Promoting you. Where do you start? What's your niche? How do you stay consistent? What will appeal to others?
Let me start from the beginning. It was all an idea. I had a Cricut, but it was collecting dust in the closet. I initially purchased one to make small wooden signs for weddings. I whipped it out a few times here and there, but always put it back in the closet until next time.
In March 2019, I wanted to take a stab at making shirts for co-workers at the local bar I worked at. It was St. Patty’s and I thought it’d be cute to have everyone in matching T’s to celebrate the holiday – not realizing that everyone would order one + some of my devoted regulars. 30+ shirts later, I was so excited!
This is when my brain started turning on the endless possibilities! Holiday shirts, wedding shirts, Bach party shirts and everything in between! And then came Instagram. I knocked on Lizzy’s (@thehouseoftimber) door. We had met a while back when I was building furniture and making signs – but my Instagram fell off as I had moved, and my space became limited for building. Lizzy and I built such a close relationship. We caught up over facetime, and being the genuine person that she is, we quickly realized we had quite the idea. That was when we launched the “House of Timber” logo T’s. Once we launched her T, we sold over 250 shirts! WOAH. I could not believe the response, but solely knew it was because of her loyal following that the listing was so successful!
After that, I knew I had something. And now was the right time to roll with it! Lizzy brought me so many amazing woodworkers that I’ve continued to have the opportunity to work with. But with that, it was entirely up to me to keep this going. There has definitely been bumps, but much like my recent post, "Growth means choosing happiness over history and never looking back". Don't ever dwell on the mishaps, "No one is posting their failures". Everyone learns from mistakes, and that is literally how we grow!
Instagram soon became my outlet - which is incredibly tough for any starting business, because well, algorithm (insert eye roll). But, I began posting consistent content. My custom T’s on a hanger with a tie became seemingly popular. I also developed a loving relationship with the color mint.
Fast forward to now, by no means, am I an expert at this social media thing – but I will say growing relationships is so important to succeeding. It’s because of the relationships I’ve built that has led me to where I am. Being kind isn’t required, but it’s so much appreciated. I always have a growing list of people I would love to work with, and although it can be intimidating, the worst they can say is no!
Here are some pointers to building – I am in no way saying this will work, but simply letting you know what has worked for me!
- Post consistently – I’ve posted 3 times a day, 1 time, and not at all. I’ve found that I get the best response in posting once a day, but no more than that. If I don’t have something to post, at least posting in my stories still seems to keep my engagement up.
- Post consistent content – When posting consistently, posting consistent content helps. Choose a “color scheme” for your feed and stick with it. When I first starting posting, my feed was bright light and sunny yellow tones! I have recently transitioned to a more subtle, boho color scheme that I am loving. Both color schemes were purchased in a bundle from @nicoledigipresets. If you are pondering on investing in a set filter/color scheme, I HIGHLY suggest it! When I scroll through other accounts, I follow ones based off their feed, whether it’s consistent, appealing and well, interesting at first glance!
- Build relationships – this is so important. My best of friends and biggest supporters are my insta-friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you envy someone, introduce yourself! Most accounts looking to grow will love meeting new people and growing the community!
- Inspire vs. Copy – this one hits home. For me and many friends that I have met along the way. Being in the maker community is TOUGH. You’re essentially sharing your creative mind with the world, in hopes no one will copy you, but rather become inspired to fulfill their own path! I am so excited when I get DM’s asking how I did this or that, and I love helping others. But, I have also cried in frustration over someone copying my listing description on Etsy word for word – OR being asked for advice in a DM, then going to their page to realize they have literally copied my posts/design and caption word for word. Nothing is more painful, because at the end of the day there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. So be YOU, because people love that. I love that! I love that I inspired you and I can’t wait to see the projects you create because I inspired you. Be authentic and figure out what sparks you. I’ve learned from experience that if I try to thrive off someone else’s idea, I end up running out of gas and walking away. Stay true to you and what interests you the most!
- Engage - Talk to your followers! Respond to comments and compliment those accounts you love! The best way we can support each other is by engaging in posts. You don’t even have to spend a penny to support a small business!
Making friends has been my favorite part in this whole thing. On bad days, my escape outlet is Instagram. And although it’s important to “unplug”, sometimes the best way to unplug is by escaping to what motivates you.
This is also why I chose to transition from Etsy to Shopify. Etsy didn’t give me the opportunity to explain myself or allow others to get to know me, before supporting my small business. Why push my dedicated followers to a page that has over a billion in numbers of competition, when I can have the opportunity to introduce myself in a way more personal way?
I think my biggest lesson I have learned is to make friends. Be open to new relationships, helping others while still building your brand – the rest is a bonus!