"The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. Those who walk alone are likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before."
If you ever met my Mother you would know where I get my sass from.
She is a true maternal mother, you know the big busomed old fashioned type who wears an apron to cook and who's sole ambition in life was to be a great Mum.
She takes no prisoners but is soft and empathetic, she can cook a mean roast dinner, iron a shirt in 14 seconds flat and she gave me one of the best gifts she could ever give me.
The confidence to stand out.
To be unique and embrace it.
To not be afraid to look different, sound different, be different.
Let me tell you a quick story.
When I was about 13, bomber jackets were in. You know the ones, the big puffy satin ones with ribbed cuffs and collars and zips on the pockets. And luckily for me, they came in a dark khaki green which was the colour of my school uniform.
One day I said to my Mum "Please can we go shopping and can I get one of these bomber jackets as everyone else has one! Please please please!" and my Mum said "No....we're not going to get one. I will not have you looking like everyone else, you're more than a sheep. Let's get you an even better jacket - grab your shoes".
And instead I walked out of House of Fraser 2 hours later with a padded gillet style grass green jacket and I walked into school on Monday feeling like I was on a flipping catwalk.
Yes people looked, yes people probably wondered what the hell I had stuck up my ass that day, but I was noticed. I was seen. I didn't blend in with all my friends but I didn't stand out in an awkward weird way.
I was still like them, my jacket was padded, green and ridiculously oversized for my 13 year old body, but I was unique.
What my Mum taught me that day (which she doesn't even remember happening by the way) has boded me well throughout my career and relationships, but never more so than right now with running an online business.
Why? Because it's bloody crowded online and getting seen and I mean not just noticed, but "seen" and "heard" on social media seems to be impossible.
But really....it's not.....
And if you're struggling with getting noticed online, all you need to do is to ask yourself is...
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT MY BUSINESS? WHY WOULD SOMEONE CHOOSE ME?
And if you can't answer that then, Houston, we have a problem.
Because if you're the 90s dark green bomber jacket in a sea of other kids wearing exactly the same how do you expect anyone to see you?
How do you expect for those people to part with their money to you, rather than the person next to you?
The handmade market will continue to become more and more saturated. What you make today will be reproduced by someone else next week.
And how do you combat that?
By building a brand that speaks to your customers in such a way that they feel aligned to you, akin to you, that you stand out amongst the rest.
In order to be remembered in a crowded marketplace, it helps if your business has a trait that’s worth remembering.
4 ways you can be unique with your business
(just a heads up, offering amazing customer service or personalisation or fast turnaround times are not enough)
Your products / packaging / ranges
You may make the same hand knitted baby clothes as the next Etsy seller but how can you produce them differently? Can you use different materials? Perhaps a different technique? Perhaps you combine your products and sell them as a unique package? Sometimes you don't have to reinvent a new product, you just have to package it right to find uniqueness.
Let your personality shine through? Don't have one - well fake it till you do find one! It could be as subtle as your descriptions that make people chuckle to your uber slick and modern website. Have a look at this article with 12 websites with hilarious product descriptions now tell me you'll forget them.....
Narrow your target market
Always better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond full of other small fish trying to eat the same worm (that analogy got a bit crazy but you get the point)
Use your values as a core strength
For some businesses, having a strong value proposition can work wonders for standing out in the crowd. Imagine if you could say "We are the only XX that uses XX". Could that be that you only source organic materials or you use local businesses to source materials to have a low carbon footprint?