has been helpful to anyone who is considering trying to sell their items on etsy. If you decide to check out Etsy....please feel free to stop by my store which is GerrysJewelBox.
Wishing you all much success in your Future Etsy Endeavors!
'You have to chase your dreams because they sure as heck ain't gonna chase you!'
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Yes, we are approaching another holiday, the wonderful Easter Day! While a lot of the youngsters are awaiting the arrival of the Easter Bunny, there are those of us who enjoy a little bit of 'bling' in our Easter Baskets....a Cherished Gift of Faith...guilt free without the calories of a piece of chocolate but Ohhhh so tasteful in its elegance and long lasting sentiment.
This locket necklace features an exceptional cabochon depicting a non-demonational cross. It is a Preciosa Czechoslovakian Cabochon in Vitrail color....unusual combination of fuscia purple when you look at it with flashes of green along the edges. The center cross is white. This cabochon is exceptionally pretty and I am sure you would be delighted to add it to your jewelry collection.
If you would like to see more lockets in a variety of styles, please take a moment and visit my store on Etsy. http://www.gerrysjewelbox.etsy.com
Thank you and Happy Easter!
Thursday, January 31, 2008
What Do The Crafters Create With The Items That They Purchase From Me? My Inquiring Mind Wants To Know....
So, as a way for me to let my customers know that they are greatly appreciated, I have decided to feature the items that they created using the supplies that they purchased from my store.
This week, I will feature two lovely necklaces submitted by one of my delightful customers. She has purchased from my shop on a few occasions so I thought it would be nice to show off her lovely necklace designs.
This piece is entitled.............Annabell
This necklace is entitled.............Homossasa Springs Necklace
This is the shadowbox that I think is absolutely adorable entitled.............Pretty Little Prisons
If you would like to view more of the lovely items created by Junkmostwondrous, please visit her store by clicking on this link http://www.Junkmostwondrous.etsy.com/
Thank you for spending your time reading this entry and I hope you have enjoyed viewing the work of this Featured Jewelry Designer.
Friday, January 25, 2008
If this sounds too good to be true, I invite you to at least take a moment and stop by this site and check it out for yourself. While you are there, you can sign up (its free too) and try selling one or two of your items in a FREE AD. You can place your PAYPAL Shopping Cart Button or your PAYPAL Buy It Now Button right on your ad for direct sales!
What do you have to lose? Check out BUY 'N SELL JEWELRY...Free Ads for LIFE for Buyers and Sellers of Jewelry and Jewelry Components.
>>>>75 jewelry sellers looking for one buyer...YOU! <<<<
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
First, I would like to thank Bookcave for writing these interesting and very informative articles that I found while doing a search on the internet. I think that this information will be beneficial, not only to those of you in the beginning stages of starting a business, but I think there is information contained in these articles that will benefit almost every entrepreneur.
If you are interested in articles like these, please bookmark my blog as I will be adding all kinds of informational articles that I think will be of benefit to all of us struggling to succeed in business on the internet.
Lastly, if you have a moment, I invite you to visit my Estate Inspired Jewelry and Supply Shop on Etsy. Please feel free to tell your friends about the great deals to be had on unique jewelry and other supplies at http://www.GerrysJewelBox.etsy.com .
Wishing you much success and a pleasantly productive day!
Written by: Bookcave
This article is the first in a series of 4 articles that will guide you on how you can start your own crafts business using the 4 Ps of Marketing - Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
The crafts business is an evergreen business. Even in today's high-tech world, people are still craving for that nice, sweet, little hand-made craft item because they add a personal touch and demonstrate sincerity, something that high-tech products will not be able to achieve.
In this series, I apply the traditional 4Ps of marketing to the crafts business and show you how you can follow these steps and start your own profitable crafts business from home. We begin the series with the first P - Product.
It is simple to start a business nowadays, especially an online one. Too many people know how to set up websites and payment processors are making it easier and easier for us (and them) to collect payment.
