Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First step - how did we do it?

It occurred to me when I wrote the last post that I should include HOW we got our first commission. After all this is supposed to be a full disclosure blog on our successes and failures at starting our business.

You often hear that the first sale is usually made to someone they knew - friend, family, work colleague, etc, and that was exactly the case here. It starts with talk. Talking about what we're doing with the people we know. Steph took some of the Tea Party Placemats into work that she's been making for our first market in June to show her workmates as they'd been talking about it. One of them asked "so, what else do you make?" to which Steph showed her my craft blog where she saw quilts, craft aprons and this baby playmat.

This lead to her asking if we could make her a King Single quilt for her daughters bed with elements she saw on the playmat and an adjustable craft apron. I got started straight away on the craft apron, adding some changes she wanted like a heart shaped pocket and embellishing it with her daughters initial, A, which she wasn't expecting but loved, and we made our first sale!

As for the King Single quilt, we drafted a quote, complete with drawings of suggested quilt designs for her to chose from and add to or change around as she wanted. I don't know how other businesses would have structured their quote but I wrote it as though I was the potential client, i.e. including information and optional choices that I would want to discuss. We included a list of options to be decided on such as a colour palette and applique placement, construction details such as the finished size, what was to be done by machine and what by hand, and an approximate timeline for completion. And the price of course.

I know that a quote doesn't need so much detail and there was probably more information there than she would have asked for herself but felt it was important to include these details as a way to justify the cost. Rookie mistake? Maybe. Insecure? Absolutely. Did I need to be? Not at all. Part of what has stopped me from trying to sell things previously is that handmade can be and almost always is more expensive and I've always been worried that there is such a small market, how could I ever break into it. Well thanks to sites like etsy and madeit the market is rapidly growing, in fact it has been for some time now. And people do know the value of a handmade item and are willing to pay for it. I suppose it's like anything else, you won't know unless you try and all you need is faith in yourself. I can make beautiful, professionally finished items that I want in my home. Why wouldn't others want them in their homes too? And as our first big commission has proven, they do.

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