I've been slacking on the small business series, but it's only because my small business is keeping me busy! That's a good excuse, right?
In all seriousness, you ladies are awesome and I know you're all largely responsible for the success WC has had and Steph and I love you for it! I want to get into talking about how to start growing your business (strategies, marketing, who to reach out to, etc.) but first I want to talk photography because I really feel that's one of the biggest determinants in having success in the handmade community.
My first photos of my products were absolutely laughable (and actually my first products were too). Embarrassing. Cringeworthy. I'm not even going to show them here, they're that bad. As WC slowly grew though, I spent more time learning how to shoot in manual mode (I have a Canon Rebel t1i) and how to stage product shots.
I really feel like I'm just now hitting my stride and I can't tell you what a difference it's made. In my mind, when I land on someone's website and the photography is fantastic, I immediately think "ok, they're legit" and I'm determined to have that be the reaction when a customer lands on our site.
I spent lots of time talking to my photographer friends, stalking Pinterest tutorials, and a ton of time just experimenting with different settings, set ups, and scenarios. I got a nifty fifty lens and that was a big game changer as well. I also outsourced a lot of my photography and I've never looked back. Want to see why?
I may have gotten pretty good at product shots, but no one does it better than the pros. Period. I'm lucky to know lots of fabulous photographers from Texas to Florida to Maine and use them all.
I get as many pro product shots as I possibly can (probably the most time consuming and stressful part of preparing for a launch) and then fill in the holes with solo product shots taken at home. The end result?
A mix of pro shots with simple, clean, bright product shots.
I'm super, super proud of the site and am also super, super happy that Stephanie handles the listings now. Thanks, buddy!
I won't go into how long it takes Stephanie and I to agree on the homepage images before a launch but I will tell you that I always change them and second guess them minutes before we go live while Stephanie texts me something along the lines of :
"if you screw up the order of the products, I. Will. Kill. You."
The love is tangible, no?
I overthink whether or not the heads are all looking in alternating directions, if there's too much color (I like lots and lots of white), if it's too seasonal, not seasonal enough, blah blah blah, neurotic neurotic neurotic.
As for the logistics, we have a dropbox account that we store all our photos in and we never ever delete photos, even for old products because you just never know. We organize them by season/collection and I regularly ransack said dropbox for Instagram content.
The bottom line, I really believe that photos can make or break your business. In the online shopping world, it's all you have to go off of, they're what sells your product. There isn't a salesperson there to convince you that this headband makes you look thin or that you absolutely need it for this event you have coming up. You can't hold it in your hands and appreciate the craftsmanship or admire the fabric. The photos have almost the sole responsibility of selling them for you, so I can't stress enough how important the photography is!
That being said, I need to get my studio together. This place is a sty and sweet Ashley is coming over Thursday to document a day in the life over here and I'd like for you all to think that my days aren't a complete hot mess.