In this episode, Deb from Tizzit joins us to announce the 2017 Makers Biz Summit. Deb created Tizzit to help online handmade sellers find success. In this episode, she talks with us about the importance of great photography, value-based pricing, how water in the morning can replace coffee, and of course the Makers Biz Summit.
Meet Deb from Tizzit
Hi! I’m Deb and I grew up in France. I have a Masters in Marketing and Business Management. After attending University, I started working in Sephora, the cosmetic company up in Paris. It was all very interesting but wasn’t really my cup of tea because I wasn’t feeling the corporate Parisian lifestyle. I finished my Masters in Australia and then I started working for small companies around Sydney. I’ve been doing freelance, online marketing, and design work for clients in Sydney.
Because I love studying (ha ha), I went back to school to do graphic design for another year just to learn Adobe software and all that kind of stuff. From there I was able to mix graphic design skills into my offerings. Since then, I’ve been working with small businesses and doing a little bit of everything for them (which I quite like) so instead of doing just graphic design or web design; I look at their whole strategies and when there are gaps, I fill them up with my skills.
Where did the name Tizzit come from?
The more I think about it, the more I think I really should have a story behind it – but I really don’t! The name Tizzit came to me when I was playing with letters and I liked it because you can read it forward and backward.
I have a friend who sells jewelry and she needed a website but she didn’t know where to start. She’s amazing and she makes lots of beautiful creations but she didn’t know how to put crafting and marketing together. She just wasn’t very interested in the sales and marketing stuff and I knew it was something that I could help with. So she let me help her and I loved that project so much that it made me begin to wonder what I am doing working for other small companies when this personal experience was so much more rewarding.
I have lots of other friends doing handmade on the side and I wanted to help them too. I quickly realized that a lot of people who had these amazing skills to create beautiful products were really struggling with how to market them. I thought I could be most helpful by starting a blog. As people started to find the kind of information they were looking for, my audience grew. Then, Tizzit was born!
The 3 Big Pitfalls For Online Sellers
It’s so crucial. We have really had good cameras in our pockets now. But if you’re not a photographer, then you don’t know how to play with the lights, the styling of the product photo, and all the other things that go into it. Yes, you can learn; it’s not that hard but you need to be able to either invest in time or just invest in someone that can do it for you. There are so many Etsy Shops and their products are amazing but sometimes, I see some with a shady gray background or the angle is shot in a way that you’re not sure of the proportion and the size of the product. People are not going to buy that. If it’s a $60 product, I’m buying a $60 picture. I see a lot of people still aren’t putting enough effort into it. I feel that it’s more important than your brand, or your logo, or the banner in your shop. Pictures are what come up when you search and they are what make someone click – not the title. So it has to be perfect.
Lots of people just struggle with what their price should be. There’s a formula online, I think it’s Cost + Labor x 2 = Pricing and it’s so painful to watch people fall for that. It’s hard because you are going to overwork yourself and never be able to make a profit because you’re underpaying yourself. What you need to do is really dive into the numbers.
It’s just so hard to see people working so many hours putting their product together and then they sell it and it works because they’ve got an amazing product. But I talked to a lot of them and they say they still feel like they’re struggling, still not making money, and still working too many hours. My response is “maybe you’re not charging enough.” I’ve heard lots of stories over the years where people substantially increase their prices and to their surprise, they get just as many or even more orders. There are some that quadruple their prices and still sell the same quantity.
This goes back to the first one too which is photos. If you are pricing yourself as the high-end product and you don’t have the photos to back it up, it’s going to be even harder to communicate that to your customers. You have to invest ahead of time – get some nice photos and make sure your listings look great. Make sure that the website you’re selling off looks fantastic too. It’s not like you can just increase your prices and everything would be hunky dory. You need to make sure you’re communicating that through all your channels, too.
3. Investing on Yourself
This is a tricky one for makers. We live in this world where you can find everything on the internet that can teach you how to do something on a budget, or do it yourself. I agree with that and there’s definitely a way to start a business and not spend a dime but there’s also a stage where you need to invest in something and you need to be comfortable with that. I’m not saying that you need $2,000 on your product photography, or pricing strategy specialist straight away, but also don’t expect that everything’s gonna be $0. A few hundred dollars is probably a good way to start. You can at least have the basics right and you’re gonna save yourself so much time and probably would be able to make more sales way quicker than trying to do everything yourself. Be smart when you decide what things you want to learn to do yourself and which ones are too important to neglect. Get help because it is just so crucial.
Makers Biz Summit | Tizzit
My biggest project so far with Tizzit is Makers Biz Summit – a free online conference for Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs. It’s a total of 10 days. It’s organized like a roadmap so every day we focus on one topic. The first day would be the legal setup, the business plan, bookkeeping, and all the foundational work that needs to be done for business. Then we go to pricing, branding, different sales channels like Etsy. There’s a day for setting your own website, setting your retail store, selling online, and then marketing and sales strategies for the last couple of days. We release it in a way that every day we have time to dive into the topic. There are also study guides and 6 workshops where I go into the nitty-gritty side of things. There’s a very wide range of topics that we will cover and that’s only possible with the help of many different presenters. It made me realize how great of a community we have because the presenters are so passionate about helping Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs make a living from their craft.