E-Commerce DIY

8 Steps to a Great Brand Message

By Sarah Sewell

8 Steps to a Great Brand Message

Whether you realize it or not, your branding says something about you. It’s the first non-verbal communication your audience gets that makes an impression on them. Chances are if you’re not thinking about your brand message, you have been giving off the wrong impression to your customers. Let’s talk about the steps you need to take to get your brand in shape and make sure it’s sending the right message to your customers. 

What is a Brand Message?

Your brand message is the message communicated to your target audience through your products and your verbal and non-verbal communication messages. It describes what you do and how you’re different from others, and what your audience can expect. When your audience sees your colors, logo, and name what does it say?


10 Steps to a Great Brand Message Artisan Indie

8 Steps to a Great Brand

  1. Start with a name. The first part of your brand is your name. Your name doesn’t need to describe exactly what you do, but it should be relevant and easy to remember. If your chosen name doesn’t tell exactly what you do, a tagline can be added to your logo to make sure that the message is received. 

  1. Choose your colors. Color can affect a person’s mood and purchasing decisions. It can also affect their perceptions of brands & increasing brand recognition for up to 80%. Choose colors that are associated with your product or service message when developing your brand. For example, if you use environmentally-friendly products, including green in your branding would be a wise choice since many people associate the color with the environment.

  1. Do as you say. Your business has values that guide it. These values are a part of your brand. Your customer service, communication with customers, and other actions should reflect the values associated with your business. As the saying goes, people may forget what you said, but they won’t forget the way you made them feel.

  1. Create images. The most important image you will create is your logo, which should reflect your brand’s colors and chosen font. But your logo isn’t the only image that will represent your brand. Along with your logo, visual content included on your website, social media outlets, and other marketing materials make up your branding. The images you choose should accurately represent your business.

  2. Find your type. The type of font you use is part of your branding. From your logo to your website, this font will appear on all of your written materials, making a statement about your brand. Make sure you choose a legible font that matches the tone of your brand. For example, sans serif fonts are considered modern, while fonts with serifs are more formal. 

10 Steps to a Great Brand Message Artisan Indie

  1. Watch your tone. As you create content, remember that how you say something matters just as much as what you say. Be mindful of your voice and tone by using language in a way that is understandable, yet personable. Your voice and tone establish your brand’s personality in written product copy, emails, and customer responses. Make sure your content that speaks to your audience.

  1. Be consistent. Brand consistency is more than just using the same colors, logos, and images across your marketing materials. Although this is important to your brand’s image, the experience your customers have with your business matters just as much. Your personality and values should be reflected in every interaction your customer has with you whether it’s online or in person.

  1. Stay current. Design trends come and go. Make sure that your branding is keeping up with the times by rebranding when it’s time. Go for fonts and colors that are timeless, rather than fashionable. This will keep your brand from looking dated. Refreshing your brand’s look will establish your relevance to your target audience.

Enjoy the process! Creating a brand for a new business or rebranding a current business can be an exciting time. You have the opportunity to create your business’ identity and present it to your target audience on your own terms. Take the time you need to get it right and you’ll set the tone for what to expect before you say a word.

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Know Your Worth: Reminders for Women Business Owners

By Dawn Lamontagne

Know Your Worth for Women Business Owners by Artisan Indie

Women entrepreneurs, lady boss, boss babe, Mompreneur-- whatever you call yourself, you’re the woman in charge. You run our business like a pro and work until exhaustion, but when it comes to money, women don’t like to talk about it. And they certainly don’t charge what we’re worth. That needs to change, ladies. It’s time to know your worth.



Your Time & Knowledge is Valuable.

Successful business owners put an unmeasurable amount of time into planning and developing not only their products but their business structure. That time and knowledge invested is valuable and positions them as an expert in their area. When the final product is listed, the pricing includes not just the materials, but also the experience that goes with making a quality product. 

Don’t underestimate the knowledge you invest into your business. When customers or clients are shopping around, they are doing so because they need a solution. They either can’t do what you do, don’t want to do what you do, or need help doing it. You fill that need and that’s valuable.



