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By Jane Button, The Creative Product Mentor

 

I've written several articles on tricks of the trade for starting, running and profiting from your Creative Product Ideas. These are from questions I've been sent as well as information that I think you will find useful with starting or running your business. Please feel free to share these articles or even reuse them in your newsletters, as long as the article is unedited, printed in its entirety (including the "About the Author" and copyright notices), and you send a copy or link to me at janebutton@design2marketsuccess.com  

 

 

 

Over and over again I see people with fantastic products and ideas for products Ė and yet they are not making progress or money or their way to being profitable.  Their enthusiasm for the product is great at first and then there comes a point where the business becomes stagnant Ė going nowhere fast.

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

 

Dear Jane, 

 

I really need some help! I'm selling my line of soft dolls both wholesale and retail. I've done what you suggested and changed my pricing structure so I can sell both wholesale and retail and make more money. And itís really working well for us Ė weíve increased our business 25% year to date.

 

Here's my dilemma Ė how can I serve both my retail and wholesale customers and do it well? ...

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

Narrowing the Field: What To Look for And What To Ask

Once you've narrowed the field and located several potential manufacturers (I recommend finding at least 3), it's time to start your due diligence. The challenge is to know as much as you possibly can about the company and their facility.

Your manufacturer is one of the most important relationships your company will have. You are essentially interviewing a potential partner ...

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

 

Youíve started your business designing and creating your fabulous product and NOW you realize youíve got to find a manufacturer. Since youíre not going to be making your product all yourself and still do all the other parts of your business Ė like designing, marketing, selling, accounting, shipping, customer service and being the visionary Ė itís time to find a manufacturer who can do the production for you.

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

 

Over the last few days Iíve had conversations with several clients and students. Itís great to connect with you and share your celebrations, visions, long term goals and amazing creativity. I am blown away by the fabulous ideas and products! There are some outstanding ideas and opportunities facing many of you.

But thereís something bothers me....

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

 

 

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

 

You know when you were a kid and you started whining and your parents gave you a "time out"?  It's no different in business- you hear people whining and saying things like:

  •  I can't

  •  She has more stores interested in buying her products

  • They have more money than I do

  • They were an overnight success - I am struggling

  • I have children so I don't have enough time

  • I have to do everything myself so I can't get things done as fast as the other guys

Give yourself a "time-out" from this kind of thinking.

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

 

I wish I had a $1 for every time I hear the "But I don't have any money" excuse. I don't mean to be harsh, but it is an excuse. It's an excuse not to do something, not to experience something and an excuse not to get going with what you really want to do.

 

As I would probably say to my 3 year old grand daughter, it's a stall tactic.

 

You've said it, I've said it - and again I don't mean to be harsh, but when you say those words to yourself or anyone else, you instantly shut down and stop thinking about what it is that you want to create. A wall goes up and the creativity goes down.

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

As a creative person who has either recently launched a new business or if you're just starting out trying to figure out just what product to start with, it's a good idea to keep it simple.  Keeping your base categories and product line straight forward helps your customer know exactly who you are, what you offer and how they can relate to your brand.

Make sure your potential customers or clients understand exactly what you do. Get known for being the best "__________"  If they don't understand your products or the need for them - good-bye potential customer! And pretty much - good-bye business!

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

When I hired my first sales rep in New York it was the best thing I ever did for the growth of my company. The first season sales doubled for the year. It was just the beginning. I had really good success selling my line myself. I personally sold to Nordstrom. I needed growth and I wanted it now. Off I went to NY and the rest was history.

 

If you want your business to grow youíll need to find other people to sell your products other than yourself. Hiring a sales rep is one of the best and fastest ways to increase your sales. Youíll find itís more economical for you to find independent sales representatives to sell for you because you will need more time for other parts of your business and you donít want to spread yourself too thin. After all you have other things to do in creating your empire!

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

Have you ever had an idea for a product, a business or a new creative line, gotten so far and then pouf!! nothing....off into oblivion?

What happened? You sat there with egg on your face because you'd told everyone you were creating something and then failed to launch. You stopped talking about it and hoped and prayed no one would ask you how you were coming along with it.

Sound familiar?

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

 

I see it over and over - and in fact Iíve done it myself, but youíve got to STOP IT if you want your business and your life to be successful and profitable.

