**warning - grab a cuppa. This is a pretty long blog**
I was rapidly realising that there was an obvious need for some sort of forum/catch up, where lot's of these page owners could get together, ask questions and basically help each other out. So I put it out there and got about 24 people saying they liked the idea. 24 was o.k. You could get a good chat going with 24 people couldn't you?. So I planned a date and time and really had no idea what was going to happen. I grabbed a glass of wine and settled in.
brilliant!! I'm on my way..................................
So anyway, I've just followed the plan, pretty much as I was told to.
- I had increased FB page numbers
- I had introduced my printed and stitched range. With the added stitched border and buttons, I had made something that was unique and a little more than just a print
- I had got a logo that I was 100% happy with. Thanks to Little Big Box. My BRAND was starting to come together.
- I had started to add another aspect to Cheeky Pickle, by creating a very popular Homewares collection
- I had decided to pull out of doing shop consignment
- My custom orders had increased a lot
- I had become a lot more organised in the way I ran Cheeky Pickle
- I had pulled out of doing lot's of markets and had decided to do a few, well chosen ones.
- I increased my prices
- I had a fabulous and very successful Christmas Market night on FB
- I added names to my designs (huge success in sales)
- Designed my own website (woohoo, I have to admit, I was/am so very, very proud of that, even though I probably won't keep it. It has been a great put-me-on!)
- Became more confident on the computer, didn't feel as scared to do things on my own and not have to wait until hubby came home to help
- Wrote a few good blogs
- (hopefully) I had started to gain some respect from other business page owners. It can feel a bit clicky on FB when you first start on there. But doesn't any new job!
- Made my market stall better (o.k, i'm starting to struggle...)
- I had helped out quite a few other pages with shout outs and product reviews. I really enjoyed helping out in a way I felt I now could, with the bit of knowledge that I had behind me
- I had started to become a lot more confident, both in myself and in the decisions I was making for my business
- Dispute with an unhappy customer
- Dispute with Post Office and printers
- Time management
- Erratic blogging/posting
- Self doubt
- Having to work in school holidays and weekends. The family time I did have, I was very stressed and not "with" my family in mind as well as body
- Overloaded with custom orders
- All work was happening mainly Sept - Dec
- Shops - a missed opportunity as I can't bring my wholesale prices down enough to justify itself
- Do only e.g 6 custom orders per month
- Write a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly plan. I have just done this and it's already working very well
- Blog on the same day every week. Be CONSISTENT.
- Pre plan FB posts
- Organise invoices/receipts better - make it a weekly task, rather than leaving it for months
- Limit time on FB
- Spread work over the year better. Stock up for XMas markets much earlier
- e mail back and forth to my customers less
- Spend more time on my product photo's and descriptions
- Get an e mail list together, start a newsletter
- Sign up for a couple of courses that are relevant to my work
- Find a much better happy medium between work and home life (impossible, right?)
- Look into different, bigger markets. Where I can reach out to shops/wholesale
- Put more money into marketing. No idea how at this stage.
- Get my online SHOP up and running and make it look very professionl
- Think of ways I can get my work into shops without feeling robbed
- Collaborate more with other FB pages
- Be more communicative/chatty on my page with both customers and biz pages alike
- Blog more :)
- Read/look at other peoples work. Don't just be a fan, READ all those fabulous, FREE business guides and helpful info that's out there
- Your product
- Your target market
- Market place
It's just a list of words really. But as I started listing "my" words that related to "me", I soon realised that a pattern was beginning to emerge, relating very strongly between my business and my own personal views and standards.
Honest, grounded, down to earth, positive, witty/funny, dry northern English sense of humour, reliable, professional, perfectionist, quirky........
Loves running/boxing/keeping fit/ loves nature/hill walking/surfing/skiing, busy mum to two kids, one dog and hubby, hates sitting down and doing nothing, insomniac.......
Degree in Multi Media Textile Design, loves colour/texture/bold design, background career in Textile Design, passion for patterned papers, professional, perfectionist.............
That was the first bit completed and already I could see a pattern emerging.
words to sum up
- honest and down to earth
what am I selling?
- Art, Art for childrens bedrooms, homewares, cards, tags, bunting, prints, textile designs
- handmade, loved, designer, quality, something unique/modern/special/luxurious/custom made/one off/pretty/something to match other items in the customers home/magazine living.
- Mums, new mums, handmade lovers, scrapbookers, women aged 24 - 60 (??) people who want unique gifts to buy
- People who want attention to detail/a professional and personal service/to feel like they matter/people who want to experience the whole handmade/personal package from choosing from fantastic photo's of products, right through to payment check out.
Honestly.........I'm a bit stuck on that one and need a bit more time!! Will keep you posted :)
When I looked back on all my lists and brainstorming ideas, I finally brought it together to write my last list. Brand. This is supposed to sum up the message you are sending out to your customer and your promise. Basically I put together all my word lists from the other little subheadings and extracted the ones that I felt most strongly about.
And to be honest, I feel like it sums myself and Cheeky Pickle up perfectly. It also gives me a direction and on those very busy day, when I'm trying to do everything (badly!!) it helps me focus on what matters most. These are the words that sum me up now, and ones that I will be working very hard on everyday to make sure that Cheeky Pickle is at it's best.
honest/reliable/personal and excellent customer service
Cheers - Ali xxx