{5 tips to grow your biz + work with your community.}

just over two years ago i moved my gussy sews shop from etsy to big cartel. and then shortly after i wrote this post comparing the two e-commerce sites based on my personal experience. don’t get me wrong ~ i love etsy and all the resources they distribute. their newsletters inspire me with seller ideas and overall brand development {are you signed up??}. however, working with big cartel has been fabulous as well! :) i so appreciate the complete HTML freedom as well as having an independent shop {no “home” link which showcases other shops}. and, it’s been amazing working with big cartel and getting to know their team a bit more.

today my friend dan is here to share 5 tips to grow your business and work with your community.

so dan, take it away, sir!

* * *

We get it. You’ve got an online shop. You’ve created amazing product. You’ve designed a
beautiful store. And now, well, you need customers. Promoting your shop doesn’t have to be
expensive or frustrating. You don’t have to rely on friends and family to be your only
customers for the foreseeable future. We’ve got some great ideas, found right in your own
backyard, that will help push your shop past that awkward “first day of school” phase.

SELL AT {and SUPPORT} LOCAL RETAIL STORES: Local boutiques are always looking for something special to set themselves apart. Your unique, custom goods may just fit that niche. Sell to them on consignment to ease their risk, or offer a competitive wholesale price (usually 1/2 of the retail price you sell for). Once your products are in there, spread the word about that place,
and make sure you shop there yourself. The more you support those stores, the more they’ll
support you and your products.

ATTEND OR CREATE EVENTS: Get out into the world! Even if you’re going to events that aren’t directly related to your business, put your face out there in new crowds and be sure to bring plenty of business cards. If there aren’t any relevant or interesting events in your area, create one! A fun meet-up at a local waffle cafe (great, now we’re hungry) can go a long way when
trying to build your business.

GIVE BACK: Support local non-profits that align with your beliefs. Volunteer your time, goods, or portion of profits. Other supporters of the non-profit will take note and be more likely to support you in return. Make your community a better place. You’ll quickly find yourself
connecting with like-minded people who share the same passions, ethic and drive.

CARD ME: Make sure whenever you’re out of the house engaging your community that you’re never without business cards. Hand out a card with every conversation you have, and consider
including an exclusive discount code on the back of your cards to encourage folks to visit your
site and make a purchase.

DON’T GO AT IT ALONE: Find ways to collaborate. Curate an exhibition, swap blog posts (Oh hey,Gussy!), run a contest with a brand you admire, or concept and create a product with a shopthat complements yours. You’ll share the workload and instantly double the community your
promotions will reach.

And most importantly – have fun representing what it is you love to do. You are the face of
your business, and making a great impression can lead to long term brand loyalty.

SHARE WITH US: do you have a tip that has worked really well for you? is there a tip here that’s inspired you with your business? share with us below! :)

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  1. 1


    Having a handmade biz has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. By nature I am shy, always was. Over the years I have come out of my shell by talking more if I want to meet new people at church or work. But having a biz and talking about your biz & yourself & what defines it, is uncomfortable. I’m good at working it behind the computer on social media, but it’s very hard for me to talk about ME & what ME does…..

    Am I the only one?

    I’m really focusing on trying to get past this & trying to overcome it. Any tips?

    Great post. Dan do you have a site or biz page?

    • 2


      Oh you sound just like me!!! I think little baby steps help, like carrying your product or goiing to local meetups. And then once you feel more comfortable with your elevator speech you can branch out to larger events. Or you can branch out now!!!!!! It’s totally up to you :)

      I think remembering we are all uncomfortable doing certain things helps me to not feel so alone.

    • 3


      Thank you for posting these thoughts. This is me, too. I’ve been learning a lot about social media and how it can help my business, but I lock up when it comes to face-to-face opportunities. I know it stems from fear of failure and I’m working hard to overcome that, but man it’s tough! Even wearing my products in public sometimes seems silly and childish, like I’m pretending to be more “big time” than I really am. If I won’t wear them with pride, who will?

      This morning our pastor spoke about “20 seconds of embarassing bravery.” Wow, God. Way to speak directly to me. :)

      Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts. It does definitely help to know I’m not alone in this fear.

  2. 4

    Nadir@StitchSense says

    Wow, this is great! Including the link to your comparison b/t Etsy & Big Cartel. I’m currently on Etsy & love the community, it reminds me of the town I live in w/ little specialty shops lining the streets but I do want to grow also. I love all these tips & will definitely be trying them all out to see how I can expand a bit more. :-) Thanks for sharing!

  3. 7


    Great tips. Great post. I am working on a line of dolls that I want to sell on my website. I think they are so adorable! The idea came to me when I was looking for a doll for my daughter and couldn’t find what I wanted on Etsy. I thought, “Hmm. I can totally make what I want!” and I did. I’m going to use these tips to help myself out :)


  4. 8


    Hey Katy,

    Thanks! Yeah, it can be uncomfortable coming out of your shell and speaking about your brand. I’ve seen some small brands start to recruit a charismatic friend to handle that part of the business. Most people know someone who’s always talking to people and really enjoys that. Just a thought.

  5. 10

    Eubie McCrary says

    I have wanted to sell at local retail stores for a while. I just have trouble with making inventory because I am busy filling orders. I am trying to do better but seems like there is never enough time to do both. Is there maybe some tips that can help with this? I desire to do better but need some help. I appreciated the reminder.
    Thank goodness I already do some of these just doing them more often.
    Thanks for the encouragement and support!

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