Tag Archives: website

Top 5 Ways to Take Your Handmade Business to the Next Level

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We thought that featuring a Q&A with ourselves as part of our Taking Flight series might be a little odd so we’ve assembled a list of our advice on the Top 5 Ways to Take Your Handmade Business to the Next Level.  None of these tips require significant financial commitment.  What they do require is courage and initiative – something all entrepreneurs have whether we know it or not.

1.  Read books written by the Guru’s of the Handmade World.  Our favorite author is Kari Chapin-Nixon.  Her books The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business are available at www.karichapin.com or www.storey.com.  They helped us immensely in our early days and still act as an excellent reference guide as we continue our journey.

2.  Create an online presence.  Ideally this would be in the form of a website but if you aren’t there yet open an Etsy Shop.  Opening an Etsy Shop is quick, simple and VERY cost effective.  You need a place to display your goods and refer people to when you aren’t out on the Arts & Craft Show circuit.  Think of your Etsy store or website as your portfolio.  Check out our Etsy Shop at www.hangupsinkc.etsy.com for ideas on store policies, shipping costs, etc.   With the help of Kristi’s very computer savvy husband Matt, we were able to build our own website (www.hangupsinkc.com) on the OpenCart platform.  We’ve been live for 6 months now and are thrilled with our increase in visibility and sales.

3.  Start a blog.  This was advice that we received last year at the Craftcation Conference (see point #4) and we grudgingly took the plunge.  We were nervous and had no idea where to start so we asked an expert – Kari Chapin-Nixon (see point #1).  She recommended the book Blogging For Creatives by Robin Houghten (find it on amazon.com).   The book changed our whole outlook on blogging and made the process much less intimidating.  Within a month or so of the conference we launched our brand new blog using the WordPress platform and have worked hard to publish blogs consistently since then.  Here’s the surprising thing – it’s kind of fun.  You should try it!   It has been proven that blogs build traffic to your business and increase the credibility of your expertise and your business.

4.  Network with other Creatives who are willing to share and learn with you.  We attended a conference called Craftcation (www.craftcationconference.com) in Ventura California last April that literally rocked our small business.  We spent 3 intense days attending seminars on how to grow our business.  We networked, took notes, exchanged ideas and then created our plan of action for 2013.  Since Craftcation we have created our blog, our website, newsletter, created Instagram & Twitter accounts, moved into more stores, joined the Made in Kansas City Initiative (www.localstart.org)  and created a wonderful partnership with Literacy Kansas City.   With all of this growth came an increase in credibility and visibility which led to our One Million Cups (www.1millioncups.com) presentation in January.  Craftcation 2014 is less than 6 weeks away – we can’t wait!  If you can’t attend a conference how about checking into local networking groups such as local Etsy teams?

5.  Get organized!  Create an inventory system.  There are systems that you can purchase but Kristi and I find that our system using a shared Excel spreadsheet works for us.  Each piece of jewelry that we make is logged on this spreadsheet and given an identifying number.  The number is written on the price tag and store inventory lists.  We have several hundred pieces of jewelry active at any given time so we need to be able to easily track the price, who made it and where it is located at any given time.  All small business owners should also be tracking expenses in order to effectively manage their business.  We use Quicken but QuickBooks is also a great system.  Finally, one of the greatest tools we used to increase sales this year was to sign up for Intuit’s GoPayment Program (www.intuit.com).  Accepting credit cards while at Arts & Craft Shows or other events dramatically increases sales.  Trust us on this one.  It costs only a small percentage per transaction and it is totally worth it!

Please share this list with anyone who you think will find it helpful.  Having a successful handmade business dependent on being open to new ideas and sharing information.  We wish all handmade businesses the best of luck in 2014!

Kristi & Carolyn (www.hangupsinkc.com)

 

Our First “Creativity Is Contagious, Pass It On” Share

Meet Nicole from Ni-Chern Designs:

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We met Nicole a few years ago when she was our neighbor at the Zeleny Arts & Craft Fair.  We immediately struck up a friendship and are always excited when we are exhibitors at the same show like this past weekend at the Overland Park Fall Festival.  Nicole has been sewing for almost 20 years and clearly loves her craft!  Her sewing is high quality and she has GORGEOUS fabrics.  Trust us, her faithful customers, Ni-Chern is definitely worth checking out.  Visit her new website to take a peek at her fabrics, products and upcoming sales:  www.nicherndesigns.com.  If you like what you see go ahead and share her site with your friends and family.  Shopping small business rocks!

We Are Springing into Fall!

It’s not fall and the weather isn’t fall-like here in Kansas City but it sure feels like fall now that Labor Day weekend is over doesn’t it?

We had a fun and busy summer with our families but we also squeezed some Hang Ups in KC business in.  A little over a week ago we launched our website (www.hangupsinkc.com) with a huge sale.  Thank you all for checking our site out and for your support.  We had a fabulous weekend and are excited that our website it finally out there!  At the present time we have 88 items listed on our website.  We continually create and post new items so please check the site regularly and keep us in mind when you are looking for unique and affordable gifts.

Speaking of unique gifts we do custom orders!  Check out our “Custom Pieces” tab on our website.  We have some great personalized gift ideas posted and will be adding more in the next few days.  If you have an idea of your own send us an email at info@hangupsinkc.com.

Now that we are back to work full-time we will be blogging regularly with fun DIY projects and awesome recipes.  We also have some guest bloggers lined up.  If you have something you’d like us to blog about we welcome suggestions – drop us a line at info@hangupsinkc.com.

We wish you all a happy and creative autumn!

 

Our Website Has LAUNCHED!

Kristi and I are so excited to announce that after months of hard work our website (www.hangupsinkc.com) has launched!

Any of you who have created websites know what a big deal this is…for us doubly because Kristi and her wonderful husband Matt built the site themselves.  Kristi will be writing a blog in the next few months with tips and tricks for those of you who might be thinking of creating a website for your small business.

To celebrate this momentous occasion in the life of our small business we are offering an extremely rare 40% off all merchandise (excluding custom orders) on our website.  The offer is time-limited so check it out as soon as you can.  It will run Friday August 23rd to the end of the day on Saturday August 24th, 2013.

Have a wonderful weekend!

HUsalePring A