Pinterest has become my favorite platform for bloggers and small businesses to promote their blog or product.
When I started my first business I used Instagram almost exclusively to promote my brand. I eventually utilized Facebook and Pinterest, but when I first started using Pinterest for my business I didn’t understand how it could be very beneficial. Pinterest seemed like a place for crafters, so I was somewhat reluctant to put my product there, in fear that my things would be copied. Even though I did not put a lot of effort into Pinterest I started to see traffic come from it, which made me realize how important it was to stay active on it. I continued to pin often, and I asked followers on my other social media platforms to also follow me on Pinterest.
I have watched videos, read blog posts, and done my research on Pinterest for business and the more I learn the more I love it.
If you aren’t sure what Pinterest is all about or why it can be beneficial for you, let me explain a little about what it is and why you should be utilizing it.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterst is a website (& an app) where users upload images and link them back to the source. These are called PINS.
Pins are organized into folders, which are called Boards.
Users on Pinterest are called Pinners.
Saving pins to boards used to be called “pinning”, but now it is just called “saving”.
Why you should be utilizing Pinterest
• Pinterest has over 100 million active users
• The majority of pinners are women between the ages of 24-44
• 70% of people are on Pinterest to SHOP. (Did you know only around 3% of people are on Facebook to shop?! So, if you are putting all your money and energy into Facebook and not having any success, try giving Pinterest a shot.)
• 2 Million users save shopping pins daily
• 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest
Now, the fact that people come to Pinterest to plan purchases sets Pinterest apart from any other social media platform. People are literally there to look for something to buy!
Pinterest Is A Search Engine. I actually don’t even like calling Pinterest a “social media platform” because it’s really more like a search engine. That’s another thing that sets Pinterest apart from Instagram and Facebook. People can actually go on Pinterest and SEARCH for things to buy! This is amazing because it also lets your posts live forever! The life of a Facebook post in only a few hours.
Tips For Being Successful On Pinterest:
I love that people can be successful on Pinterest even if they don’t have a lot of followers. I like that vanity metrics don’t really play a role in Pinterest. A large following is alway beneficial, but there are still a lot of ways for your Pins to be seen by a large audience, even if you don’t have a huge following.
If a few people start saving your pin it can eventually create a snowball effect and can end up being seen by thousands of people.
• Pin Often. Make sure you’re pinning to all your boards frequently. Pin all of your blogs/products/whatever it is you’re promoting, PIN IT!
• Create good looking graphics. It is a fact that long vertical photos do best on Pinterest and get saved the most. Put together an eye-catching graphic by including a high quality photo or collage with a good title on it that will grab people’s attention. Example for good titles: Unique Clothes For Boys (if you sell clothes for boys), or Must Have Organic Beauty Products (if you sell organic beauty products). Graphics like these are not just for blogs, they work for brands as well!
• Join / create collaborative boards. Collaborative boards are boards that multiple people can pin to. This is a great way for your pins to be seen by other people’s followers.
• USE KEYWORDS + GOOD DESCRIPTIONS. Like I said, Pinterest is like a search engine. So, when you’re making a caption for your Pin make sure to use words that people would search. Also be sure to utilize the entire word count in your bio and user name. Your user name can even include keywords. Example: Britt Kavanaugh Blog + Business Marketing. Another example: Root Avenue Kid’s Clothes & Motherhood Apparel. Your board titles should be things that people would search as well. So instead of making the title of your recipe board “YUM”, make it something like “Lunch & Dinner Recipes”.
• Be CONSISTENT. I use this word A LOT. Your Pinterest page should reflect your brand, just like any other platform. Your URL should be consistent with your other platforms, to make it easy for followers to find you. Your boards should be things that relate to your target market. If you sell kids clothes you will probably want boards having to do with babies, motherhood, recipes, crafts, etc. Things MOMS like!
GROW YOUR FOLLOWING:
– Incorporate Pinterest into giveaways. For example, if you’re doing a giveaway in your Facebook group you can add “extra entries” for following your Pinterest and pinning 3 pins. (Just for an example)
– Use your other social platforms (IG/IG stories + Facebook) to send those followers to your Pinterest. I like to post to my stories and add a link for people to “swipe up” and follow me. For Facebook I sometimes include a Pinterest link that goes with the post and I say something like “Pin this to save for later”.