Know Your Worth for Women Business Owners by Artisan Indie


Your Passion Can Be Profitable.

Female entrepreneurs are often said to be pursuing their "passion" projects. Although the term can sometimes be seen as derogatory, there’s nothing wrong with turning your passion into a business. In fact, more power to the girl who turns her dream into a reality, right?  

The issue is prioritizing your passion over getting paid. When you provide a service or product, you deserve to be paid. As women, we tend to feel guilty for being compensated for the work we do. 

Why we are wired that way is a mystery, but think of it this way- what would you say to your best friend or daughter? Surely you wouldn’t encourage your girlfriends to work for free. Of course not! Now, turn the situation around and remind yourself to take the advice you’d give someone you love. You certainly deserve to be paid properly for the work you do.



Know Your Worth.

Let’s get deep now, shall we? Accepting less than we deserve isn’t just a bad business mindset, it’s an issue most women struggle with in several areas. Solutions seem so obvious when we listen to a friend talk about her problems, but we somehow don’t think that we also are worthy.

Let me tell you right now… you are. You are an amazing person who made something from nothing. Go into your workday and remind yourself that you are doing something awesome and you deserve the rewards from that venture. Because it’s true!

Once you change your thoughts and start seeing yourself (and your business) as valuable, it’s easier to set pricing that’s fair to both your customers and yourself. 



Know Your Worth for Women Business Owners by Artisan Indie


How to Price Your Products

Now that we know we’re worthy to have a profitable business, let’s talk about how to determine pricing products and services. Just like we talked about in this product development post, research goes a long way. 

Log out of your Etsy account and search what you sell. Compare pricing for the high-end items and see what they are offering. Look at the mid-range items and think about how you can add value to what you offer. And the low-range listings, ignore them. Don’t base your pricing on someone who isn’t paying themselves properly. The truth is, consumers don’t tend to trust super low pricing. Be smart about your pricing and price it where it fits.



How to Know if Your Prices Need to Be Adjusted

If you’re hearing crickets in your shop and you’ve determined that it’s due to pricing, try a duplicate listing with only the price lowered a bit. If things pick up, consider adjusting your pricing on your items.

If you’re getting more orders than you can handle, consider raising your prices a bit to slow down orders. You’ll still make the same amount of money, but you’ll be able to breathe.

I hope this helps you feel good about setting prices and you know your worth. If you’d like to be a part of a positive, uplifting community that helps each other succeed, consider Flourish by Artisan Indie. You’ll receive encouragement and training to take your handmade business to the next level. We’d love to see you there!

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Product Development on Etsy for Handmade Businesses

By Sarah Sewell

Product Development on Etsy for Handmade Businesses by Artisan Indie

Product development almost seems like a dirty word to a handmade business. After all, we’re creatives and product development sounds so… business-y. As much as it doesn’t sound fun, it’s an important step that helps set your handmade shop up for success. 


Why product development is important.

When you treat your online shop like a business and follow the steps to make products that consumers want, you’re setting your shop up for success. And it’s not just the sales or cha-chings as Flourish loving calls them, it’s about longevity.

How hard would it be to get up every day and work on a business that was struggling? Not very motivating. But a business that has a product that people want and you believe in? That’s a great feeling!


What does product development look like?

There are a few important steps to developing a product that’s worthy of your shop. First, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What is your passion? Most Etsy shops start with a vision of sharing what you love. So what are you passionate about? Chances are, there are other people out there that share your interests.
  2. Who are you serving? Finding your target market is an important step. And to get you pointed in the right direction, Etsy shoppers tend to be between 25-40 years old. They are going through major life events like weddings, having babies, and buying teacher gifts.
  3. What problem is your item solving? Consumers are shopping to find a solution to a problem. It may be that they need a gift for a special event, or they want a unique, personalized item for their new baby’s nursery. Consider why your customer needs your product.


Product Development on Etsy for Handmade Businesses by Artisan Indie


I have an idea, now what?

