I find there is often a post on the Folksy or Etsy forums about USP. When I first saw this abbreviation I didn't have a clue what it meant, but reading the particular post I soon caught on! USP stands for Unique Selling Point. So now that I knew what it meant it led me to thinking if it was necessary to have a USP before starting out in business or was it something that developed over time. Now every time I look at a small business I think of their USP, what is it that makes them unique? Obviously there are main USP's, for example you may only design wedding stationery or be a photographer or make cushions but what is it that makes your product stand out from other wedding stationers, other photographers or other cushion makers?
Sales are increasing for 'handmade' crafts and designs but also the number of people creating and selling is increasing, so it is more important to have a USP to succeed. I certainly feel it is necessary to have a USP to stand out from the crowd, whether this is due to your particular graphic design style or that you only design and make silver jewellery or perhaps that you try to only use 'found' fabrics to upcycle.
Milly & Pip are a fabulous example of having a USP. Each picture or home accessory is lovingly created to order, often being personalised and using 'found' fabrics to create the gorgeous appliques embellished with freehand embroidery. Even though Milly & Pip are selling within the homes accessories market they stand out because you can have your purchase personalised and they are also helping the environment by upcycling fabrics that would otherwise find their way into a landfill site.
Dots & Spots are another fantastic example of having a USP. In every card, postcard, notebook, picture and print you will find dots and spots. Each design is created using paper collage and then most are digitally printed so that more customers can share Dots & Spots gorgeous designs.
Dots & Spots have just celebrated their 2nd anniversary and are growing, with their first trade show, Home & Gift Fair in Harrogate, in the next few weeks. Read about how they started here.
Emma in Wonderland is one of my favourite photographers on Folksy and Etsy. As her business name suggests her photographs are often daydreamy and Emma even mentions in her profile that she fell down a rabbit hole!
So whilst I plan to work from home I am stumped at finding a USP. It has been suggested that I make cushions, but many people make cushions and would having a shop just selling cushions be unique enough to stand out from the crowd?? However I feel I have found a USP in Buttons & Bows by specialising in ribbons and buttons and am now looking at expanding my ranges and having my own website. I also feel this blog provides a USP in that it promotes small arts, crafts and design businesses, mainly concentrating on the UK.
Maybe after all of this time of trying to create a business/product with a USP I had one all along!
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