– Ask people in Facebook groups to do a follow for follow. If your in some blog groups or entrepreneur groups there are probably many others that are also trying to grow their Pinterest following, so this would be a great place to help each other out.
Save Time + Schedule Your Pins:
Sometimes it can be overwhelming and time consuming having to post to so many platforms. I am a firm believer in using scheduling apps to make life easier. Tailwind is a program that allows you to schedule your Pinterest posts in advance. Tailwind also offers insights, Tribes, and suggested pins to schedule. Tribes are groups on Tailwind where people can post their Pins to and others within the tribe will be suggested to share. (Kind of like collaborative boards, except Tribe groups don’t show up on your Pinterest page and only the people within the tribe can see shared content.)
CLICK HERE to get a free month of Tailwind Plus. (Referral link!)
I could really go on and on about Pinterest, but this is a basic guide on where to start!
If you still need some help, I do offer Pinterest Starter Packs and can get your business page up and running and looking good. I also offer Pinterest management. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
CLICK HERE to follow me on Pinterest.
It can be a struggle determining how to price your products/services.
Knowing your target market plays a huge role in pricing your products.
There’s also a ton of psychological factors that go into pricing. For example, studies have shown that prices that end in “9” tend to sell better. So, $39 is more appealing that $40 or even $35!
It’s also proven that one of the main reasons for abandoned carts is shipping costs. So, upping your prices and including free shipping on all orders might be something to consider.
Then, of course, there is the value you place on your product/brand. Don’t exclude your time/effort/passion from your product when you setting your prices.
You also need to take in consideration the fact that you might want to have sales. You should still be able to profit from your product when offering a discount. I strongly encourage you to strategically plan out your sales so that you aren’t just giving out a discount code when you’re having a slow sales day/week. Make sure to bust out a calendar and take a look at holidays that you will most likely want to offer a sale. If you bring in seasonal items, you might want to plan clearance sales to clear out old inventory before bringing in new inventory. If you constantly offer sales you will find that your customers will only purchase from you when they get a discount code. Some companies offer sales almost DAILY, and that is part of their pricing strategy. (Example: Old Navy.)
Other things to take into consideration:
Marketing supplies (ex: business cards)
With all that said, here is a simple formula for determining a base price for your product.
In the end, the price is up to YOU! Just make sure you are making money at the end of the day!
Apps for apps. Because it never ends!
I wish that I had known about some of these apps/tools a long time ago, but it’s always better late than never!
Of course I have your basic apps/social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I also have the Facebook Business page app, along with my e-commerce apps for Shopify & Etsy.
Here are a list of other apps/websites/tools I utilize to help run my businesses.
• Tailwind [App & Website] for Pinterest & IG scheduling: A scheduling website/app that allows you to schedule out Pinterest posts and Instagram posts. This is literally a must-have for any blogger/business owner. I think that Pinterest is a very important platform that needs to be taken advantage of, and Tailwind allows you to schedule out your Pins which is a great way to maintain an active account. Tailwind also helps keep track of your website traffic from your pins.
• Planoly [App & Website] for IG scheduling/visual planning: I actually don’t use Planoly to schedule my posts, but I DO use it to visually plan my posts. This is a great way to make sure your feed is cohesive and flows well. It really has helped me make my feed more visually appealing. I also really like to use the analytics feature, which shows stats and top posts for the week/month/year.
• Trello [Website & App] for project management: I actually didn’t even realize this was available as an app until JUST now. Ha! I use it online on the website. Anyways! Trello is AMAZING. It’s basically like virtual sticky notes that are very easy to organize. The great thing about Trello is the fact that you can invite people to join your “boards” and they can see/add to your notes. You can even upload photos, videos, and files. This is perfect for making lists for yourself or working on projects with clients, employees, collaborators, co-workers, etc.
• GetVela [Website] for Etsy (Bulk Editing): I just recently used this website for the first time while editing listings for a client. It makes editing listings so easy. The website is very user-friendly and there is a live-chat option available for if you have questions.
• Collabor8 [App]: Collabor8 is a great way for influencers to find businesses to work with, and vise-versa. I have used it a few times and have had great experiences.
