Tag Archives: business

Crafteroo magazine- get it now (cos it’s awesome)

Issue 1's cover!

As some of you will know already, a few of us over on the Crafteroo forum have got together to work on a new project- Crafteroo Magazine! We’re very excited about this, because not only should it drive more traffic our way, but also it should help us raise revenues for hosting, advertising and even craft challenges to make the forum even better!

The first issue is officially on sale TODAY! It only costs £1.50, has 17 craft projects and some great business ideas as well as being an interesting read- so hopefully you will find it terrific value for money. I dare you to not like it- we have spent months putting it together and everyone has workedso well to bring their different skills and knowledge to the project, all for free which is very generous.

Here are the contents… (click to enlarge)

If you’re sold on the idea, then the instructions on how to get your copy are HERE.

Please come and support us!

How to write a press release

There are various articles on the net about writing press releases, but I thought I’d share a guide on how I’ve done it (with success) specifically with a crafts business in mind. There’s more than one way to skin a cat though, so feel free to adapt this or disagree with me on any of the following points! To begin with, make sure you have a story. I aim to write a press release every two months (and fail miserably!) on something genuinely interesting, such as a product no one else offers, some charity work or a success story. Don’t write one for each new style of earrings you make, or aim to have one a week as editors will get bored of you very quickly and will disregard all of your stories as soon as they see your name, no matter how interesting they are.

1) Header
Put your company logo at the top of the page. Sounds silly, but this is your corporate identity and it will look more professional! Below this, date when the release is valid from, I tend to just put “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” here as there’s no time like the present! You should also include your contact details at the top. Keep it brief, it’s not like writing a letter, I format mine like this:

Contact: Kerry Wilkinson

Telephone: 07*********

E-mail: kerry@penny-dog.co.uk


2)  Title

You need something catchy here to catch the editor’s eye. Magazine and newspaper (and even some blogs) editors and sub-editors don’t always have the time to read a full press release, so the snappier and more intriguing it is, the more likely it is to be read. Make sure it is relevant though and definitely no more than 15 words.


3) Sub-header

Describe your title a little more here, think about how you want to pitch the product or idea you are trying to sell. For example, my latest title and sub-header was this:


Introducing a new line of customisable resin knitting needles for gifts


4) Writing the main text

First simple point- write in the third person. Make sure your opening paragraph sums up your story so that the reader can get a quick idea what is going on. If you think about newspaper articles and how they are written, this will give you good grounding, for example they summarise the story in the first paragraph in case there is a big news story that takes up more page space and stories have to be cut. They simply take off a paragraph at a time from the bottom of the less important story to free up room. Also with newspapers in mind, they tend to report factual information (or at least pretend to depending on the paper you read!) in statement form. Do this too. You can enhance the sentences a little with some select adjectives, but, seriously, limit them.


Include any useful background information about your company, when you set up, who runs it, your mission statement, even a quote from yourself (or other business member) if you dare! The following may or may not be useful to include depending on what your story is about:

  • location
  • manager
  • price range
  • measurements/length
  • date
  • product ranges
  • colours
  • charity number
  • age
  • turnover
  • money raised
  • stockists
  • time taken
  • materials used

And there are many more things such as the above which may be useful to include. Don’t write more than a page though, I hate this phrase but less truly is more here.


5) Images

Feel free to illustrate your press release with a choice photo or two. I like to put these below the sub header but there’s no hard and fast rule except that you should make sure the image is of a good quality suitable for printing and that the image is clearly illustrated. A picture paints a thousand words as they say, good or bad. And you definitely want to make a good impression!


6) Closer

I’m sure there’s a better word than “Closer” but that’s what I call it. Once you have finished your main text, you need to start a new paragraph, put three #s in to signify the end of the story (some people write “ENDS” instead) and then put your contact details in- yes, again. You can elaborate further on your contact details previously mentioned, for example this is what mine looks like:


If you would like further information on PennyDog, its policies and products, please contact Kerry Wilkinson to arrange an interview on 07********* (after 6pm). Alternatively, please e-mail kerry@penny-dog.co.uk, all enquiries will be dealt with within 24 hours.


7) Done!

Make sure you edit your work. There’s nothing worse than noticing something embarrassing after it has already gone out. Research who you want to send this to (though I imagine you’d have done this before sitting down to write anyway), either by e-mail or post. You can also upload your press releases to online depositories. I use PRlog.com, but there are loads more and you can use more than one.

Successful marketing strategies

A quick business related post to give you food for thought today, this time on effective marketing according to the Fournaise Marketing Group. The study looked at low and high GDP growth countries, but for the purpose of this blog entry I will give you the low GDP growth country information only, which applies to North America, the UK and Australia.

So here’s the top 10, draw from this what you will, hopefully it will give you a few pointers on how to develop your craft business marketing strategies next!

1) Direct Marketing – Newsletters and targeted mail outs. I would probably include samples for craft fair goody bags here as I would argue that you are specifically targetting the craft buying market. These are postal only results, not e-mail- we’ll get to that later.

2) Public Relations – Keep your customers happy for repeat purchases!

3) Newspapers – Perhaps not the most relevant, but if youcan get a product in the newspaper for review in a Saturday/Sunday supplement that would set you off to the big time. On a smaller scale think getting a feature in your local paper about your business.

4) Online E-mails – E-mail newsletters.

5) Online Paid Search Ads – Stuff like Facebook ads and Google Adwords.

6) Online referrals – Think link swaps, blog posts etc.

7) Online Display Ads – Adverts on other sites such as Project Wonderful.

8) TV – Not a hope in hell with this one for crafters really!

9) Online Rich Media – YouTube videos, podcasts…

10) Outdoor – Not that I expect you to be able to pay for billboard adverts, but maybe the odd car sticker may work!

As we’re now in 2009, things have probably moved on a little, I would imagine that online methods are becoming more trusted and clickable as people become less fearful of the Internet and E-commerce is growing and growing. For online shop owners and those with Etsy shops for instance, this is probably very welcome news!

Oh and here’s a picture of me at said successful craft fair as per my last post- my stall came together quite effectively in the end!

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!