 

Let me ask you something? Do you think Ralph Lauren is out in the shipping room packing boxes? or Diane Von Furstenberg does her own bookkeeping? Do you think Martha Stewart does all of the projects that appear in her magazine or takes all the photographs?

 

Of course not....

 

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

We've all read the news and watched television about the economy. Many of our friends and colleagues have lost their jobs. People are living in fear because this is what the media surrounds us with - FEAR. Have you noticed how unbalanced the news has become? Personally I can't watch or listen any more; it's too much negative energy.

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

7 Things You Can Change in your Creative Product Business So You Can Make MORE MONEY NOW:

A few days ago I was asked (on twitter) to critique a website to see if I could offer any help about a creative product. I checked through it pretty quickly and my immediate response was: there are 5 things I could tell you right away about what you could change that would completely alter your bottom line, increase your sales and turn your great idea into a REAL business. I'm thinking that maybe if that was you, and you were looking to become a profitable business, you might want to know the 5 things you could change. So I am going to share those with you, and add a bonus two items, so here they are:

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Ask Jane: Can I Sell Handmade Crafts Wholesale?

 

I recently received this email from a follower who has been making one of a kind items herself and was offered the opportunity to expand. This is a perfect question, especially for those of you who are ready to take your items to the next level where you're taking your craft and turning it to profit.

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Three Biggest Myths that Hold Crafters & Cottage Businesses Back from Being Profitable

 

There are 3 big myths that hold crafters, designers, and small cottage industries back from stepping up to the plate, realizing their full potential and making a profit. The truth is, all of these myths are centered around fear, doubt and uncertainty. Change is an inevitable part of growth. Take a look at these Myths and see which ones apply to your business:

<Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Santa Claus In Summer: 7 Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Season

 

Do you realize that Christmas is just a little over 4 months away and Hanukkah is less than 4 months away? If you sell creative products either retail or wholesale you know that the Fall/Holiday season can be a make or break season for many businesses. But are you ready?

Here are 7 ways to get yourself prepared this summer so you are not scrambling when it comes time to market, sell and ship whether you sell wholesale, retail or both: <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

How Working Backwards Helps To Move Your Business Forward

 

Working backwards, or creating a time line with the end in mind is a critical concept to creating a line or product of any type whether you are going to sell retail or wholesale. There is a drop dead date for completion whether it is prototypes, sample goods for shows or final goods for delivery to stores or for selling at craft fairs. At some point there is what I affectionately call a Final Final deadline Ė and if youíre not ready you lose. You lose not just sales but credibility. This is how important it is to set an accurate timeline and learn how to work backwards.

 <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Do you Have a JOB or a Business?

When I started my first company, I actually created a JOB for myself, all the time thinking I had started a business. It took me awhile but I finally discovered there was a huge difference between creating a JOB and creating a Business. And until I became aware of the difference my company grew slowly and I could not figure out why that was. I had a great product and it seemed like everyone loved it? Why was it not growing faster? <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Do you Know How to Find More Time?

Time is the great equalizer - we all have exactly the same amount - 24 hours in a day - period. It's HOW we utilize our time to accomplish our goals that counts. Time is never the reason why you don't do something. It may sound harsh, but in order to maximize your time and create more time you must make critical choices. And once you do that - the sky's the limit. You can do anything you want to in the amount of time you each have. <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Jibe Ho: Lessons In Leadership: Sometimes you have to FOLLOW

In business, we focus so much on being leaders and developing our leadership skills that we forget - sometimes you have to follow, too.  The other day I was reminiscing with my sister, Ann, about a memorable Christmas gift we received from our parents when we were 12 and 13: a little "Sailfish" sailboat.sailing
 
We were thrilled when summer came and we could take sailing lessons on Rehoboth Bay in Delaware, where our grandparents had a beach cottage. After our instructor had pronounced us "good enough," we entered the competitive races.
 
Until that time in my life, I don't think I had any idea how competitive I was, and how much I really wanted to win.
  <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

15 Quick Tips For Selling Crafts, Sewn, Knit, Gift Or Jewelry Products to Stores

One of the questions I often get asked in my craft, creative product consulting business is how to sell wholesale to stores & boutiques. Once you get the appointment, what comes next? This is a wonderful opportunity. Getting into the wholesale market is the way to greatly expand your business. Although you want the recognition and the sale, there are several things you need to pull together before you go to the meeting and before you decide to sell to this store. You need to be prepared and professional before you walk in the door, so here are my suggestions:  <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Ask Jane: Can I make $1000 per month with Etsy?

