Friday, May 22, 2015

Talking Shop with Mary: Handmade Purses and Bags: FAQ's About the Branding Process

Talking Shop with Mary: Handmade Purses and Bags: FAQ's About the Branding Process: Last week I was going to write about branding your product. However, I got side tracked. So this week I'm going to use the Free Manageme...

FAQ's About the Branding Process

Last week I was going to write about branding your product. However, I got side tracked. So this week I'm going to use the Free Management Library that I referred to in my blog last week along with some other sources to get a clearer picture of the definition of branding and what it involves.

I've been thinking about what is a brand and how to achieve it. My shop isn't quite up to par in this area. My goal in the beginning was to get my handmade items listed so people could find them and buy what I had to offer. I believe in a slow even process when building a business. So now I want to work on branding so people will eventually come to easily recognize my products just as much as one would Coke, Coach, Disney, Ford, etc. I know that it doesn't come overnight, but a gradual process instead. 

Since I wanted to know more about the branding process, I thought I would share with others what is involved by developing some general FAQ's on the subject.

1. What is a brand?
According to Yahoo dictionary, a brand is the following:

  • A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product, service, or organization.
  • A product or service so identified.

  • An association of positive qualities with a widely recognized name, as of a product line or celebrity.

    2. What does a brand incorporate?
    It includes the company name, all the logos, slogans, design colors, perceived images and types of values portrayed.

    3. What is a logo?
    Again, the Yahoo dictionary defines it as:
    A symbol or a design that identifies a brand.

    Here are some popular logos:

     This is my logo.

    4. What is a slogan and it's purpose?
    Wise Geek defines it as the following:
    "A slogan . . . is a short phrase or sentence meant to gain attention and to get a specific message across quickly. People us it primarily in advertising . . . trying to make the public more familiar with someone or something. 

    The purpose of a slogan is to communicate information about a company, product, service or candidate, helping people to become familiar with and remember what's available. . . . differentiates whatever a company or other group is promoting from what the competition has to offer."

    Some popular slogans:
    • Coke is the real thing -- Coke
    • Finger-lickin' good --KFC
    • Have it your way -- Burger King
    • A diamond is forever -- De Beers
    • Built Ford tough! -- Ford Motor Inc.
    This is my slogan: Your Style, Your Mood, Your Personality

    Why?? Because I believe that everyone has a different style; moods affect the way one shops, and who you are as an individual defines what you buy.

    5. Why is color so important when designing a logo for your brand?
    Here's some interesting facts about color.
    • 84.7% of consumers cite color as the primary reason for buying a particular product.
    • 93% look a visual appearance.
    • 80% of shoppers think color increases brand recognition.
    • Ads in color are read 42% more often than the same ads in black and white.
    • Color can improve people's comprehension, learning and reading levels.
    • Every color elicits a different response from humans.
    6. What's in a name?
    According to the online library, your business name conveys the nature of your service and your unique value proposition. An unique value propositon does the following:
    • Concisely describes of your product or service. 
    • Explains the uniqueness of the product or service.
    • Why people should buy from you instead of the competition
    The business name and brand has to make sense locally and understood by others if it's extended beyond the region to other areas of the world. For instance, my business name is Purse O'nality by Mary. I would hope that people would understand that my business has something to do with purses, and my name is Mary.

    7. How do you build a brand?
    • Develop name recognition by building an image of your business or service
    • Create a clear and concise message about your company or product through logos, slogans, and colors
    • Showcase what sets your business or service apart from the competition
    • Create and build consistancy
    As I stated earlier, building a brand takes time. However if done correctly, success will create loyal customers and increasing sales. Just like a business plan, a good brand name is another essential ingredient to a successful business.

    Friday, May 15, 2015

    Talking Shop with Mary: Handmade Purses and Bags: A Great Resource for Your Business

    Talking Shop with Mary: Handmade Purses and Bags: A Great Resource for Your Business: I was going to write about branding your products in this session of Talking Shop with Mary. However, when I started to research I stumbled ...

    A Great Resource for Your Business

    I was going to write about branding your products in this session of Talking Shop with Mary. However, when I started to research I stumbled upon a great website that I would like to share. It is a Free Management Library for anyone who is looking for help for their business. The library provides free online access to resources in order to help individuals, businesses, organizations and groups in the area of development. This library has grown to be one of the largest of this type in the world in the past 15 years with many of its articles in the top 10 of Google search results.

    The library, which is provided by the Authenticity Consulting, LLC, has approximately 650 topics with nearly 10,000 links related to areas such as business basics, hiring employees, strategic management, writing for business just to name a few. All of the articles are submitted voluntarily. Only about half articles submitted are accepted. Each topic also has recommended books and other related library topics. The library also has a blog directory, free online training, online groups and other general resources.

    This library is a vast wealth of information for anyone who wants to succeed in business, no matter whether it's e-commerce, or a shop on main street. It's for profit and nonprofit alike. All you have to do is utilize the website. I know I will be using this site to help me with my business. 

    Speaking of my business, take advantage of my coupon for a 10% discount that will be running until the end of October. Just enter: TSMPURSEINDUSTRY. I will be putting new items in my shop or adding to my current inventory in the near future. It's always an advantage to keep coming back to check on the shop.