However, the fundamentals of business remain. Without a good product, we can hardly expect to have good sales. Even if you have the best killer sales letters or promotional materials and managed to get good sales in the short-term, bad products will give you ruin your chances of repeat sales and may result in a lot of refunds.
On the other hand, having the right product can result in tremendous sales! The right product will bring joy to the buyer, and as a gift, will bring delight to both the giver and the receiver. What's more, it will result in many repeat and referral sales!
So what are the right products? Yes, we all know that we need the right products to succeed. How do you know what the right products are? Here are some considerations.
We might, in our enthusiasm, forget how much it costs to create the item and price it too close to our cost price or even at cost price!
Cost is not merely the raw materials, but marketing cost, labour cost (hey it's your time and your life!) and the cost of facilities (should you need warehousing) as well. Remember to add them all up then add another 33% or so as your profit. (You'll read more on pricing in Day 3 of this course)
I know some people go as far as to say that if they can't make 33% they won't sell the products but it's your call. I wouldn't mind a lower percentage personally.
The point of mentioning cost in this section on products is to say that some product ideas, while being very original and lovely, may not be able to be easily commercialised due to the high cost of production.
Some craft items really take a long time to create but can only be sold for a few dollars each. If you spend a day or half a day on a craft item that you can only sell for $10, you'd have effectively lost money, even if your materials cost you nothing. Imagine if you do nothing but create that craft item for a month. You'd have earned $300 for a fulltime job, including working on weekends. Not worth your time, is it?
Related to the earlier point, if you don't take this into careful consideration, you may find that what you earn is not worth your time. If you take 1 hour to create an item which you sell for $4, even though your materials only cost you $0.10, you'd be making much less than what you expected, definitely less than what you're worth.
Where do you get ideas for new products? How do you know what people want?
Ideas for new products are all around us. Exercise a little creativity and get inspired from the things around us. Here are some things you can do.
* Take a walk around the house and observe the small things, especially gifts that you've received in the past.
* Take a walk in the park.
* Take a walk at your local mall and look at the crafts that people are selling. Observe how the trend is changing and what are the gifts of the day. Over the years, I have observed that there will always be some craft items that suddenly become very popular and there are some that remain popular regardless of the season. You need to familiarise yourself with the market if you want to do the business. I think that is a fundamental thing to do, regardless of the business you're going into.
Here's a list of different categories to help you brainstorm for new products.
* Baby items
* Office accessories
* Gift items
* Home decoration items
* Automotive accessories
* Wedding accessories
We also need to stay abreast of what's going on to ensure we have a constant stream of ideas for products that are in demand. Here's what you can do.
1. Look at all craft books available in craft and hobby stores.
2. Subscribe to craft or hobby magazines, or read them at your local library.
3. Go to gift sections of department stores.
4. Ask people which items in craft items they like and why.
5. Wherever you go, talk to people and ask them about things they might want (this includes people you sell to, friends, and family).
6. Go to gift, trade, and craft shows.
A show allows suppliers or craftsmen from many different parts of the country to set up booths and show their wares. These shows will give you an opportunity to find out the latest developments In your particular skill, and will give you product ideas. The people who display at these shows can provide a wealth of information and ideas. They also may be helpful in:
* Teaching you now techniques in your craft
* Giving you names of suppliers * Giving you names of places to sell your products
* Telling you about other craft shows.
If you've run out of new ideas, perhaps the best thing you can do is not to go for new fresh and original ideas. Go back to something that works and improvise on them. Sometimes a simple little change can give you a new product or help the same old product reach a totally new market!
* Go back to one of your current or old products and see if you create a whole product line starting with that product.
* Sometimes all it needs is a little twist. If you have a male bear, how about a female bear and a baby bear? Then add on grandpa and granny!
* You could also add on related products. If you've created a nice wooden spoon, why not add forks, knives, plates and bowls as well?
* Think of new applications for one of your current products and with a change in your marketing, you could open a flood of new users for a product you thought nobody wanted anymore.
