Learn how to make a professional looking mood board for your interior design or home decor project in Photoshop. Creating a mood board for your room makeover will help start your project off right and organize your colour scheme, potential furniture & accessory choices, and fabric choices.Continue reading
I’m a tad bit obsessed with anything from Restoration Hardware. I’m a big fan of the “vintage industrial” look (mixed in with all sorts of random decor looks that I love), and all of the furniture and art from RH is definitely the epitome of this style. Something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time is make some Restoration Hardware inspired vintage blueprint artwork for my wall from our house plan. Our DIY House was a huge labour of love (well, it still is), and I thought it would be special to display the plan that started it all in a fun and chic way. With a bit of Photoshopping, I made it happen and I love my new art!Continue reading
If you’re a mom who owns a creative/handmade business you’ll know how important it is to carve out a unique identity and brand for yourself. There is a lot of competition out there, and a creative and polished “visual identity” will help you and your business stand out from the sea of others.
A visual identity is created through a logo, colours, a website, signs, business cards and more print & web media that all have a flow, belong together and say: THIS is my business! Here are important key elements to think about when creating a visual identity for your DIY Mommy business:
BUSINESS NAME: I love unique business names! They can be related to your product or service, or simply be a nonsense name that’s fun to say (think “Google”!). Research your competitor’s names (and available website domain names – that’s important) and choose something that’s unique, easy to say and suits your business personality. You can go as far as trademarking your business name if you want to protect it.
LOGO: A professionally designed logo is of utmost importance to create a professional appearance for your business and set a standard for the rest of your branding. If you don’t possess graphic design experience yourself, it’s a good idea to spend some money to hire a graphic artist to design a logo for you. Lots of people judge a business based on its logo – if a logo looks like it’s thrown together (or it’s non existent!), a person might conclude that your business might also be “thrown together” or inexperienced. A logo can be simple stylized text only (think about the “Walmart” or “Sears” logos) or it can include an original illustration in it as well. A big no-no when designing a logo? Don’t use clip art! Not only is it illegal, it’s not original.
COLOURS: Choose colours for your visual identity that suit your product/service and that you think your target market will relate to. Keep these colours consistent throughout all of your branding – your logo, business cards, website, social media… everything! Also, be familiar with what colours can mean to people. Check out this great infographic that portrays common colour meanings.
PHOTOS: There are a lot of photographers out there with a varied array of styles. Find a good photographer and keep your product/service/blog photos looking consistent. Professional photos help sell things, icky photos can turn customers away!
Once you have decided upon these four elements, the rest of your offline (business cards, brochures, labels etc.) and online (website, social media icons and graphics etc.) should follow suit. It’s really important to be very consistent with your visual identity so that people can spot your name, logo and colours from a mile away and say: “Hey! That’s so-and-so!” You’ll stand out from the crowd and establish yourself as a unique and fabulous brand!
Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.
If you have a home business and hand-make items for sale, exhibiting at a trade show or craft show is an excellent way to promote your brand and sell your product. It’s also a great way to meet your customers face-to-face and thank them for supporting you and your craft!
After a few years of being a vendor at shows myself and also from co-producing my own show, WeeStock, I’ve found several things that have helped me find success at these events. I’d love to share these tips with you!
Research the shows in your area & choose only the one(s) that suit you the best It’s important to find shows that are the right fit for your business. Do they have the same target customer as you (moms, people who appreciate handmade products, expecting parents)? Does the show have an established following? How long has the show been around? How do they market themselves? If you cannot easily find this information online, contact the show producer. They should be happy & willing to answer any questions you may have. You may have to try different shows to see which work best for you, and then edit your selections the following year. Sometimes shows can be a hit-and-miss dependent on the other shows happening at the same time, the weather, the economy etc. so keep this in mind as well!
Treat shows not only as a sales opportunity, but also as a marketing opportunity It’s a wonderful thing to make lots of sales at a show, but keep in mind that shows are also an excellent way to promote your brand to potential customers. Every person you talk to, every business card you hand out, and every email address that is signed up for your email newsletter is a potential customer in the future. Every person that glances at your logo is a new person aware of your brand! With this in mind, make sure that you have a large stack of business cards on hand, a method of capturing new potential customers (an email sign-up sheet, a draw etc.) and lots of signage with your logo and contact information largely displayed on it.
I love BIG, BRIGHT signs at my show booth to match my branding! Photo credit: Steve Nagy Photography
Give people a reason to see you at the show I find that it’s useful to offer some sort of “special” or sale when I’m at a show to encourage my customers to visit me there rather than order from me online. This is helpful for us both – my customer can see the product in person and get a discount, and I can make a lot of sales all at once with no packaging & shipping hassles… and I can say hello! Offer a small discount on your product, a volume discount, a free gift, or something that will encourage visitors to your booth at the show. Advertise this promotion several weeks prior to the show through your email newsletter, your page on Facebook, your twitter following and with flyers added to your outgoing orders.
Make your booth display eye-catching and unique A booth, whatever the size, can be organized in creative ways to make it visually appealing. Consider the colours and the feel of your brand, and decorate your booth to match. Is your logo green and brown? Use a green tablecloth and brown shelving to display your goods. If your booth is small, display your products vertically – a grid wall is a fantastic tool for this! Use lots of large, colourful signage and make sure that a price tag is on all of your items(people despise looking & asking for prices)! Look for creative ways to display your products – old crates, vintage wire shelves, old hat stands, drying racks, clotheslines and antique furniture are all unique pieces to use in your display. Use your own creativity to come up with something truly unique!
I love this booth display by Whimsical Elements. What a clever use of old crates, antique platters and vintage boxes! Photo credit: Steve Nagy Photography
Follow-up to maximize your experience After the show, give feedback to its producer on what you liked about the show and what you thought could have been better. You can also contact the people that visited your booth and made purchases (here’s where an email list or draw comes in handy) and thank them for coming to see you. It’s also helpful to review your sales, how many cards you gave out, how many people you talked to and then consider whether or not this show was beneficial for your business and if it is worth your time and money to return again.
I always have such a great time at trade and craft shows – and these tips have helped me make the most of them! I hope that you will find them useful as you market your business through shows. Are there any additional tips on exhibiting at shows that you’d like to share? Please add your thoughts by commenting below. Happy trade show season!