• Fiverr [Website]: Fiverr is basically a one-stop shop for freelance services. From logos, to graphics, to copywriting and more, you will find it all on Fiverr.
• UpWork [Website]: I feel like UpWork is a higher-quality version of Fiverr. Basically offers all the same stuff for a little bit higher prices, so remember; you usually get what you pay for.
• WordSwag [App]: WordSwag is perfect for making graphics for sales, giveaways, deals, quotes, etc. There are a lot of backgrounds to choose from, or you can use your own photo, then add pretty text over them.
• Bazaart [App]: Bazaart is really fun to use, it has a ton of different fonts/backgrounds/images to choose from, along with some cool editing tools. I really like using this app to create images for things like sales and giveaways or for making collages of new products.
• MailChimp [Website]: MailChimp is my favorite E-Mail marketing platform. It’s very user-friendly, which makes it easy to send out e-mail campaigns to your e-mail subscribers. MailChimp also allows you to create Facebook & Instagram campaigns directly from their site.
• WiseStamp signature [Website]: I use this to make my signature for my e-mails that I send out from my business e-mail address. This makes your signature look professional and allows you to add a photo and links to your website(s).
• GoDaddy Bookeeping [Website]: My personal favorite way to keep track of my books. This website makes my life so much easier, and it also makes taxes not as scary! My accountant loves me for using this website. It’s SUPER easy to use, all you have to do is link your bank accounts and it automatically separates all your purchases and expenses. (There are some that you have to manually.)
• DisplayPurposes.com [Website]: OMG you guys! I wish I had found this website sooner. I have been using it for about a week now and I am obsessed. This makes my life so much easier when it comes to adding hashtags on IG. All you have to do is type in a hashtag relevant to your post, example: #girlboss, and it pulls up 30 or less similar hashtags for you to copy and paste to your post! (AND it has the little dots to make it look pretty.) I am obviously way too excited about this.
• LinkTree [Website]: LinkTree allows you to link tour different sites all on one page. For example, on my LinkTree I have links to my blog, YouTube, Facebook group, and Virtual Assistant page.
Facebook groups are such an amazing recourse for business owners/bloggers/influencers. I have probably joined 100 in the last year. (Not even kidding.) Go into the Facebook search bar and type in anything, from: Photography, Etsy, Shopify, Business Owners, Bloggers, Collaborations, WAHM, Social Media Marketing, Facebook Marketing, Instagram Marketing, etc. etc. etc., and make sure to click “Groups” and you will find a ton to choose from. I try to join the ones with a good amount of active members. Groups are a great place to learn, collaborate, and ask questions. I definitely recommend joining a few that relate to your business!
Okay, so this list was pretty short, but I wanted to make sure to be authentic and only include apps/websites that I truly love and use often.
I am always open to new recommendations, so if there is an app/website that you can’t live without, please let me know!!
I plan on doing a separate blog post about my favorite Shopify Apps. I will link it here once it’s finished! 🙂
Interaction pods are the new way for Instagramers to gain likes and comments. I am completely against them and I want to tell you why.
In the beginning there was Instagram, and it was good:
Okay so, when I opened my first business (Root Avenue) I really had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t have a marketing plan or goals or anything. If I’m being completely honest, I saw other moms starting businesses selling kid’s stuff on Instagram and thought “well, that looks easy enough!”
While I always had a passion for design and marketing, seeing other people sell stuff via Instagram is what really pushed me to actually start my own business.
When I opened up shop my only strategy was to use Instagram to gain a following and market to other moms. My company did VERY well for having no strategy and primarily utilizing Instagram to market my shop. I hit 20K followers after just one year, and gained all followers organically (I did not pay for followers.)
My interaction was never outstanding, but my sales were always consistent. Even at around 35K followers my posts rarely hit 200 likes (sometimes I barely hit 100), however, I did not really care because I knew this was not a reflection of my sales.
THE DREADED NEW IG ALGORITHM OF 2017
Before the new algorithm actually took effect I remember business owners/social media influencers freaking out and fearing it would be the end of their careers.
What’s funny is the fact that people were crying about their poor engagement even BEFORE the algorithm actually took place.
Once the changes hit, people claimed to notice a drastic change in engagement. While I do think that it did have an effect on some people, I also assume that their engagement wasn’t that great to begin with and they were using the new algorithm as an excuse for poor engagement.