Arm & Hamme originally sold it baking soda product as a leavening product for baked goods, but over the years home-baking has become less popular and the demand for the product has declined.
However, people soon discovered that the baking soda absorbed odors and started using it as a deodorant in refrigerators, carpets, laundry, dustbins etc.
Some people even used it as a mild cleanser for countertops and sink drains and even for brushing teeth!
Because it's digestible, some people took it as an antacid and some applied the baking soda to their skin as a soothing lotion for skin irritations and tired feet.
Arm & Hammer took advantaged of these discoveries and changed its marketing strategy. Instead of selling baking soda, it now sells a natural cleanser and deodorizer. What has changed? Maybe just the box. But the company gained a whole new group of users for that same product.
So, if you see people using the toy dogs you've created as footstools, don't be upset. Maybe that's a new product in the making.
Did you find this article interesting and/or useful to you?
Written by: Bookcave
This article is the second in a series of four articles that will guide you on how you can start your own crafts business using the four Ps of Marketing - Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
I hope you've had a good time brainstorming and researching ideas for your crafts products to sell. If you haven't, please read 'Crafts Basics 1 - Product' and do the exercises and see what you can come up with today. In fact, if you keep doing them, you'll never run out of things to sell!
In this article, we'll look at the places that you can sell your crafts. Traditional marketing says location, location, location is all important in retail sales. If you're intending to sell your crafts directly to your customers, then where you sell them is important. Each channel of sales comes with its own challenges and it helps to learn from experts from the various channels so you know how to sell effectively. Below are some ways you can get into the crafts business.
* Consignments Sales
* Publishing your Designs
* Catalogs/Mail Orders
* Home Parties
Consignment sales are possibly the cheapest way to get started in craft sales so you should consider using this channel. Basically consignment sales means you put your products with the stores to be sold and you give the stores a percentage of whatever they sold.
It sounds easy enough but it can turn out to be difficult because storeowners can be very particular. They want to know if your product will fit in with their store, and they want a good commission for your product. Some storeowners may accept products readily but they may not bother to display them and even if they display them they may not bother to promote them.
You'll need to prepare beforehand, and you'll need to know how to talk to the storeowners so that you don't irritate them but instead attract them enough to want to sell your products.
Saying the wrong things and saying too much can cause you to lose all your sales, even though you might have wonderful sellable products. The lesson to learn is how to maintain that delicate balance between talking and talking too much when introducing your products to the storeowners.
Many people would be contented to just leave the products with the storeowners but if you go the extra mile and help storeowners with details like decorations to your products and the window display, you will see significant improvements in your sales.
Publishing your Designs
If you design your own products and want to get your designs published, magazines are a great way to go.
You would need to take care of your copyright before you publish in case the design is stolen but it's quite easy and cheap to do so. You would need to check with the authorities of your country for details.
Publishing designs in magazines is not unlike submitting other publications to magazines. You'll need to check out the relevant magazines for their guidelines on submission, and submit the designs according to those guidelines. Not doing so would almost ensure your design never gets published, no matter how good they are. Occasionally you may chance upon a nice editor, but don't count on it.
A potentially sticky issue with submitting designs to magazines concerns the rights to the designs. Sometimes, the magazines would want to buy total rights to your designs for a low fee. You can also negotiate to keep all the rights or give the magazine the first rights to your design, meaning they must be the first to publish that design, after which you may do so. In any case, make sure you read the contracts carefully before signing, in case you sign away a potentially profitable design for $50.
Another way of getting your designs published, if you want to avoid those pesky editors, is to publish them yourself. This takes a bit more work and requires a bit of investment on your part but may end up being more fulfilling and even profitable.
