Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rich Men Don't Buy Chips (why you need to know who buys what)

If you are looking for a rich husband you wouldn't go to the local chip shop to find him would you? Where would you go? How would you dress? What would you say? ... and that really sums up why you need to know your target buyer!  
I know it sounds really dull, but actually it is the crux of everything you do, and if you don't have a clear vision you will waste a lot of very valuable time.
Well to start this off, it would seem that the place to begin is getting to know your demographic. Seriously, if you don't know your demographic target you will waste a lot of energy trying to sell to the wrong people.
When I started I thought 'but it's everyone', and yes it is open to everyone but there is a good, really good reason why you need to hone it down a little.
I don't know if it's my teacher's mind or my journalism mind but always it comes back to the questions - the who? what? why? where? when? and how?  If you try and answer these for most things you will find things an awful lot clearer.
Here's a couple of examples of how it can go right and how it can go so wrong:
Tiffany’s key demographic is high-net-worth females ages 28-54, with a strong interest in fashion, shopping and luxury products.
and sales are up 7%
Emma Moore, a lifelong shopper from Lewisham, said: “I have been a shopper all my life but not at M&S. Because I find the clothes really old-fashioned and hideous. Because I find the food very expensive compared to other supermarkets and because my local branch isn’t really any good anyway. BUT MAINLY JUST BECAUSE I HATE THE BLOODY PATRONISING ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS WHICH HAVE NO RELEVANCE TO ME OR MY FAMILY.”
Some very interesting reading about how Britain's high street supermarkets target their buyers
So you see, the big companies do it, we need to as well. Why?  Well once you know who you are selling to, it makes choosing the language you use to describe your beautiful piece a lot easier, it makes knowing where to advertise a lot easier, it also makes knowing where to sell a lot easier.
Sit down with a piece of paper, a coffee and twenty minutes to spare and think about who has bought your stuff.  Who wears it?  Is it old ladies - who like fiddly pieces that will last a lifetime? is it young girls who will maybe only wear it twice and hope if costs pennies?  Slowly you will get an idea of who likes your stuff, who you are making for. If all else fails, think who has bought your stuff so far and see if there is a trend.
I know (in my mind) who I am making for, what social group she mixes in, where she shops, how old her kids are (if she has any) what job she does (or had), whether she is married or not, how much disposable income she has and what she wears (in my minds eye I even know her hairstyle ;-).  You see how once you know that it is easier to title and describe your stuff?
'Funky bad asse bling to kill for' as opposed to ' delicate quality jewellery that will last a lifetime'.
So you now have the who.  And that has probably helped with the what (although that is probably 'I make what I like and I am inspired to make' - if you are like me, but you probably have a style in any case, if you have made more than 5 or 6 peices, it starts becoming clear your direction)
So why.  Why do you need to know? because it helps you decide (with that person in your mind) where you will try and sell, in a fine jewellery show or a county fayre? in the local nail bar or the old people's home shop, online on a young website or a well established web site.  It will help you know how you should package your stuff, bright green tissue and organza bag or classy black boxes (etc), how to price and how to describe.
When - when are they going to buy? any time? as a present? to treat themselves or will they need to save up for ages - this can be deduced by their age group from above, and you then market accordingly.
And once it comes down to the marketing, once you have your target, you will know where they look.  Not quite so likely the much older lady looking on twitter or Facebook, she is much more likely to want to see it in the flesh so to speak, and probably doesn't trust buying off the net, jewellery parties and craft fayres would be more her style.
The 20 - 30 year old probably spends an hour a day or so on Facebook and twitter (and whatever the latest place for that age is, so that would be a good place to advertise to her (or him), they generally feel quite comfortable buying online.
If you think of all the words that you use to describe your jewellery, you'll find many of them are age related, have a  look at the following list and see if you can decide which your granny would use and which your teenager would use (if any).
silver/ shiny / glistening / fancy / funky / fiddly / chunky / weighty / delicate / fine / hand crafted / hand made / unique / one of a kind.

1: classic silver textured band
2: hammered silver stacker ring

With a bit of luck, if you can’t think of the right words, you will know someone in that group you are trying to appeal to and you can ask them to describe what they see, and take a note of their adjectives for future use.
So hopefully you now have some idea of who you are selling to, you will need to title it, describe it and tag it.
That's another post!
(There are some more online ideas here 
I am certainly no guru,  but I do read a lot ;-) these are just things I have picked up on the way and hope they help)

My name is Sue, I'm a metalclayhead and I run:


  1. Outstanding information thanks so much for sharing this Sue!

  2. Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I'm off with a pencil and paper to figure out who my customer is :)

  3. Very thought provoking... I will do it! Thanks for the inspiration and guidance.

  4. This is a great motivator to help us find out why and for whom we are creating our work.