Instagram “Stories” came out soon after the new algorithm, and I think that a majority of Instagram users stopped scrolling “up” as long as they used to and started spending more time scrolling left (watching “stories”).
This is just a theory, but the fact that everything is jumbled out of order makes it harder to tell where you left off, therefore I assume that people are not scrolling as long.
THE HONEST TRUTH
I think the reason why businesses in particular are getting lower engagement is because the content is, first of all selling to people, and second of all it can get BORING and repetetive. I follow a lot of kid’s clothing/accessory shops and the posts are all the same thing- kid’s wearing cute clothes. After a while it gets boring.
PEOPLE ARE SEEING YOUR POSTS
So, my Root Avenue account with over 35K followers would usually average 75-150 likes per post. However, when I would post a funny meme I would get 300-900 likes! That is a HUGE difference! So this just proves to me that it is not about who is seeing your post, it’s about CONTENT. (I am using Root Avenue as an example, but I have noticed it with other accounts as well.)
COMMENT / INTERACTION PODS
People thought that they could cheat the system by creating DM groups where everyone would share their post and the group would like and/or comment on it. I gave it a try and created a couple groups of my own, and I also joined a couple. At one point I was in 4 groups, but I rarely sent my posts to the groups unless it was a sponsored post (which I will get to later). I also manage other social media accounts and interacted in pods for them. I saw my organic engagement go way down after joining these groups, as well as the engagement of the accounts I managed.
I also noticed bloggers and shops getting hundreds of generic comments, which put a bad taste in my mouth. (Example: “LOVE THIS” commented 100 times. *eye roll*)
Here are some reasons I have heard for joining pods:
1. It will help boost your post.
My opinion: I do not believe this to be true. I think that it it will only boost your future posts for the people that are engaging with you. I manage several accounts, and I know that if there is a certain account that I engage with a lot their posts will almost always show up in my feed right away.
2. It makes you look good.
My opinion: Let’s be honest, if you see an account getting good interaction it automatically looks more credible. It’s sometimes hard to tell fake interaction from organic interaction…which is the problem!
3. It will help you land collaborations. (bloggers/influencers)
My opinion: I see some of these influencers getting loads of generic comments, and then landing deals with huge companies. At first glance it looks like these bloggers/influencers have great interaction, when really they are just in a shit-ton of pods! This is actually really sad for the companies that are hiring them, because they are being fooled. It is almost like LYING in my opinion.
Why Businesses Should NOT Use Pods:
So, I get why influencers use pods (to land collaborations), but I do not understand why shops are doing it. Yes, I get that it makes you look better, but it is ultimately a waste of time and energy. TIME IS MONEY! After working with other shops and interacting in pods for them I did not noticed ANY rise in organic engagement or sales. This means that it is a total waste of time. If you have had a different experience and are gaining sales and organic engagement then by all means keep doing it, but I would really find that hard to believe.
I hope that I didn’t come across harsh or judgmental, I just really feel like pods are ruining Instagram. I hate the new algorithm as much as everyone else, but I do not think pods are the answer to better engagement. I think that content, authenticity, and good branding should be the main focus to gain organic engagement.
Facebook groups are becoming a very popular place for brands to engage with their customers and promote their products.
With the annoying algorithm on Facebook business pages and Instagram it makes sense that Facebook groups are now a main focus for many brand owners.
One of the great things about promoting in a group is the fact that you are posting from your personal Facebook page. People love to see the face behind the shop, and groups become a place where you can essentially “bond” with your followers.
A lot of people ask me how to get their group to engage- and the answer is: Post engaging content!
I’ve collected some pictures for business owners to post in their group to engage and get to know their followers.
Feel free to use any of these.
*Tip* Post your own answer in the comments once you post, this helps bump the post.
