Today I’m taking a minute to rant about one of my pet peeves as a frequent buyer of handmade items: labels!
I can’t tell you how many times I have bought an item from a handmade seller that I intended to use as a gift for someone else, OR the number of times I have received a gift from someone that was originally purchased from a handmade seller, and that handmade gift item came without any label at all.
Do you see the missed opportunity here?
Maybe these sellers just don’t understand how to label handmade creations. Maybe they just figure if a customer buys an item then they’ll always remember where they got it. I’m stumped, I tell you!
Let me play out a few scenarios for you, both of which happened recently.
Scenario 1: My sister sent me a bracelet for my birthday; she had purchased it from an Etsy seller. The bracelet was awesome and jingly and it had a ton of charms on it, all related to Doctor Who. It was like a sparkly Nerd Badge and I was excited to wear it with pride. In fact, I was SO excited that I really wanted to tell my friends about the bracelet, and sing its geeky praises on social media so that other nerds would be able to get their hands on such an accessory.
Except, I couldn’t.
Well, I could have, but it wouldn’t have made a single sale for that Etsy seller. And can you guess why? It’s because – whoever they were – that Etsy seller didn’t include a label on the bracelet. So when my sister gave it to me, it was wrapped up in a cute little gift box, but it had no identifying marks on it to tell me where it came from. Therefore, I wasn’t able to tell other people to go and throw their cash at that Etsy shop’s door, because I didn’t know who had made the bracelet.
Scenario 2: I went shopping on Etsy for my sister’s birthday that same year. My sister hosts a lot of dinner parties, so I wanted to get her some handmade napkin rings. I found a set that was made from birch wood, which I thought would be perfect because my sister and I grew up in a house with a birch tree on the front yard, and I remember she was always fond of the photography of Ansel Adams; particularly his images of birch trees. I added the napkin rings to my cart and waited for them to arrive.
And arrive they did! Except that they were just put into a box, properly wrapped in terms of protecting them from damage during shipping, but without any kind of label or business card included in the package. So I gave my sister the gift, but she has no idea where I bought them. I can imagine she might have thought, Hey, these are great! I wish I had a double set – except there’s no tag, so I don’t know where to get more! Or maybe a dinner guest at her house might ask her about them, and all she’d be able to say is that her kid sister got them for her, but she had no idea from where.
In both of these scenarios, the maker in question missed an opportunity for marketing. Do my sister and I write blogs with millions of followers, or host TV shows about the handmade marketplace, or have an “in” with the hottest craft shows in the land? Nope. But we could … or, a person like that could be YOUR next customer. And in either case, just one tweet from me or a Facebook comment from my sister could have meant a sale or two for these sellers that they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Let this be a lesson to you, makers! Put labels on your products, and include an extra business card in every package! Your buyer may not always tell you that the item is going to be a gift for someone else, so package your item with the assumption that it will be – and that the recipient of that gift is going to become your next Biggest Fan.
Here are some tips how to label handmade creations, so you don’t make the same mistake that so many of your fellow creators have made:
- If you sell jewelry, housewares (such as – ahem – napkin rings), or other small objects: use hang tags. They come in all shapes and sizes, and you can hand-write your brand information on them, have them custom printed for you, or print your own stickers and attach them to the tags.
- If you sell items made from fabric, use your own fabric labels. You can print a label onto printable fabric and sew it into an item, have fabric labels printed for you, or even use iron-on transfers or fabric pens to write your logo onto a product.
- If you sell art, cards, art prints, or other paper products – print your shop name and web site address onto the back of every item you print and sell.
- If you sell a digital product, such as printables or ebooks, make sure you use a footer that includes your name and web site on every document.
Do you label your handmade creations? What’s your preferred labeling style? Tell us about it in the comments below! And if you have a product and you’re not sure how to label it, leave us a question in the comments and we’ll help you come up with something!