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BRANDING YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS What is Branding?

Branding is how your business is perceived by others. It is not only your visual identity but the voice in which you interact with customers and potential customers.

Why is Branding Important?

Branding is one of the most important things you can do in establishing your business. Have you ever been to a website or social media site and while the actual items might be nice and

well photographed, the graphics and logo are mismatched, out dated or just don’t make sense?

I know I am often turned away instantly.

Good Branding:

Sets you Apart from the Others in your Target Market – Lets face it, in pretty much any category there are people selling things JUST LIKE YOU. Having good branding helps to separate yourself from your competitors. Take a look at this artist’s ideas for how they would re-brand common treats to attract hipsters. It’s spot on!

Conveys to People what your Business is About –People use the visuals you create to quickly assess what your business is all about. Almost instantly people get a vibe about your business and if it’s something they’re interested in.

I know people say, “don’t judge a book by its cover” but they do, all the time. This is the same

for a business, especially an online business. Your branding is your cover so you need to make sure it conveys what you’re about as well as attracts your target market.

Helps Others Recognize You –Brand recognition is very important in establishing a good reputation. This is why you instantly know what that big yellow M is from a mile away, or that bright red Target sign means. As you build a consistent brand, people will be better able to identify your business and think of it as they are shopping.

Shows Professionalism –Even though you might be a new small business and your office is your kitchen table, you are still a business and you want to convey professionalism.

Allows You to Charge More –Do you really expect people to pay a high price on a handmade item if you have a banner made up in Paint? (Is that still a thing? Does anyone use that any

more?). But having good branding set up better justifies the prices you are asking and should be asking for handmade items.

Okay, okay, now I know branding is important Kendra but I don’t have any money to spend on it!

I just started my business and don’t have thousands, hundreds or even $20 to spend on a graphic designer or a brand consultant.

No problem. I love designers and have a number of close friends who design and do amazing work. They are totally worth the money you spend on them, but I know for me, in my business, I have not always been in the financial position to pay them (trust me they, are worth what they charge!).

While branding is extremely important you don’t have to break the bank.

Levels of Branding

When it comes to branding there are a lot of ways you can go about it. As my business has grown, I’ve done all of these levels and found each has worked well for different times in my business’s development.

I personally prefer having custom made designs and wish I would have done it earlier, but I also

understand there are many who are just starting out or are not in the financial position to make that step. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have amazing and consistent branding for your business.

Level 1: DIY It !

There are a lot of free resources you can use. Canva.com is one of my favorites for making great graphics. You can pick out custom colors, fonts and graphics. You can also purchase elements from Etsy designers or other small businesses (shop small!) for low prices as well.

Pros –This is usually the least expensive route to go. You can customize your designs as many times as you’d like in order to make it look just like you want. Making your own graphics can also teach you how to make them for other graphics you might need later on.

Cons –It can take a lot of time figuring out your own logo and graphics. Often times, using the same free programs and websites (like Canva), you’ll find people using the same fonts or graphic elements because the pool is limited. Also learning to do graphics on your own might feel intimidating, which can be a challenge for some.

Where to go:Canva and Photoshop are great places to make your own graphics. I also have liked Etsy to purchase various graphic elements. Dafont.com has a wide variety of fonts available; many for free.

Level 2: Get Pre-Made Graphics

Pre-made graphics are packages or individual elements made up by a graphic designer but are ‘fill in the blank’. They are already made up and they simply change it to your business name.

Pros– Fast. Since the graphics are pre-made, all the designer you purchased them from has to do is fill in your business name and maybe tweak a few things making it a pretty quick turnaround time. They are relatively inexpensive compared to getting something completely custom done. You can mix and match. You can get only your banner or logo pre-made then make the rest yourself if you need to.

Cons– If you buy pre-designed graphics, depending on the popularity of the seller, you could potentially see others with the exact same branding. It happens. Also since it is pre-made, it might not completely reflect your brand or what you want to convey.

Level 3: Custom Branding by a Graphic Designer

This is a custom logo design or custom business branding working one on one with a graphic designer where all elements are made from scratch.

Pros– Your images are completely custom, so it assures that what you have will be unique. You get to work with your designer one on one to figure out what would appeal to your target market and you can pull from their experience on what would work best visually for your business. Also having a graphic designer saves you time from designing it yourself. DIY takes time. Time is money.

Cons– This is definitely the more expensive route to go, as prices can vary from $50 into the thousands depending on experience and qualifications of your designer. Some do have limits on

edits you can do but most designers I’ve found are very flexible in working with you to get something you’re happy with.