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 Nicole Wall, of Ni-Chern Designs (note: this conversation originally happened in 2014).
Business: Ni-Chern Designs
Owner: Nicole Wall
Below is a screenshot of the Ni-Chern Designs website:
I hand make fabric accessories that are fun and functional, such as key chains, lanyards, pouches, wristlets, and aprons. Just recently, dog collars! Everything in my shop is washable, making it longer lasting!
I love fabric! I love the colors. I love the designs. I love taking the medium of fabric and creating something functional from it.
My business is aimed toward women between ages of 25 – 35. My style is simplicity functional, with different and fun fabric styles that the catches the buyer’s eyes.
I have been selling since 2005.
I am not making as much sales online, and only been selling the most at craft shows. As much as I love craft shows, I’d like to raise my online sales.
I am not sure what is holding me back, I have raised my prices to where I am actually making a profit, before I wasn’t. I am not sure if it’s the marketing aspect, I’m just really not sure what I am doing wrong, or what I need to do!
I have signed up for online craft courses for marketing, etc… and nothing sticks. I’m not sure if i’m not doing it right, or if i need to focus on only one platform (facebook, twitter, etc).
My goal is making a profit to where I can pay for house bills instead of personal money going into the business.
I would like to gain more followers, but followers with interest, not just likes/followers.
Currently, I use social media (FB, Twitter, and Instagram) to share the process and final products, letting the audience know that I am making them. I’m not sure how to get them to be buyers.
I’m not sure if i should just take my website off and move to Etsy. I really don’t want to as I want an online presence.
Ni-Chern Designs’ 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).
You have a website but are not getting many sales from it. You are wondering if the problem is the website or if the problem is getting people to it. Your problem is both right now, and some attention should be paid to first getting the website in better shape, and next getting people to visit it.
When I go to nicherndesigns.com, I’m on your Blogger blog, and it’s not at all clear what you do from first glance. If your main goal is to get people shopping, the front page of the shop should be your first page, and the blog could be linked from it.
Your About page is confusing to read, and the best part, the video, is kind of hidden on the site. When I go to nicherndesigns.com, I want to see some photos of your products in action or styled with props, and you could even link to that video from the home page to give people an idea of your personality and to start to feel excited by what you do. Your excitement should be contagious, and the website you have right now is not at all exciting.
Once I move to your shop, I’m on Storenvy, and it’s confusing where all the other information I was seeing before went (if I’m trying to follow your links in order to learn more about you).
The graphics at the top of your home page are blurry and don’t give a good first impression, and there is no explanation here, and no large photo to introduce people to what you do.
I would recommend having one website instead of two. Since you can’t sell on Blogger, and can’t blog on Storenvy, Shopify is my recommendation. You could set up shop there, import your old Blogger posts to the Shopify blog, choose a design theme that will make your work look good, and take some time putting together some “hero shots” (photography of your product styled with props or being used by a model) that help people picture your product in their lives. You spoke to us last winter about hiring our copywriter to work on your About page and product description text, and I still think that’s a good idea.
Once your website is shipshape, you need to let people know about it! If you don’t know how to pitch your work to bloggers, magazines, or wholesale buyers, my best advice 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:
Spending time updating your blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter stream isn’t going to be a huge help to you if you’re just letting the same group of people know what you’re up to – you need to stretch out and be introduced to new people all the time.
Thanks for the chance to learn more about Ni-Chern Designs. I hope this all makes sense, and I encourage you to get your website in shape, and then tell the world about it. It’s a lot of work! Let me know if we can help.
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!