13. How to scale your handmade business?

How to scale your handmade business

It’s so lovely to enjoy a Saturday morning coffee! In the whole
cafe, the only table Sara and I sat at was occupied.
– What to do next? We wouldn’t be able to do this kind of workshop anymore. She’s got all the clients now!
– Are you crazy? Of course, we can! The Christmas tree was to test the idea; now, we need to develop and scale. I have an idea!

Again the adrenaline in the blood boiled. When there is a new idea and thoughts, I want to implement everything faster and see what happens.
– 170 people registered for the workshop, but about 50 made the brooch by the end. Where did they get the materials?
– Well, I gave them a list of materials. That’s what they were looking for in different stores.

– And if they were offered to buy a ready-made kit, so they wouldn’t have to waste time looking for it. Would they have agreed?
– You know, many people asked themselves if there were material kits. I just told them no. I explained how to search the Internet for everything on the list.

There was a pause. I looked at her with anger!
– And you were silent about it? Sara, people come and ask for their needs, and you send them to the store… I mean, you just send them.
– What do I do if I don’t have these kits?
– Make them! Buy the materials, assemble them, package them nicely, and sell them. Think back to the doll sewing kits you used to sell. The idea is the same. No one needed the dolls, but here they needed the brooches, and people were willing to spend their time embroidering them.

It seems like my next crazy idea has resonated.
– Can you buy materials for at least 50 kits?
– Well, that would take at least $500. I don’t have any money right now.
– Look for the money. Sell the ready-made brooches, and buy the materials. Let’s make at least the first 40-50 pieces.

– All right! I’ll see what I can do. We need to think about what we will do at the workshop, calculate the cost of materials, and prepare packaging. Everything will work out; the main thing is to start.
– Now I like your attitude! Because I’m still “afraid.” It works for those who are afraid but do it.
– Yeah, you’re right a thousand times over. Thank you for your help and support.

The master class was scheduled for the beginning of July.

We managed to buy materials for 30 sets. The scheme of the workshop was the same as last time. It was necessary to register for it, leave your mail, buy a kit, write a private message, pay for the order, and give the delivery address. Everything was ready to make the announcement! Hands are shaking with excitement; until now, Sara has never offered anything to her audience to BUY.

Money has been invested in materials, and if she can’t sell them, she’ll have to think about how to pay for her son’s apartment and schooling.

With trepidation in her soul, clasping her eyes, Sara pressed the “publish” button. Whatever happens!
– Thirty minutes and 20 kits bought; I’m SHOCKED!

Sara was bouncing around the apartment again like a mad woman, but this time she was jubilant:
– And the payments are all coming in… Wait, we don’t have enough supplies! – Happiness was replaced by panic. – Ah! What to do?
– Well, first of all, do not panic. We can buy more materials, right?
– I don’t know! I can’t panic. My phone is about to explode with messages and notifications. And I need to find out who’s paying. It’s just so horrible. How am I supposed to figure out who is paying for the kits? My head is spinning! I’m already confused. It’s hard to live with a sense of hyper-responsibility. But you have to deal with it somehow.

On Sara’s desk piled up a bunch of pieces of paper with names and names of profiles; she marked the time of payment so as not to get confused about who paid in full and who made a prepayment. This went on for two days! During that time, all the sets were sold out (even more than we had planned).

But Sara was not happy about it. The girl’s eye twitched as soon as the text about the next payment came in. She was sick of the notifications. She did not eat, sleep, or simply live on the phone. It became scary to look at Sara, and even her son once said: “Mom, you’re so tired; get some rest.” Something had to change, for after selling almost a hundred sets, the girl felt like a hunted horse!

Sara was sure that together she could find a way out. But there was no doubt that they could find the right direction. The only thing left was to automate everything, and then there would be room for growth. With each such workshop, Sara felt herself growing in confidence. She was no longer afraid to perform in front of an audience. She wasn’t intimidated by the dozens or even hundreds of people online.

She began understanding what people wanted and valued her time, which she used to sit through at fairs. And Sara clearly understood that all of these experiences (even the negative ones) were good for her.

Ahead of her is a new idea and a new workshop that is so scary to venture into. The scale and investment were daunting. But it works for those who are afraid but do.

How to scale your handmade business

– How to scale your handmade business

Ready to scale your business to the next level?

Sooner or later, the moment will come when you start to think about further developing your project. You could start this chapter by describing scaling methods, but I’ll start with something else. To scale your business, you have to start with yourself. 

Scale your WAY! 

That’s the only way you’ll scale your business and get to another level of development. The important question is: Are you ready for new challenges, tasks, and responsibilities?

Scaling up is just about that. It’s about a whole new format of thinking and working. And until your brain is ready to take on new roles in your project, you shouldn’t even think about scaling.