You could print your own designs and put them up for sale or you could create an electronic or digital version of your design for sale. If you're considering selling a digital version, the most common and probably best file format to use would be PDF, because it is viewable on most, if not all, computers. Between selling a physical hard copy and digital soft copy versions, many self-publishers are going the way of digital publishing because of the lower costs involved. Although the industry-standard is Adobe PDF creator, it will cost you a bomb to get it. You'll need to sell hundreds, even thousands of crafts to pay for it. Search on the net and you'll find several cheap and even free alternatives.
Probably the best way to sell your self-published designs would be through the internet.
The idea of selling on the internet is enticing. If I were to list the steps, it sounds so deceptively simple but from experience, I know it's not easy. Many many people fail at it. It's a whole new ball game and if we want to play the game well, we should invest time getting an education first.
If you are new to internet marketing and want to get started quickly without getting into the technical nitty-gritty, Ebay should prove to be a good platform. Once you have enough sales and experience, you can then graduate to having your own store on Ebay or elsewhere.
If you are put-off by the technicalities involved in setting up a website, you can also use a blog to peddle your wares. Setting up a blog is no more difficult than getting a free email account so most people should be able to do it. Just head over to Blogger or Wordpress to get an account. You can put some pictures and descriptions of your products with a link to PayPal and you're in business! It is not the most professional way to do it bu some people have been selling craft jewelry online pretty successfully this way.
If you want to set up a blog or a shopping cart on your own website, it isn't very much more difficult either.
1) Register a domain name at GoDaddy or some other reputable company. You should not need to pay more than $9 for .com, .net, .org, .biz etc.
2) Get a web host
If and when you plan to get your own website, one aspect you must be very careful about is web hosting. There are tons of cheap web hosts around but please resist the temptation. It is really not worth the savings of that few dollars when they blackmail you with your domain name or they ignore you when your site is down.
Once you have found a few web hosts that you think might meet your needs, do a search for reviews of those hosts first. If there are no reviews or very few reviews, I would advise that you avoid them.
If you are new, I would suggest you look for a web host that offers cPanel with Fantastico because it will be easier for you to handle. Fantastico allows you to set up a shopping cart or a blog with just a few clicks so you can get started with your online shop easily.
3) Set up your blog or your shopping cart. If you really don't want to get your hands dirty here, contact your host. Most of them will be able to help you get started.
If you intend to sell using your website, it will be much better for you to get a hosted shopping cart. (Just search for 'hosted shopping cart' to get some suggestions) They will be able to set up everything for you so all you need is to put in your own writeups and photos, configure your settings and you're ready to go.
Catalogs and mail-orders have been used for decades and even centuries and is one of the best channels for a home-based business due to its relative low-cost and its simplicity. Catalogs are attractive because they're usually very colorful and attractive and many people don't mind picking up one to flip through at leisure after dinner or in bed.
Nonetheless, if you're not careful, you could potentially lose quite a bit of money. This could happen if your catalog and sales letter were weak and you sent to too many people. This is why all direct sales experts agree that testing is necessary. Test the effectiveness of your catalog and sales letters on a small-scale first. If it doesn't work, change something and try again. Keep changing until you get it right then do it on a big scale.
There are several things to take note when designing catalogs. In catalog creation, placing the right items in the right places will increase your sales significantly. The number of items to put on each page is also an important consideration. Needless to say, your most attractive items should always be on the first page.
If you want to sell through catalogs, you should consider selling bookmarks, book covers and candy covers as they have been proven to sell very well through this channel.
You may also want to consider home parties, which have been used effectively by companies such as Tupperware and Mary Kay to sell their products.
Home parties should be fun to attract more people. A fun environment also makes people more willing to buy your products. As mentioned earlier, use your catalog effectively and organize games with the catalogs. This will 'force' your party-goers to read your catalog closely and in the process, they may find something that they want to buy.
Exhibitions can be very tiring but can be very rewarding as well, both financially. Especially if you've been selling your crafts behind-the-scenes, through catalogs or the internet. Being able to see the joy and delight in your customers as they look and hold and play with your crafts is rewarding in itself. If they purchase, it's even better!
