Pattern Shift

#77 - Unraveling your Business Identity pt 2. Your Customer’s Identity

February 16, 2024 Saskia de Feijter Season 4 Episode 77
Pattern Shift
#77 - Unraveling your Business Identity pt 2. Your Customer’s Identity
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SUMMARY
In this episode,  we explore the intricate world of establishing a unique business identity in the textile craft market. The key, I emphasize, is standing out authentically amid saturation.

I advocate aligning personal values with business ethos and guide listeners through the transition from crafter to successful business owner. We focus on two vital aspects: your identity as a business owner and your customer's identity. Understanding the passion-driven nature of the textile craft industry, I stress the importance of identifying your ideal customer to create a sustainable business model.

The episode addresses challenges in this industry, like customer perspectives on pricing, urging honesty and a holistic approach. A step-by-step process to find your business identity is outlined, emphasizing individuality and alignment with your customer's identity. 

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"If you're honest and true to yourself, you'll feel good about what you do. You won't step out of boundaries, you will be honest and true."

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Speaker 1:

What is your business identity? Today we're diving into the fascinating world of making a mark in the market. Let's talk about why standing out matters and why it shouldn't have to feel awkward to show off your business. Hi, this is Pat in Shift and my name is Saskia. Are you running a textile craft business or dreaming of starting one? Whether you are trying to make a living or something extra on the side, turning from crafter to business owner can be a steep learning curve. It doesn't have to be. With 16 years of experience and running small businesses in textile crafts and a drive to build a solid alternative for fast fashion. My mission is to provide you with no BS, actionable exercises and strategies in a language that makes sense to you, that you can implement right away, so you can organize, build and grow your business. Don't burn out before you thrive. Build a solid base with the help of Pat in Shift Podcast and the Aval community and its programs. So standing out in today's saturated market requires a little bit more than mimicking your favorite other business, doing what they do because it looks good. It kind of asks for a journey of self-discovery, aligning your personal values with your business values and understanding the unique need of your customer and knowing who your customer is. In this Pat in Shift episode, we will explore finding your identity as a business owner and understanding your customer's identity to seamlessly align the two in your work. Now, before we start, don't forget to sign up for Pat in Shift updates and the Aval Business Circle Creative Business Tips and Insights via the show notes. Go ahead, you can just go there and sign up while you're listening. It takes just a minute. And also a quick reminder that the early bird tickets for the next Business Circle cohort, starting in March, are up on the website now. So if you wanna save a buck and learn a lot, go there and find the information on Pat in Shiftfm and they're the heading Business Circle.

Speaker 1:

Now let's say you're a yarn dyer. Now, in order to stand out from the crowd of lots of indie yarn dyers, it is crucial to identify and express your unique identity and values rather than copying what other popular businesses are doing. Of course, you can get inspired. That's probably why you wanna do it in the first place, because you love what other people are doing so much. And it's also not really a bad idea to look at what other people are doing, because if they are successful doing it. That means that there is demand, but there's more to it than just doing what they do. I mean, we probably all know the book Still Like an Artist. But you know there's some flexibility there and the best way to do that is to really make a holistic approach to this whole identity thing. That's why I made two different episodes about it One that's focusing on your own identity as a business owner and this one, the second one, that's focusing on your customer's identity.

Speaker 1:

So, as we talked about in the last episode, it's important to go on that journey of self-discovery and understanding what your personal needs are and what your values are, and then aligning them with your business. If you look at this thing as one whole big thing, then the work will come naturally to you because you are part of your business and your business is part of you. I doubt it's that anyone in our industry, in the industry of small textile craft businesses, is in it for the big bucks. I mean, you probably would have chosen something else to do. So your main reason is that you want to be immersed in this space that is so full of the crafts and the things and the people that you love. So that is, from the get-go, connected to who you are as a person, and moving that forward in your business will only help you to connect to your customer better and more deeply. So when you identify your ideal customer, one of the most important thing is to understand what they value, what's important to them, and the goal is then to create a sustainable business model that aligns with your personal values and also caters to the unique needs of your customers. So, going back to what I said before and I say this a lot and I hope you will correct me if I'm wrong about this, but I think most of us didn't do traditional MBA routes like take a business education and then start your small business.

