Some of it has to do with the evolution of a hobby to a business. I did not intend to be a business when I started selling online. I was going to have a small shop and putz around! I had no intention of sticking to listing schedules, shopping schedules, business budgets, keeping track of profit and loss, or filling out a Schedule C at tax time.
Some of the mess has to do with the evolution of my photography skills (or lack there of when I started out) and all the experimenting that has gone on with lighting, backgrounds, cameras, etc. Thank goodness I have improved and I have finally settled in a bit.
Some of it has been my inability to find and commit to a certain look. I became a serial banner/avatar changer. I changed with the seasons and my mood. Dark banners, light banners, pretty banners, ugly banners.........I do support a lot of graphic artists!
Since my hobby has become a business, I spend a lot of time looking at other successful Etsy shops and reading everything I can about selling online (with Etsy being the main focus). I started to realize that the shops that I am drawn to all have something in common. They all have a particular look and while that look may vary a bit as time goes on, I still KNOW that it's THAT shop.
Here are some examples of extremely successful branding:
Van at ThriftCore
Jamie at Kolorize
JD at ThirdShift
Martha at OpenDoorStudio
Beatriz at MidModMom
There are so many I could list, but these shops all have very different but very successful branding looks. Every time I see a new item from their shops in my Activity Feed I know exactly who it is!
After thinking about it, I decided that I need to clean up my shop mess and tie it all together somehow. I purchased a banner and avatar in September that had a black chalkboard theme. It was a cool banner and I loved the black but the chalkboard wasn't quite the long term look I was looking for. I knew I needed to find a simple, black and white banner and avatar set.
I was surprised at how tough that actually ended up being! I finally found it though and here is the banner I chose:
And a branding look was born!
I have been reshooting pictures that don't fit but have been pleasantly surprised at how many I already took on those backgrounds.
Now I just need to use up my old business cards and find a compatible design and tie it into my packaging and I'll feel like I have finally taken a major step in my business.
What about you? Wherever you sell, do you feel like you have a signature look? A brand? Do share!