Don't let yourself be restricted to just selling by sitting down. Run some events at your booth to attract more people. Even a simple game or performance can draw many interested visitors.
Did you find this article interesting and/or useful to you?
Written by: Bookcave
This article is the third in a series of four articles that will guide you on how you can start your own crafts business using the four Ps of Marketing -Product, Place, Price and Promotion. What are the things you need to consider when pricing your product to ensure that your product is priced well enough to sell and well enough for you and all involved to earn well?
Pricing, as you might have experienced, is something many people struggle with. If you've already created your product, you'll know what I mean. When I first had to price my products, I checked out some marketing textbooks. They were unfortunately of little use to me, other than telling me there were different ways of pricing the products.
What are the 2 challenges of pricing?
1) Pricing at a level that attracts the buyers
2) Pricing at a level that maximizes profits while remaining attractive to the buyers
In certain businesses, the cost-plus method of pricing works very well, meaning you calculate your cost and add a certain percentage of profits. However, in the crafts business, this method, while being able to give you reasonable income, may not always be the best.
For example, the Harrod's bear and Paddington's bear don't cost much more to produce than a nameless toy bear, but they sell for so much more. If you were to simply apply the cost-plus method, can you imagine how much you'd have lost?
The difference here is the perceived value of the item. If you can make something look expensive or create something that people want, you can and should charge much higher than the cost. In pricing, you will have to look at your packaging and promotion so don't be pressured to price low simply because your material costs were low. However, if what you have is not unique then it may not be wise to put a high price tag on your product. Your customers may be willing to pay the price at the point of purchase but if they see a similar product selling much cheaper elsewhere, you may lose your credibility and the potential of repeat purchases from them.
If your craft item is not entirely new or you're just making a popular item to sell, it's easy to check the market price by visiting a few stores or checking the internet. An original product is trickier because it might involve some testing before you get the right price. Start by asking a few friends, especially those who share your interest in crafts. A better way would be to make a prototype and then take it to your friends and the gift and/or crafts stores and ask them how much they would be willing to pay for it or how much it can sell for. You should be able to get a pretty good idea.
Whether you want to use the cost-plus method or price at the market price, you'll need to have a very good idea of your cost. Failure to do so may result in you losing money instead of profiting from your crafts.
Here's a simple checklist to help you work out your cost.
1) Material cost
Make sure you list down everything, even things you are able to get for free now because you may have to pay for them later and that will affect your pricing. Furthermore, even free things need time and time is money.
2) Labour cost
If you're making them yourself, you need to ask yourself how much you're worth per hour then work from there. Suppose you make ten of an item in an hour and you want to pay yourself $20 per hour. The labour cost of each item would be $2.
Remember to include packaging time and even the time you need to travel to the post office.
3) Marketing cost
Depending on the sales channels you're using, the cost here will vary. If you're selling on the internet, you'll need to factor in your webhosting, domain name, design fees etc. If you're selling via catalogs or mail-orders, you must factor in your printing and shipping cost as well.
Also, if your product requires you to explain or clarify things on the phone, remember you need to factor in your phone bills and more importantly, the time you'll need to spend on the phone.
4) Your Profit
This is an area which many freelancers or work-from-home business people miss. It's alright to just earn your income based on your per hour worth but that would be a bad way of running a business. We need to remember we're running a business here and we need to treat a business as a business. This profit amount will make up for lower sales volume, increase cashflow for purchase of more materials and also fund your expansion. If we don't factor this in, we'll forever be stuck with the same pay. Even employees get raises right?
After you have included your material and labour cost, you should mark up another 20% to 30% or more as your profit margin. However, this only represents the minimum amount that you'll accept for your product. The next part will help you determine the cost you'll sell to different parties.
5) Distribution Channel Markup
For most product-based businesses, a product typically flows through the distribution channel in this fashion.
Manufacturer -> Distributor/Wholesaler -> Retailer
In between them, there may also be agents and if the products are sold to different states or different countries, there may be other local agents/distributors and the chain will get longer and longer.
