Stay-at-home-moms: 5 tips to boost your sales

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Original Post

If you’re a stay-at-home mom like me, you probably laugh every time the “Quit Your Day Job” advice hits your inbox. Although I’m sure we’ve all had moments when we’ve wanted to, the simple fact is…we can’t quit our day jobs!

While I love the Etsy marketplace, the fact is 70% of my sales last year were local. Promoting your work on Etsy takes a lot of time – a commodity that is always in short supply when your main job is running a family!

What’s a busy mom to do? Promote while you work! What does that mean? Read on for examples…

1) BRING YOUR WORK WITH YOU EVERYWHERE. OK, I knit, so it’s portable. But, even if you paint, pot, bead, etc. find some aspect of your work to bring with you, even if it’s a sketch pad to draw out new ideas. I knit while waiting at the dentist, bank, car shop, airport - everywhere. Other people around me are invariably interested in what I’m doing. Which leads us to…

2) BE PREPARED TO TALK ABOUT YOUR WORK. While I was waiting for my car to be repaired last year, I had 3 car salesmen watching me knit. I started talking about knitting, and one of them shared a story about how he remembered his grandmother knitting when he was younger. Turns out he also loves supporting local handmade and took several business cards to pass out to friends. Once you start talking, you’ll find people will be more engaged with your work, which can also lead to sales.

3) BRING PHOTOS AND BUSINESS CARDS. I can’t stress this enough. We can’t carry a store full of products around with us, so I have a small photo book on hand to show people my work. At my last dental appointment, my photo book got passed around the entire office and I got 3 orders that day! Keep an ample supply of business cards on hand, too. That way people can check out your Etsy store and have your contact information.

4) SELL YOUR WORK ON CONSIGNMENT. Some of my items are sold at a local children’s boutique. Once I make the items, the boutique owner does all the rest! It’s definitely worth the 30% that you can expect to hand over for consignment fees - after all the store owner has to pay rent, utilities, and advertising. Talk to local business owners with shops that fit your crafting genre, but try to think outside of the box, too. Places like coffee houses, wineries, and indie bookstores may also consign local handmade products.

5) SELL AT LOCAL FESTIVALS. If you can occasionally find time to have the kid(s) spend a day with a friend, grandma, etc., try selling at local festivals. If you have older kids, they can help, and this can become a great family event! Granted, selling at festivals takes a lot of preparation and work. It’s not easy to be a mobile storefront. If your family is in to it – great! If not, just go shop at your local festivals and make sure to bring your photos! You never know where you’ll meet your next customer.

Please post your tips to share, as well. We can all benefit by sharing our success stories!

Posted at 3:29pm Feb 7, 2010 EST


MerCurios says

Being a "SAH" mom myself to an almost 4 yr old, I can completely empathize. I always feel like I'm ignoring my family or son when I take time to make a piece of jewelry, check my site, network on Twitter, etc...

My work is featured in a few local boutiques, & it does very well. I'm looking into getting back into some "indie" art events as my jewelry is not right for general craft fairs.

Definitely some great tips!!

Thanks for sharing.

Posted at 3:38pm Feb 7, 2010 EST

Thanks for sharing! I'm going to be a mom any day now, and then I'll be juggling diaper-changing with managing my Etsy shop. I'm hoping I will be able to keep up!

Posted at 3:39pm Feb 7, 2010 EST

MerCurios says

LOVE the idea of a photo book (mini portfolio). I always have plenty of business cards on hand. People are always asking for examples of my work & I'm usually only wearing 1 or 2 pieces, usually both rings.

This is one thing I'm going to work on this week.

Great advice!

Posted at 3:40pm Feb 7, 2010 EST

thanks for these tips! i agree, i can get views/sales in my etsy shop...when i spend all day on the computer. but, then i feel guilty and like i am neglecting my kids. so, these are great reminders...i will work on this for sure!

thanks for sharing!

Posted at 3:42pm Feb 7, 2010 EST

MerCurios says

Africangrey - Don't be surprised if you and your business take a backseat for the 1st year. Trust me, it's totally okay. Especially if you're going to be a mom for the 1st time.

Gabriel is almost 4 and I'm still not where I would would like to be in terms of juggling both. You can definitely make it work tho!

Posted at 3:42pm Feb 7, 2010 EST

Thanks MerCurios. It is a balancing act, isn't it? (I'm logged in now because it's nap time!)

But it also makes me happy that my 3 year old knows what an alpaca is and how to treadle a spinning wheel. Hopefully we're passing on the values of the handmade world!

Posted at 3:42pm Feb 7, 2010 EST

Yes, AfricanGrey, I agree with MerCurios. Don't trade sales for sleep! Believe me, sleep will be MUCH more important to you!

Posted at 3:44pm Feb 7, 2010 EST

Great post, thanks for sharing. If I could just figure out a way to override the mommy guilt feeling. Of course, before it was Etsy it was something else that brought on the guilty feeling.

Posted at 3:47pm Feb 7, 2010 EST

MerCurios says

You're lucky Alpaca - Gabriel hasn't napped since he was 15 months; seriously! He's the only 4 yo (he'll be 4 next month) that I know that has dark circles under his eyes.

He's up at 9 and falls asleep at about 10 - 10:30 every night. He may not be able to write his name (yet) but he sure does know his metals and stones, lol.

He always wants to help me make jewelry - which is not fun when I'm using a blow torch, lol. ...I think you get the idea.

I've been searching for balance for the last 4 years, lol.

Posted at 3:48pm Feb 7, 2010 EST