It looks like the 2020 spring art and craft show season has been cancelled…
...or HAS it?
If you are anything like me, you came into 2020 with a feeling of “yaaaassss….THIS is MY year! I am full of ideas and creativity and hope!”.
It felt GOOD. It felt RIGHT. It felt PROMISING.
Then, the world just kinda went ahead and fell apart. If ever there was a time to be in the soap business, now is it. This new coronavirus is spreading faster than wildfire and is twice as scary. For businesses like ours, it would be easy to sit back and say “well, that just about does it. I’m done.”
Let me be the first to say: this is NOT the end, my friend. Oh, no. This is the BEGINNING: the beginning of a new era. The beginning of a new world. The beginning of the new normal (I know...buzzword alert).
It’s time to take your work, bust right through those fears, and get your business rolling online. If ever there was a time for you to get online, this is it. There will never be another greater sign than “every show in the world is cancelled and no one can leave their home”. This is it: this is the signal.
If you are already online, be it on Etsy or on Shopify or somewhere else, then KUDOS to you! You have begun to lay the foundation for what will drive your business into the future. Yes, shows will come back. Of course they will. But, never again will you ever question whether or not you NEED a website.
So, let's get back to the previously mentioned cancelled show season. While yes, its unlikely that you will be hauling your goodies out to a show, setting up your tent and tables, and selling happily to the masses (hello social distancing), the show CAN absolutely go on in the digital world. Thanks to Facebook events, email lists, and websites, you can band together and deliver a wonderful event to your audience right in the comfort of their homes.
In my jewelry business bel monili, I have been successfully running online parties and shows since 2015. It was something that I saw a lot of multilevel marketing clothing companies doing (not gonna name names...you know the infamous leggings) and I thought...hmm. This could really work. Guess what: it totally did.
How did I do it?
That was the first iteration of my parties. They worked...but they were a LOT OF WORK. I would essentially blow up everyone’s newsfeed with pictures of my jewelry by posting one after another, and it was a downright nightmare to try to keep everyone’s purchases straight. I’d have to copy and paste product names, customer names, and emails over into Excel, and then sort the columns so that I had all of their different purchases together. Then I’d have to invoice (I invoiced through Square), inevitably chase a couple of payments, and then manually enter in shipping info for each one. Like I said, it WORKED...but I knew there had to be a better way.
After some brainstorming, I realized that it would be MUCH better (and easier!) for me to move the product portion of the virtual party over to my Shopify website. Here’s how it was different:
Ok, that’s the selling part: let's get to the party part. Here is a step by step of how I suggest setting it up:
There is a lot of room for creativity here friends: the sky’s the limit! This is a wonderful opportunity for you to grow your audience, support your fellow small business owners, show up for your customers, and get some nice traction on your website.
To help you get started, I created a free video tutorial series showing you exactly how to set up the online sale for success.
psst: if you need some extra help getting that Shopify site up and running, I have created a self-paced mini course JUST for handmade sellers! Click to see what it's about: