Saturday, May 22, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Steps and tips to discovering who your customers are
When I was thinking about starting my second business (a non-profit boutique), one of the first questions I had was: who will my customers be? I firmly believe that all business-owners should begin with some sort of business plan. Identifying, then analyzing, your target market is one of the most important aspects of this plan. Certainly, my method isn’t perfect, but the following is what I did to identify the target market for Uncovered Artistry Boutique.
1. Google your idea. For me this was a dead-end. There aren’t many (or any!) boutiques that sell solely the artisan work of domestic violence survivors. But if you do come across another company with a business idea, use this to your advantage; you just found some potential competitors. Ask yourself: How is my idea better? What can I do to stand out from these existing companies? What do I have that they don’t? Also remember that most likely (if they are successful) your competitors have identified their target market already. Study their websites. What items or services do they offer? What colors are they using on their site? Is their site fun, formal, young? Identify their style; it’s also their customers’ style. I wouldn’t even be afraid to contact the owners. Many business owners I have come in contact with are surprisingly happy to chat about their experiences. I am not saying to copy, but I am saying to use the resources that are available to you.
2. Identify other companies that might have similar customers. Because I found no boutiques similar to Uncovered Artistry, I studied retailers that were similar: eco-boutiques and fair trade retailers. I then followed the same strategy as #1, always keeping in mind that this market may not be exactly mine, but it will be close.
3. Research. This is honestly not that fun, but it is certainly necessary. Learn as much as you can about your potential customer base. You might realize that someone has already done a lot of the research for you. I found that my target market even has a name: The Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) consumers. I focused my research on the consumers who purchased fair trade, because I knew these products fall in line with what my business will sell. After a lot of Googling and library searching, I had more than 12 pages of information about my target market. I found statistics, charts, and loads of text. Don’t be afraid to utilize your library. You might be surprised how many books are written about your customers.
4. Talk. I also recommend talking with friends and family. See what they suggest. If you know your mom fits your target market perfectly, talk to her about what she likes and dislikes (hopefully you know some of this already!). You might be surprised what information you can get from those around you.
5. Collect and analyze your research. Weed out information that is irrelevant to your business. Start to think about how you can apply your research to your business. Everything that involves your business is directly affected by your target market. If your target market doesn’t use Facebook, don’t advertise on that site. If they respond more to print ads, try newspapers and magazines. If they buy purses but rarely purchase makeup, then you have a better idea of what to sell or produce.
6. Use your information to your advantage! The more you know and the more you use this knowledge, the more successful your business will be.
Uncovered Artistry Boutique
Monday, May 10, 2010
• Use pictures! To be perfectly honest, I lose interest easily while surfing the web. If a blog is just a block of text, I’m going to pass it by. Using pictures and even videos in your blog will help attract readers.
• Write about your personal life only if you really think other people want to read about it.
o Follow others. Look to follow your friends or people and organizations you are interested in. The more people you follow, the more exposure you will receive.
o Post any sales or discounts you offer. Twitter is a great way to reach your customers. A quick note about sales or discounts can really bring traffic.
o Include links in your updates. If you write about a new product, provide a link for that product in your update.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
This boutique will sell the artisan work of domestic violence surviors. If you or anyone you know is a talented artisan who has suffered from domestic violence and would like to sell your work in our online boutique, please email us at uncoveredartistry [!at] gmail.com.
Your identity will remain anonymous if so desired. See the description below for more details!
Sarah and Angie
La SuaVoce Designs
Uncovered Artistry Boutique
Uncovered Artistry Boutique, operating out of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, will be a non-profit online and catalog retailer that sells the finely crafted work of domestic violence survivors and distributes the products throughout the country.
The business will have two main goals. First, it will provide an outlet for domestic survivors in America to sell their artisan work,thereby providing them with financial independence and personal confidence.
Second,Uncovered Artistry will educate the customers about domestic violence in order to raise awareness and eliminate stereotypes.We will solicit applications from domestic violence survivors, who also have an undiscovered artistic skill such as jewelry-making, quilting, sewing, or woodworking. We would like to represent domestic violence survivors from different cultural, ethnic, racial, and regional backgrounds, who each have their own unique personal stories.
In order to raise awareness, we will include a profile about the survivors on the website, catalog, and in informational packets sent to customers. To protect the safety of our artisans, we will work with safe havens to develop these profiles in a manner that protects the anonymity of the artisans. We will also recruit students and professionals as volunteers.
Check out our "About Us" page for more information. Please follow our blog and expect more updates, resources, and stories to come!
Sarah and Angela Spoto