The idea of launching handmade product lines usually brings up one of two emotions: YAY or UGH.
(Both are entirely valid!)
If you feel more UGH than yay, I get you. I, too, dislike using the launch model in my own business.
The handmade product lines launch model I am referring to is one you are probably familiar with. It starts with teasing out a new product line for a few weeks before launching it live for sale at a certain time on a certain date. Usually, there is some fanfare in that build-up process and on the launch date! It might involve a mailing list, email blast, social media campaign or even the help of influencers. It tends to be a multi-faceted project and quite a bit of work concentrated on a single ‘event.’
Launching is a semi-popular approach particularly for product-based businesses and many handmade business owners enjoy it! (I’m not one of them but many sellers do love it.)
concerns about launching product lines
I get asked about product launching quite a bit and I’ve heard a variety of concerns. I am going to address as many of those today as possible!
The top concern I hear is: I don’t know if I can launch products regularly. Another is: HOW do I sell out my launches?
Let’s start a few steps back, though.
Some makers love launching handmade product lines with this process (teasing it out for a while, providing sneak peeks beforehand, and then dropping an entire line for sale at a specific time and date.) This is similar in many ways to how Netflix launches a new series.
Some businesses are built to follow that model and the business owner greatly enjoys the rush of energy that comes from the cycle of creating and launching big over and over. Some makers love the momentum and slow burn and build-up of a launch and the anticipation of dropping a product line and having a rush of interest from their customers. (Adrenaline is no joke!)
While some people LOVE this model, other makers decidedly DO NOT.
The product line launch process may or may not work for you
If you hate the launch process, that’s okay. There are plenty of product-based businesses that do not consistently – or ever – create big launch events for their lines that still see success! You just don’t notice that happening as much because a launch is designed to grab attention in a big way!
There are technical things and ways of approaching problems that are generally accepted as standard for example, how to deal with difficult customers. But when it comes to producing the creative work you make, the only expert on that is you. Being that this is CREATIVE work, your attitude and energy around it is really important to the outcome. If a launch model doesn’t work for you and doesn’t inspire you, it’s not a good choice.
I am one of the people who does not find joy in the launch model
I do not desire to create launch events for handmade products.
That doesn’t mean I am any less tempted by the idea. I see people launching handmade product lines or services and I think it looks so fun and wonderful! Maybe you can relate to that.
The truth is I actually hate working that way. I have tried it and I hate it. I already know it doesn’t suit me.
I don’t find it to be inspiring – I find it to be DRAINING. I do not get energy from that approach. That doesn’t make it bad, and that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with my business. It means it’s a great strategy that doesn’t work for me.
The only “best way” to do something like this is the way that works for you. The way that mutually satisfies your needs and the needs of your audience is the best way. There is no shame in disliking the launching model and you can be successful without it.
When we hear the word “launching” that definitely has us thinking it’s a single instance – an event. It means you show up at this day, at this time to see it. There is FOMO (fear of missing out.) It really plays well into our hyper NOW culture – every day leading up to a launch is ‘now’ stuff – because it leads to a specific, predetermined period of time.
For me, I HATE having appointments and strict calendar events. Obviously, they are unavoidable to a point. But as the CEO of my own business, I don’t HAVE to put more of what I dislike on my plate than necessary. And neither do you! I have found other ways – in both sides of my business – to bring products to market and to offer products that work for my preferences not against them.
There is no guarantee that launching handmade product lines with an event and fanfare will make it ‘successful’ and selling out the product during a launch isn’t the only metric for success. Simply launching the product is a success! Whether you do it slow and quiet or fast and big. Both are valid and effective — it just depends on what suits you!!
What to do if you don’t like the product launch model
What should you do if you hate the launch model and know it already? Of course, this will really depend on you and your product line. There are elements of launching that can still be present in whatever you choose to do. For example, you can still build up anticipation around a single product, you can still show behind the scenes, you can still ask for customers to weigh in on options and create content that feels (or is) very ‘now’ or in the moment. Those are elements of launching that can easily carry over to a business that will not be launching product lines regularly with big live events. You don’t have to have a launch to use traditional launch ideas. *WINK*
I know for sure that you can discover a process that will work best for you and implement it successfully. It is just going to be a matter of thinking through certain things about your product and your personality, resources, time, and preferences.
We can help you determine what type of approach you should take to launching in your business inside of The Council! You could also hear from other makers who have used a variety of techniques to bring products to market and learn from their experiences as well! We would love to have you join us, you can get more on what we do and how we do it inside of The Council right here.
If you are interested in launching a product line as an event, and you haven’t tried it yet, I say try it out. If you’ve tried it and hated it, don’t be discouraged, it’s not the only way and it doesn’t mean anything about you or your product. Likewise, if you’ve launched and didn’t sell out, but you enjoyed the process, that is a win as well!!
Business is an evolving entity, trying new things is great! It can be really helpful to know how to choose what aligns best for you to try in the first place though! Selecting things to try that most align with your creative process and energy will yield the best results not just profit-wise but creatively as well!
I hope you feel inspired or at least reassured from today’s episode. Have a great week and we will see you on the next episode.