This post is part of our Best Next Step series, where you will hear from creative business owners like you, who are wondering what to focus on next. The background stories and questions are from all kinds of businesses in various stages of growth, and I share my ideas for how to proceed forward most efficiently and ambitiously. Today we’re hearing from Lacey and Rachel, of Pear’d.
Owners: Lacey Heid and Rachel Neumiller
Below is a screenshot of the Pear’d Etsy shop:
We- two sisters- started pear’d about one year ago. We’ve been sewing all our lives and finally decided to come together and make a business out of it. We design and sew all our products, which currently include tote bags, kid’s aprons, zippered pouches, and men’s neck ties. Our goods are created to stand up to every adventure, whether big or small; we design keeping function and form in mind. Currently, our goods are available in local shops in Fargo, ND, Bismarck, ND, Virginia, and on Etsy.
We’ve been a business since July 2013. We do not have a website currently, but would love to have one up and running within the year. We would love to see more online sales, whether through Etsy or our own website. pear’d is not our full-time occupation, although it is a passion of ours and we’d like to grow, at a slower and more comfortable rate. We’ve been thinking about logo and name redesign, which would change our branding and (potential) website.
We brainstormed some goals for the next 6 months. Our next steps are to get a website running, ideally by the end of 2014; to have a firm grasp on our product line (what we will continue making, what we will phase out); to be able to purchase our materials wholesale, in order to keep costs lower; and to have three external marketing partnerships, to grow our customer base. We’ve also been struggling with keeping up with production, so we’d love to be able to pay ourselves more this year.
We market pear’d on Facebook and Instagram, in order to share new goods and when we’ll be at local fairs. We had an interview in one magazine last year, but have not been in the press since. We would love to get more publicity, but are unsure about how to go about it without having to post things every day or even multiple times a day.
Pear’d’s Best Next Step
Thank you for entering our Best Next Step giveaway – hoorah, you’re a winner! My thoughts follow (read them with a grain of salt, since I only have a brief outline of your business and challenges right now).
The one thing that stands out to me the most about your message is that the business is not your full time occupation and that you don’t want to have to market it daily. Is Pear’d something that you would like eventually to be your full time work, or do you see it as always being on the sideline? It is a lot of hard work to build and promote a small handmade business, and if you don’t have enough time to devote to it, it may suffer.
If you are able to make it a priority, or are content with slow, intermittent growth, then I would say that your next step will be to decide about the business name and logo. If a new logo will be happening, you’ll want to do that earlier, rather than later, so you don’t need to reprint packaging, re-create tags on bags, re-name your shop, and let customers know what happened. This is easy to do when you’re new and small and no one notices what’s going on yet!
If you decide to make a change, we do offer business name brainstorming, logo, and packaging services, and I’d be glad to talk to you about that in more detail.
If you haven’t yet spent time considering your target customer in detail, that would be a good start to sorting out the logo plan, and making decisions about your products. Streamlining your product line and making sure you’re being paid fairly for the production work are both important, and would also be good early steps in improving your business.
Purchasing materials wholesale is vital, and you should set that up right away. Customers shouldn’t be paying for high materials costs, and this will be a nice way to adjust pricing to pay you fairly for your work.
Pitching to blogs, magazines, and press is important, and my best advice if you’re unsure of how to start is to purchase our Pitch Kit. Jena on our team created this for her clients, and the $44 will be the best money you ever spent on publicity once you start getting all the blog mentions and other press. You can learn more about that and purchase it directly here:
Jena also offers one-on-one marketing consults where she will work with you to create a marketing plan tailored to your business, and we’d love to talk to you about that now or in the future.
Thanks for the chance to learn more about Pear’d. I hope this all makes sense, and I encourage you to consider your brand identity, make sure your pricing and process are sustainable and profitable, and find a way to fit the work of building a business in amongst your other priorities. What you have so far looks like a good start, and I’d love to get an update from you on how it goes as you move forward!
Are you ready for the next step?
If you’d like the power and experience of the Aeolidia team behind you, please get in touch! We would love to untangle your business priorities and take a few tasks off your hands so you can do your work. Contact Aeolidia – we never bite!