Now that you’ve answered some important questions, let’s focus on research. The best tool to figure out what customers want is actually Etsy. 

First, log out of your Etsy account and start searching keywords that apply to your product. Look at which items come up on the first few pages. Do any of them have a ‘best seller’ tag? What colors/textures/prices do you see? Click on a few items that rank higher and look at what their sales look like. What are the customer reviews saying?

How to stand out in Etsy searches

After researching similar products, think about your idea and how you can elevate it so that it stands out in the searches. 

  • Excellent photography is huge. Clean images that convince the buyer to click get potential shoppers “in the door” so to speak.
  • Product descriptions that impress. Take the time to write copy that tells shoppers why your product answers all their problems. Describe what to expect after the sale and when they receive the item.
  • Be realistic. If your product is successful or goes viral, can you produce your item quickly and keep the same high quality? And can you get your hands on the supplies to fill orders in a timely manner? If the answer to any of these questions is no, problem-solve those obstacles before you’re in a sticky situation.


Product Development on Etsy for Handmade Businesses by Artisan Indie


Test your product in your shop.

Before you invest a lot of time and money into your new product, list it. In fact, list two. Do a little A/B product testing to see what customers like. Test two different product photos, different pricing, whatever you’re trying to figure out- make two listings and compare the stats after a few weeks. Then tweak and list more items. It’s a process.



A few things to remember.

Etsy is a commerce platform, but it also functions as a search engine. Each listing is a separate thing. You can have 2-3 really great items that are listed with 10 different target customers or occasions and be successful. 

Don’t rush into listing 100 different items to try and fill your shop. Take your time and focus on one thing at a time. Your shop, and sanity, will thank you for it!

Enjoying this content? Come join Artisan Indie’s e-commerce group, Flourish, to learn and get support for your craft business. We’d love to have you!

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Multiple Revenue Streams for Creatives

By Sarah Sewell

Multiple Revenue Streams for Creatives

You’re focused and working your Etsy business like a boss. As you start a new year,  boosting your earning potential by diversifying with multiple revenue streams should be at the top of your 2020 goals. It’s easier than you think! Let’s walk through the why and how together to maximize your income this year. 


Multiple Revenue Streams for Creatives by Artisan Indie


Why multiple revenue streams?

As a business owner, it’s important to diversify so that all your eggs aren’t in one basket. More than one revenue stream adds value to your business and ensures that if revenue is slow in one area, the others are still working hard for you. And that gives businesses not only a steady income stream but peace of mind.

Multiple revenue streams also have the benefit of positioning your brand as an expert. When customers see you the go-to in your specialized area, it benefits your business. Not only will they gladly pay for your expertise, but they are more inclined to recommend you to friends and family- resulting in more repeat business. 


How To Find New Sources of Revenue

Chances are you’re already experienced in at least one way of selling your product and are familiar with several more. Think about your niche and brand. Now how can you sell the same product or service in a different way?

Take what you know and ask yourself these things: Where is my target market spending time? How could my product or service benefit a different audience? What resources do I have access to? How can I leverage the things I know to increase my income?


Multiple Revenue Streams for Creatives by Artisan Indie


Some Income Sources to Consider:

  • An Etsy shop
  • Wholesale sales
  • Craft shows & events
  • Newsletter marketing
  • Handmade by Amazon
  • Start a website through Shopify
  • Blogging- affiliate and ad revenue
  • Sell through a Facebook page or group
  • Selling through brick-and-mortar shops


Taking the time to learn about new revenue streams sets your business or brand up for growth and success. Be hungry to learn in 2020 and you’ll be surprised where you’re at at the end of the year. Adding new facets to your business is a great way to keep a creative mind engaged, and a business mind satisfied.


What revenue streams do you have in addition to your Etsy shop? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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Make a Vision Board in 3 Quick Steps

By Sarah Sewell

Make a Vision Board in 3 Quick Steps

Every business starts with a vision. As the new year approaches, it’s the perfect time to get thoughts and plans in order. A great way to do that is to make a vision board. If a vision board is something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t actually done before, this is your year. Get creative and focus on your 2020 goals with a quick guide to make a vision board.


