{Handmade Business in 31 Days — Day 18, Perfecting your elevator speech.}

Day 18// Many of you have confided you aren’t sure how to share your handmade business with family and friends. Or, a stranger compliments an item you’re wearing {that you made} and you aren’t sure how to say, “THANK YOU, I MADE THIS!”

And we must fix this :)

This sort of response is called an elevator speech and you MUST perfect it. Not only will your confidence make you feel good but others will immediately take you seriously {…not that they don’t already}. When you reply to someone’s comment about the necklace you’re wearing with, “Oh, thank you sooo much. I own a business called _____ and we made this necklace,” you grab their attention. Then, when they give you a look that means, “tell me more” you can say, “I started designing jewelry about three years ago. I work from home and it allows me to share my creativity with others while making memories with our children.” Or something like that.

You’ll of course tailor your response to fit your amazing, unique, beautiful story, but the point is you know your story and you know to respond when others ask about it.

Zack + I were at a party once and Zack was having a conversation with a man who looked a few years older than our parents. This man was asking Zack about his job, then my job, and when Zack replied with his version of my elevator speech the guy looked Zack in the eye and said, “And your wife makes money doing THAT?” Zack said yep and went on to give a few examples of how owning this handmade business provides consistent income for our family.

Spouses can even have their own version of your elevator speech. Imagine all the people you can share your business with if you get even more people to know how to respond to questions challenging the handmade industry???

Try to get your elevator speech down to about 20 seconds. Just enough time to ride from one floor to the next in an elevator — ya know, cuz that’s all the attention/time we give strangers.

Two things to include in your elevator speech: the name of your business + a 7-10 word description of what you make or do.

Then have your husband or friend quiz you, WHAT DO YOU DO???????

I remember when I was working on my elevator speech Zack would quiz me randomly. We’d be in the car driving, having a conversation. I’d pause for a second, then he’d jump in, “So, what do you do for a living?” Sometimes I’d get really mad because he caught me off guard. But the truth is, I was mad at myself for not having the confidence to share my story with others.

If you feel like most people don’t take your handmade business seriously, answer this for me:

Do you take your handmade business seriously?

Because if you don’t — if you don’t set a schedule, if you don’t implement the Handmade Business tips I’ve shared so far, if you don’t know what you do {!!!} {or how to share what you do with others}, how are others supposed to take you seriously?

I do believe you gain people’s trust through example {they can see the success you’re experiencing} but I also believe you gain their trust through the confidence you emulate.

…interesting, right? :)

Homework// Perfect your elevator speech. Include your business name and a short description of what you do. Then practice it. Your goal is to confidently share your elevator speech at the snap of a finger.

What do you think: do you have one? Do you use it? What type of response do you get when you are able to confidently share with others what you do for a living?

have you learned anything? {please say yes} — consider sharing this series with two friends

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  1. 1


    Ouch! Stop stepping on my toes! ;) My hubby totally has his version of my elevator speech down, but I am terrible. I’ll pull out my wallet to pay for something, receive a compliment, usually get asked if I made it, and I stop with “Yes.” Every once in a while, I’ll say “I make these” (which really does nothing more than indicate I’ve made more than one) and show the features, but I don’t go any further. And those business cards tucked inside one of the pockets stay put. I am so self-conscious about promoting myself face-to-face, which is silly since I’m actually being ASKED about my product! But my response doesn’t really communicate that it’s my product–for all they know, I could just “make these” as gifts for family and friends.

    I needed this kick in the pants. I’ll be practicing this weekend.

  2. 3


    I love that you and Zack practiced your elevator speech together! I’ve gotten better about this, but sometimes it’s still hard. Now I can get the speech out, but I still need to practice saying it confidently!

    • 4


      @Emily, I totally understand :) Give yourself grace and keep practicing. Don’t rush this part. Sometimes slowing myself down but keeping a smile on my face is the right amount of confidence. Other times it comes easier.

  3. 5


    I think you may have written this post for me! I’m super new to the whole handmade, indie biz world— I’m talking, still a few weeks away from launching my shop— and just the other night, while out to eat with my husband, I was carrying a tote that I had made when the hostess said “oh my gosh, I love your bag!”, to which I replied, “thanks!”. Yikes. Not even a mention of where it came from? I offer that much information when someone compliments a shirt from Target!! My husband couldn’t believe I didnt take advantage of that opportunity and honestly, neither could I. I just sort of froze. Thanks for posting on this topic and also for the whole handmade business in 31 days series. It’s definitely helpful and encouraging for newbies, like me :)

  4. 7


    Thank you for this great post! I so needed to “hear” this. I have a custom sewing business, but I’ve never thought of the importance of speaking up on my own behalf with confidence. I just now wrote out my elevator speech, and I’m going to practice it, too!

  5. 8


    This is amazing! I remember reading a comment on another post where someone mentioned your confidence! And this is such a perfect example! Your confidence makes us believe in you but also shows you believe in yourself! Something I need to aspire to! I always feel like I am trying to explain myself and my multiple at home part time jobs and I go into it expecting they will not think much of it. But with a little practice that is going to change! Thank you friend!

    • 9


      @Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista, One thing that has helped me with confidence I knowing WHAT I do. When I am all over the map in terms of work it’s very hard to try to describe that to another person. And I sense that from your post. Perhaps you have a common thread you don’t know you have, with all of your projects? Or perhaps you should try to find one. Anything to make it easier for you, sweet friend! :)

  6. 16


    Me and my husband did a lot of Craft Markets and Flee markets in the past. The first market was very hard for me, but I learned the one thing: if you don’t talk to people about the item you make to sell no one will buy. At some markets (at that time we sold kites) our stall had the most people around. We learned to talk to people (total strangers) and now me an my husband talk and talk and we got some orders that way. But we can make our elevator speech in a view minutes now. A few years ago we saw a piece written and we still follow that: “If you don”t paddle your own canoe you wouldn’t move”.

  7. 17


    I really need to work at this. So often what I say comes out weird and it doesn’t sound like I actually run a business. A lot of my friends will come to my booth at a craft fair and will be surprised and say, “Wait, you do this for real?!?”
    Just recently when people ask what I do, I start by saying “I run a handmade business while staying at home with my kids.” This has helped in legitimizing what I do. If I start with i’m a SAHM, it seems like people tune out the rest and not take it seriously. It’s not that my kids don’t come first but when I work outside the home and someone asked me what I did, I didn’t start with “I’m a mom and I’m a ……” so why should it change now that I’m running a business while caring for them.

    Does that make any sense?

  8. 19


    Going back and reading through some of the posts I missed this month, and there is just so much good stuff here, Maggie. Thank you for sharing all this hard-won wisdom. Love it.

  9. 20


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  1. […] 2. When family or friends ask, How is your business doing? be honest with them. It’s OK to: brag about the amazing things you’re making, share what you’ve learned, or discuss a goal you’re currently working on. It’s true, the more confident you are the quicker (and more easily) they’ll take you seriously. TIP: need help with your elevator speech? […]

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