As someone who has been a seller on many platforms, never did I expect the transition to my own shop to be so challenging. I knew that the mentality, "If I build it, they will come," wasn't healthy or realistic, but I can't help but feel disappointed that "they" haven't come in the numbers I'd been hoping for. Instead of feeling totally defeated, I took this past month as a series of (kind of expensive) business lessons.
Marketing is Hard.
Harder than I realized. I consider myself as a marketer by trade, and have worked in marketing for some time now. But the difference here was that I was working with and for established brands. While there is excitement around new things, I was coming out of nowhere, and I have to spend the time and (gulp) money to really break through in a crowded market.
My Business is a Reflection of Myself.
Not to say that I am not yet a success, but the way that I present things in my life are mirrored by how I present them in my shop. As I am an introvert and don't boast about myself much, it wasn't surprising I didn't shout to the rooftops I opened up some virtual doors. In fact, I kept it a big ol' secret. I know that horn-tooting is something I need to work on, and likewise, sharing about my ventures is something I need to do. How are my friends going to support me, if they don't even know what I'm up to?
Timing is Everything.
While I did open up during the back to school shopping season, leading into the holidays, most of what I carry and intend to add to my inventory is seasonal—for the warmer months. Ladies aren't looking to wear fringe and mermaid crowns at the moment. We're at the end of festival season, and darn it, I missed the boat. For now, I'm trying to get on the radar of the right folks, getting on those holiday wishlists extra early.
This past month I sent out two orders, produced three test samples, connected with three new makers, and launched my first run of advertising. I dropped off stickers at one local shop and noticed they'd disappeared in less than a week. So people are interested! It's a matter of letting them know who I am.