A meeting of minds

Collaborating with creative design professionals is a great way to find new audiences and inspire your customers. Sara Davies explains how

For a craft business, the way you showcase your products can ultimately mean the difference between success and failure. If you don't highlight each range in the right way, customers won't be inspired to purchase, and profits may fall. Collaborating with designers is an excellent way to protect against this, so in this column, I'll be discussing how you can work with talented, creative crafters in order to maximise product exposure in the right way, through the best channels. Many freelance designers are already working with well-known craft companies. Their knowledge of how to showcase products in their best light allows them to create professional-looking samples with wow factor. These projects will be vital to selling your craft supply stock because they will inspire customers to recreate what they see, whether it be greetings cards, customised glass or seasonal decorations.

A clearer picture

As a starting point, commission a brand-appropriate design to create some projects using a new range. Many freelance crafters are also accomplished at taking high-resolution, clear photographs of their work and even creating video tutorials, so it would be worthwhile including this within your brief. Once available, this work can be used as a powerful tool to engage with your customers. Upload the images to your social media channels to encourage online traffic and display them strategically in-store. If the designer is also a blogger, they can showcase them on their own channels, as well as yours, reaching a far wider audience. You may wish to include this as a pre-requisite of the fee. If you find running your business leaves you short on the time needed to create your own online content you could ask freelance designers whose work you admire to do a guest tutorial on your blog, linking it back to theirs to encourage traffic across both outlets. Take this one step further and organise a blog hop or creative challenge with several designers to encourage more traffic to each other's channels. If you sponsor the challenge by providing the craft materials, you can stipulate a brand mention and a link back to your website in return. Ideas could include participants all posting a tutorial using the same theme one week, a different tool the next and so on, or each being challenged to create a make using a new product.

Bright ideas

Freelance designers also offer a fresh pair of eyes when it comes to existing products. As creative souls, they are more likely to come up with innovative new ideas, providing you with a great source of inspiration when it comes to planning make-and-takes or workshops within your store. Consult and collaborate with them on ideas for new classes and invite them to host events at your shop. This could be publicised both by the designer and you via your separate social media channels, widening your audience and potential customer reach. Book a designer and see how your business benefits!

Sara Davies MBE is a Durham-born crafter entrepreneur and founder of Crafters' Companion.

www.crafterscompaniontrade.co.uk

Fabric Freedom
Crafters Companion Limited
Hunkydory Crafts Ltd