SilkFair

Archive for the ‘Food for Thought’ Category

Amanda Maurer (@acmaurer) shared a feature at the Chicago Tribune to highlight 12 vintage advertisements for instant coffee. Its incredible to see them and somewhat hilarious to see how these ads started out.

Looking at these ads also reminded me of an early marketing case study that emerged after the advent of blogging. A small home-based entrepreneur had created his own blend of tea and wanted to promote it. Without any capacity for large-scale production, distribution or marketing, he just sent 50 samples of his tea bag to 50 bloggers, with no strings attached. ‘If you like it and feel that your readers might enjoy this too, I would appreciate it if you could tell them about the way they can order this too’.

Sure enough, those bloggers all loved the products and wrote about this small entrepreneur… and before he knew it he had a thriving niche business with a loyal following just from within his local city of followers.

How marketing and promotions have changed, indeed.

Sometimes I feel that companies like ours have to think about these changes the most – being a platform, its our resonsibility to highlight our users and their amazing creations much moreso than ourselves. That we have to share in our sellers joys and sorrows, and work together to help one another through thick and thin.

Its a strange type of business, but it has an incredible charm to it – we get to discover the interesting stories of the people on our site, and how those stories inspire their work…. e.g. how Catldy99 started out from the Portland Bead Society through becoming a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, or how FlowersByFarha’s work is inspired by her experiences along arab trade routes and her life in Spain.

I think its these stories that will be the core reasons for why people buy certain products from someone in the future.

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DesignSponge just featured a very exciting new indie-documentary called “Handmade Nation”, which opens in theatres next week and chronicles the rise of DIY and the Arts and Crafts revolution across our nation.

This film is the work of Faythe Levine and Courtney Heimerl. According to their website:

In 2006, first-time director Faythe Levine traveled to 15 cities, interviewing 80 individuals. Levine captured the virtually tight-knit community that exists through websites, blogs and online stores and connects to the greater public through independent boutiques, galleries, and craft fairs.

The film is coming out at an incredibly apt time. From running a community-based platform for people-to-people commerce, we have been seeing a meteoric rise of people who are now able to showcase their creative skills and build beautiful products and connect with likeminded people around them to get feedback. The small home-based entrepreneur or small business-person has never before been able to so quickly get their products out there, start conversations with people across the social-web and earn profitability from their efforts.

But the rise of Social Media since 2006 means it is now easier and more effective than ever to promote and highlight your products at minimal marketing efforts, and I think thats a chapter in this saga that’s worth spending good time on. We’d love to connect with sellers who have stores on Silkfair or even other platforms and offer free tips and advice on how to use social media to your advantage as a small business owner selling handcrafter items. Maybe we’ll do a whole series of blog posts on the subject. Let us know if you would be interested in reading something like that.

In the meantime – its a great feeling to know that this weave of websites and micro-communities represent a larger movement across this handmade-nation of ours, and its an honor that we’re also playing a role in its future


This is the official blog of Silkfair.com - we're a rapidly growing platform where crafters, vintage and retro fans, and eco-conscious buyers come together to trade... just like the Silk Road, but online!

We love our community because of how close-knit and respectful it is of each other - and this blog is our way of highlighting them and their successes as a way of sharing in the joy. Join us!

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