Several months ago my mentor (Jim Cockrum) asked if we would update our story in his book (Silent Sales Machine) as he prepared to release version 9.
Jim has been our closest mentor/coach/guru for the last 7+ years – so we were happy to include our story.
What we wrote for him was (a rather lengthy) testimonial – and he graciously published the whole thing! It includes the story of our greatest struggle (the summer of 2009) and our annual revenue results from 2008 through 2015, (information I don’t share too often).
Get it for free: S0 funny timing – a couple weeks ago his team let us know that he would be giving the Kindle version of his book away for free starting today, October 22nd and ending October 26th.
[sidenote – Cinnamon and I are celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary today. Don’t worry – we are leaving in an hour to go spend the day in Seattle.]
Jim’s giving away a lot – he’s giving everyone the Audio Recording (read by him) of his book and a free ticket to his $97 Email Marketing (List building) Course. All Free – because he’s a honestly a good guy.
So I can’t help but be reminiscent and grateful today as I think about all of this stuff. So rather than just tell you to go get Jim’s ebook because it’s free – I decided to try to out-give my mentor.
So I set up a little contest. Simply enter via this contest form (below) and enter by downloading his ebook. I’ll pick one person and give them a free ticket to my upcoming Craft Selling Academy class (which kicks off in November 2nd). Note the contest starts at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern today (October 22nd). So don’t download the ebook until the contest form opens at 11. Also — if you don’t have a Kindle – you can still read the ebook straight from your computer, iphone, Android, or tablet – you don’t need a kindle.
Recently we announced the launch of a new class (Sewing Camp Power) in partnership with Jennifer Serr. Lots of people have had questions so we decided to put together a simply Q&A. Here’s the promo video we put together as well:
Q&A With Jennifer Serr:
Q. Who is this course intended for? A. This class is intended for anyone interested in teaching groups of children how to sew and for those interested in adding a new stream of income to their sewing business.
Q. Do you need to know about the fashion industry to teach sewing camps using this model, or just sewing? A. You do NOT need to know about the fashion industry to teach sewing camps. You need only the passion and willingness to pass on your sewing skills to the next generation. If you are into quilting, you can gear your camps toward quilting and likewise to sewing for dolls. I connect with children through fashion, but there are many ways you can connect with them as well. The course DOES include a few fashion lessons that give you some “fashiony” tools to work with.
Q. Do I need to have my own store or studio to do this model? A. NO, you do not need your own store. Of course, it helps if you have your own store or studio, however, you can run camp easily by renting out a space. We talk about finding a location in the modules.
Q. What’s the best part of running sewing camps? A. The BEST part of running sewing camps is seeing the enthusiasm and sparks of delight from the children. They get so excited about making things and get so much confidence from the process.
Q. What’s the hardest part of running sewing camps? A. The HARDEST part of running sewing camp is jumping back and forth between students and their projects. We usually try to minimize the juggling, by creating a pattern list for the students to choose from. We are familiar with all the patterns so we can anticipate what’s coming next.
Q. How long does it take to get a program up and running? A. It took me about 4 months to plan and execute my first sewing camp. Now I start about 9 months in advance.
Q. How much money do I need to invest to get a program up and running? A. You can get rolling with just a couple hundred dollars – If you have a shop or studio already, maybe even a little less. With a little planning and a good system, you can be profitable your first season.
Q. Is the program just for Summer Camp? A. We run sewing camps all year long. Our fullest camps are definitely over the summer. Much of what I cover in Sewing Camp Power is geared towards the summer season, but it can definitely be modified to work for day-long or shorter holiday break camps.
Win A Free Ticket:
From Wednesday, (9/16) to Monday (9/21) at Midnight we are running a fun little contest. No purchase necessary – simply enter by answering a poll (there are additional entry options available). For legal reasons we can only offer this contest to residents of the US (not including Rhode Island) and Canada. Enter Today!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Back To School VIP Bonus
In case you missed it – for the next several weeks we are running a special Back-To-School VIP Bonus offer for our fall classes. Simply purchase 2 of the 3 fall classes and you get:
A Personal Brand Consultation
A Done-For-You Logo (or logo redesign)
A Done-For-You Website
Social Media Integration
Check out the full offer details here – and don’t delay. This offer is effectly over after the October classes start on October 5th. We will never make this same offer again. We are doing it to test out our new set of services and get client feedback about our overall process.
