If you're waiting around for that breathtaking website to be complete or for the product to be perfect, you won't be getting anywhere fast. It's 2018 already, and it's time to take action.
First, you should test your idea on a sample audience. Ask people for feedback and try to ask people who will actually be customers. Your mom can only buy so much product from you before you need new customers. Testing your idea is as simple as asking, "Hey would you use this? What would you pay for it?" Then take that feedback and use it to guide your further product development and your marketing strategy. In a makerspace like this, it's also easy to ask the other makers around you for feedback and even for advice on design, packaging, pricing, etc. It helps to be around others who get what you're doing.
The next stage is to make your product good enough to sell. Improvements can always come along the way. Apple has been doing this for years. Give customers what you have now, and when improvements come, you can sell those too. For example, when I started making jewelry, I had some great design ideas but was limited to only using polymer clay, so I did that until I had access to a kiln and upgraded my material to porcelain. The first designs sold well because people liked the way they looked, and the second version still sold well because there was great design and a more durable product.
The other thing that will help you sell your product is by having attractive branding, packaging and marketing. Every decision you make from the company name to the logo colors, the fonts, and even the box you put it in all convey some message about you and your company that either make people want to be part of that story or barely notice it all. You want to be noticed. Look at some recognizable brands or other popular handmade brands to get ideas on how to do this well.
Then, once you have a product you know people will want, and you've packaged it well so it tells your story for you, you need to get it out there. You can start an Etsy page (but it's grown very competitive), you can sell at shows (just make sure you find good ones), you can give some product to "influencers" to help get the word out about your item, but you must build some sort of online social presence, be that Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
If you can grow your own following, you can have an audience and customers anytime you need. If not, you'll be relying on luck or spending lots of money on advertising dollars.
So don't let 2018 pass you by. Start networking with other makers at one of our coworking days. Hone your skills and get your product to a sellable state, making prototypes. You can use tools at a makerspace like ours for a low cost. Get your company basics prepared to share, and get on social media.
Some good resources for design and web building are Canva.com and Weebly.com.
By Haleigh Ehmsen
You can shop Rachelyn Jewelry on Etsy.
Sculpting Workshop with Rhonda Whitledge
We're extremely excited to be partnering with Rhonda for this unique workshop. If you love creatures like the kind you'll find in pictures from Jim Henson, George Lucas, Tim Burton, etc., this class if for you. The best part is, you won't need any experience. Just bring your imagination, a stand if you want it, and any fabric you'd like to use as doll clothes. We hope to see you there!
See more of Rhonda's work here:
To register, follow this link here:
Premiering classes, old favorites, and more
We've been up to a lot of cool stuff here at MAKE, not the least of which being some new classes added to the fall schedule. A couple of these courses are premiering this week! Check them out in this slideshow, and click the images to follow the sign up link.
Check it out today and plan ahead
If you have been around the makerspace this year for classes you maybe picked up one of our class catalogues. We publish one each quarter so you can see what classes and workshops are coming up and plan accordingly.
This time, we decided to add a little more information in the catalogue for you too. You can find info on our upcoming featured artists, plan to attend a pop up makers' market, get info on our premier music and art festival we're hosting in September, and on how to plan a DIY party with us.
We're excited, moving forward, to add even more valuable information for you in this catalogue. You can pick one up in the shop mid September (Art Beat wiped out our first order of catalogues) or look at it now with this online PDF version.
This catalogue lists all our scheduled classes and workshops from the beginning of September through the end of November. Sometimes classes are added last minute, and we always add those to our Facebook events and notify our email subscribers. You can join our email list here to make sure you stay up to date and even get an occasional subscribers' only perk.
We want to make it easier for you to tackle some of our cool projects, so we started with a DIY kit. One of our most popular classes is the soldered glass terrarium class. However, it's only offered about once or twice a quarter. So I thought, why not make it to go? It's the exact same result with only a few changes that make it easier for you to do at home.
In the class, you learn to cut the glass, clean, tape, and solder it, and you can sign up for that class here. But the kit gives you pre-cut pieces of glass, and a solderless technique to put it together. You may not be learning the stained glass basics like in the class, but you can do this anywhere and still have a great looking addition to your room decor once you're done.
To finish the look of this project, we include some preserved moss, a live air plant (one of my favorite low maintenance plants), and a few stones.