In handmade small businesses, especially where the products you sell tend to be one-of-a-kind (OOAK), every item you make is a risk. The design and the product itself is made with a few things in mind. For me, at least, I try to think of the customer. What would someone want to buy? I don’t necessarily love Hello Kitty, but she has a huge following. And if it was up to me, everything would most likely be purple, and sparkly, and glow in the dark. Okay, so most things are sparkly and glow-in-the-dark, and there is a lot of purple currently in my etsy store. Though, if you ask me about it, I’ll say it was stocking up for the Lavender Festival, which is partly true. Because the other thing a handmade small business where you make OOAK items allows for are your own personal preferences. If you only ever think of the customer, you can sometimes hit a rut in creativity. And sometimes for your sake, and the customers', it helps to go with what you love. If for no other reason than the passion shows in your finished products as well as your presentation of them.
Problems can sometimes arise when taking these risks, though. You can wind up with the same items sitting on the shelf month after month. It happens to the best of handmade small business entrepreneurs. You thought someone would absolutely fall in love with this product. People walk into your booth gushing about how cute and wonderful it is. It gets view after view and like after like on the vast majority of your social media, but for the life of you, you can’t get anyone to take the next step and buy the darn thing.
There are a few solutions to this. A lot of events require or ask vendors to donate an item to a raffle. If I find an item hasn’t moved in a year, I’ll consider putting it in the raffle, just to get it moving. Another solution my business in particular allows for is to spruce up the items and change it. For instance, I made four different colored fairy houses for a special line that I called Colorful Cul-de-sac. It was a fun challenge for myself to create fairy houses with only one particular color, and there are many people who, like me, are obsessed with their favorite. I figured I’d use common favorite colors; blue, green, purple, and pink. People loved them. They’d gush about them. I even came close to a sale or two. But alas, there they sat. Social media held similar results.
Eventually, the purple one sold. The blue went to a raffle. Someone wanted a fairy house to match the St. Patrick’s Day fairy door they bought. I spruced up the green colorful cul-de-sac fairy house with green shimmery swirls. The customer loved it! Now, a year later, the pink fairy house sits. My next event, the Seal Beach Wag n’ Walk, is this Saturday. And I’ve decided to spruce up this fairy house in a similar way to see if it’ll grab someone’s attention. It's another risk, but it's worth it if I can get it sold. Fingers crossed!
On Fairy Wings and Acorn Hats
The magic behind it all!