I received a message on one of the forums I regularly follow where people ask questions about their creative product/craft businesses. I thought it was a very timely question for everyone because so many of you are getting started or are in the process of supplementing your incomes and want to have answers to THE HOW part of your business. Though I've changed the question slightly, essentially here was the question asked and my answer:  <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Ask Jane: Help! I'm Meeting With A Buyer for the First Time!!!

Dear Jane, I have a full time job and have just started a handbag biz on the side. I have 2 basic shapes but each bag is a one-of-a-kind creation. I have sold only to friends and co-workers. I was in a shop and the owner asked me about the bag I was wearing. To make a long story short she wants to sell them in her boutique. I'm excited to meet with her but need some pointers before my presentation. What advice can you give me?  <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Do You Know What the Most Important Part of Your Business Is?

Some of my clients have a tendency to spend so much time on their actual creative product that selling or marketing it is only an after thought. It's sort of, "OMG you mean they won't just show up on my doorstep now that I have this great product?" The answer is a resounding, NO! It's up to you to entice potential buyers to look at what you have. <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

How To Set Up an Agreement with a Sales Rep: 5 Key Issues to Handle BEFORE You Hire!

Hiring an independent sales rep is a great way to increase sales and really grow your business. When I started my business, hiring a New York sales rep doubled my business in a season. With their access and connections to stores, buyers and others in the industry they can increase your business and make your line a success. Once you have selected the rep you want to hire, you must establish certain criteria ahead of the final hiring process: <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

How Does Your Product Measure Up to the Competition?

Years ago when I was first in business I started attending one of the biggest trade shows in my industry which was held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. I was instantly overwhelmed with the number of booths and the vast assortment of products being sold to the trade. I thought I knew something about my competition but until I attended the show I really had no idea of who I was really up against. <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Are You a Mompreneur or a WAHM?

Currently you can find many forums, blogs and information on the internet about Mompreneurs and WAHMs. There is a great support system out there where you can find tips. I will list a few of my favorites at the end of this article. Here are my quick tips for what helped me to move my business forward while still being a great Mom, great wife, and the glue that keep our family going .... <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

Always Be Marketing: 11 Ways to Boost Your Creative Product Marketing In Today's Economy

Everyday we're hearing doom and gloom in the news and what "they're saying" about the economy. But did you know that many businesses are hiring, thriving and growing? These are the ones you don't hear about and "they" don't want you to know about.  With a creative product business, the most important thing you can do right now to boost sales and thrive is update your MARKETING and keep MARKETING!  <Click here for the rest of the article...>

 

 

 

 

 

Articles

 

Why Your Product Business Isn't Working

 

The Dilemma of Selling Products Wholesale and Retail

 

What To Ask A Prospective Manufacturer

 

Finding the "Right" Manufacturer for Your Creative Products

 

 

Are You Seeing Yourself in the BIG Picture?

 

Tired of Not Making Any Money with Your Crafts?

 

Stop Whining and Start Winning

 

The "But I don't have any Money" Excuse is no longer acceptable

 

Find Your Big Idea And Keep It Simple

 

Sales Rep Secrets: What to expect and how to find a good one

 

Failure to Launch: Fear, Fascination or Frustration?

 

STOP It! The Truth About Doing It All

 

Step Away from the fear: Your Playing Small does not serve your or the world

 

7 Things You Can Change in your Creative Product Business So You Can Make MORE MONEY NOW

 

Can I sell Handmade Crafts Wholesale?

 

3 Biggest Myths that Hold Crafters & Cottage Business Back from Being Profitable

 

Santa Claus in Summer: 7 Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Season

 

How Working Backwards Helps To Move Your Business Forward

 

Do You Have A JOB or A Business?

 

How to Find More Time

 

Lessons In Leadership: Sometimes you have to FOLLOW 

 

15 Quick Tips For Selling  Products to Stores

 

Can I make $1000 per month with Etsy?

 

Help! I'm Meeting With A Buyer for the First Time!!!

 

 

 

PHONE: 800-213-9250 | Jane Button on twitter  |  Jane Button on Facebook  |  JANE BUTTON ON PINTEREST