What this means for you as you're pricing your product is you will need to ensure that you keep the retail price competitive and that the various parties get their fair share of profits at the same time.
Typically wholesalers will accept a lower markup than retailers because they work with higher volumes and because they need to ensure that the retailers have enough to earn. If you're just starting out, you can be your own distributor and go directly to the retailers. This allows you to earn more or give a greater markup to your retailers but because you or your staff will need to go to the stores, it will require greater effort on your part.
Retailers will as for a minimum of 20% to 30% markup for most products, depending on the products. I may be spoiler here but many products are marked up hundreds or thousands of percent. In my own store, I only retail products that I have at least 30% to 40% (usually more for craft products) unless the product is so popular that I can sell a lot more to justify the lower markup. With a healthy margin, I have some room to do promotions or clearance sales so even if the product doesn't do too well initially, I can do something about it without losing money.
It is very important to keep yourself focussed on your core competency and earn from that. Some people get greedy and try to do everything themselves and earn from every stage of the distribution channel. It may sound attractive but don't forget that to do everything, you will need to do a lot more work and you only have 24 hours a day.
To become a wholesaler requires a lot of running around from store to store. Retailing requires significant capital to startup. If you spend time on these, you will not have time to create your products. We all work with limited time so you will need to choose your business focus wisely. Ultimately, if you learn the power of leveraging then you will be able to create a company that controls the whole process. However, our focus here is about starting a home-based crafts business so that is out of the consideration for now.
The whole idea is to do very well in what you focus on and let the experts in the other areas help you succeed in the other areas. If you find that you are good in product distribution or retailing instead of craft-making, you might want to focus on those areas and source your products from others.
If we are able to implement the win-win thinking in our business, we should be able to at least do ok. At the end of the day, business is about making money. If your suppliers or distributors or retailers can earn well from your products because they move fast and they have high markup, you can rest assured they will put in that extra effort to promote your products. Some people try to save a few percent here and there and cut down on others' profits. While this might sound logical and prudent, it might work against you in the long-run because your distributors and retailers will gravitate towards whatever is making them the most money. If you are in doubt, err in favour of the distributors/retailers without compromising your minimum amount (see part 3 of this checklist) and you won't go wrong.
5) Check against the market
Lastly, you should always check your pricing against the market instead of just plucking a figure from the air. If it's an existing product, check your price against your competitors to see if your price is competitive. You don't have to be lower. In fact, try not to be lower because low price often indicates low quality as well. Don't compete on price. Compete on quality instead. You just have to ensure you're not so way off the market price that people would not even consider buying. Once you've gone through this thought process, I'm sure you'll be able to come up with a good price.
With the internet, it has become much easier to do price research. Just go to Ebay, Yahoo, Amazon, Froogle and other price-comparison sites and you will be able to get a good feel of the prices around. However, if you are going to sell in retail stores, do go and take a walk to check the prices because there can be a significant gap between the prices at brick-and-mortar retail stores and internet stores.
The last thing to note for pricing is that price is dynamic. The market is changing all the time and so does the price, especially for trend items. Evergreen items can afford to be priced the same for long periods of time because of a slower but steady demand. Trend items because of the demand can often start out with a very high price but as demand dwindles the prices will go down as well.
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Written by: Bookcave
This article is the fourth in a series of four articles that will guide you on how you can start your own crafts business using the four Ps of Marketing - Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
Finally, we've made it to the final P of our course - Promotion.
As I mentioned in the previous article "Crafts Business Basics 3 - Price", we can no longer believe in the "if we build it, they will come" thinking. You need to promote your business if you want to earn decent money and different places that you sell your crafts require different ways of promoting.
We'll go through some different ways of promoting your business in today's lesson and if you can put together everything you learn from Day 1 to Day 4, I'm sure you'll begin to see some results very soon.
Promotion is about
1) getting the word out
2) getting the prospects excited
3) getting them to take action.
