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Why Handmade Makers Make Great Handmade Shoppers

September 30, 2016

(Alternate title: What I did on my vacation!)

I recently took a break and went to Nova Scotia, Canada. It was a wonderful, relaxing vacation, but as an entrepreneur I never really shut off my 'business brain'.

I had two fun shopping experiences while on vacation: the boutique Dots and Loops and the Etsy Maritime maker fair in Halifax (more details in a separate post). 

As a maker and seller of handmade items I think it's important to get out of your studio and see how others are displaying and selling handmade items. This is especially important if you are wholesaling your items to boutiques or small retailers.

When you are a shopper will learn:

  1. How it feels to be a customer. 
  2. What a shelf display looks like when you are shopping and which products stand out from the rest. 
  3. What items or signage catch your eye. 
  4. What type of display doesn't work. 
  5. What type of display is easy to access and visually appealing. 

Dots and Loops - Lunenburg, NS, Canada

The most important item from that list you can learn when you are a shopper instead of a seller is how it feels to be a shopper.

This can involve so many things - from the way the shop owner greets you to the music/lighting in the shop to the way items are displayed.

Finding the balance of welcoming shoppers into your shop/booth/display and giving them space to shop can be tricky. You may find as a shopper you wish the seller would be a little friendlier, because it can be slightly intimidating to walk into a new shop and be 'greeted' by a grumpy face.

  If you are having trouble finding this balance I would encourage you to do more shopping at small boutiques and independent shops.   Then, evaluate your experience and how the interaction made you feel. 

When you are shopping pay attention to the way certain displays make you feel. Are you afraid to touch the items? Or does the layout encourage interaction?

Sugar Bubbles Bakery - Mahone Bay, NS, Canada

See the next post about the Etsy Maritime Maker show in Halifax......!

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