Monthly Archives: October 2018

  • When you own a business, you are in sales.

    Do you consider yourself to be in sales? You might say no but if you are a small business owner, the reality is that you ARE in sales! You are also in customer service, marketing, product design, and a host of other roles but today let’s talk about wearing that sales hat.

    I know what you are thinking. Salespeople have an undesirable reputation. Some salespeople are definitely less ethical but that isn’t the norm. When you boil down the basics of sales it is helping to connect people, based on their wants or needs, with the right products or services. That’s not such a bad thing!

    I have to put myself out there, too! This is me! Hi!

    I spent over 20 years in a successful professional sales role before I started my business, fibercrafty.com. I learned a lot selling software and while software is completely different from hand-dyed yarn and fiber, the basics of selling are the same. In this post, I’m sharing two of the most important rules to consider and practice in the sales efforts of your business. These are relatively common sense but often hard to remember to do.

    Rule #1. Be yourself. First and foremost, if you are a single business owner, you ARE your business. You are what sets your business apart from other people. You bring a unique perspective to whatever your product or offering is and you need to let that shine when talking to customers or prospects. Tell your story! Why should people buy from you? What makes your shop special? People buy from who they know and trust. If you have a hard time with this, ask a close friend or family member to help you. Or maybe even a wonderful customer that you have an established relationship with. Ask then what about your business stands out, what makes them buy from you.

    Rule #2. Make it easy for someone to buy from you. This, my friends, is where the rubber

    From a shop on FiberCrafty.

    hits the road. When selling online, people can’t handle your products or see them in person so you need to help them make a decision while online. And you want it to be an easy decision. To make this even more challenging, you have only a matter of seconds to capture and keep their attention. Research is showing that the amount of time you have is gradually getting shorter. In the year 2000, you had 12 seconds. Now, you have 8 seconds. The more steps the customer has to take before buying, the less likely they are to buy. For example, if you didn’t include some information in your listings, such as the size of your bag, a shopper might have to send an email to ask. That is an extra step you don’t want them to take. The good news is, you can anticipate and answer most questions before they are asked.

    We are going to dive into this idea in more detail with the next few posts but for now consider:

    • Are all the details of my product included? Are the attributes complete?
    • Are the pictures clear? Are there pictures showing multiple angles? Are there pictures showing an item to scale?
    • Does my item have variations - if so, can they be selected with a menu choice or do they have to contact me separately? In some cases they will need to contact you, but if there is a way around it - make it easy! (FiberCrafty is adding an internal messaging system in the update to help with this.)
    • Did you proofread your listing for spelling? This can affect products showing up in searches.
    • Did you check your listing for accuracy? (especially if you have copied an existing listing)

    Take a look at your listings and your shop through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. Maybe you have a friend who can help you by reviewing it. Are there unanswered questions? Are there ANY barriers that would make clicking “add to cart” a step away? This is truly a situation where over-providing some information can be helpful.

    From a shop on FiberCrafty.

    How does it feel to explore your shop? Does it feel well curated? Are the photos of products on similar backdrops? Or does it feel like a disarray. Think about walking through a brick and mortar shop. Some shops are a delight to browse and walk through. And there are others that feel cluttered and disorganized. Online shops can create these same feelings.

    Working to create a shop that feels curated and like it was built with care will make it far more likely for shoppers to browse. Well written listings with anticipated questions answered, will make it far more likely for shoppers to click Add to Cart and Checkout, which is the ultimate goal.

    If you are not a FiberCrafty shop owner and you want to continue to learn how to curate your online shop for the fiber community, let me know! Not all posts in this series will be posted publicly on the blog. 

    What advice would you give someone about how to help their customers say yes? Comment below and share! In the yarn and fiber industry, we are fortunate to all benefit when we put community above competition.

  • Faces of FiberCrafty: Debi Roberts of BaaBerry Farms

    We hope that you enjoy this series featuring interviews with FiberCrafty shop owners. Our goal is to give you a little peek behind the scenes and a chance to learn more about our talented business owners.

    Meet Debi Roberts!

    Today's post features Debi Roberts of BaaBerry Farms based in Miller, NE.  When Debi isn't busy running her farm, she puts a lot of thought into designing her project bags and hand-dyeing yarn. She is also pursuing her dream of owning a fiber business and designating her farm as a sanctuary.

    Tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from, what crafts do you enjoy, what is your background, do you have any pets, etc?  I currently live in the middle of Nebraska, after having moved here 5 years ago with my husband from South Texas, where we raised our 4 kids. Being a military brat, I have lived just about everywhere, including multiple countries. We own a 120 year old abandoned General store on just under 30 acres, where we raise our fiber flock of mainly Corriedale sheep. We have 5 Great Pyrenees dogs, 4 house cats, and 2 grouchy geriatric Pekingese house dogs. We also have about 26 laying hens, and a few dairy goats.

    Gorgeous Angora blend, hand-dyed yarn by Debi.

    I began playing with fiber as a very little girl. My Granny taught me to knit and crochet starting when I was 5 years old, so going on 48 years now. I also sew, quilt, and hand-dye all of our yarns. I have our yarns mill spun at a local to us mill, at just over 250 pounds of fleeces a year from our ladies in the pastures, I just cannot handle all the processing any more. We purchased our property in the hopes of opening a combination Yarn shop/Coffee shop. Hopefully sometime soon, we will see that dream come true.

    What is the name of your shop? Is there a story behind the name? BaaBerry Farms got its name as a result of my very sarcastic sense of humor. As this is a g-rated site, I will let ya'll sort out what it means.

    I can personally recommend the Uptown Bag, I love mine!  It's sturdy, roomy and travels well. Perfect for a medium to larger project. - Pam

    How long have you had your business? For just about a year and a half.

    What kind of products do you specialize in? We mainly produce hand-dyed mill-spun yarns, in several bases, and of course our project bags.

    Every story has a beginning, how did your business get started? Our business actually started as the result of several things. We knew it was what we wanted to do, and we were on track to actually open the brick and mortar store, when I was seriously injured at work. So everything came to a stand still. I decided after some recovery time, that in order to keep our sheep, and our property, I had to do something. So began the online shop, and attending Fiber Fairs when I was able, so that we could keep our sheep fed. After three major surgeries, in the last 2 years, and at least 2 more to go, it hasn't been easy.

    Debi's son models the BaaBerry Scarf.

    Do you have a favorite pattern that shows off your products? I personally adore the BaaBerry Scarf that I recently published on Ravelry (it's free!). It works up wonderfully in any of our yarns. I have been making them for years for family and friends.

    What else would you like to share? To say that it has been a challenge to start my own business doing what I love would be an understatement. Financially we were wiped out even before I got started, and starting a business with literally no budget is not something I recommend to anyone. It is a daily fight, and many times I have wanted to just walk away. But I love what I do, and I love my sheep. Hopefully my health will continue to improve over the next few years, and the dream of our brick and mortar shop will happen.

    Classic drawstring project bag, so versatile!

    We are also in the process of having our property declared Historically Significant, and as we are a non-slaughter farm, we are making some other changes to further insure that our ladies in the pastures live full and purposeful lives.

    What's your favorite feature or part of FiberCrafty (as a shopper or shop owner)? The best thing about having our shop on FiberCrafty, is Pam the owner. She has made an extremely user friendly site, and is always available to answer any questions and give feedback.

    Superwash merino yarn with sparkle!

    Debi, thank you for sharing about yourself, your lady sheep and your plans! I'm really excited to see your farm become a sanctuary. Debi's products can be found for sale in her FiberCrafty shop, BaaBerry Farms.

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