Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Guest Post: Native Gifts

This post is brought to you by Sophie Edmonds of Native Gifts and I think she describes dreams and dilemmas common to many small businesses focusing on handmade goods.

I'll hand you over to Sophie...


I moved to Whitstable, Kent with the dream of setting up a natural skincare shop in Harbour Street, the picturesque row of boutiques and restaurants that prove a year round visitor magnet. Despite the recession, leases on the retail ‘golden 200m’ proved elusive & increasingly expensive. 

 In January I decided to re-think and take my dream shop online – a slightly scary proposition for a technophobe like me. The way I planned to differentiate from other websites was to focus on the gifting market: beautiful gift sets, all handmade in the UK, an alternative to sending flowers & cupcakes.
My suppliers are a truly inspirational group of talented skincare specialists: all women, all passionate about their products. They measure their success in terms of the quality, efficacy and popularity of their products and strive to use ingredients that are as natural and ethically sourced as possible, sometimes picking them from their own garden and local hedgerows.

Setting up a website these days is pretty straightforward and not too expensive, but the enormity of marketing it suddenly seemed overwhelming.  How would people ever get to know about it in such a crowded market place? I craved a shop window; I couldn’t afford to invest enough in PPC advertising or SEO to compete with the big boys and couldn’t possibly generate enough sales via word of mouth. DIY marketing it would have to be and all signposts pointed to social media.

I have to admit it is unknown territory for me (& still very early days) but suddenly help is at hand. There is a wonderful solidarity between women working from home that makes them generous with information and contacts. Women are great social media networkers because they are natural communicators. They like to blog & tweet. They love to ‘discover’ new things & ‘share’ these with friends. This is the perfect marketing strategy for a small business – word of mouth, but on a massive scale.

Time for me to take control of my marketing and start tweeting and blogging in earnest!

Follow Sophie on Twitter

or view her website: Native Gifts

Thanks Sophie!  I agree social networking is an excellent way for a small business to market itself and there is a wealth of knowledge and information being shared.

So - what are your favourite social marketing tips?  Please feel free to share them in the comments!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good luck with it all! x