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How Can I Be Original When Selling Handmade?

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It is a challenging marketplace out there, but why? As the internet, social media, YouTube, and search engines exponentially grew, so did the ability to learn how to create anything. Learn to crochet, learn to sew, learn to wood turn, and so on.

The great thing about this influx of handmade in the last several years is that people are sharing their talents, feeding capitalism, and encouraging economic growth. The problem about this is with the incredible rise of quick-to-learn crafts, the handmade market has become unbelievably competitive and seemingly impossible for one to stand out among the crowd.

With the incredible rise of quick-to-learn crafts, the handmade market has become unbelievably competitive.

So how does your product stand out?

The biggest, yet hardest challenge is finding a feature or features that make your product different. If your product is different, it has the opportunity to be the most desirable choice. So ask yourself, what makes my product different from the rest, and why does this make it better?

Ask yourself, what makes my product different from the rest, and why does this make it better?

Maybe you have obtained this incredible red lava stone from planet Mars, given to you by your great great great alien aunt and you are going to make jewelry necklaces from this rock, because no one in the world has this rock so this was incredibly easy for you and life is just easy and you probably never even have to exercise to look amazing.

Or maybe this question might hurt your brain, like it did mine.

But buckle up kiddo and think outside the box. It is time to stretch your creative mind beyond just the simple name of the product you want to sell, to why you deserve people’s hard earned cash more than the next business. You need to be able to articulate the answer to “What makes my product better?” Only then do you have the fuel to sell and the fire to earn.

You need to be able to articulate the answer to “What makes my product better?” Only then do you have the fuel to sell and the fire to earn.

Stuck? I get it. Believe me, I have been in your shoes - when you love what you make and you think it is the best, but if someone asked why they should buy it, your mouth hangs open as you try to remember what your name is. And just so we are clear, because you made it is not a reason your product is better. Maybe you thought that was what made your item original, but I'm sorry to say it's not.

Because you made it is not a reason your product is better.

Bummed out? It's okay, you can recover from that information. Now, really think of why your product should sell over your competitors. This can seem like a daunting question, so below are a few prompts to get you thinking about originality. Maybe a few of these prompts make your product better, maybe just a single one applies and is enough. Either way, keep asking yourself over and over – how is my product different, and therefore better?

Originality Prompts for Handmade Sellers

Not only will these prompts get you really thinking, but they will also help you highlight the features of your product when marketing. Think of them as selling points and even conversation starters.

 Competition Know your competition, what is out there, what your potential customer already has exposure to. Then pay close attention to what isn't offered - what's lacking?
Niche Does your product appeal to a specific group, perhaps even one that has since been overlooked? Does it appeal more specifically to one type of person than another?  People who live in apartments? People who have chickens? People who are rich, earth friendly, have newborns, etc.
Cost Is your product considered higher end, or lower end? Is your product considered a luxury or necessity?
Material Is your product made from a different material? Maybe they use felt, and you use canvas. Perhaps you only use recycled metal for your jewelry, etc.
Method Does how you make the item completely differ than someone else’s? Do you hand stitch instead of use a sewing machine? Do you use traditional methods or modern, new technology?
Customization Do you offer customization for your customers – can they truly have a one of a kind item? Do they get to choose features, add-ons, or styles?
Usage Is your product re-usable? Is it disposable, which may even be more appealing?
Availability Are the materials seasonal (i.e. your product is made from leaves and so changes with the seasons), or in limited supply (i.e. you make as you can find materials, such as specific recycled engine parts from a neighborhood junkyard).
Feature Does your product have a certain feature that allows the buyer to do something else they couldn’t do before? Is it improved from the competitors? 
Signature Style Perhaps your marketing, brand, reputation, or style are different enough to be desired.
Design Does it have a significantly different color, shape, weight, etc. Does your product always incorporate the same color palette, the same material, something familiar and recognizable as your brand?

 

Still having trouble?

Click HERE for a little visual exercise to help you compare your product to your competitors.

 

To compete, you must be a competitor. If you want to sell, you must have something worthy of winning the sale. But hey, if you want to leisurely sell a hand knit blanket for $50 that took you three months to make and $100 in materials, I can’t stop you. But if you want to grow, have sustainable income, live in a world where creativity really does count for more, and really challenge the value of handmade, then accept the challenge of being better.

Share with us!

How are you fostering originality and accepting the challenge of being better? What features of your product make your proud to sell? Share in the comments below!



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