Make a Vision Board in 3 Quick Steps by Artisan Indie

Why a Vision Board?

  • Vision boards are an important part of the goal-setting process. They help set and prioritize goals, values, and intentions.
  • Vision boards are a fun way to get artistic with your dreams.
  • The hands-on process of making a vision board helps physically set intention in your mind, making goals feel more attainable. 
  • Seeing your vision board regularly keeps the focus on your goals and encourages you both consciously and unconsciously.


How to Make a Vision Board


  • Posterboard
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Paper and pen
  • Sharpies or other permanent markers (optional)
  • Other images and text from books, computer printouts, etc. (optional)

  1. Organize & Focus- This first step is a brain dump. Sit down with paper and pen and think about your goals for the coming year. Big or small, put it all down. Include words you want to focus on for the year like ‘focus’, ‘consistent’. Next, sort through your thoughts to narrow down the things you want to use on your vision board. Organize your goals into sections that make sense for you. These may include labels like personal, business, family, financial, etc. 

  1. Find words & Images- Next, we’re on the hunt... There are many ways to find the right images you need. Magazines and searching google seem to be the most popular sources. Consider writing words out in sharpie- get creative and have fun!

  1. Arrange & Glue Images- Finally, arrange larger photos to make a base layer and secure them with glue. Then add layers of smaller words and photos. When you’re happy with your arrangement, glue everything down. 

Now that your board is done, find a spot to display it that will be seen every day, such as an office or by the mirror in your bathroom. Take a moment regularly to take in a deep, cleansing breath, and focus your mindset on specific words and goals. Visualize yourself working toward and achieving your goals and how that will look/feel.


Make a Vision Board in 3 Quick Steps by Artisan Indie

Other Vision Board Styles

  • Bulletin board – Use pushpins to attach images and words to a corkboard
  • Goal-specific vision boards – Focus on one specific goal with a smaller board
  • Planner page – Make a small vision board on your calendar or planner
  • Bullet journal- This is a great option for artistic creatives
  • Pinterest board- Pin images & inspirational quotes to a private board that you can visit

I hope you enjoyed this vision board activity. Visualizing your 2020 goals sets your dreams into motion, giving them life. What a perfect way to start the new decade!

Get more business tips from our experts in our Facebook community, where craft and commerce meet and Flourish

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Flip the Script in 2020

By Sarah Sewell

Flip the Script in 2020

What you say to yourself matters more than what anyone else says. It’s true. What we think about ourselves directly affects how we feel emotionally and physically. Have you taken time lately to think about what you’ve been thinking about? Take inventory this week of your words and thoughts. Flip the script in 2020.

Pay attention to the messaging in your environment. What’s the message in the music you listen to, the tv shows you watch, the social media you spend time on, even the news you read. I’m willing to bet it’s filled to the brim with negativity and drama. We are bombarded multiple times a day with messages of lack and loss.


Artisan Indie - Flip the Script in 2020


Flip the Script

So why don’t we flip the script? I challenge you all to make an effort to elevate your thoughts. Do not listen to the naysayers who say you don’t have what it takes.

Stop listening to music, watching tv or scrolling through your social feed on autopilot. Use external media with intent. Listen to music on purpose. Watch television on purpose. Use social media on purpose. Flip the script.

Create an intention to elevate your life. Your mindset is your pathway to victory or defeat. No matter your outcome it will all start with your thoughts.


Artisan Indie - Flip the Script in 2020


This weeks challenge:

To prepare you for what’s to come in 2020 I would like you to take inventory of how you’ve been living your life. I challenge you to start to adopt some new lifestyle strategies.

