Selling in a recession…

OK I’m no expert, and I may be teaching some of you to suck eggs, but the recession we are in is a worrying time as small and large businesses are closing down everyday and people are spending less money. As a crafter and businesswoman, this does seem a little alarming, but I am fighting through it, and with relative ease.

This month I have made a 100% profit on December’s sales, and a 500% increase since I started selling in August 2008. How? Well I believe people are still spending a little disposable income and buying impulsively. My main sellers have been preorders of my book, granted, but a lot of my sales towards the end of the month were unexpected Etsy sales. The key to tapping into the impulse market is to have items at £15 or less. These are still not deemed too expensive to be a little treat. This is my biggest point, but here’s some others.

Cash in on Valentine’s day. If you’re a jeweller, play up your imitation (or real!) diamonds. My “get your girl a big rock” initiative (image below) is really working.

Also remember that advertising is still essential in a recession. There are still adverts on TV for non-essential air fresheners for example. Most crafted goods are non-essentials, but with the right marketing, they can still sell, and well. My biggest earner has been through Facebook ads. It has increased my hits by 70% to my own site this month. Different things will work for different people.  Advertising also taps into a future market when things pick up again.

Offer custom order items. I have had a huge amount of interest in this department recently (to the point where I’ve run out of resin and desperately waiting for another delivery) as I create keepsake necklaces. For example, I’ve made one from horsehair (see below). By posting these on Flickr I have generated further interest and revenue.

The “make do and mend” ethic is huge right now, especially in the media, and this has given crafts a huge amount of publicity which can only be a good thing. People do want to make things themselves, so offer kits for sale in your shop for those who don’t want the finished article, and want to join in on the movement. Writing articles for magazines is also a nice little earner that falls in with this. The contact details are usually in the inside cover, just e-mail a picture to the editor and if they like it, they will commission you to write a how to!

If you are, like me, in the UK, get those international sales going. The pound is so weak right now that at the time of writing $1.35= £1, rather than $2 as it was early last year. That means you are getting a lot more money through currency conversion if you are selling on venues such as Etsy- result!

And last, but most importantly, think positive. If you think you can make your business succeed when times are tight, you will. And then things get a hell of a lot easier after then!

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