Professional Weavers Promoting Ourselves

This is a continuation from a discussion happening on a longer post. I'm thinking it might be easier to follow if it's on a separate post.

 

I have two websites (one for my product and one for my school) and a facebook page, but no blog. I was in business for a number of years before starting the website. I was resistant to having a website for a long time because I felt that it was doubtful that someone was going to go online with the intention of finding a handwoven scarf, find my site and place an order. That does happen, although rarely, but more than anything, the site gives my business added credibility. My customers like knowing that they can find me online and I believe that it has helped me be able to charge more for my work. I do post my show schedule on the site and I have made big sales through customers deciding to buy something, going to the site and then finding me at a show. It's a fine line, however. I also have potential customers come through the booth, see that I have a site and say, "oh, I'll order online". I do everything possible to nudge them towards buying in person since it's unlikely that they will follow through once they're out of the booth.

 

I don't have a blog, but I do use facebook for my school and I adore it. I have two different groups that students use to post photos, questions, thoughts. I also have a promotional page. I feel that it's more immediate than a blog (although I'd love to have a blog, I haven't yet created the time to make it happen). My posts are short and sometimes it's just a photo. People who "like" my page will have my postings come up when they go into their facebook account and if they "like" my posts, their friends will also see them. It's a way to stay active in potential student's (or buyers) minds without them having to take the action of going to my website. I feel that facebook is a great and important tool and if you're not on it and don't understand how it works, my suggestion is to get a friend who is comfortable with it to show you around.

 

And...the one thing I have done religiously since starting out, is keeping a database of my customers. I keep their names, addresses, what, when and where they bought from me. I send out a postcard mailing a few times a year and it pays off. Customers come into my booth clutching the postcards and sometimes as many as half my sales at a show will be through my mailing list. I have 2500 people on my list, most of whom have bought something from me. I cull it down, depending on where I'll be and how much I want to spend on postage. I feel like it's the smartest business decision I've made. My customers love the feeling that I'm thinking about them and because I sell things that customers have intimate relationships with (our clothing!) that can make or break a sale.

 

My websites are: www.vermontweaver.com, www.vermontweavingschool.com. I can be found on facebook by searching for "Vermont Weaving School".

Comments

Posted on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 23:26

I've been trying to decide whether a website would be worth the time and effort. I'm only now beginning to get my weavings out in the world again after a long detour and the world of marketing has changed so much! Personally, I'm old-school and prefer local face-to-face interactions but the new world means new procedures. Thanks for giving me some sound reasons to start a website.

Posted on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 17:49

I am looking for someone to do some contract weaving for me. I attend high end/juried art festivals. I weave shawls, scarves and custom clothing. The person would need an 8 harness loom--my pattern is block twill. I use tencel,bamboo,silk,organic cotton, the average sett is 24epi. If interested or know someone who might be interested contact me at:[email protected] and we can discuss the logistics ie: monetary compensation , supplies etc. I would prefer someone from NM, Colorado, Texas, Arizona or surrounding area due to price of postage/shipping.

Posted on Mon, 07/15/2013 - 04:01

Hello ProWeavers:

My first post here, a book review. Having come from a design profession I already have a good understanding of how to put together a weaving business. But I never feel I know enough; there is always more to learn to be successful or fine tune a business.

A book section at a local thrift store yielded what appears to be a brand new copy of $ELLING YOUR CRAFTS - revised edition, 2003 by Susan Joy Sager. It is excellent, quite comprehensive, and I recommend it to anyone intending to become a professional weaver even though it is not specific to weaving.

It includes devising a business pan, building a customer base and networking effectively, internet marketing, design and maintenance of websites, handling trademarks and copyrights, writing proposals, starting a mail-order, constructing a budget, handling finances, pricing your work, creating marketing and self-promotion plans, composing product descriptions, locating studio space, impoving skills by working with mentors.

The back cover states: "Sager is an artist, arts administrator, and founder of ArtBiz, a center for professional development of artists and craftspeople. etc." She is on the east coast - Maine. It is great to know we have people like her out there focusing on helping us be economically viable!

Dakota