As you plan your promotion campaigns for your products, think about these 3 points and ask yourself if what you're planning can achieve all three. If it can, I'm sure you'll have a profitable campaign. Remember though that what you thought will work may not actually work and you'd need to test and tweak your campaigns before you launch them on a large-scale.
Knowing where to distribute your catalogs will greatly increase your results for the money you're spending on printing and distribution. Here are some effective ways that.
1) Refer-a-friend cards
Have these cards ready to give away. Those who refer 5-10 friends to receive the catalogs will get discounts or gifts.
2) Give to friends and family members
3) Place your catalogs in gift or craft stores
4) Hold a party and play a game with the catalogs.
You could also do a theme on your catalogs. For example, you could produce a one-dollar catalog in which all the items are sold at $1. You can buy items in bulk via wholesalers and then selling them via your catalog.
Getting people to sell for you
No, I don't mean employing a team of sales people to sell for you. That could work for you if you had the money, time and ability to manage them though. Instead, I mean getting a group of freelancers who would be interested to sell your crafts to their friends for a commission. Many big direct sales and network marketing companies have used the method effectively. I would suggest you only payout a single level of commissions unless you had the software and time to manage a more complex system.
If you intend to do this, offer at least 25% commissions for it to be attractive enough. You should also have a proper contract to protect yourself. You should also have in place a starter kit that contains
1) a welcome letter
2) a catalog
3) the contract
4) a letter explaining the bonuses and incentives
5) brochure how they can generate sales, host home parties, etc.
6) order forms
7) sales materials like flyers
If you intend to sell on the internet, getting affiliates is a good way but it should go hand in hand with these other ways of promotion on the internet. It is beyond the scope of this article to talk about internet promotion in-depth but you should consider the following.
1) pay-per-click advertising
2) email marketing
5) internet auctions
6) search engine optimization
1) Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising is one of the most popular forms of internet advertising because it is very cost-effective and very easy to set up. In a nutshell, pay-per-click advertising is so called because you pay whenever someone clicks on a link to your website.
Generally, there are two kinds of pay-per-click advertising. The first kind involves bidding on keywords on search engines. Say you bid on the keyword "crochet". When a person searches for the word "crochet" on the search engine, your advertisment will appear. There are also others where you simply buy links on related-content sites. Whenever people visit sites that are related to the keywords that you purchase, your ad will appear and you only pay when they click on your link.
The most well-known is probably Google's Adwords program which helped Google achieve its over-$1 billion revenue. Other well-known PPC programs include Yahoo's Overture and Miva. You can visit their websites to find out more about them.
Remember to set limits and monitor the clicks because you can easily overspend and not see any results. You will need to spend time refining your ads and your choice of keywords to ensure good results for your site.
2) Email Marketing
Promoting with emails is one of the best ways of promoting your business on the internet. I'm not talking about spam which is sending emails to people who did not ask for them. Instead I'm talking about permission marketing, or opt-in email marketing. Many people sign up for newsletters on particular topics and you can advertise on those newsletters. You can also allow visitors to your website to sign up for your newsletter.
One tool that many email marketers use is autoresponder. An autoresponder will automatically send out emails to the recipients at intervals specified by you. For example, you can set the autoresponder to send out emails to your list everyday or every week or you can set up a 5-day course.
Email marketing, especially to your own list, is very profitable because it is virtually free and you will get good results because there is already some kind of trust and relationship established. If you have spent time communicating with them, you will get even better results
To look for lists to email to, you can start by searching for "opt-in email marketing" or "opt-in email advertising" in the search engines. You will get many vendors that you can contact. Choose the appropriate category so you only email to readers who have indicated that they are interested in the products or services that you are marketing.
If you are looking for an autoresponder, the easiest way to get started is to Simply search for autoresponder in the search engines and you will get a pretty good list of autoresponders that you can sign up with. These companies will host your list and do all the technical work for you so you only need to write your own emails. If you prefer to host it on your own website or your own computer, search for "autoresponder software" and you can find some good software to use for this purpose.