  • Self-Awareness: Build your self-awareness around what boosts your mental mood. Also, be aware of what drains you and steer clear of those things.
  • Commit: Set aside some time at the beginning of the day and the end of the day to mentally think about what you are grateful for. Practice visualizing what you would love to manifest in your life. Play music that calms or inspires you or simply enjoy the silence in your own sacred space.
  • Monday Morning Free Time: This might be hard. Most business owners hit the ground running on Mondays. I encourage you to block off Monday mornings for weekly planning and intention setting. Visualize desired outcomes for the week. I believe this little amount of time will give your week the power boost it needs. 


The holidays are almost here and we’re all frazzled and need some downtime. I’m sure you have big plans for 2020. But before we wipe the slate clean, let’s reflect and redirect. Take the next 2 weeks to rediscover your dreams. Then move into 2020 focused and refreshed.

In the New Year live life on purpose and with intent. Flip the script of the same old, same old and take the wheel to steer yourself in the direction you want to go. You have the power to create the life you’ve always dreamed of. Make it happen! 

Sarah ❤

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Customer Service Tips to Manage Holiday Shop Stress

By Sarah Sewell

Customer Service Tips to Manage Holiday Shop Stress
Holidays are an exciting and busy time for buyers and sellers alike. Be proactive by anticipating your customers' concerns in your shop announcements, utilizing variations, and reaching out to follow up on their order satisfaction. Hayley Frome of Squeeze Coaching shares her best success tips.

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5 Essential Holiday Planning Tips for Makers

By Sarah Sewell

5 Essential Holiday Planning Tips for Makers

No doubt about it, being a handmade small business owner during the holidays is a rush like no other. Decorating, shopping, wrapping, running errands, attending activities, and that doesn’t include your everyday tasks or responding to the extra cha-chings dinging on your phone. Some shop owners report doing as much as 50% of their business in the last three months of the year and finding it necessary to put in 19-hour days in order to meet the demands. 


But you aren’t in this business to be sleepless, burnt out, stressed about possibly missing events with your family, or pressured by less than happy customers. 

So how can you be proactive in taking care of your shop, your customers, AND you this holiday and beyond? In a nutshell: planning. 

In my membership group, Flourish at Artisan Indie, we walk through a series of 12-weeks beginning as early as the summer where we break down different aspects of your business in preparation for the holiday selling season. I’m including some of the highlights here as quick tips for you to get your business holiday-ready, and for you to save your sanity:

Ensure Your Shop is Ready to Receive Buyers

This is really something you should do all year, but I will add it to the holiday planning list. Successful selling is based on the five pillars of e-commerce: knowing your target market, branding, photography, seo, and copy. (You can read more about what I mean when I refer to the pillars of e-commerce here.) Each of these is essential in everything you do from the products you create to your marketing efforts and your continued relationship building after the sale. 

Take steps to review your audience and the products you are creating. While it’s difficult to say which of the pillars is most important in your strategy, photography is certainly a key. Remember when a potential buyer is browsing online, they have seconds viewing a thumbnail-sized image to decide if they will click on your listing for more information or a competitor’s option. Your photos should show your product clearly, with lifestyle photo options, and consistent editing reflecting your brand and attractive to your ideal customer. 

Some other questions to consider when looking at your shop with holiday-shopper’s eyes - 

  • Have you designed a special collection to be released for the holidays?
  • What current trends are hot this season? 
  • Which of those would appeal to your market and fit in with your brand?
  • Review your listing for SEO and keywords adding in any tags for gift suggestions as needed.  Revise your listing copy so it evokes emotion within your buyer making them see and feel having your product in their life - or better yet, so they can’t see their life without your product!  
  •  Ensure customers have a way to sign up for a mailing list if you offer one or can follow you on social media. 

Have Your Policies Set in Place

While we are talking about having your shop set up properly go ahead and fill out all your sections - including your about section and your policies page. Your buyers are likely in a hurry to find the perfect gift and have everything crossed off their list. Anticipate and answer as many questions as you can in your policies. This may avoid a lot of unnecessary back and forth conversations with your customer such as your personalization or customization options, your turnaround time or shipping time, return policy for gifted items, your policy regarding items not delivered in time, and so on. 

