Get BETTER to get BIGGER

In the marketplace, as in life, there is a strong seasonality – Fall and Spring fashion collections, the holiday shopping season, new colours, new releases, new product. For some businesses and consultants it can add up to alot of pressure to release new product and keep customers engaged, but is being a Jack-of-all-Trades the ticket to a successful business?

Focus
Focusing Your Product Line May Help You Grow Your Business!

LESSONS LEARNED
Three years ago Anointment made fourteen soap “flavours”. Five or six of them excel – people love them, stores want them, customers keep coming back for more. Over time we’ve been able to pinpoint which soaps are great sellers and which ones are due for retirement. Similarly for our skin care line, some products have become extremely popular while others flounder. It has become apparent to me that the way forward is to celebrate the products we excel at and move forward with a smaller, more focused product line.

In a world that demands bigger, better, NEW AND IMPROVED I challenge all of us to look at our most awesome products – the ones that shine, are our best-sellers, and are responsible for building our company’s reptutation. Rather than expanding your selection to satiate a perceived demand for MORE, celebrate your best products – give them new life to help your company grow! Create new promotions and use their popularity to solicit customer testimonials and leverage more sales with your existing customers and attract new customers! To celebrate the soaps that do well for us and our location in a historic small town, we have prepared new promotional photographs that will be sent to all retailers to be displayed along with our product:

Celebrate Your Best Selling Products!

THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
A year ago I had a conversation with a businesswoman I very much admire. Her advice led me to submit one of our products, Baby Balm, for a national award that we were fortunate to receive. Our already well-loved and popular Baby Balm skyrocketed in popularity to become our best-selling product. This set our foundation to leverage credibility, customer testimonials and build brand recognition. I also absolutely LOVE every aspect of making Baby Balm and I believe that passion shows.

Baby Balm Promotional Photo (featuring my very own baby)!

{shameless plug: that’s a photo of my cutie pie}

Focus inward, take a hard and critical look at your product line. Perhaps bigger isn’t always better. Celebrate the product you do well and love making. Celebrate and share your love of the process, your customer feedback and the product that will define your company.

The secret to success may not be that bigger is better, it may just be get better to get bigger!

(product photography by Gillian Hyde, baby photo by Thibodeau Designs, graphic design of promotional photos by Janet Murphy)

14 comments

  1. Tori says:

    Great article! I’m in the very beginning stages of running my etsy shop so determining what to sell is a challenge, so instead of trying to make some of everything I should really focus on 1 or 2 products and figuring out how I can make them exceptionally well.

  2. Perfect advice. I’m now at a point as well where I’ve tested enough designs and displays, etc. to have a great sense of what my customers really love. I think it’s so easy for us as the creatives to lose sight of the importance of a core, consistent line of products when we’re seeing and working with them ALL the time. It can be hard to remember that other people (our customers) don’t! 🙂 Great article, April!

  3. Suzie says:

    Thanks for the great advice.

    As others have already said, finding exactly what you should focus your energy on isn’t always easier, especially if you are a crafts person/artisan (and you have heaps of ideas!), as ‘you’ are the business. But it does make sense to try! : )

    ♥ Suzie x

  4. Love your marketing! It is so, so good.

    There is always a tendency to make more…create more. I get really crazy right before a show. Now I am just trying to focus more on one thing than on everything.

    So happy to hear about your award. Congratulations! So nice to get a gentle push by those we admire.

  5. Sarah Lee says:

    who prepared and printed your promotional materials? And how big are they? I have been wanting to do this too…but not sure if most shops would hang them…
    Love the reminder to drop what does not sell…even if sometimes they are my personal favs!

  6. I think in a general sense, you’re absolutely right. But when you’re talking about an Etsy shop I keep hearing that more is better because you have a greater chance of being “found” amidst all the other listings. I’ve even heard that you should try to have at least 50 listings, and work towards 100! That’s a lot of variety, especially when you’re talking about soap!

  7. April says:

    Amy, absolutely right about Etsy, and I have found that Etsy is just not for me over the years – I don’t have the patience to keep relisting and I don’t have enough products to properly fill out an Etsy shop. Like all advice, it’s never one size fits all!

  8. April says:

    @Sarah Lee – my graphic designer is Janet Murphy http://www.janetmurphy.ca. We’ve been working together for nearly seven years now!

    The promo images are printed on 5 x 7 photo paper and I send them in inexpensive frames from Michael’s – I can’t bank on all of the stores displaying them, but in my former retail store we had NO wall space so it was easier to display smaller, self-contained promo materials.

  9. April says:

    Dropping what doesn’t sell is HARD because there will always be customers (and even ourselves) who have strong attachments to them – believe me, the number of times my favourite items have been discontinued makes me wonder if I’m a total black sheep in the marketplace. I’m also struggling with items that have next to no margin – they are popular items so discontinuing them might be a bad move, but at the very least the pricing needs to change!

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