If you’re here, reading this article, you clearly have a keen eye and a true appreciation for handmade craftsmanship. In today’s blog post, I would like to share with you what it means to be a maker business; how we’re simultaneously each unique, and yet each share these same sentiments.
We take our business personally
“Maker” businesses, or businesses based on handmade goods, have a unique placement in the world of retail because our business is personal; we’re literally getting our hands dirty to create something beautiful that we want to share with the world. As professional as we each are, your reviews, comments, and critiques are still close to our heart. We want you to be honest and give sincere feedback, but lashing out at a maker business over a disappointment is not quite the same as it is when it’s a huge chain. You’re most likely dealing with the owner, who is probably the craftsman, photographer, web developer, accountant, and everything rolled into one. In a sense, our business is our child that we nurture, grow, and hope to see it graduate from college and be independent one day.
We’ve worked incredibly hard to develop our formulas
Whether we’re making soaps, aromatherapy, candles, skincare, bags, clothes, jewelry, the list goes on, we have spent years developing our style, our formulas, and our technique. We would never sell anything that we haven’t tested multiple times until we’ve perfected it (and then tested it some more). We’ve given away tons of our products while we’re in the testing phases to solicit feedback – go ahead, ask our friends and family members who are chock-full of “well-it-works-but-this-is-hideous” testers. Because of our hard work, we stand behind our products and will offer the best customer service in town.
This is far more than a hobby for us
Many of us started out as hobbyists. We found a passion for crafting, and began working on our art, but it has developed into a business for us. For this reason, our formulations and techniques are proprietary; please do not put us in an awkward position by asking us “how” to make something, or asking us for a recipe. This is our livelihood. We’ve invested thousands of dollars to build our websites, build our inventory, test our work, get certifications and licenses. We are artists, and by nature, artists are very giving people, but we are also small businesses trying to thrive in a competitive market. Believe me, we want you to craft and find a passion for your art, but if it happens to be the same thing as we’re selling, then it’s best if you do some Google searching to get the basics. Look at it this way, do you ask your mechanic to teach you how to fix your brakes as she is fixing your brakes?
We want to connect to you
We know you could probably buy something similar to what we make on a larger, global market. But we also know if you’re interested in our products, it’s because you’re interested in us. The feeling is mutual! What makes us different than box-brands is that we sincerely care about your life, your dreams, what makes you tick. We want to hear about how your partner frustrated you, about how our soap makes your kids actually want to take a bath. We love these stories because we’re living them with you.
Your word-of-mouth is our survival
As small businesses, we go out of our way to show our customers we appreciate them, because without you, there is no us. We offer rewards programs, send little handwritten thank you notes, give you a sample or some candy with your purchase; we do it because we appreciate you, and hope you will appreciate our gestures, too. It’s amazing if you love our products, and thank you, but something simple like writing a review, telling your friend about us, or giving one of our items as a gift is the true heart and soul of our survival. Some stores can survive no matter how many unhappy customers there are, we cannot; your greatest compliment is your referral. And hey, don’t be shy about it, tell us you referred Jane Doe, we’ll be sure to thank you both for it!
We’re always doing our best to meet your demands
When you give us tips, advice, and suggestions, believe me, we’re listening. When you’re frustrated that something is out of stock, or wish a candle came in the same fragrance as a soap, we’re listening. Sometimes we can make it happen, but sometimes we can’t. As maker businesses, there is a lot of trial-and-error that comes with offering something new on the market. It’s a matter of supplies, equipment, regulations, and more. If we can’t bring something to a general market that you’re asking for, don’t be shy to ask for a custom order; if we’re able to do it for you, we will. On the flip side, there are so many factors involved, please don’t be offended if we can’t create something you’re asking for.
We follow the good/cheap/fast rule
The rule that goes with good/cheap/fast is that you can only have a maximum of two at once. If you want something good and cheap, it won’t be fast; if you want something fast and good, it won’t be cheap; if you want something cheap and fast, it won’t be good.
We vehemently support other makers and small businesses
Because we’re all part of this circle, we also support other makers and small businesses. For example, to design my website, I use Dean Pagliaro of eCommerceDean; for the vast majority of my photographs, I use Bryan Maes of Inspiration Studios; for networking and insurance, I use Indie Business Network. We read each other’s blogs, we comment, we shop from one another, all for the same reason you’re here: We understand the importance of small business for the entrepreneurial dream, and for the growth of our economy.
Thank you for taking the time to read about Maker Businesses. We all truly appreciate your support, but more so, your belief in us.