Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who ARE you?

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for Girl Scout cookies.

Well, actually, that's not true. I'm a sucker for Girl Scouts. It's the cute little braids and puppy-dog eyes that do me in. How can you say no to a sweet little 6-year-old handing you a box of Tagalongs? I'm equally as helpess in the face of lemonade stands and Little Leaguers going door-to-door with magazine subscriptions.

Now, I have no trouble passing up these items in the grocery store isles. Honestly, I need a box of cookies like Sampson needs an electric razor. The thing is, it's the pitch, not the product. And that makes me think.

What's my pitch?

A few months ago, I attended a Virtual Lab critique session with daniellexo of Etsy. One of the things Danielle talked about was the shop profile. It is vital, she said, that your profile tell a story about you and your work that will draw potential buyers and make them remember who you are.

Now, just about every craftsperson I know has a story. And it's usually a pretty good one. My own story is all about itching. Grocery store "soap" made me itch. I tried a bar of the real thing and I itched no more. And so, a soaper is born. It's that simple.

However, wend your way through the plethora of shops on Etsy and most seller profiles will have your eyes glazing over faster than a Congressional budget session on C-Span. "Hi! Thanks for coming to my shop!" or "I have always dabbled in one craft or another," or "XYZ's is dedicated to providing the highest quality widget blankets!"

ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...... wha? oh, sorry.

If you want to pull me in faster than a toothless cherub at a lemonade stand with free chocolate samples, take note:

1. Tell me your story. Be specific. I don't want to hear that you're a naturally crafty person. I want to know WHY you make widget blankets that are special enough that you think I need to have one. Maybe you learned widget blanket-making while in prison, and have since turned your life around. Maybe your great-grandmother taught you this family widget blanket-making method on her knee. Maybe you set out to make a blanket for your pet canary but realized it fit your widget much better, and viola - a cottage industry was born. THAT's what I want to hear about.

2. I already assume that you are dedicated to providing the highest quality item. I've already figured that out from your photos, or I wouldn't have gotten this far into your shop. Tell me about your wonderful customer service in your policies section. Unless you are telling me about the time you got on an airplane to deliver one of your widget blankets to Oprah, and Colin Firth was seated next to you on the plane and insisted on having it for himself, but your supreme customer loyalty wouldn't allow it.

3. Same goes for the "highest quality ever" materials you use. If your shop name is "WidgetBlanketShop," please don't announce that you create one-of-a-kind widget blankets. The average shopper is somewhat brighter than you think, and can figure that part out for themself. However, please do tell me if you are in the process of patenting the use of fair-trade organic tomato seeds and Peruvian llama eyelashes for the trim. I'd love to know what makes you unique.

Here are a few examples of fun profiles:
And now, off to raid that box of cookies in the pantry.


Molly O'Bryon-Welpott said...

FANTASTIC I was in that lab as well and you really clicked and took it to another level, Thanks!


Capricorn Soap Company said...

I, too, have trouble turning down GSC offers...

and Little League offers...

and a lot of other things. :-)