Hey guys! I'm back to share with you my passion for handmade businesses! If you are thinking of starting a handmade business, I want to share some of the things I have learned along the way that will create a few shortcuts for you and hopefully take the fear out of it. This installment is going to be about Telling Your Story.
My husband is in the process of starting a new hobby that he hopes to eventually transition into a side business. And in the process of talking about all the background things he needs to think about in a business, he and I had a conversation about the importance of "telling the story" of your product. He pretty much looked at me like I had lost my mind or that I was making it up. So, I asked him why he buys the products he does. What about them attracts him to them?
He said, "I don't buy a product because I feel a connection to it. I buy it because that's what I like or want to try." As much as he wants to think he's an independent thinker, the reality of it is that large companies spend billions of dollars to get you to buy their products. None of us purchase products without some sort of influence behind it.
Everything that we buy is usually because we saw it somewhere, and what we saw evoked the feeling inside of us that if we had it or at least tried that product we would somehow be different or changed. When we see the Nike commercial they show athletes running fast and jumping high, or holding the perfect yoga pose with the perfect yoga body. That is to inspire us to believe that if we wear those clothes or those shoes, we too will run faster, jump higher, and look fantastic doing it! They tell a story and they punctuate it with "Just Do It." We can look at that and say that it doesn't affect us. But, just look at how many people walk around wearing Nike? It's a very simple, subliminal message. And once people try a product they tend to be brand loyal.
Why do we become brand loyal? Because we connect to their story somehow. We buy sports gear to help us become the athletes we see. We buy fluffy blankets from home goods stores because we want to feel cozy like the people in the picture. We buy cheeky coffee mugs to bring humor into our lives or make a statement. We buy clothing styles based on what we saw on someone else and liked it. We are trying to match our lives to an aesthetic we see in advertising.
I'm definitely not saying this to put anything or anyone down. I'm saying it to help us realize just how much we really connect our lives to the things we purchase. And how extremely important is it for us, the small handmade business, to curate our story carefully. What story do you want your product to tell? What feeling do you want to evoke? What sort of connection do you want your buyers to have with you personally? Are you just the name behind a product? Or are you the face of a small business?
Consumers in North America and Latin America value brand recognition more than consumers in any other region. In both, it was the second-most important reason (after affordability) that consumers said they purchase a new product. Brand recognition is particularly influential in developing markets. (Understanding the Power of a Brand Name – Nielsen)
People who buy from small handmade businesses usually do so because they are interested in supporting small businesses. As you are beginning to post on social media, let people know who you are. If you are passionate about certain things, and they are something you want to include in your "brand", then make sure you share about that. Do you want to come across as everyone's friend? Do you have an aesthetic you want your product to create? How will your product change people's lives? How did it change yours?
What extra step can you take as a business to create a connection to your potential customers? What is your brand's story?