Primary milestones over the next 12 months include; contacting wedding planners in Ireland and the US, improving my website SEO and online marketing, retailing through design and craft shops throughout Ireland and the US, improving my workshop equipment, and further training.
With 60 – 70% of couples using wedding planners today, it is clear that developing my ‘Business to Business’ strategy is essential as a route to market. I am already in contact with a couple of local wedding planners that specialise in traditional Irish and Celtic weddings, who are planning to offer my goblets as an ceremonial option to couples.
The next main milestone is to develop and improve my website. Although I have built this platform to a semi-professional level, I don’t have products available to purchase just yet. This is certainly one of my weaknesses which is why I will be attending a Local Enterprise Office ‘Build your Own Website’ course in May this year. Having an Etsy shop has been a great avenue to sell my work and test the market, however it is vital that I have my own website for potential customers to find me.
It is evident that when potential customers make a physical connection with a product, the chances of a sale drastically increases. This is why having my work available through more design and craft shops would be a huge benefit to my business. By allowing people to touch and experience the product, they can get a better sense of craftsmanship, quality, and authenticity. I currently have some products available from the ‘Secret Garden’ craft shop (Kinvara, Co. Galway) and will also be selling through ‘2 Wild Geese’ (Co. Galway) from this October to January. There are, however, many other retailers along the Wild Atlantic Way, and throughout the county, which I plan to contact, and present by most popular products to.
To improve my local presence, I will also be attending several craft fairs throughout the county such as the Tiny Traders Village (Galway city), the Tuam Christmas Craft Fair, the Clifden Christmas Craft Fair (Co. Galway), and the Kinvara Farmers Market. Through attending the ‘Building Craft and Design Enterprise Programme’ next year, I will be applying for an exhibition stand at Showcase Ireland 2020, as part of the LEO Galway section. Other routes to market will include applying to exhibit in small, local art galleries.
Since I began my degree, I have been gradually adding to my workshop machinery and equipment. Investing in my business and tools has proven its worth with each and every purchase. Improving my workshop has enabled me to increase the quality of my work, and essentially the value proposition of my products. I have managed to make do with what I have but plan to purchase better machinery in the future. Some include; a new woodturning lathe, which would increase my production rate, sufficient dust extractors, and better woodworking machinery. Due to the amount of time the finishing process takes when making a piece, I usually have to wait till the finish dries before I can continue to the next stage of shaping. If I had two lathes I could essentially double my rate of production as I would move from piece to piece. I also also intend to make my workshop more customer suitable, which would allow me to invite potential clients in to my workspace, and show them what really goes on behind the scenes.
With training and other business courses on my roadmap, I hope to truly master my craft and use my ambition to succeed. My long term goal is to employ at least one other maker, and eventually teach the art of woodturning to future generations.