Forums are places where people go to discuss on various topics and they have become very good promotion tools. There are two basic ways to advertise using forums. The most direct way is to advertise in their buy and sell section or an advertising section. Some forums will also offer paid banner advertisements. If you see that the forum is active with many users, then it may be worth your money. Otherwise, just post in the relevant sections for free.
Another way to advertise is using your signature (or sig) which appears under every post that you write. You can write a catchy tagline with a link to your website and set it up as your sig file and participate in craft-related forums. You will find visitors visiting your site very soon because these people are already interested in craft-related items to begin with.
Blogs have taken the world by storm so this section would be incomplete without a reference to them. Blogs have moved on from being merely a personal diary online to being an integral tool in internet marketing.
Apart from being easy to set up, blogs are also very quickly picked up by the search engines so you can get traffic to your site pretty quickly. It also offers a very quick and easy way to reach out and communicate to your site visitors without being intrusive. And because blogs allow interaction, you can also interact with your customers by allowing them to ask questions or post testimonials. Don't worry, you always have full control so you can always delete spam comments made by unethical marketers or pranksters.
As mentioned in part 2, you can also use blogs to sell, as many craft-marketers have done. It's easy to set up and maintain. If you are on a budget, you can start using a free blog and collect payment using PayPal which does not require any setup fee.
5) Internet Auctions
Internet auction is another very viable way of doing business online. Some people are making a living selling on Ebay alone because there are millions of visitors per day who are looking for things to buy.
Not only will you find it auctions a good way of selling your products, you will also find that it is a good way to advertise your website and establish yourself credibility in the market. Even if your auctions don't do very well, you will gain many visitors to your websites by providing relevant links to your website in your About Me page as well as your descriptions.
One thing about selling through auctions is that it can be tedious because you have to write descriptions and post pictures for every product you sell. If you sell many quantities of the same thing you will be able to save a lot of time because you can reuse your pictures and descriptions and Ebay's Buy It Now function allows you to sell many quantities of the same thing.
You should also look at using software from Ebay itself like the Turbo Lister and Blackthorne Pro (if you are selling a lot of products) or other third-party auction software as they will really save a lot of your time and let you focus on selling instead of tedious technical tasks.
6) Search Engine Optimization
Basically, search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of tweaking your website to improve its ranking on the searching engine so that people who search for keywords related to your site can find you. The greatest benefit of SEO is that once your site is ranked well, you can get many visitors to your site for free. However, it is very tough because you are competing with other websites that may have experts optimizing their sites but also the search engines themselves because their algorithms are constantly changing. Just because your site is ranked well today doesn't mean it will be ranked well tomorrow when the search engines update their criteria.
This is why some people who are making a living on the internet are not bothered with search engine optimization, preferring instead to focus their resources on other forms of promotion which give more guaranteed results.
You may also want to consider using affiliates or freelance salespeople to sell for you on the internet. This is the same as getting people to sell for you, except it's done entirely on the internet. Make sure you have in place a system to support them first, otherwise they'll get discouraged or frustrated and it may worsen your business.
Setting up an affiliate program with your website is not difficult. If you use Clickbank http://www.clickbank.com as your payment processor, it includes an affiliate manager so you can just set it up with a few clicks and all the Clickbank affiliates can use their account to refer customers to your site.
While it may sound like a great idea, do bear in mind that you won't suddenly have thousands of people selling your product for you. There is quite a bit of work involved in running a successful affiliate program but if you can get it running successfully, it will definitely pay off many times.
If you're just starting out, I will suggest you focus on other aspects first and get an education on how to run an affiliate program successfully before plunging into it.
This ends my four-part series "Craft Business Basics" on how you can start your home-based business. It is certainly not comprehensive but I hope the information will be able cut short your learning curve and help you to launch your own craft business from home faster. May you succeed in your home-based crafts business!
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