While at craft fairs and markets, I noticed that many of my previous customers would stop by and say hi. They’d tell me how much they loved the piece they had purchased from me, but many of them weren’t repeat buyers. This got me thinking, if customers love my work so much, why aren’t they buying more?
After talking with my customer base and polling my social media followers two things quickly became clear 1). They only have so much wall space to hang art and 2). An average price point of $100 is a lot for someone to spend.
So what have I done about this? Over the last year, I’ve expanded my shop to include products at different price points and have been working on adding more pieces that go beyond wall art.
When I created my Indigo Summer collection, I knew I wanted a more affordable collection that captured the whimsy of summer cacti while still incorporating my detailed style of stitching. To do this, I kept my designs small by only using 3 and 4 inch hoops. I also designed pieces that featured 1-3 cacti. I knew that by limiting the number of cacti in the design, it would take less time to stitch and ultimately lower the price of each piece. By creating a variety of pieces in a collection, I also made it easier for customers to mix and match if they wanted to purchase more than one piece.
Over the past year, I’ve also added wearables to my shop. This includes pins, patches, bandanas, and clothing. While I’ve had pins and patches for a while, I started adding more denim jackets after falling in love with sashiko mending. For my sashiko mended designs, I upcycle denim from local thrift stores. This has meant that finding slightly worn, in-style jackets, pants, and shirts has been a little more challenging and sizing options have been limited. To try to be more size and budget inclusive, I’ve added shirts with small details and designs. I’ve also started dabbling in hats and bags.
I love that embroidery can be added to anything. I can easily envision embroidery on anything from hats to jackets and shoes to accessories but I’ve found that most buyers need to see finished products or examples. Talking about an idea with potential buyers gets me excited, but it usually doesn’t translate into a purchase or custom work.
And because stitching has become so popular, I’ve started hosting more workshops and have expanded my stitch kits to include beginner and advanced designs. While I don’t love putting kits together, they are some of my top selling items. Stitching is an approachable craft and I love that many people want to give it a try. I started making stitch kits last year, to capture the “maker” portion of my market. This was wonderful advice from Kristen at Urban Craft Uprising and I’m so glad I listened to her. Since then, I’ve slowly added to my stitch kit offerings.
Yes, this seems like a lot of things to think about and a lot of different products for a one-woman small business, and you’re not wrong, it is. But customers have been trained by big business to want more and in order to keep customers engaged it’s important to continue to grow and expand your offerings.
It’s important to note that none of this happened over night. Each of these product additions were mulled over in my head for a while before they ever came to fruition. There was a lot of trial and error and some of these ideas took months or years to make happen. If you’re looking to expand your shop offerings and increased repeat buyers, I’d encourage you to talk to your customers and learn what they’re interested in. Obviously, take everything with a grain of salt and be sure to set realistic expectations of yourself.