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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13 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great post! Very heartening – many thanks!

  2. Posted January 31, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    That was lovely to read Kerry, very inspiring and with lots of encouragement which I think alot of people are needing lately, You are always there first with good advise for everyone, whatever their problems. You are such a busy bee but you always have the time for others.
    Thankyou so much,
    Debbs

  3. Posted February 1, 2009 at 10:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    good post Kerry thanks!

  4. Posted February 1, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great blog – thanks Kerry!

  5. Posted February 1, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A very encouraging post Kerry! Thanks!

  6. Posted February 1, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    great post Kerry! thanks for the tips!

  7. Posted February 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed this post, it was an interesting read. Plus it made me feel quite positive and you are absolutely right in what you are getting across. Thanks

  8. Posted February 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for this; I’m going to look into Facebook Ads as I’ve been wondering about them for a while. Always nice to read something positive too! Tara

  9. Posted February 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great thoughts, I think people are happier dealing direct to crafters now as they are fed up of middle men getting the big slice. They also prefer to get quality goods from people who really appreciate the sale!

  10. Posted February 2, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great article Kerry and it sounds like you are doing all the right things, going from strength to strength-fab!

  11. Posted February 12, 2009 at 6:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow, I love your ‘get your girl a big rock’ ring – it is so over-the-top in a fun way. Nice work!

  12. Posted February 12, 2009 at 8:31 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts – glad to see not everyone is giving up! 😀

  13. Posted February 15, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    brilliant post Kerry

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