Welcome to everyone from Instagram (@handmadeisbetter)! I love that place. I love seeing all the wonderful things people make. There there are so many amazing, wonderful, talented people out there.
So let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Kendra and I’m a maker. I love to make things and always have since I was little. I love to look at things and wonder how it was made, what materials were used, how long it took to make. I still do this all the time. Making and creating is just a part of who I am.
I started my own handmade business in 2010 with a 2 1/2 year old, a 6 month old and added another one a few years later. I started out on etsy and have found a lot of success there. In fact the other day I looked at my stats and in the 5 years I’ve been doing this I’ve sold over 250k worth of jewelry. That’s a quarter of a million dollars all with kids, potty training, being pregnant, not too shabby. I love etsy and have found a lot of success there. Last year I also started my own stand alone website Belleza Mia Jewelry which I have been wanting to do for years. I love both platforms for different reasons.
How can I be featured on Handmade is Better?
Multiple times a day I get requests from people wanting a feature on @handmadeisbetter on Instagram and I have to politely tell them to do what everyone else does and use #handmadeisbetter. It’s so hard for me to turn people down or to say no to anything. Seriously. Now it’s time for me to explain why I don’t charge for features like most do.
Why Pay for Feature Accounts Don’t Work
One thing I very quickly realized as I began to grow @handmadeisbetter is that my followers are the makers. For the most part they are small handmade shop owners just like me. I would say a majority of people following my account and others feature accounts like it, are small handmade shop owners who follow because they want to be featured (hey, I follow these types of accounts too!) THIS IS NOT YOUR TARGET MARKET AND WHO YOU WANT TO ADVERTISE TO. (ok maybe for some it is, if you make planners, or mugs that are for small handmade buisness owners but for the rest of us, nope) While other shop owners are great to collaborate with, to give support and encourage you, many times they are not your buyers. Yes, they can make purchases but again, they are not your target audience.
Pay for feature accounts, many of them at least, feature almost anyone who will pay. Some are choosier but almost all that I’ve seen will feature anyone with some money to spend. It doesn’t matter if the shop might not normally be chosen due to photography or other issues, they do it because that is their source of revenue. One thing I love about Handmade is Better on Instagram is not one single person has ever paid to be featured. Sure lots of people have asked and wanted to pay me but I only feature someone if I really think it is something my followers would like and enjoy seeing. I know this has helped @handmadeisbetter to grow because it IS unbiased and that is how I want to keep it because I think in the long run it is more beneficial to all.
My Experience As a Small Business Owner with Pay for Feature Accounts
Before I started Handmade is Better I found a feature account and ‘applied to be featured’ hoping I would get picked (yeah, they accept pretty much anyone with $ to pay, they’re not picky). I was accepted! I paid my hard earned jewelry making money and was so excited! I posted that I was being featured. I had a great picture that had done well on my own Instagram account and waited. They had a huge following so I totally thought I would get tons of sales from a feature, especially since I was ‘hand selected’. Everything was posted and guess what? No sales. None. Sure it got a lot of likes on the page and about 15 new people to my account but to say the least I was very disappointed.
Why I Don’t Charge for Features
I honestly don’t feel like I could charge a handmade business, who doesn’t have much of a marketing budget, if any, knowing that they are giving their hard earned money with the hopes of gaining followers and making sales because in my personal experience it will be very unlikely to happen. 1. I can’t feature everyone that wants it, it is just not possible and 2. I personally feel like there so many other things handmade businesses can be doing that will help gain even more followers and improve sales. These are things I have learned along the way as I have started and built my own shop over the past 5 years.
So What Can a Small Handmade Shop Owner Do?
- Continue using #handmadeisbetter to be featured as well as participating on Makers Gotta Make Monday
- Follow Handmade is Better on Facebook to get latest posts and news about all things handmade biz related!
- Join Handmade is Better group on Facebook
- Follow me @makersgottamake on Instagram which is where I will post more handmade business related things rather than features.
Recent Articles I’ve Written
To all those who follow Handmade is Better thank you! I love featuring wonderful shops and seeing all the amazing things you’re making. Keep using #handmadeisbetter, I look at those when choosing features. Also I do giveaways for features and have giveaways for them sometimes. Stay tuned for more posts and ideas about how to improve your handmade business, because I’ve been there and love helping people. Heck, I’m still there!