A thread on the Etsy forums yesterday inspired me to really think about my shop's identity. The original thread post offered three questions to contemplate:
1. Who are you?
2. What do you do?
3. Why is that important?
First of all, I just loved reading through the responses and getting to know people, but I also loved just how much it made me think.
"Who are you?"
Most people answered with their name and their shop's name. But I felt like it was important to not only establish what my shop and I are called, but also a little something that explains who I am. My response:
"I am a strong, independent, take no sass woman who loves metal. Also known as Janine, the maillesmith behind Athena's Armoury."
"What do you do?"
I thought this was pretty self explanatory and just listed away:
"I make all manner of chain maille: jewelry, bags, armour, belts, wallet chains, candle holders, dream catchers, bikinis, clothing, just about anything I can dream up and figure out how to do."
"Why is that important?"
It's obvious to me why it would be important for me to create, but what interested me about this question is why it would be important to my customers that I do what I do. I realize that in business, it's important to know your customer base, but it's more than just knowing who would be interested in your product. Being able to identify what your product is by how it makes someone feel, the purpose of your product, all helps you identify your product, identify your customers, and therefore better market your product. I realized all of this before, but I don't know if I ever truly thought about it.
For example, I make chain maille. Obviously, people into scifi, fantasy, SCA, Ren Faires, etc. would be into it. That's a pretty broad spectrum and doesn't help me create a brand identity. But the more I thought about it, the more I tried to think about what I hoped people would feel owning one of my pieces:
"It's important to me because I have a drive not just to create, but also to be immersed in both art and history. To be able to make something beautiful out of something totally unexpected like the weaves once used for armour is extremely satisfying.
But I also hope that my customers get a sense of strength and confidence from what I create, particularly the jewelry, clothing, and armour items. I think that maille is a very bold art form and I'd like to think that my customers feel like a warrior goddess when they wear it."
I hope that my work helps people feel like a Warrior Goddess or a Knight in Shining Armour. How all of this translates into marketing and promotion, I haven't figured out yet, but it is inspiring nonetheless!