A couple years ago, when Facebook marketplace was introduced, I hopped right in and posted some mums for sale. I got a couple bites with, “How much?” I typically sent them to my website, which was not what they were asking for. They simply wanted the bottom line, how much? And after seeing that someone was trying to sell “my” mum for $25, I decided never to fool with Facebook marketplace, or even with local Facebook buy and sell pages. My experience is that Facebook shoppers are looking for cheap. They do not care about your time. They don't care if the mum lasts beyond homecoming.
Lesson number one is: “Not everyone is your customer.”
And you don’t want everyone to be your customer. Trust me. You go after your customers. How do you know who your customers are? Are they teenage girls? Teenage boys? Boy moms? Girl moms? Where are they? On Instagram? Facebook? Etsy? Pinterest? What appeals to them? What words? What colors? Sales coaches will tell you to literally think about a day in the life of your ideal customer. Use things that appeal to them. Reel them in with words that solve their problem of needing a mum, needing THE mum! Reel them in with good pictures. I had a customer tell me that my professional-looking photos and the well-laid out ordering process sold her on buying a mum from me. I about did a happy dance right in front of her! She was EXACTLY the customer that I had in mind when I built my website; a professional woman with no time or inclination for making a mum, but she wanted to impress a young lady with a gorgeous mum.
Lesson number two is: “Be clear about your prices and policies.”
Even if you decide you cannot or do not want to have a website. You need to have an obvious place that outlines your prices and policies in black and white. I have not ever had a customer try to bargain with me on prices. Not once. Now, they may have said they read the policies and asked to pick up on a Monday, I simply point them to the page with “Pick up is on Wednesday or Thursday before your homecoming.” I am not compromising my sanity and my bottom line (I am a BUSINESS!). I had one local lady call me and ask me to fix a mum she bought on a local Facebook buy and sell page. It was awful. She shared with me that she’d looked at my website and decided to go with the cheaper option. Guess who she will be buying from next year?
Lesson number three is: “The fact is, your market may not support $600 mums.”
As much as I would like to sell 50 Deluxe Doubles with everything but the kitchen sink, my local market doesn’t want mums that large. They want smaller, more traditional mums. If I want to sell Deluxe Doubles, I need to market to a folks that will buy them. If I want to sell in the Austin area, I have to sell the mum they are looking for. I do not compromise quality or design for them. Half of my mum sales were $70 24-30” 6.5” flower singles, even to seniors, in school colors. They simply do not wear large mums in the Austin area. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are just that, EXCEPTIONS. Many of those $70 sales also purchased a $30 upgrade bundle with one set of lights, boas and a little bit of bling. I got the tip from a well-heeled customer that bought everything but the kitchen sink. She told me, “Make bundles, people will buy them.” I did and they do.
Lesson number four is: “Don’t compare your mum business to anyone else’s mum business.”
Your market may be different. Word of mouth is still the best seller of mums. Maybe you’re new and the word isn’t out, yet. Maybe you need to make some improvements in workmanship and presentation. Maybe you need to invest some time in learning to market in the social media world. There are so many reasons your customer may not want to buy a triple burlap rose gold dream. Focus on your business and if you need help, feel free to ask. The best thing about Mums, Inc is that Shakisha has created a safe place where we truly are “Better Together.” You will not find a more supportive, sharing, open group anywhere. Comparing your business to someone else’s business is going to suck all the joy out of this fun (and as I like to say) made up job, that you love!
Lesson number five is: “Invest in learning.”
Every profession that I know of encourages practitioners to further their education. Invest in courses and classes in person or online. I spend my off season searching Pinterest for the lastest Instagram marketing trends or product photography tips or copywriting for small businesses. I have invested money and time on books, business courses and travel to grow my business. I feel like those investments have paid for themselves (and they are tax deductible.) My second and third year in business, I doubled my business. This year I doubled the number of mums that I shipped statewide.
So quick recap: Not everyone is your customer. Be clear about your prices and policies. Your market does not look like my market. Don’t compare. Invest in learning.
I love all y’all! Be blessed!
Central Texas Spirit Wear