This blog is meant to be a record of my adventures as a new home-based business owner. Starting my jewellery business was one of the most daunting things I've ever done, next to giving birth. Especially since I was (am?) pretty technically stunted. In this blog I will describe the trials, tribulations and, hopefully, eventual successes I experience while navigating the world of (really, really, really small) business. I also plan to use this blog to talk about all the aspects of jewellery design that fascinate me, keep me addicted, and cause me to spend thousands of dollars (What, honey? No, I didn't say thousands...) on gemstones, beads, findings, etc. I welcome your input, ideas, and stories of similar experiences in beading, jewellery design, or running a handcrafts business.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Frugal Tycoon's Money-Saving Tips

Marketing and promotional materials are an essential part of building a small business and getting your name and product out there.  The costs of these materials can be prohibitive to a budding tycoon, though.  Through research and happy accident, I've found a few ways to save money on these promotional materials. 

1.  Make mini cards.  Buy pretty blank cards from the dollar store, and cut them into 1-inch strips.  Using a nice marker, write a personal note to the buyer on these and slip them into the package before shipping.

2.  Make your own promotional literature.  If you don't have Microsoft Publisher, consider investing in it.  I've used it to design my own business cards, flyers, craft booth signs, and e-invites for beading parties.  I printed my own colour flyers, on my ink-jet printer, on normal office paper.  After looking into the price of printing 50 colour flyers at a print shop, I figured that it was cheaper to buy a new colour cartridge just for this purpose.  I got 50 copies, and there was still lots of ink left.  Of course, this is economical only if your printer's cartridges aren't atrociously expensive (mine, thankfully, aren't.)  The flyers look great, and the whole thing cost about $30.00. If you don't want to buy Microsoft Publisher, you can download a trial version that lasts for about a month. 

3.  Make your own earring cards.  I used Avery's online templates to design and print my own earring cards. I bought a package of Avery Clean-Edge business card sheets, and found a nice image to use on Microsoft Office's free clip art website.  Using my trusty ink-jet printer, I printed out about 100 earring cards.  After snapping them apart, I poked holes for the earring wires, using a sewing needle.  I had trouble finding the self-adhesive hangers in Canada, so I just bought inexpensive earring cards, cut them to about 15 mm wide, and glued them onto the backs of the cards.  They look great, and I can make them in two different sizes by using either half the business card, or the whole card for longer, dangling earrings. 

4.  Like many fledgling businesses, my jewellery business is constantly growing and changing.  I'm gradually branching out, trying new ways to promote and sell my work.  This summer, shortly after I ordered and received my beautiful new business cards, I bit the bullet and started this blog, and at the same time, started my Facebook page.  Of course, these addresses weren't on the business cards I had just ordered.  Rather than throw away the cards and order more, I found the perfect solution.  I found some clear sticky labels from Avery (no, really, I don't have stock in the company,) that are about 30 mm by 10 mm.  I printed the new information on these labels, using my ink-jet printer, and slapped them on the backs of my business cards and my earring cards.  It looks like the info is printed right on the card.

 I hope these ideas are helpful.  If you have any other money-saving ideas for promotion, jewellery-making supplies, or another aspect of small handcraft business, please share!

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