1. Where are you from? Drop the emoji that represents your state!
2. Would you rather go a whole day with lipstick on your teeth or smudged mascara?
3. Or, if you prefer, you can replace “child” with “husband”. 😉
4. Type in d-i-s-n-e-y.com in the comments and the first person to get Woody wins! (Or you can crop it if you don’t want to do a giveaway)
5. Everyone has a favorite! (Mine is Jasmine…or Mulan.)
6. Who is your celebrity twin? Everyone says mine is Kourtney Kardashian.
7. Who is your favorite TV couple? I love Zack & Kelly <3
8. If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose & why? I would choose That 70’s Show or Saved By The Bell, because I love all the characters on those shows! 🙂
9. Which cup is yours? (Mine is probably B3)
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
[EDIT] Since I made this post “.gifs” came out on Facebook and have made for really fun engaging posts!! Here’s some more pictures to post to get your group to engage with gifts:
MORE CONTENT ADVICE:
• Ask your group “opinion” questions, whether it be which print to use for a new product, or which carseat to get for your baby. (People love to state their opinion!)
• Ask random questions such as: What is your favorite crock pot recipe? What are your plans for the 4th Of July? Etc.
• Create Polls.
• Do live videos!
• Create albums for your followers to post photos in, such as “Mail Day”, “Styled ____your brand name here___”
Post consistently to keep your group active! Your Facebook group can become a huge game changer for your business, so be sure to use it to it’s full potential.
For more advice and tips, join my Facebook group Facebook.com/groups/happyhustle
6 Tips For Branding Your Instagram Feed
So, in case you didn’t know, I’ve recently started working as a virtual assistant and social media manager. Owning two businesses has helped me gain first-hand experience with social media marketing. My first business, Root Avenue, was instantly successful by using Instagram as my main marketing tool. In fact, I would say that a majority of the small apparel businesses that started a 1-5 years ago can thank Instagram for most of their success.
Unfortunately, Instagram has changed a lot over the last year. While it is still a great marketing tool, it takes a lot more effort to get your product and brand seen by consumers.
With that said, it is definitely still possible to have amazing success on Instagram. There is ONE main thing that I highly recommend you do, and that is to have a clear vision of your brand and portray it across all of your social media, ESPECIALLY your Instagram.
I will be doing a whole post on branding your business, but for now I am going to focus on branding your Instagram.
6 Tips For Branding Your Instagram Feed
1. KEEP YOUR FEED CONSISTENT
Find your style and stay true to it. If you like warm tones and nature, then stick to it! If you like cool tones and city backdrops, then stick to that! Consistency is the KEY to branding! A couple things that you can do to keep your feed consistent is adhering to a color scheme/filter, and creating a pattern for your posts.
I really love @lizakoshy‘s feed, and think it’s a great example of a consistent feed that sticks to the same filter and tone. (I am not sure which filter this is, but I love it!)
2. PICK A THEME
This goes hand-in-hand with branding. One reason that “niche” accounts do so well is because they focus on one thing which draws people in. Picking a theme goes along with being consistent. You don’t NEED to have a theme, but it really does help!
A good example of a brand that does this is @thebeeandthefox. They have that vintage/70’s vibe.
3. KEEP YOUR FEED VISUALLY APPEALING
A good looking feed is going to have more success gaining and keeping followers. If someone lands on a page that is visually appealing they’re more likely to browse for a while.
@vickiee_yo‘s Instagram catches your eye right away, and keeps your attention.
4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR ADVICE
Sometimes a second (or third or fourth) pair of eyes can help when you’re stumped on what direction to go. Don’t be afraid to reach out to marketing managers, or even creative friends, and ask for advice on how to style your feed. Often times I will go through my feed and delete pictures that I feel stick out (in a bad way) and clash with my tone.
One of my clients had a great grasp on their brand, and their website is amazing. When I took over their social media accounts I noticed that their Instagram did not portray the vibe of their brand. Here is a side by side look at their feed before I took over, and after.
Left is before, right is after. I totally brightened the feed and made sure that their brand’s message (“There is always a reason for a party!”) was portrayed to people that came across their page.
5. REACH OUT TO SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS/BLOGGERS THAT FIT YOUR BRAND
Just because a social media influencer has a large following or takes good pictures doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good reason to reach out to them. If their style doesn’t match yours you might not want to use their photos on your feed, and their audience might not be the customers you are trying to reach. Find people whose photography style fits your tone, and whose personal style/interests match your target market.
@nenaandco is a great example of this. They work with a lot of social media influencers, and they all have that boho style and/or an adventurous feed.
