Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Product

The Product

You have a passion for making something, soap, and you know people will it buy because it's the best soap on earth. You make earring and yes there are many earrings to choose from, but everyone will want yours. You made it and they should buy, right?

In order to sell a product people must want it. A person does not really need $20 hair tie. A rubberband will hold hair in place just as good. So, why do people buy things that they really don't need, but will spend good money for it? The answer is simple to feel better. Soap does not need to be shaped like a red rose. Jewelry really does not serve a purpose. Yet, we buy it. That rose shaped soap makes an ordinary bath become a soothing spa. The beads in the bracelet are your favorite color and they feel good when you turn the bracelet on your arm. Some people will say it's vanity that makes people spend fortunes on fashions and high dollar common items. Others want to stay in fashion to prove they are cool. Another person stays away from trends because following is not cool. Maybe they have been searching for that special thing you were making just for yourself and you decided others might want it too. Whatever the reason, make sure your craft will fulfill that void.

Products are already wanted but that does not mean consumers will want yours. Customers want quality. If they want a product that looks thrown together using cheap materials, they would DYI. Use the best quality materials you can afford. Make sure the description tells them it is made of wool or cotton v/s acrylic yarn. List the ingredients and why it's good for the skin. People what to be educated about the items they buy, so if your jewelry has a stone that might have special power, let them know it.

Keep in mind that when selling online photos of the product can make or break the deal. It's the items first impression. If the quality of the photo is awful, the customer may feel as if you are not serious about your work. If you don't care enough to take a decent photo of your passion, then you probably don't care about selling it. This craft is still a hobby and you're just sharing what you just made. If you're serious about selling, get a real camera. If you do detailed work and the photo is fuzzy, then all the intricate design is lost. There are light tricks, light boxes, types of lighting, and the such, just make sure the item has enough light to see it. The product should not look like it's in the basement of haunted house. Stay far away from flash, it overexposes the photo and makes details hard to see. Get a camera with macro setting and let it be your friend for close-ups. Sunlight is the best. Be consistant with your back drop. Well, I think the backdrop is part of branding. Personally, the white background is sort of my signature and it also helps when adjusting the photo. Use a photo editor if need be. Watermark your photos if possible.

Your product is the best. The photo is flawless. The description sounds like poetry and you want everyone to buy it, right? No!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Social Media Networking & Marketing Advice

With more and more home-based businesses starting and using social networking to market their products, it's good to have a few tips on how to work these free advertising venues.

1. Follow the rules. If you join a group or website that has rules, then follow them. When you break rules, you are a trouble maker, not a revolutionary. Other group members will think, know, you're just there for marketing and don't care enough to learn about the group and support its members. Ultimately, you might even be banned from the group and your company becomes the one that was kicked out of the circle. You lose because groups have valuable information and even potential customers.

2. Don't steal friends. To sit there and go through another businesses friends' list is down right rude. Facebook and twitter have made it easy for you to find people who share similar interests, add them if you want more followers. If you're just starting out and all of sudden you have all the same friends as another shampoo maker, something just doesn't seem logical even with the friend suggestions. Plus, their customers will be quick to call you on it. Instead do the work to get friends, that way you're adding slower and actually get a little inkling of who the person is.

3. Don't abuse tagging. Don't just randomly tag people that you really don't know. Yes, the site is free and you can do what you like, but it costs you in long run. Would you want other businesses tagging you and filling your pages with their items? When you start tagging it becomes a two-way street. Will you be happy, jealous, or angry when your friends start liking and buying from those who tag you and link on your pages? You have your pages so link them from your blog or website, cross-feed twitter and facebook, and suggest your fan page to friends. Also, if you want to get an item noticed by others, then share a post/link from your business page and tag yourself. That way whoever is following you will see it in their feed. It's just that simple.

4. Give, interact, and be thankful! Try to interact with other companies and your customers while giving them something useful. If you have a little advice or a product you like, share it. Be sure to check your pages and tweets for comments to answer questions and give thanks for compliments and retweets. And when all else fails and you think you have nothing to give, give your services or your product. A give-away is a quick way to get everyone excited, including yourself!

What this all boils down to, is don't be lazy. If you really think about it, all it takes is time and a little effort to reply, say thank you, post a link, and network. That little effort really does pay off if you are consistent. When you take short-cuts you will come up short.

What advice do you have for promoting your business on social media outlets?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Comments - It's Ok.

A few times I've read blogs about people not getting comments and how they feel nobody supports them. Or that AfroMyNaturalHairIsHotFireAndI'veBeenBloggingForManyYears has a clique and they comment on everything she posts. When I first saw these 'comment on my blog posts' I felt pity for the blogger. Then it sort of looks desperate, demanding, and ungrateful. So, I offer a little advice on blogging.

1. Don't start the blog just to get comments, become popular, or make money. If your heart is not in it, you will be easily discouraged when things are moving slowly.

2. Give it time. It takes a while time to build a blog following.

3. Show yourself. If you have a make-up blog, don't just copy/paste the make-up all the time. Show yourself in it. Do a slideshow or video with you putting on the make-up. Sharing a recipe? Have somebody snap a photo of you or you take one of somebody eating it.

4. Ask questions or opinions! Folks love to talk, but sometimes need to be given the mic to speak up.

5. Bring people to your blog. If you have facebook & twitter and the rest of them, tell people that you have a new blog post.