Speaker 1:

I think we all kind of got in here in a different way. We love craft, we love textile, we love all of that, and we also are our customer a lot of the time, which brings a whole bunch of interesting situations right when it is your business. But you are also like your customers. Sometimes they don't understand that it's your business and you are not just one of them. You need to make a buck. Some people need to make their living, other people try to make something extra or, at the very least not have any costs while they run their business, and so sometimes there's kind of a gap where there's no gap, if you know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

So as a business owner, you have multiple responsibilities and sometimes your customer forgets that you have to pay certain bills and I'm completely not speaking from experience here, but when I used to have a yarn shop, sometimes it would feel like people would think that I wanted to I don't know what the English kind of terms are for this but as if I would make things too expensive on purpose. And I have two reactions to that. Yes, hello, it's a business. Of course I'm not gonna. I want to make some money and at the same time sometimes you have to ask for higher prices than another business because you have higher cost in rent or things like that and people that don't run a business some of your customers might not understand how that works and they can be frustrated.

Speaker 1:

Why is this magazine more expensive in your yarn shop and why is it less expensive somewhere else? So this whole thing of your identity as a person, as a crafter, as a business owner, and then the identity of your customer has kind of has a little bit of overlap, and that's a good thing I think we should focus on. I just shortly wanted to mention and I think that you might recognize this, so I wanted to mention it, but from now on, we're moving ahead more positively in using that overlap. So what do we have in common? What do we understand about our customer that another business owner would not understand? How do you understand what they need and what their quote unquote problems are? It's very important to focus on being honest and true to yourself. I mean, that is my style and I really believe that that is always the way forward to just be honest about your offers and your products. And even if you know that people are saying I'm going to go back to it for a second anyway, if you know that people are thinking, why is this more expensive here than it is somewhere else? And they ask you about it, just be. You can be honest and that will build the trust with your customer and keep the conversation going.

Speaker 1:

Why are you in business in the first place? Also, honesty about that. Are you there to make money? Or what is your vision? How do you want to see the world? How do you want to get there? Your mission what is it about? Creating a business that resonates with your values?

Speaker 1:

Think about last episode what is important to you and then look at your customer and how it overlaps. Just recapping two aspects of this process, where we talk about our own identity and our business identity. So now I want to focus on step three and step four. In the last episode, step one was the importance of individuality and step two was understanding your personal needs and values. We are going to talk next about diving into your customers world and aligning your business with your customers identity. So step number three dive into your customers world is a great way of working with the customer is to have them in your head.

Speaker 1:

When you are building your website, when you are ordering your products, when you are crafting, making your products, when you are showing up on social media, when you are showing up on social media, all that work is not just kind of screaming into the void with I have new products. You are communicating to a person, and I'm saying a person. I'm actually talking to you right now and I'm not talking to all of you because in my mind, my customer persona quote unquote is probably doing the laundry and listening to this episode Just before they go to pick the kids up and then go to work, something like that. Just having that person in your mind makes it so much easier to communicate to them and to find the right words and to connect on a little bit of a deeper level, the kind of words that I not necessarily choose, but that is also to the point of these whole two episodes. I don't have to pick my words because this persona, this customer, is close to my heart. They feel like they're my friend, so I can feel like I can swear a little and I can make a joke and I can stumble. My words should not have to be perfect, they're okay with that. I'm not the kind of person that is my, the customer I would like to work with. So that makes it so much easier for me to record these episodes because in my head I'm never judged because this person that's listening on the other side, on the other end, they wish me well and they are kind and energetic and curious. They want to know they might not always agree, that is fine. I don't always agree with my friends. I think that's a little bit of an insight in what I mean when I talk about a persona for your ideal customer to envision that.

Speaker 1:

Who is this person? What are they interested in? What are their values, as we talk about a lot, but also, what are their pain points, what do they struggle with? Because if you know who this person is, then you can take steps to reduce their pain points and perhaps even eliminate. How can you help them succeed and how can you help them, how can you support them in what they're doing? So, in this work of branding and finding that customer persona, they talk a lot about what's your customer's problem and that feels really heavy, right. I mean problem. They don't have yarn, or their problem is they don't know how to crochet, and that's the problem. That doesn't feel like it's a big, huge problem, but that's why you are there to help them fix it, to teach them how to crochet, to offer them your pattern, because they've always wanted this V-neck cardigan that's cropped and now you've designed it for them. So that is amazing, that is big and that is solving problems. We can even tone it down a little bit, solve their problems and or give them good feelings. That's what you're focusing on here. What are they interested in? Is it circular economy? Is it super bright colors? Is it learning fast? Is it connecting to other crafters? It could be anything. What is important to them? Are they eating organically?

Speaker 1:

I mean talking about my persona now, but sometimes it's so much part of me that it's hard to think out of the box. But then again I'm speaking to my customer, who is similar to me, because we have overlap. I don't say we don't have everything in common, because I still have something to teach them. So we're not like I'm a little bit ahead, I'd say, or in a different space. I can offer things that they couldn't find otherwise. So they might be more experienced than I am in running businesses, but I can help them find that time and space to work on their shit, as I say, and that makes me different from them, but at the same time, I've been in their shoes, so I'm also same ish. So I hope this makes sense to you, Thinking about their lifestyle, their preferences, their challenges, all of that.

Speaker 1:

Now, big businesses do deep research on these kinds of things, surveys, all of that. What I'd like you to do is here it goes. It's super hard. It's talk to your customer, talk to your existing customer and just ask them questions. That's it In the business circle. We do this whole thing around that and how you can do that and how you can make it easy because it sounds easy and it is easier than you think but sometimes we make it bigger in our heads than we need to. But it's really about understanding who they are. So you kind of already have a customer, but you can also decide who you want to have as a customer.

Speaker 1:

As I said before, I'm not interested much in super critical, very not curious, yes, but kind of people that is not my. If that's you, you are probably amazing, but I probably won't be the best person that could teach you because that doesn't really work for me. I like to work with people that have an open mind, that are curious and even though they're really tired, they also have the vibe and the energy to get going and to make things better and they're ready to go. So you might have different types of customers and finding that one that If you have a shop, when the door opens and they walk in, you're like yay, there they are, find that person and also kind of overlap it with what you have to offer that helps them with their problems. So make this kind of mixed match person that matches with you, with your business, and then take them as a character in your life.

Speaker 1:

I even found a picture online like a write free picture. I'm not like creepy, no, that sounds horrible. I just found the picture on unsplashcom. Is it unsplash? Yeah, and I always think about snow. For some reason, why unsplash and I think about snow? Perhaps it's the color of their branding, never mind and I found this person that matches my persona completely. So now, when I think partly yeah, I think mostly in images, so I have this person in my mind when I speak and that is you.

Speaker 1:

So I'm kind of drifting off a little bit here. So there's no need for complete big research, survey kind of things although although if you do have a list of people with email addresses on it, well, there's nothing wrong with having a little survey. There's ways to do that that work and ways to do that that don't work as well. But we're not talking about the how here as much as we talk about the what and moving along swiftly. What you can do is then make a profile on a piece of paper in your journal and sketch this individual that is going to guide you through your to the questions that you might have, like what should I order next? Well, what would they like? Would they be interested in Valentine's offering? No, because they just got married, I don't know, just got through a divorce. They're not interested in that. I don't know, I'm just saying something, but you catch. You catch my drift. So there's that Now. So that was step one.

Speaker 1:

Dive into your customer's world and find that overlap with you and find the overlap with your existing customer, if you already have a customer base, and then talk to that person and then, with that information in mind I already said talk with them in your mind, align your business with the customer's identity. So that's about infusing your brand with elements that resonate with their identity. So let's say that your customer is really into everything organic. Then perhaps no neon colors, I don't know. Perhaps a little bit more toned down natural type colors in your brand, but it's not. Branding is not just about colors, but that's a whole different episode. The tone of your voice. Are we talking to somebody that is really calm, very meditative, yoga like, perhaps not have a very screamy type of newsletter, but just calm down and flowing through, and all of that?

Speaker 1:

If you have a shop, what does your shop look like?

Speaker 1:

Would they love that?

Speaker 1:

What?

Speaker 1:

How would they? What would their house look like? And can you make them feel at home in your shop when they come to your, your boot, your stand, your table, whatever you call it at a festival? What would that look like? How? Why would they just walk in a straight line to your space there? What is it that makes them go? Yeah, that is my thing.

Speaker 1:

So think about all those kinds of things in terms of branding and that goes. That also goes into how do you communicate in a shop, or on the phone or in your email? Are you open and sharing all kinds of things about yourself, or are you more distant and more businessy? Do you like to crack a joke or are you more serious? All those kinds of things come together in connecting with your ideal customer, and that also goes, obviously, when it comes to your values and your mission and your offers. What are their preferences? Do they have a huge budget coming back? I'm in my sorry, I'm in my sales modus because in March the business circle starts again, so I'm trying to move it into everything here. I try not to be too salesy, by the way, throughout the year, just offering you insights and inspiration and all of that. But every now and then I have to get salesy. You know I have to do it because it's my business. So when we talk about the business circle, I completely lost my train of thought now. Oh yeah, so what are their preferences and how does it align with them?

Speaker 1:

Now about the business circle as a program. This kind of program is usually in our small part of the internet, sold for about 2000 euros for its three months of working together and mentor calls and all of that. But I know that this industry, that we don't have that much budget to invest in our business, but we need to invest in our business to grow. So it's an ongoing, difficult thing to work around. So I decided I need to practice what I preach.

Speaker 1:

I think it's important that you get paid fairly for the work that you do, even though your market is not used to the prices as they would be in the more commercial type setting. It's always hard to use those words, but you know what I mean, and so I decided to keep my price quite low and to have an early bird offering so that, if you're ready, you can save a little bit more. And look at it from the perspective of my customer and it also has to do with if it's too low of a price, then that also does something to the credibility of the thing that's offered. If you think about, let's say, a big business setting a big commercial business, then they would pay me even more than this amount of money. So aligning with your customer is very important and there might be bigger questions connected to that. Do you want to do that kind of work for that kind of money? Is it, does it feel fair? Will it keep your business going or not, and does it need to or not? All kind of valid questions that connect to your values and your customer's values. So for me, are you taking your business seriously enough to want to spend 1400 euros to take a really intensive, great program or not? Either is fine. But I know that I've had colleagues and other like I'm also part of communities of small business owners in other industries and they're all trying to make a change in the world and we talk a lot about fair pricing and stuff.

Speaker 1:

But fair pricing and sustainability is not just directed at the customer, it's also about yourself. So if you cannot sustain your business, then there's no point to it. So it's kind of a balance, and this particular one took me like I took a course to decide what the price should be, because I wanted to do it right and I wanted to feel like I was ready to pay money so that I could be comfortable in knowing that I made the right decision, and I don't regret that at all. That was a step forward for my business. So I invested in learning more about fair pricing and all of that, and ever since I've had positive feedback. People are saying it is well worth the money. It's worth more, but I'm glad it wasn't more expensive. Yeah, so enough about that. That was a little bit of sneaky extra information about the business circle starting in March.

Speaker 1:

So, getting back to step two, align your business with your customer identity, infusing your brand with the elements, consider how your values connect to their preferences and then refining every step of the way where you go forward. You might have not done it like this before, but now you have this persona in mind, you have clear what your values are, what their values are, what they need, what their problems are and how you can help them. Then, moving forward, try to do everything that you do with that kind of compass in mind with this is your answer to all the questions that you might have as a business owner. You know who this person is, what they need and then build a relationship with your customer that's based on that understanding and the shared values. And you can focus on that when you talk, when you say this is important to me and I know it's important to you.

Speaker 1:

The goal is that your business is a seamless part to their ideal world. And I know there's one big question coming up you might have more customers, more types of customers, but you're only ever communicating to that one type. Just that is great, because it's so much harder to communicate to everyone than it is to communicate to one person or quote, unquote one person, because more people will feel connected because you are being sincere and clear, and they might not connect to every single part of what you are communicating, but they will feel the honesty and the authenticity and you will find the people that you want to work for more easily when you do it this way, because they will gravitate towards you and the other people. They won't mind if you're not completely saying what they want to hear, and sometimes they will and that is good, because you cannot be all things to all people and you need to take care of yourself and take care of your customers. And just the idea of at that level, if you are communicating at that level, when you can get so connected, if you had to do that to everyone, that would be exhausting.

Speaker 1:

So just the idea of having one ideal client and doing your thing for them I'm saying them because it could be anyone, but I mean singular them that makes a whole, it's a mind shift. It really makes a difference in how you work. It also takes away a lot of pressure when it comes to social media. You are talking to this one person and your aim is not to get thousands of followers, your aim is to find that person. But it will be those people that connect to you in that kind of way. Because if you choose how you communicate and you're not communicating generically, then you will stand out.

Speaker 1:

Because, think about it, the people you follow on Instagram, who's got character, who's got this little bit that is so different and that you kind of go back to every single time. And why is it? Is it because they just full of great information, or do they have a great sense of humor, or are they just very aesthetically pleasing? Not necessarily in the way they look, but that's good too. Or the stuff they put out could be anything. But remember that, being yourself, true to who you are, what you need, your values, finding a customer that has overlap with that and whom do you hear that I said? Whom I'm so good at English Maybe I messed it up now and whom you can serve in a way that kind of makes you feel happy as well, because it's close to what it's so close to what you want to do and what you can do for them. And then you never have to feel rushed or awkward or nervous oh my God, I thought about this huge thing. And now they might not like it.

Speaker 1:

You'll do things that you know your customer will like, and if you're not sure, you're just going to ask them. You're just going to ask them, right, all right, I basically told you everything you need to do. I mean, it's hard to do it by yourself. That's why we have the business circle, but if you get this work done, things will really be so much easier and feel so much lighter. I promise it's a promise.

Speaker 1:

So just bringing it all together, we talked about two vibes that are important in this kind of work, and that is look at the holistic picture, look at the whole thing. You, them, your business, the whole thing, it all matters, it's all connected. And then not then, but at the same time, just focus on being honest and true to yourself. If you do that, you'll always feel at ease. If you're honest and true to yourself, you'll feel good about what you do. You won't step out of boundaries. You will be honest and true. Okay, so holistic, being honest and true, that's kind of the vibes you want to find.

Speaker 1:

And then taking the steps of figuring out the importance of your individuality last episode and step two also last episode understanding what your needs and values are. And then, in this episode, we talked about diving into your customer's world and aligning your business with your customer's identity. Now, by following these clear steps, you are not just crafting a business, you are crafting a brand that deeply connects with the identity and values of your ideal customer. Now I want you all to email me and tell me the name of your ideal customer. I don't need to know anything else, just their names, or leave a voice message or anything. Find me on Instagram.

Speaker 1:

These days, god the weirdness. And just let me know. I want to know what you thought about this episode and last episode. Is this the kind of work you want to be doing? Is this the information that's helpful? Please give me feedback. It's important. All right, thank you so much.

Speaker 1:

So, ending with this, if you appreciate the free content and the work I put into this podcast, consider showing your support in a way that feels right to you.

Speaker 1:

There's all kinds of ways that you can do that Sharing this episode with a friend, signing up for our newsletter, making a small monthly contribution you can click the support the show link in the show notes or, when you are listening via Apple podcast, click the subscription button and get monthly bonus episodes. By the way, these bonus episodes will also show up in the Yavl community, so you might as well just hop on there, become a member and be part of a community of people that are dreaming to start a business in the textile craft industry, or people that are already running their business and want to do some work to make it align more with who they are and get it done. All right, you'll find all the details in the show notes and I thank you for being a part of this movement. Remember every stitch counts as we work together and create a pattern shift for you, your business, the crafters and the fashion industry. Bye-bye, thank you.

Business Identity and Connecting With Customers
Understanding Your Ideal Customer
Crafting a Brand That Connects
Supporting Podcast, Joining Community