Between May and September 2021, Crafts Council UK created a series of ten webinars funded by Creative Europe, known collectively as ‘Spring-Back Talks’. The intent is to support small craft businesses and to help crafts people promote and expand their businesses, by providing them with the necessary tools to get through a difficult 2021 and beyond. These free digital talks are now available on the Crafts Council UK YouTube channel. They offer great insight from business experts without being overly complex. There are tips and tricks across many craft genres for crafts people to help their customers, collectors and even employees understand their work and to ultimately aid promotion of their craft product or service.
Caroline Jackman, Head of Business Skills at Crafts Council UK commences the series by setting the context for each topic of discussion, encouraging craftspeople to adapt their approach for relevance. Her key points suggest considering their rationale, needs for research, developing marketing strategies, structures for promotion of brand, planning and connections. Always with an eye to the future. She suggests that craftspeople should ask why it is important to appraise brand values and research other brands with whom their business could be aligned, as well as reviewing mechanisms for promoting or building their own brand. It is crucial to think about what a business hopes to achieve before starting and Jackman stresses how planning is vital yet working backwards is always the best structure.
The expert panels offer practical advice on topics that range from building a brand, cultivating relationships, examining what makers already know about their clients, strategies to attract the right people to a business and researching customer needs more deeply to speaking to the press and offering suggestions on how to use social media platforms effectively to communicate with others. Keeping Instagram feeds clean and web pages simple and concise are part of that professional image and first impressions really do count, says Malaika Byng of Crafts Magazine.
The ideas are not groundbreaking but clear, thorough and strategic. Eventually it boils down to developing a strong image and telling your story with passion to cultivate relationships with your buyers and other makers for a successful future in making.
Some of the titles available at CraftsCouncil:
- How to identify your brands
- How to build customer profiles
- Getting the most out of Instagram
- Video is your friend
- Getting the most out of Facebook
- How to work with the media
- How to present ideas to clients
- How to hone your writing skills
- How to take advantage of the growing experience economy