6. Don't look pitiful, ungrateful, or desperate. Always, be welcoming, humble, and helpful.

This is a repost from my other blog

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The great give-away! Smell Goods '98tm is hosting a give-away for Tomoka's Twists. Please stop by her blog and enter to win S. Luxurious or Goldie Locks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Handle Your Shipping

In efforts to prevent fraud and scams to my customer and myself I have been using a few safe guards, but I'm finding that as business grows, so do problems.

PayPal has a buyer/seller protection program. The guidelines are rather simple and include ship to confirmed addresses and use tracking. I am currently using first class USPS with delivery confirmation and completely blocked orders from unconfirmed address. If a non-receipt of order dispute arises I can provide this information and be awarded as the winner. But, I don't really feel like a winner. I might have the money in my hand, but the poor customer has nothing. I'm an optimistic person and try not to think that customer is trying to get over and that the postal service does deliver packages to their destinations. But I know better than that. I received a neighbors retirement check and hand delivered it myself. Once one of my packages was delivered, but returned to the post office, then delivered again because the package had scribbles on it. Also, dishonest people will scam when they see the opportunity.

After receiving an order of $300+, I decided that delivery confirmation wasn't enough and had it insured. With insured packages of $200+ the recipient has to sign for it. The postage was roughly $5 extra which is well worth the peace of mind that I was protected and a full investigation would be launched if a problem did arise. Since then, I have been insuring orders of $30+ and not even charging extra for it.

I have thought about changing my s/h rates from by number of items to a scale based on the price of the order.

What precautions or measures do you use to safe guard your shipments and insure delivery? If you have any shipping advice please share!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pulling Ideas from Odd Places

Sometimes coming up with new designs and ideas can be a job in itself. The goal for selling is to have products to sell. For returning customers I try my best to offer something new and even more creative. It's also a chance to try out a new skill and step out of the box.

I went to a fabric/yarn store with my mother after Thanksgiving. She knits & crochets and needed fabric to line a few purses. I crochet and thought I'd try my hand at some stretchy socks. While going through the isles we both stopped and looked at some spools of curtain/lamp shade dangling things ~ I'm most certain these dangles have a proper name. Mom has decorated lamp shades with them and they do add fashion to the decor. One caught my eye.

From curtain dangle thingies to earring and hair accessories.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The BigCatTrucker Show -The Interview

Comedian BigCatTrucker

I have had the pleasure of meeting some truly good people on Twitter. I work a 12 hour night shift and I've had some good conversations with several tweeple with insomina. That's how I met BigCatTrucker.

I immediately found BigCatTrucker intreging because he's an go-getter type of guy and in these times, it's easy to let your dreams and goals fall behind. And this young man finds his way through with determination and keeping a positive outlook on life. I found BCT to be funny over twitter and then he hit me with his youtube videos.

I followed his tweets and videos and within a few days BigCatTrucker announced he was coming out with a show too. Let's see what the BigCat comedian has to say in the interview.

Carmen: BigCat, I know where to find you, but tell everyone where we find you on the internet?

BCT: I have a few sites I work with: I also have coming soon and I'm on and as well.

Me: A lot of people are turning to the internet to launch business and shows, how did you get started?

BCT: I'm just a big internet junky, I do all of my business online.

Me: When we tune into the BigCatTrucker Show what should we expect? What does the show offer?

BCT: Just getting your laugh on and I offer some helpful info as well. Basically it's just all about The BigCat

Is this full-time for you or do you have another career?

BCT: Yes and no, I'm starting a new career as a truck driver but I want to take it to the next level and be a "world famous" trucker who is well known online. I am starting my own show on youtube called "The BigCatTrucker Show" I just wanted to do a show so everyone can see how a newbie trucker starts out and hopefully break down the stereotypes about truckers and the truck driving industry.

Carmen: People are still a little scared about launching their endevours online. I've done it and you're doing it too. Can anybody really do this?

BCT: Yes!! Everything nowsdays is on the internet and it is getting more and more advanced everyday. Also, while this medium advances there are new user friendly sites out there that can help you build a site custom made for you!

Carmen: Who inspired you to get started with your business?

BCT: I have a good friend of mine in Houston, TX who I have known for about 12 years now who is a trucker still today and he would always talk to me about getting my CDL and making some real money. So it took me this long to think about it and the way the economy is today made me want to doing more and more.

Carmen: Being successful on the internet is all about networking. Tell me how you get the word out about The BigCat.

BCT: Like I said before I use websites like myspace and facebook just because there are so many people on them and its fast and to the point. I also use, and I do a lot of videos and these sites are a bigtime help for me. I think they all provide results!

Carmen: What advice do you have for others who might want to do what you do?

BCT: Well since I'm just starting my career as a trucker, I can't really say much about that. However, I have learned in life if there is something you want to do just work hard towards it and don't stop just keep on going and going until you get there. A lot of people might try to tell you your dreams are too big or unattainable, but keep at it and it will come to pass. It might not happen overnight but hard work always equals success.

Carmen: Before I stop with the 20/20 is there anything else you would like us to know about you and your business?

BCT: That I'm the next big thing that’s about to blowup the internet, so look out for BigCatTrucker and my new show and much more to come.