6. UTILIZE HASHTAGS
While hashtags don’t have anything to do with the look of your feed, they do have the ability attract your target market. Instagram has recently been cracking down on activity that looks like spam, and unfortunately using the same hashtags over and over again can cause your posts to be shadow banned. So, I suggest having 3-5 different sets of hashtags to choose from. Use as many as you can think of. (Up to 30 per set.) And post them in the caption or comments of your post.
Those are my six tips for branding your Instagram feed. I hope you were able to take away at least one thing from this post!
If you want to reach out to me for branding advice/social media management or even a second set of eyes on your social media pages, don’t be afraid to holla at me! Click Here to email me.
Instagram stories has been a game changer for business accounts on Instagram. I know that a lot of business owners are struggling with the algorithm changes, “shadow banning”, and new business settings. Many are fearful that Instagram will soon be like Facebook, as far as business pages go. This means that businesses will most likely have to pay if they want their posts to be seen. While I totally understand why Instagram would do this (very smart business move on their end), it is already proving to be very harmful to small business accounts that are trying to promote their products.
Thankfully, Instagram threw small businesses a bone, and came out with Instagram stories. I highly recommend taking advantage of this tool and use it to it’s full potential.
Here are some of my tips for using Instagram stories for your business (or blog).
1. DIRECT FOLLOWERS TO OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Stories is a great place to promote your other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Facebook. I created a couple photos that can be used in your stories, that you can save and use! Once you upload them to your stories be sure to add the URL, example: pinterest.com/britt_kav For the mailing list photo, be sure to add directions for how to join your mailing list. (Tap each photo, tap + hold to save to your phone.)
2. DIRECT FOLLOWERS TO YOUR LATEST INSTAGRAM POST
A lot of times Instagram will burry your post, and a good majority of your followers won’t even see it. (Thanks a lot, new algorithm!) Using stories to direct followers to your latest post can be a great tool to help boost your views. Screen shotting your page and posting an arrow to your post is one way to send them there. Example:
(My phone is on the charger. Don’t judge me.)
Put a sticker over your post to get your followers interested in what it is! (SoOooO mysterious.)
You could also post something like this (feel free to save and use these):
The arrow points to your profile picture, which can be clicked on. 😉
3. INCLUDE EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODES
Creating a custom discount code exclusively for people who watch your stories is a great way to see how many sales you’ve gained just from your story viewers. You could even make it fun and have a “Happy Hour Sale”, and delete the story once the sale is over. This will also encourage people to keep an eye on your stories.
4. LET YOUR FOLLOWERS GET TO KNOW YOU
Instagram stories has been a great way for business owners & bloggers to open up with their followers and allow them to get a glimpse into their life/home/office/etc. I didn’t know the face behind a lot of shops until Instagram stories launched. Customers love to know who they are buying from. Make sure to stay professional, remember…there are some things your followers DON’T want/need to see. (Trust me, I’ve unfollowed some pages because of their stories.)
5. GO LIVE
The newest Instagram feature is the ability to go LIVE! Something about watching other people live is just so fascinating. One advantage is the fact that your followers will be notified that you are live. I suggest planning out exactly what you are going to talk about, or at least have some sort of idea, because it can be easy to lose your train of thought. (And it can be quite intimidating.) Use the LIVE tool to engage with your followers, allow them to ask you questions, or use it to ask them questions! (Examples: what items they love, what they want more of, where they’re from, etc.)
I would love to hear if this post was helpful to you, or if you have some of your own suggestions/helpful tips!
Something really bad is happening to small businesses, primarily children’s clothing brands that have gained popularity through Instagram.
As most of you know, for the last two years I have owned a small business called Root Avenue. Root Avenue’s main product is children’s graphic t-shirts. When I first opened shop I started off with 5 designs, that I created myself in photoshop. Root’s first big ‘hit’ was our Pretty Fly For A Small Fry raglan. Before I released this design I searched all over the internet to see if anyone else had an item with this phrase. I searched hashtags, Pinterest, Etsy, Google, etc, and it was nowhere to be found. Within weeks of releasing this shirt I started to see copies being made. They started to pop up in the hashtag on Instagram, and in Etsy shops. I was furious that people were ripping me off, and I eventually had to invest in trademarking this phrase so that I had legal grounds for reporting knock-offs.
As a small business every single sale is a huge deal for me and my income. Every time a copy is made, it takes away from my business. Yes, even if it’s made for personal use. Copying a small business is the exact opposite of being supportive.
