Quilling with Adelina is a series about the art of quilling. In this series Adelina will write about a variety of topics, from the basics to quilling to pro tips!
If you are planning to make a few bucks from your quilling skills, finding the first customers is the second biggest challenge, after becoming capable of creating crafts that people will actually pay for 🙂 My experience on this chapter started last spring…
There is this tradition where I live for people to offer each other trinkets between the 1st and 8th of March. Small showy ornaments, tied with a little red and white string, as a symbol of spring. People normally buy these trinkets and most of them are rather classy: painted glass, small and cheap jewelry pieces, pressed flowers inlaid in glass and so on.
When I showed up offering my family and friends the first quilling trinkets that they have ever seen, imagine their enthusiasm… A few friends insisted that I should create a few other models for them as well and they obviously wanted to pay for it. That’s how I got my first quilling customers and also the first time I have even considered that I could make some money out of my passion.
Since then, I’ve explored a few other options that I would like to share with you and here is what I found:
Exposure is crucial
If you want to find customers, you have to let them know that you exist. At first, you might have to offer some freebies just to make them aware of what you can do. Many people don’t even know that quilling exists, not to mention all the cool stuff that you can do with it. Showing them and even giving them, for free, some of your previous creations might work in your favor. Try to:
- Spread the word among friends and family – show them and give them samples, tell them that you are looking for customers and kindly ask them to put a word for you when they have the chance.
- Visit local craft stores and kindly ask if they are willing to let you display some of your quilling products, perhaps around their cash register. That’s where people spend time and look around while waiting to pay and get the receipt.
- Make sure you know all about the local fairs – I didn’t know how many craft fairs were in my city until I started to look for more exposure. Direct sales like the ones you make with this occasion build trust and spare you from the complications of taking online orders and shipping small objects on long distances.
Promote yourself online, but… locally
Again, I insist on how easy it is to sell crafts to the people who leave in the nearby. Especially if you are just starting out, having the chance to personally meet clients and bypass the challenges of online craft stores is a huge plus.
So yes, you can promote your local business online, with geo-location in mind. Even Facebook has recently introduced the option to select the desired audience when creating your Facebook page. This means that now you can tell the social network what kind of persons you are looking to reach even before deciding that you want to use their paid advertising options.
Aside from a dedicated Facebook page, you can also try:
- A free blog where you can write about your passion and display photos of your creations;
- A Pinterest page where you can create boards with your quilling crafts and promote them the best you can;
- Setting up Google Alerts for specific keywords related to selling crafts, so you will get email notifications whenever an event or a discussion starts online;
- Writing a book about your passion, perhaps with a catalog included, that you can sell online, as an e-Book;
- A paid domain and hosting to set up your own website and promote your business with SEO or AdWords campaigns – these, of course, would imply spending money.
In the end…
If you are really good at what you do, people from more distant places might reach out and ask about your work. When that happens, you can consider creating an online shop with international deliveries or just open up your shop inside a dedicated platform.