Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Doing the Research

Most of the time, I just sew. I get an idea and rummage through my fabric to find a piece that will work. Or I stare at a piece fabric until an idea comes. But, as I told a friend a little while ago, it really is harder to get business when you just make stuff and hope that people will buy it. I like the freedom of that way better, but custom orders really are a much more sure way of making money. But what if you don't have orders at the moment? What do you do then? Well...do some research. That's what I did the other day. I wanted to find out what was selling. What are people looking for? What do people buy? Once you find that out, you can put your own spin on it - make the ones you create stand out and catch people's attention.

I typed "top Etsy shops", or something of that sort,  into Google, and up came some sites with lists of the most successful sellers on Etsy. A few of these top stores sold jewelry. Not my area of expertise. Several of them sold printed apparel. (Seriously, if you have any experience with that sort of thing, I suggest you try turning it into a business!) A few sold knitted things, and there was even one store that sold really cute laptop cases. Hmm...there's an idea! But the shops that really got me thinking were the ones that sold headbands for babies and little girls. There were several, and they seemed to be among the top of the top.

So...I made some headbands. Now, it's not enough to just make what's big at the moment. You have to stand out - to find a hole in what is offered and fill it. After I had made a few lace and tulle headbands, I got to thinking...believe it or not, there are not a lot of Frozen-themed headbands out there - at least not on Etsy. So I made some. I also made a hunter orange camo headband, because some hunting fanatic might want one for their little girl. (I'd better be careful...I know some people who would love that headband...)

The great thing about these headbands is that they don't take too much time and effort to make, so it's not a very costly experiment. Now I have them listed on Etsy and eBay, and all I have to do is sit back and see if my strategy pays off!

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