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 Tickled Peach Studio.
Tickled Peach Studio
Business: Tickled Peach Studio
Owner: Kathy Sanders
Below is a screenshot of Kathy’s site (before she adjusted it with the adorable new logo Christine created for her).
Tickled Peach Studio is a stationery and personalized gift shop specializing in products for kids. I operate the business out of my home in Georgia. I sell party invitations, stationery, mealtime products, puzzles, etc. My top selling product is placemats.
Over the last year I have been working toward creating all original illustrations to feature on my products. It became important to me for my products to display unique artwork instead of using clip art that is widely used. I love fun, cute, simple, and colorful illustrations!
I never in a million years thought I would be running my own business so it is hard for me to put myself out there (my top fear in business). I have found that my creative spirit is something I enjoy expressing.
My Etsy shop has been open since Aug 2011. I started a WooCommerce shop toward the end of 2013, just this week I set up a Shopify shop and switched to it to give it a whirl.
I started my business in July 2011 while still working full time for a local university. I opened my Etsy shop and began selling printable invitations and party packages. As my knowledge grew about stationery and gift design I expanded my line of products. I am at the point in my business where I need to start making the move away from Etsy and to establish my brand off of Etsy.
One big challenge was keeping my WordPress / WooCommerce shop updated. Things were broken from the beginning and to me it just seems like a clunky system. I hated to send someone to my website because it was so broken! I would love to use Aeolidia in the future, so I’ve decided to give Shopify a try first to make sure I want to invest in it and a whole new site. So far I love Shopify!
My big goal is to make the move away from Etsy. I would like to increase my site visitors to my e-commerce shop and I believe the best way to do that is to have a user friendly, mobile ready website. I’ve made a step towards this by switching to Shopify already.
My main next step is to get more publicity, market myself better, and drive more traffic to my website and away from Etsy. I feel I have a great collection of products, I just need to get in front of people more.
In July this year I made the decision to focus my shop mostly on products for children, because it fits better with my personality and passions. I discontinued my bridal shower invitation collection, which was one of my best selling invitation lines. Since then I have seen sales decline and Etsy views drastically decline, so that has been challenging and disheartening. In a way I am starting over, bringing my children’s products to the forefront. So as part of my financial goals I need to bring sales back up with the products that I love to sell and not ones that just make me money.
Currently, I promote via Facebook and Instagram. I use Pinterest too and see traffic come from there. I have advertised on a few blogs and online magazines, but don’t really see good results from these. Since I have switched to Shopify I plan to try doing a monthly newsletter soon.
I am totally lost on how to even begin getting press which is mostly why I keep putting it off. I definitely need help on getting me started in some direction. I did submit product photos to the upcoming Fall 2014 Stationery Trends magazine, but still waiting to hear if I made it in.
Tickled Peach Studio’s Best Next Step
Thank you for entering our Best Next Step giveaway – hooray, 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).
Focusing your product line
Firstly, I am glad that you’re pursuing the part you’re interested in (kids’ stuff) and dropping the part you don’t want to do (wedding). It’s much easier to put your heart and soul into your business when you’re excited about it. Naturally your profit will go down for a while if you lose half of your customers by no longer making products for them, and you are right that you’re going to need to work hard for a while to introduce yourself to your new customers.
Moving to Shopify was a good plan, and now your job will be to make that shop profitable. A website can be a lot of work, and if you’re doing all of the work just to pay the provider’s fees, something needs to change.
Your new Aeolidia-designed logo is much more kid-centered, and I think adjusting the site with the more playful feel will help your new customers feel right at home (let me know if you’d like any help with this!).
Create a one-of-a-kind product
Switching to using original artwork and illustrations for your products is huge, and it’s going to be what makes you special and makes you stand out from all the similar shops out there trying to make some quick money from home. You’re now providing something unique and you should make sure your customers know it! Shout it out loud on your home page, and explain it on every item. You are offering customers Tickled Peach artwork that they can’t find elsewhere.
Promoting your website
Having a user-friendly, mobile-friendly website will not increase visitors to your site, but it will decrease the percentage of visitors that leave as soon as they get there. To increase visitors to your site, you need to go out and tell them about it on a regular basis.
Pitching to blogs, magazines, and press is vital, 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:
We also offer one-on-one marketing consultations, which I’d be glad to talk to you about in more detail.
Newsletter, for sure! Set that up now, start collecting email address, and come up with a plan of what to send out. You don’t want to gather addresses and then allow people to forget about you (that will make them hit the “spam” button, which is the last thing you want!), so come up with some simple ways to keep in touch that you can keep up with, and will also be interesting to your customers. Maybe show examples of customized products from your customers? Have contests or giveaways? Ask customers what kinds of illustrations or products they want to see?
Thanks for the chance to learn more about Tickled Peach. I hope this all makes sense, and I encourage you to incorporate your new branding into all that you do (website, social media, packaging), establish yourself as a kids’ shop, promote your work to blogs and magazines (working the custom artwork angle! Everyone loves a story), and build up sales on your Shopify shop.
We are standing by and ready to help out with whichever aspect of this that we can! Please don’t hesitate to get back in touch at any time.
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!