|Grindle button made on a cover button mold.|
I find that the skill set required to run an Etsy shop is large. The skills include mastering the mechanics of listing an item for sale, taking excellent photographs, establishing shop policies, shipping internationally, writing compelling item descriptions, designing attractive packaging, marketing with on line techniques, etc. All of these skills are important but secondary to developing a great product line that people want to buy. For the last 4 months I worked on building my Etsy shop and decided it was time to evaluate my efforts to date.
|Reinterpretation of the Dorset button.|
The biggest weakness that I identified in my shop keeping was that I didn’t know who my customers were and what they want to buy. My thinking moved to a new level when I defined my target market or ideal customer as people who like to make creative projects that involve fabric. They are the DIY crowd, the crafters and other inventive souls. I figured this out by observing who was buying what from the vendors at the Artistic Figures in Cloth conference. These customers were not looking for finished products they were looking for unique supplies to use on their projects.
|Dorset cross wheel button & two recycled fabric buttons.|
When this became clear I was able to find direction for developing my product line. My task is to make unique buttons that crafters will want to use on their projects. I realized that the way to make my buttons unique is to make the most of my unique set of interests, resources and skills. After much research and experimentation I defined my product line as buttons that reinterpret preindustrial revolution button making techniques and/or use recycled materials. Old technology buttons include thread woven buttons, singleton cloth buttons, & natural material buttons. Recycled material buttons include cover buttons made from repurposed fabric & hand dyed vintage buttons.
|Woven ribbon button.|
I'm excited and having lots of fun designing and making the buttons. It will take a while to get the shop fully stocked. It really helps to have a clearly defined direction for the shop.
|A vintage rhinestone button and two buttons made from recycled fabric.|