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.

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