Practical, easy to follow advice for creative businesses; covering promotion, time management, and keeping calm. All written by small business owner and textile designer Victoria, the mastermind behind accessories brand TORIA by Victoria Jowett. Click the heading and scroll to the bottom to download your FREE self promotion help guide.
Hi, I’m Victoria and I run a small independent design company that makes limited edition, one-of-a-kind bags and homeware accessories. My aim is to keep designs fresh and forever evolving, to create something vibrant, unique, and practical for people’s homes. However, it hasn’t always been plain sailing! I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what I’ve learnt the hard way.
1) Don’t get bogged down with the things you can’t do
2) You can’t do everything at once – and that’s ok!
Action step 2 – Look at your to do list, evaluate your jobs that will help generate an income, ie get your products listed on Etsy BEFORE you start drawing a new design. You need to make your products available for people to buy otherwise you’ll have no idea which designs are successful.
3) Expand your social media bubble
Action step 3 – Look up #meetthemakers or #marchmeetthemaker on Instagram or Twitter, you can find some really interesting creatives out there with a breath of design skills at all levels.
4) Make the mind switch
Which leads me on to my final tip…
5) …Tell people!
“I told everyone and anyone that I was a designer (pause)… especially the hairdresser, they talk to a lot of people!”
OH SO SIMPLE – So, I had to get some test prints done at the local library. The printer broke and the lady that came over to help said “oh these designs are beautiful!”. Very bravely, I took a deep breath and said, “Oh, thank you! They’re mine. I’m a designer and they are for cushion covers”. What happened next is slightly unclear because I was SO nervous about saying those simple words that I didn’t take in much else, but before I knew it I had others gathered around me all discussing my designs! Cutting it short, the manager came over and said when the samples are done to bring them in as she’d like to stock them in the library shop! I genuinely think if people ask, they are interested, and it’s not that hard to say “I’m a designer”. If people aren’t interested they will change the conversation and you’ve lost nothing, BUT if they are interested you never know what doors may be opened to you!
Action step 5 – An easy way to do this is 1) make sure your personal Facebook profile is updated under the work section, this way when you participate in groups it’s easier for others to find your business without knowing the name. 2) Use a pinned Tweet or Facebook post on your business page that communicates quickly what you do and/or how to get in touch with you (see my Twitter example here and my Facebook example here ).
9 Creative Ways To Use Personalised Fabric To Promote Your Business (without having to ‘sell’ or be pushy)
Running your own business is HARD, but remember it’s a long game not a sprint, nothing happens overnight and most of the time things go wrong before they go right! If you only do one thing from this list, my advice would be number 5; this has been an absolute game changer for me. I know self-promotion is scary but have a look at my self-promotion checklist for some ideas, the main thing is, take a deep breath and say “I’m a designer” and see what happens.
Have a look at Victoria’s gorgeous bags and accessories, and keep in touch with her on social media: