How to Ride a Trend
I recently noticed a picture of Johnny Depp in one of the “Etsy Finds” promotional emails. He was sporting a leather cuff, and I got so excited! I wondered, does an Etsy shop make bracelets for Johnny Depp?! As I clicked through the link, it turned out that no, they do not. The listing was for a cuff “inspired by” and “styled like” Johnny’s cuff.
When your product is trending, it’s a golden opportunity to recruit new customers. The style of jewelry I make at the Energy Shop is a hot trend right now. Beaded bracelets are up and down the arms of very high-profile celebrities. I see jewelry similar to mine all over the pages of In Style, US Weekly, and other big magazines. The question is: how do you ride a hot trend?
I don’t have any photos of celebrities in my listings because none of them are wearing Energy Shop (yet), and I’m cautious of the legal permissions those photos may require. However, you can use the trend without infringing on any copyrights, and I’ll offer you an example of how I managed to do just that.
I’m a huge fan of Bravo TV’s The Real Housewives. I love them all in every location. On one episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHoNJ), a cast member, named Dina, was wearing gemstone bracelets and had an “energist” come over to smudge them.
To explain, gemstones are minerals of the earth, and like crystals, they’ve been believed to hold natural attributes and healing properties for thousands of years. Smudging is a cleansing, Native American ritual that involves white sage.
At the Energy Shop, I use gemstones and materials, like those seen on TV. I cleanse, charge, and smudge each piece I make. As I was watching RHoNJ, I quickly realized that that particular episode explained everything I make and sell! The question became, how can I use that information as my own commercial?
Let me touch back on my feelings of competition before I go any further. When it comes to gemstone jewelry, you can find bracelets similar to mine at $2,000. You can find those featured on RHoNJ for $150. You can find mine at $30. Or you can find them at others shops on Etsy for $5. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for THE bracelet that Dina wore on a RHoNJ episode, you’re not going to be satisfied with anything less than that bracelet for $150. If you like the concept of spiritual jewelry, then I can offer you an armful of bracelets for $150 that will satisfy your needs. There are different strokes for different folks, and some customers like to pay for higher-profile, brand names. As handmade artists, we are not competing for those customers.
Instead, we’re looking for customers who like the trend, and appreciate handmade products. We can use the higher-profile attention to find our customers. Here’s how:
1. Cost-per-click Advertising. On Facebook, we “like” all kinds of pages and activities. We enter our age, our gender, and our marital status. When you come to this site as an advertiser, you realize how ingenious the system is.
I “like” Real Housewives of New Jersey. Therefore, I’ve seen the episode that explains the bracelets that I sell, and so have the other 200,000 people that “like” the show. While that particular episode was airing (read: my product was trending), I paid about $.40 per click to showcase my products and target those 200,000 RHoNJ fans. It made for many new customers.
To begin, all you do is click the link, “Create an Ad” above the ads that show to the right of your Facebook profile. Then, simply fill-in-the-blanks and you’ve got your first ad.
This works with Google and other search engine advertising as well, although I’ve stated before that I think their CPC has become insanely overpriced. For the Energy Shop, it’s over $1.00 per click, and text only. But, you get the idea. If you build it, they will come.
2. Blog on Your Trend! The post I made on Dina Manzo’s bracelets drew in way more traffic than I would have ever expected. If you search “Dina’s bracelets” on Yahoo or Google, my blog is the first result—and that just happened for me with good tagging and keyword usage. I’m honest in the post, I give credit to the actual jewelry designer who appeared on the show (I even link to her online storefront), and I leave links to my site as well.
3. Tweet to Your Audience. Again, at the time this RHoNJ episode was airing, I used the hash tag (#) on Twitter to reach fans of #RHoNJ and promote my shop. I often repeated tweets as new episodes were airing. The hash tag is a great way to talk to a large audience of like-minded people.
4. Carefully Tag Your Listings. Remember to include “inspired by” and “styled like” as mentioned in the Depp example above. I think it would be big trouble and bad karma to lead any person to believe that you made a product when you didn’t. Imitations and likenesses are a natural part of the handmade world, but everyone has a different style. You are right for your customers, so help them find you with tags. I use “spiritual gemstone jewelry” and “beaded, power bracelets.” If the customer is looking for that general concept, then they are really going to enjoy browsing my shop.