Taking the time to report every single replica became part of my daily schedule. It took away from time that I could have been doing productive things for myself and my company.
Then came the knock-offs from *China. (*I do not want to write the name of the website, so I will be referencing “China” instead. I do not want to help promote this wholesale website in any way.) The first time someone notified me that my design was being sold on this popular Chinese wholesale website, my heart dropped and it felt like someone punched me in the gut.
Reporting “copy cats” was one thing. China is a whole other level. Once an item has been copied by China, you not only have to worry about the Chinese wholesaler, but you have to worry about THEIR supplier, as well as boutiques that buy in bulk from them.
There are also “Buy-In” groups on Facebook, where women go in on buying in bulk from this website. I understand that some women don’t even know that they are buying knock-offs. HOWEVER, I believe that a majority know exactly what they are buying. Some even have the nerve to go to these groups and post photos from small businesses pages and ask if it can be found on the Chinese wholesale website.
All of this is a HUGE problem. Copying is directly effecting small businesses, and it is stealing! Stealing from business owners who have worked their butt off creating, designing, promoting, and running their business. All to be ripped away from them because of GREED.
I have seen people say things such as, “Well, you should be flattered that they like your product enough to copy it!”
To me, this is the same thing as someone getting robbed, and then be told, “Well, you should be flattered that they liked your stuff enough to steal it!”
Because that is exactly what copying is. It’s STEALING.
Being copied is one of the most discouraging thing for business owners to deal with. Even with trademarks and copyrights, it is extremely difficult to track down and remove all of the replicas. Not to mention the amount of frustration it causes and time it consumes.
Wondering how to be able to tell the original from the replica?? Here are few helpful tips.
How to find out where the original came from:
If the item is something that is easily searched, such as a phrase on t-shirt, I recommend browsing Instagram hashtags. This allows you to go back and see when it was used first and which company started it. There are some generic phrases that are hard to claim, but you can at least see if a design was replicated. (Font/placement/garment/etc.)
The photos on the Chinese wholesale website all look very similar. Here’s some examples. Now, it can be very hard to tell sometimes. The Chinese wholesale website will often steal the small business’s photos. This screen shot is straight from the Chinese wholesale website. The three photos that have a picture of a child were all stolen from the original makers. So, just because you see a picture of a child wearing the item does not mean that is the actual item you are buying. Photos of my children are being used by the Chinese wholesale website, as well as by boutiques who have purchased from them.
If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Many “crafters” will charge very low prices just to make the sale, and because they will purchase a very cheap blank. A “custom” t-shirt, for example, might be sold for $10 because they purchased a blank shirt from somewhere like Walmart, & used their vinyl cutter to make the design. Ripping off designs means they don’t have to work hard on being creative or promoting a business, they can just copy someone else and make a quick buck.
Boutiques selling children’s sets (example: shirt, bloomers, bow ) for $13-$20 were most likely bought from China. Many sets on the Chinese wholesale website are being sold at prices as low as $4. (If that doesn’t scream sweatshop, I don’t know what does!) Now, figuring out if the item is a knock off is another thing, but a little research can usually help you determine it’s authenticity.
The photo above is a great example of what you get when you buy a knock-off from China. Check out the spelling errors on the shirt.
The originals can be found here:
Headband | Shirt | Leg Warmers | Adorable Baby Model
END THE DEMAND
Whether it be a friend making a copy, or contributing to a bulk buy-in, THIS is the type of thing that needs to STOP NOW. If we can work together to end the DEMAND, then we can hopefully eventually end the SUPPLY.
I know this might seem like a lot of information, and I understand that this might not resinate with a lot of people that it doesn’t directly effect. I just want to get this information out there, and if this stops even one person from buying or making a knock-off, then I would be happy.
When you buy from the original maker, you are helping support a family and a dream.
SUPPORT CREATIVITY AND THE ORIGNAL!
#supportlocal #buyhandmade #shopsmall #makesmallbig
Side note, yes, I do buy things made in China. I have even purchased things (such as tape, and paper clips) from the Chinese wholesale website. I want to be clear that I am not saying that all things made in China are bad, I am simply stating that there is a huge problem with creators being ripped off by them.