Last night in our Etsy Intensives webinar with Nancy Alexander she shared SOOO much good content. I quickly realized that the replay will be very helpful for me (so I can go through it slowly, hit pause, and then implement the “hacks” (or tips) that she recommends. I’d encourage you to do the same thing.
My Reflections on The Etsy Intensives Webinar: While she was talking I tried my best to look at my Etsy shop – and evaluate what she was saying – and how I was (or wasn’t) doing compared to her recommendations. Here are five hacks (or tips) that stood out to me:
1. Etsy Search Engine Optimization:
Definition: How does Etsy serve results to people who are looking for items?
2. Etsy Keyword Usage:
Definition: Understand, review, and write your descriptions and related text information to use Keywords and Long-Tail Keywords (Keywords that have more than 3 words) effectively. When you do – your results will show it.
3. Etsy Search Bar Related Terms:
Definition: Etsy begins to reveal related searches as you type. Use this information to understand what people are searching for and how to organize your keyword strategy.
4. Etsy Shop Description Purpose:
Definition: Use the Shop Description and “About” Information to focus on bonding with the prospect. Work to ensure they 1) Know 2) Like 3) Trust … you and your work.
5. Etsy Shop Images:
Definition: Etsy recently added the “Info Image” that most sellers still haven’t used yet. Be sure to add your logo to the Shop Info image box and your personal (smiling face) to the Shop Owner image box. Etsy uses these in various places so it’s important to add them properly so you help Etsy help you.
Regardless of whether you sell a little or a lot on Etsy – I think it’s important you get these elements set up properly. As I mentioned previously, these were just my “in the moment” ‘ahas’ … as I watch the reply I’m sure I’ll get much more. Then as we go through the full course – we’ll learn even more.
I hope you enjoyed this special training session as much as I did.
Today we pick up the keys to our new main street store. We are freaking out a little – since this is the biggest business step our little company has ever taken. But it feels right – and this new leg of our journey is going to be an exciting one. I guess I’ve got a new blog topic!
In this post I’ll share the rationale and approach we’re taking to the new location.
Here are some pics of the space that we took last week:
Our Need For An Office
Our business started at our kitchen table in 2008. And over the years that has worked remarkably well even as we’ve gone from a two person operation to a larger team. Honestly – it does feel like a circus sometimes – we have 2 rooms in our house that are pretty much dedicated business spaces and our garage is filled to the brim. And of course we still use the kitchen table for our team meetings, (pretty much all day on Monday). But we were okay ‘as-is’ until a year ago – when we launched Pixie Packs. In the last year that effort has grown too big for a garage operation. It’s time for a real office.
We began looking for spaces about four months ago and started by narrowing the location down to the right city. We had 3 local towns to choose from – and although we debated each – we went with downtown Auburn since it’s the most convenient and the best of the 3 choices. We wished we lived closer to downtown Seattle (or San Francisco for that matter), or a few of the upscale cities east of Seattle, but we don’t. We live in small town America where the main street has a fair number of empty stores, little foot traffic, but still a very cute overall vibe. We knew we didn’t want to be in some gross business park, or a warehouse type location. We needed something more fun. When we saw the former “Love Travel” office we immediately liked the vibe it put off and could imagine our operation in it. We could imagine it feeling like a two story version of Britex (Cinnamon’s favorite store of all time).
Here’s a video Cinnamon did of one of our visits to the Britex Store:
But the funny part is – although we now have a main street store (that feels very weird to write btw) – we really need it for offices, storage, work-space, not the retail aspect. So we’ve decided to go with a 90% office, 10% retail approach. But we want that 10% to be mind-blowingly awesome to doll enthusiasts. We will be open to walk-in customers, and carry a very limited supply of items for sale, but the primary purpose of the space will be to support our business, which is 100% online. How will we do that?
