Friday, July 15, 2011

Creating Exposure & Building a Good Business Rep

I wanted to put together a post of just 3 things that have really helped me to create my own exposure (instead of always relying on others to "find me" - you creative types know just how hard that is to count on), and develop a good business rep. Word-of-mouth is probably the most powerful marketing tool you can have (or that you can have work against you - yikes!), so make the most of it.

Talking to a few like-minded friends,
I was surprised at how many people don't do these simple things. 

1. Carry your business cards at all times.  
It doesn't matter what product you're selling or what service you're offering. Take advantage of every social opportunity and make sure you have your cards with you. You never know who you're going to meet. Seriously - in the past year, I have handed out over 150 business cards at restaurants, coffee shops, events, to friends, at work.

 Image credit to

For the creative type, I highly, highly recommend for business cards (and no, they did not endorse this post - I simply love my cards that much). For starters, you get cards with an array of your images on them. Trust me, when you fan them out for a potential client and ask them to choose their favourite, faces light up, and they get so excited. It's like they're already looking at your shopfront and are whetting their appetite (plus, it's just fun and a good conversation starter). The cards are slick, have great weight, and are affordable.

2. Wear and talk about your products.
I'm a jewelry designer, and so I always try to wear my jewelry out - even if it's just to the grocery store. This is how I hand out a lot of my cards! If you receive a compliment - don't be shy - start up a conversation, tell them about the item, how you made it (briefly!), and always thank them. Offer, "I have a business card, if you'd like." Most people will happily accept one, and will get very excited. If you have a product or service you can't wear or have on you conveniently, share it in conversation. For example, I am also an illustrator - so when people ask, I say, "oh, I have a card with some of my work on it." I pull it out, and start the conversation. Then I ask them if they'd like to keep the card. I've never had someone give it back to me.
{ Pictured: Sea-star bracelet by Mirilovelove }

3. Follow-up the Exchange
Many times when I meet people, I also get one of their business cards. A few months ago, I met the lovely Serena of Love by Serena (she's a gorggggggggeous wedding and lifestyle photographer - check her out!) of all places - standing in line at the post office! We started talking because she was so kind as to compliment the necklace I had worn out that day. We hit it off and exchanged cards - and laughed when we both pulled out Moo cards! Afterwards, we found each other on Facebook, and have since collaborated in a fun giveaway! Always follow-up on any business card exchange. Email/Facebook them later and let them know how nice it was to meet them, and be supportive of their endeavours.

These 3 things are incredibly easy to do in your day-to-day life
(and don't take a lot of social finesse - if you're like me and are creative enough to sometimes be awkward!).

While it's taken me some time to build up a confident, brief "pitch" about my products, the best way to do this is to get out there and meet people and start the conversation (because it will vary every single time). It might be nerve-wracking at first, but now it's second nature to me. More and more, people are starting to catch on to the Handmade Movement, and the more you can do to "put yourself out there" and relate to your buyers, the more credibility you will have and the more exposure you will create for yourself. Don't wait for someone else to discover you or feature your work. Genuine, positive Word-of-Mouth is much more powerful than any blog feature (though those are awesome!), because many friends ask their friends before trying a new product or shopping at a new store. Create positive impressions for yourself, be personable, and go create good business rep by doing these 3 simple things.

And then come back and tell me how you did!

{ Final image for girls from . Texture in first title image by Art-of-Decay. }


  1. Thanks so much for these tips! Working on my business cards, now....

  2. Zenobia - No problem! What kind of cards are you getting? :)

  3. I wanted moo cards but it's way too much shipping for me here in NZ, so I'm (trying) to draw my own up.
    Btw - wrong post but here's the first pages from my 'sketchbook project' by arthouse co-op:

  4. Ahhhh, yea I'll bet shipping would be tough there. I'm State-side, so it's not too bad. I'll bet your cards will be cool, though!

    Thanks for linking up your sketchbook project! Love the Encyclopedia of Pirates idea! That's awesome ;) Hope you'll post more entries!


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