Monday, November 27, 2006

Defining Your Niche!

I often see threads or comments posted on the internet crafting forums concerning the internet and sales. Generally, the question is "When am I going to sell something?" "How long does it take?"

Unfortunately, for crafters on the internet it takes a long time to get established. You might not have a sale for a year or more or you might have dribs and drabs during that first year. It is usually during these periods that the crafters give up and close their websites down. That is unfortunate.

If you are going to sell on the internet then you need to set your "sales" expectations during the first year lower. A lot of crafters feel that the day after they publish or create their websites that they will be swamped with sales. Just because you are on the internet it does not mean that your products are going to fly off the web. It's not a "If you build it, they will come!" adage. Just ask the founders of how long it took to get established. A very long time.

Selling handmade crafts on the internet requires, first and foremost, patience. It also requires some serious forethought - defining your "niche" before you embark on this new internet adventure.

What do I mean by "defining your niche?" You need to consider the fact that there are millions upon millions of crafters websites on the internet selling something. It might be e-patterns, it might be handmade dolls, it might be woodcrafts, it might be food products, candles, soap, etc. Just about any craft you can imagine is being sold somewhere on the internet.

"Defining your niche" is taking a look at yourself and your craft product and determining how you are going to stand out. What makes you unique amongst all the other crafters. What is going to identify "you" to the customer? And, once you've identified that then your next task is trying to determine whether or not it is a product that will sell.

The latter statement is a hard thing for crafters to come to grips with. We suffer from our own love of our creations. Everything we create is "beautiful" in our own minds. Who wouldn't want to buy it? It's OOAK (i.e. one of a kind)! It's unique!

For me my "niche" is my "faceless Victorian dolls." They define me and what I am all about. And, I've built my image up around them. They are what makes me "unique."

Sure I design and sell all kinds of doll patterns. I've even made thousands of handmade dolls and crafts of all types and sizes. But, my "faceless Victorian dolls" are what I'm known for. They make me stand out amongst the millions of crafters on the net.

And, my "Little Victorian Girl" image represents that. You see the "little Victorian girl" and, hopefully, you see me and my "faceless Victorian dolls." I've built my whole business image around my "niche." Is there a market for this? I believe there is. And, I have the patience to play a wait and see.

It is not easy to be patient and it is not easy to define yourself and your product. It is, however, necessary to selling crafts on the internet. You have to find your "niche" within the crafting community and stick with it. Eventually, the sales will come.

Copyright © 2006—All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Monday, November 13, 2006

We're Going To The SPCD!

Things had been calm for a few days before I received the SECOND note.

This note was neatly folded and left under my pillow with a chocolate. I thought the chocolate was a nice touch even though I have acid reflux and can't eat chocolate. It was still a nice gesture.

This time the note was printed on a pretty blue flowered stationary and, again, written in the same beautiful calligraphy. I made a mental note that I absolutely HAD to find out who was so talented and where did they learn their calligraphy? Plus, this note also contained the most wondrous scent. Who was the perfume designer?

Once again, this note was addressed "Confidential - To Linda - For Your Eyes Only!"

It simply said:

We know you love him dearly!
And, he is your husband of many, many, many years!
And, we guess, technically he's - OUR DAD!
He is becoming obsessed with the electric meter!"

It went on further.

Do you know how many times a day this past summer he went out to look at the electric meter?

Do you know that sometimes when he looks at it he stays there for a long period of time as if he's in a trance from the spinning meter - all the while mumbling incoherent curse words?

When he comes out of his trance he starts cursing, swearing, stomping, and jumping up and down. Like a maniac!!!!! Like a mad leprechaun with smoke coming out his ears!!!!!

He then makes a beeline into the house and the next thing we know it's boiling in here.


We simply cannot have him doing this with the heat in the winter. The results would be catastrophic.

Our hands are tied. Unless someting is done you leave us with no alternative. We will have no choice but to take this to "SPCD."

Well, now I knew where the note was coming from.

I still didn't know who was writing the note in that wonderful, wonderful calligraphy. Or, where they got the money to buy the stationary in the first place? Or, who the perfume designer was? Or, what the "SPCD" was.

All I knew was they were getting desperate and I had to do something right away. Bad news all around.

However, the good news was that I knew the note was coming from someone in "The Dollie Storage Room."

You see, the electric meter is right outside the "The Dollie Storage Room" and the dolls are all well positioned to see it and my husband's maniacal behavior.

I had to admit he really was becoming obsessed with the electric meter and the weather. Retirement was getting the better of him.

I thought to myself, "He needs a JOB!!!! Something to occupy his mind besides the electric bill and the weather."

I started to wring my hands and with the tension could feel a "hot flash" coming on. This wasn't good - I HATE hot flashes!

And, yes something HAD to be done.

However, it was going to take delicate diplomacy. My husband versus my "dollie" children - the very essence of me! Hmmm.......

Did this then mean it was going to be a confrontation between my husband and the "dollies?"

If so, WHO WOULD WIN? Would there be a winner? And, what would the outcome be?

I only hoped it would not come down to a choice between them or my husband. And, what was the "SPCD?"

I knew 'd better try to find that out right away. I surmised it had to do with a "governmental" agency and I knew I didn't need that.

So, I entered "SPCD" into my "Google" browser window. The results were surprising. I'd never heard of such an agency!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Something Has To Be Done About Him!

Since I'd started to write the dolls' stories on my blogs I thought everything was quiet and calm in "The Dollie Storage Room." Little did I know another storm was brewing - and it had to do with my HUSBAND!

I had been merrily blogging away on my computer when I suddenly noticed a piece of blue stationary underneath my computer keyboard. I didn't know what it was or why it was there. So, I pulled it out.

It was a neatly folded piece of stationary that was handwritten in the most beautiful calligraphy that you'd ever want to see. It was addressed "Confidential - To Linda - For Your Eyes Only!" Hmmmm.......

Several thoughts were running through my mind. What was this about? Who sent it? And, where did they learn to do write such beautiful calligraphy?

So, I opened the stationary. Inside was a note to me that simply said:

Something must be done about him!
About the curmudgeon!
He has gone too far this time and is carrying conservation to the extreme!
We don't want to, but we may have to take this to the "SPCD!"
Please help us!

I was curious on several counts. Not as to who the curmudgeon was - I knew who that was.
But, I was curious for several reasons. Who had written the note in beautiful calligraphy? Whose stationary was that and where did they get it? What fragrance did they use to create such a wonderful smelling piece of paper? And, what was the SPCD?

I wasn't as worried about their demands or what the issue was since I knew who the curmudgeon was and I was sure if it involved him - it wasn't good.
So, I decided to wait a few more days to see if there would be another note.
I went back to blogging.