Friday, April 08, 2005

Marketing Ideas

The Summerfest jury is mailing out its decisions today. I'm hoping they send them by e-mail, because I don't think I can stand the suspense. It'll be really tight financially if I get in, but I think it will be a really good thing.

If I get in, I've got one month to raise as much cash as possible to buy materials to make enough merchandise for Summerfest. And after that I've got a very narrow time window in which to get ready-- I have to have all my Summerfest merchandise ready by the end of May because we are going on vacation at the beginning of June and coming back a few days before Summerfest; and the Gardeners' Market opens on the 7th of May. I'll have to place my order to Dharma right after opening day, and dye my fingers to the bone as soon as the box arrives.

I decided the best way to raise the cash (besides selling off some of my odd yarn cones) would be to market the hell out of scarves. To that end, I worked on my website yesterday. After accidentally deleting and recovering some important files, and restoring the header and nav-bar which had first started appearing 2 and 3 times on a page and then vanished altogether, I discovered to my horror that over half of my "buy now" shopping cart buttons were not working. All but one of the poncho buttons resulted in the addition of a scratchy wool poncho to the cart (the forms were missing an HTML tag) and none of the new buttons I'd added to the scarf page worked at all. I did get those fixed, but the Javascript that's supposed to rotate the picture is not working. It will rotate once through the first two of four pictures, and after that it just quits. I don't know what's wrong with it, because it's exactly identical to the Javascript that does work on a different page. It doesn't really need to rotate, but I thought it would be nice if people could see more than one of the scarves on the mannequin.

As for promotions, I decided to run a pre-Mother's Day sale. I'm offering the scarves for 20% off their regular price until the end of the month on the website. I made some GIF's to animate for an ad I plan to buy on a website. But I need to come up with ideas for spreading the word about my kids' promotion. I decided to offer scarves for half price to kids under 12 at the Gardeners' Market (one per family). That puts the silk ones at $5, in a kid's price range. I'll still be making a profit (although a mighty small one), but the most important thing this will do is get the scarves out there and get people asking about them. I also printed up gift certificates, so that the moms can choose their own scarf. I'm hoping that will attract buyers that are hesitant to get Mom something she might not wear, and also get me the cash earlier rather than later. I'm not sure what would be the best way to advertise this kids' promotion, though. If you have ideas please leave them in the comments.

I've been going over display ideas for the scarves. I originally wanted to build an A-frame ladder rack for them, but I will have to put that off. It will take too much time and cost too much money. I might be able to build it in May if everything goes really well at the Gardeners' Market, but I need a display for the GM opening day. So I hit upon the idea of hanging chains from the side and/or center of my canopy and suspending pairs of dowels between them. The bottom end of the chain can be staked to the ground. The scarf can be threaded between the two dowels to hang over the bottom one; the top dowel is to keep the 11-gram scarves from blowing entirely away in the wind. If the wind does lift the scarf, it will just wrap back around the top dowel. I found some suitable lightweight chain with long links, and it is quite cheap. I can also use my drying rack; I have to get a new one anyway. Besides the fact that two of the slats in the one I've got are now broken, the one I have is bare wood with a waxy sort of finish, and it's getting some sort of stain onto the scarves where they hang over the slats.

As always, if you can think of any ideas I can use, please put them in the comments. And if you want to go to my business website, just click.