We are going to create something that we’ve never seen before. Maybe you have – and if so – feel free to shoot us a message with some pictures or links. Our vision is for a mixed up version of…
A doll atelier (workshop) that has active “artistry” happening for visitors (and customers) to see. This will include doll clothes designing, fabric cutting, construction, photography, and shipping – everything we do every day – on display for people to see. Of course the design work will all be modern, not historical. So think Euro Libby, Tokyo Libby, Outback Libby, or Malibu Libby.
Imagine the color and fun activity of a candy store where the workers are making the candy for people to watch, except it’s doll clothes.
Layer on a high-tech Silicon Valley styled corporate office upstairs – with the marketers using their online skills to pay the bills.
Sprinkle in artist/employees downstairs focusing on the product at a level of artistry that makes Dior In Miniature proud. Like this:
At first we struggled over how to do the branding because our primary business focus is Pixie Faire, (now with over 1 million patterns downloaded). But then we got clarity on the issue. The store will be Liberty Jane in branding and overall presentation. It will be “doll couture – custom fitted fashions rare and beautiful.” That’s who we are. But we will also run both Pixie Faire and Sew Powerful from the location. They’ll be upstairs and less ‘on display’ visually.
If we can master the business model we are envisioning, then we believe we can begin opening retail locations in more fertile locations in the future as our online business continues to grow. Our online business under-writes this effort of course – and it is the main focus of our lives, but retail feels like our destiny. Auburn will (probably) always be our home base, but having additional stores in more mall-centric locations seems like a fun dream – if we can pull it off.
We are going to try something very different and launch a kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds for the set-up. We are working on the details now and hope to launch it in September – it will include rewards that our fans will (hopefully) go crazy over. We plan on having a grand openning party after things are up and running – with friends and family, (and any Seattle area fans that would like to attend). Of course – I’ll share pictures and stories along the way.
Every step on our journey has led us to today. We are so insanely grateful for our growing group of fans, followers, and customers that loyally support Cinnamon’s work. It’s amazing to see it continue to grow.
Leave us a comment and tell us what you think, (are we crazy?). What are your suggestions for how to do this right?
Last Sunday I was in the Lusaka Tourist market and made you a quick video.
As I wandered around I pondered how amazing it is that “location creates pricing power” is just as true in an online marketplace such as Amazon (or other online marketplaces) as it is in a small city-level ‘real-world’ marketplace in a town in Africa.
The sellers in this marketplace come from rural villages as far away as 8 hours each Sunday! The reason? They can buy an item in their village for 7 Kwacha (about $1) and sell it in the Lusaka Marketplace for $3, $4, or even $5.
Lesson for sellers: sell at the big marketplace in your industry or region, (this is true for both off-line and online sellers).
Just a quick note to let you know that Amazon currently has the Craft Business Power ebook on sale for just 99 cents until midnight on the 26th. Be sure to snag a copy before the price goes back up. And if you’ve never seen our little promo video for it – here it is:
In today’s interview I sit down with the senior statesman of online selling – Jim Cockrum. He’s a bestselling author and is ranked as one of the most trusted online marketers and the foremost expert on Selling On Amazon. We discuss the opportunity to buy items locally and resell them on Amazon for a profit. I think you’ll enjoy the interview and the resources Jim provides…(note – the Skype recorder lags for a minute at the beginning, but then it corrects itself…sorry about that!).
Let Jim give you a video overview of what you get when you join PAC:
Do me a favor and share this on Pinterest!
Final Thoughts from Jason,
I want to thank Jim again for taking the time to help educate the Make-Sell-Grow community. It’s an honor to work together with him to promote his resources and programs using his affiliate program. I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity!
I’m kicking off a serious of videos today – focused on the Pinterest Advertising Program. I hope you enjoy the first installment. Let me know if you have questions or comments. I’d love to hear your perspective.