    Your Style, Your Mood, Your Personality

    Friday, May 8, 2015

    Talking Shop with Mary: Handmade Purses and Bags: Designing and Jigsaw Puzzles

    Talking Shop with Mary: Handmade Purses and Bags: Designing and Jigsaw Puzzles: When you start constructing anything, whether it be a garment or a Murphy bed , it all starts out the same way. Part A and part B go toge...

    Designing and Jigsaw Puzzles

    When you start constructing anything, whether it be a garment or a Murphy bed, it all starts out the same way. Part A and part B go together and part C and part D go together. Then part AB goes with part CD. Wallah! You have the basics started. However, have you ever thought about how to put a idea from your mind onto a piece of paper? Well, it's quite like a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces have to fit together in a certain order. Sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board. Many times it's a step or two forward and then a step back.

    The Murphy bed I constructed

    A fine example of this is a wallet that I'm currently working on. I had some brown vinyl and started making little coin purses. This got me thinking about how my daughter keeps telling me that I need to have some purses that have shop card holders in them. She tends to like purses and wallets with plenty of pockets and neat places to store her valuables. Another thing both of my daughters and my granddaughters keep telling me is that I need to jazz up my items with a little bling and maybe some studs. My goal eventually is to make things from leather so I thought that working on vinyl would be a good beginning for a prototype wallet. 

    Recently, I've been making some multifunctional zipper pouches.  So I used that as the basis for my length and width of the wallet. I wanted to have a fold over flap in a envelope style with a snap and a center pocket with a zipper.  I have seen plenty of these styles before, but getting the center zipper pocket sewn in place was intriguing. I had done it a couple of times before, but it had been awhile. In addition, I did it differently each time due to the purse design. I wanted to come up with a design that was simple and easy. One thing I also did a while back was to purchase a little wallet with a middle insert so I could study it. 

    So to start my design, I had to draw and measure the jigsaw pattern pieces for my puzzle. I began with the outside fabric, knowing that the inside lining and interfacing would be the same. My design pattern measured 11" X 6". I allowed 1/2" seam lines for my entire design. My flap had a 35 degree angle that began about 9.25" up from the bottom. The inside zipper pocket was going to be made from the same outside fabric. That pattern piece measures 7" X 7" and the the piece that attached it to the wallet was 8" X 6". I had to figure out how to construct the shop card holders. First, I measured a shop card, since they all are a standard size. Second, I added the half inch seam allowance plus 1/4" for attaching it to the wallet lining. Third, I decided how many shop card inserts I wanted and measure the rise between each shop card. Finally, I had to add up all the figures, double it and allow for some top stitching between each shop card insert. Even with the best measurements and allowing for all of the necessary details before cutting the fabric, the jigsaw piece doesn't quite fit into the puzzle, which means you have to go back to the drawing board.

    So just like a jigsaw puzzle, I was putting this wallet together. I was pretty proud of my design and how it was coming together--so I thought. I had made the zipper pocket for the mid section. I was satisfied with the results and ready to insert the shop card piece.
    It was then when I realized that it wasn't working quite right. The shop card inserts I had sewn into place were too long. I had begun with 4 inserts, so I decided to shorten it. It still wasn't working. The wallet dimensions were too small for placing the shop cards top down. However, I did notice that if I put the shop cards in from left to right, it would work.  If I changed my design a little I could still use the outside fabric piece for a later wallet design. I decided to do that, but that meant I would have to redesign the original wallet to fit the shop cards in the way I wanted them to appear and to include my original zipper pocket.  It was a setback, but designing is like a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces have to come together in a certain way so back to the drawing board I went. This time I made the wallet larger not only in length, but in width as well so I could fit USD paper currency inside the wallet without having to fold it.
    This time I cut a 15" X 7" piece of vinyl fabric with a flap that had a 40 degree angle. Later I did cut off a couple of inches in the length. After ironing on the heavy craft interfacing, I drew lines on the interfacing for seam lines and snap placement. The wallet was ready for the middle section, but how to attach it was another piece of the puzzle. My problem was how to attach the ends without any rough edges showing. So  I did some research. I looked at the wallet I purchased. It had 2 mid sections. I then looked at the couple of purses I did with mid sections. My crochet purse had the solution. It was simple. I just had to fold in the edges. Now why didn't I see that before??

    My Wallet Design--A work in progress

    Next, I basted the lining to the outside fabric. As stated earlier I decided to cut of a couple inches because it was more like the size of a clutch purse than a wallet. I pinned the mid section to the wallet and discovered that I had to adjust and cut it a little to make it work. Now it's all ready to be stitched together and add the final touches.  

    Designing something is like a jigsaw puzzle because you can envision in your mind how something should look. It's like looking at the whole picture on the outside of the puzzle box. Inside is all the different puzzle pieces. Individually, you can't really tell where the piece goes until you find other pieces that fit with it.  Eventually your design idea comes together piece by piece and you get to see your imagination come to life in a physical form. 

    Your Style, Your Mood, Your Personality

    Friday, May 1, 2015