How do you scale your brain?

Attend courses, training, and conferences. Look for an environment that will motivate you to push your limits forward. You have to start thinking in different categories. Think globally and strategically. This story would never have happened if one day I had not decided to take a marketing training course. At the time, it cost a lot of money (half of my salary at the office).

I had a choice: spend my salary to support my family or invest in myself. I took the risk, and I did not regret it. This knowledge broadened my worldview and showed me the opportunities to scale. As a result, in two months, I earned five times more than the cost of training because of the motivation I received and the knowledge I incorporated!

Look for interesting online courses/tutorials/events on business development. Look for mentors that you like and believe in. Even if the cost of the course seems high, keep in mind that the value of changing your mindset and going to another level is much higher! The choice is yours.

Ways to scale a handmade business

Define Your Business Strategy: Clearly define your business goals and vision. Identify your target market, understand your unique selling proposition, and determine how you want to position your handmade products.

Streamline Your Production Process: Look for ways to optimize your production process without compromising the quality of your handmade products. Find ways to improve efficiency, reduce production time, and increase output.

Invest in Marketing and Branding: Develop a strong brand identity and invest in marketing strategies to increase brand awareness. Utilize social media platforms, create a professional website, participate in craft fairs, and explore other relevant advertising channels to reach your target audience.

Expand Your Product Line: Consider expanding your product range to attract a wider customer base. Identify complementary products or variations of your existing products. This can help increase customer loyalty and attract new customers.

Build an Online Presence: Establishing an online presence is crucial for scaling your handmade business. Set up an e-commerce website or utilize online marketplaces to sell your products. Use high-quality product images and detailed descriptions to showcase your craftsmanship.

Collaborate with Others: Look for collaborations and partnerships with other artisans or influencers in your niche. This can help you tap into new markets and reach a larger audience.

Improve Customer Experience: Focus on providing exceptional customer service and a seamless buying experience. Respond promptly to customer inquiries, address concerns or issues, and consider implementing a customer loyalty program to encourage repeat purchases.

Monitor and Analyze Data: Regularly track and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your scaling efforts. Monitor sales data, customer feedback, website analytics, and other relevant metrics to make informed decisions and adjust your strategy as needed.

Stay Flexible and Adapt: Be prepared to adapt your business based on market trends, customer feedback, and changing circumstances. Continuously seek opportunities for improvement to stay ahead of the competition and ensure long-term success. 

Explore Retail Opportunities: Consider selling your products to retailers or boutiques. This can help you reach a more extensive customer base and increase sales volume. Alternatively, you can open a retail store to showcase and sell your handmade products.

Seek Feedback and Adapt: Actively seek customer feedback and adjust based on their suggestions. This shows that you value their opinions and helps you improve your products and services. Adaptability is key to meeting changing customer needs and preferences.

Build Relationships with Suppliers: Strengthen your relationships with suppliers to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality materials for your handmade products. To maintain a competitive edge, consider negotiating better pricing, favorable payment terms, and exclusivity agreements.

Automate Administrative Tasks: As your business grows, administrative tasks such as inventory management, order processing, and customer support can become overwhelming. Invest in tools and software solutions that automate these tasks, freeing up time for you to focus on product development and business growth.

Attend Markets and Fairs: Participate in relevant trade shows, craft fairs, and exhibitions to showcase your handmade products to a wider audience. These events provide opportunities for networking, building connections, and attracting potential customers and partners.

Build a Strong Online Community: Engage with your customers through social media platforms, blogs, and forums. Foster a sense of community around your brand by sharing behind-the-scenes content, hosting giveaways, and encouraging customer-generated content. A loyal and engaged online community can become your brand advocate and help spread the word about your handmade products.

Seek Professional Assistance: Consider hiring professionals or consultants specializing in marketing, branding, e-commerce, or finance. Their expertise can help you develop effective strategies, optimize your operations, and navigate challenges associated with scaling your business.

Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with influencers or bloggers who align with your brand values and target audience. Their endorsement and exposure can significantly boost your brand visibility and attract new customers to your handmade business.

Never Compromise on Quality: As you scale your handmade business, it’s essential to maintain the quality and craftsmanship that sets your products apart. Improve your skills, invest in quality materials, and ensure rigorous quality control to uphold customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Assignment 19. Write a list of training/courses/events on growing your business that you would like to take.

Of course, read my blog. You’ll find a lot of information about business development, particularly creative projects.

Also, write down which successful people you’d like to meet for coffee. Perhaps it would be billionaires from the Forbes list?

Or a famous artisan who inspires you! These people have a scale mindset, and talking to them will leave a deep mark on your mind.

My wish list for scaling thinking

– How to scale your handmade business