You may also wish to re-state key points in your transaction email response with your buyer. And if you have a stand-alone site that allows for a Frequently Asked Questions area, you may state it here also.

It’s true a hurried shopper may not read everything you have prepared, but knowing where you stand on issues will give you peace of mind and a set answer rather than spending time evaluating each matter on a case by case basis. You will have a cut and paste response to work from which will save you time in e-mailing responses. 

Plan Ahead 

Did you know major retailers have their holiday marketing planned in the spring? Start planning your holiday marketing as early as June or July. Watch for trend reports, plan your collections, order any supplies for inventory preparation and shipping. In your favorite planner or on a designated calendar in your studio, mark off shipping deadlines (announced approximately September).  

Having a focused plan will allow you to know when you are working on your specific products, have your photography scheduled (either outsourced or models scheduled), ample time for photo editing and promotional graphics to be created, sales to be announced and run, etc. 

Schedule Your Content in Advance 

Now that you have all of your important dates marked off as far as promotions and deadlines, you can begin scheduling your content. Be aware of which platform your audience spends time online, and concentrate your heaviest marketing efforts there,  but don’t neglect other avenues of traffic as well. There are many schedulers available each with different features, benefits, and pricing options. Choose your favorite and dedicate time to upload your graphics and captions so you are assured that your content is being posted automatically. Consistency is key to brand awareness and to assuring your customers you are to be trusted. 

Of course each day you will want to visit each platform and nurture any relationships thereby responding to comments, interacting with your audience, and engaging with influencers, but the heavy lifting of making decisions around what to post is already handled. The engagement piece can be achieved in a relatively short amount of time each day. 

Post-Holiday Plans

It’s pretty likely you are going to be ten kinds of exhausted by the time you ship your last order.  What will you do with your shop after the holidays? Despite desperately wanting to tune out from your shop for a couple of weeks and regroup without responding to every ping on your phone that comes through, it will take much longer for you to regain the momentum in your shop statistics. 

I have always advised against putting your shop on vacation mode. Instead, I advise extending shipping times to allow you to ease back in at a slower pace. Consider adding a message in your shop announcement and in your transaction e-mail that you are enjoying reduced holiday hours and re-iterate your anticipated ship time. 

Hire Support

You may have heard the saying you can do anything, but you can’t do everything all at the same time. This is so true within your business.  All the higher income sellers have learned the secret of successful outsourcing. This can be challenging, especially in the early stages of your business. 

But during the holidays this might become a sanity saver. Within your business, you might bring in support with production such as helping you make your products or a simpler task such as labeling, packaging, or running errands like shipping. 

Or you might choose to outsource some home tasks like hiring a cleaning person or childcare to come in during the holidays and alleviate some of the household duties freeing up some additional hours for you to enjoy your family or devote to your business. 

Bonus Tip: It’s Okay to Say No

I couldn’t help but add this one in, and it’s because self-care is a topic close to my heart. Again, you didn’t become an entrepreneur to be overwhelmed and unhappy by the work you are doing. Remember the holidays are a busy season, and there are many opportunities for activities, parties, vendor events, and more. Each time you say “yes” to one thing, it means you are saying “no” to something else. 

Check-in with yourself as you run your business during the holidays and throughout the year. Make sure you aren’t making decisions to work extra hours or to accommodate customer requests at the expense of your own well-being and happiness. 

If you enjoyed these tips and would like to receive ongoing support each month, I invite you to learn more about my craft and commerce community, Flourish at Artisan Indie. We offer training, brainstorming, and mentoring live and in saved presentations; access to over 40 experts and advisors each with specialties to support you in your business journey; a community of over 2000 members where you can find peer support and your new business BFF; discounts and offers on your favorite business tools; promotional opportunities on social media for your business; and so much more! 

Join Flourish at Artisan Indie Craft and Commerce Community

Looking for more holiday selling tips for your handmade business? You may also be interested in reading

How to Create a Holiday Gift Guide

How to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday

How to Maintain Your Shop's Selling Momentum After Cyber Monday 

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