Breakthrough – How Alison Bick turned her year around
Thinking on your feet, going online, not giving in
Alison Bick designs and creates lampshades, cushions, wall art and greeting cards. Ahead of 2020, she was working with her Breakthrough Business Development Manager (BDM) to help make it the year in which everything came together:
Build up a collection of designer lampshades? Check.
Use a Breakthrough grant for a professional photoshoot? Check.
Sign up for high-quality, national events to broaden her customer base? Also check.
What could possibly go wrong?
In March, all my best laid business plans that I had identified with my Breakthrough BDM were starting to crumble, as event after event was cancelled.
Of course, Alison was not alone in being marooned at home during that first lockdown. Breakthrough arranged and paid for a two-hour expert SEO and Google Analytics session. The orders – from customers as marooned as she was, wanting to freshen up their homes – started to arrive.
May’s game-changer was an online craft fair. Alison live-streamed herself at home, surrounded by her lampshades, cushions and fabrics, and talked to customers about her inspiration and the stories behind her designs. Those watching not only got to see her lampshades close-up, but benefited from special offers too.
After appearing live on both my Facebook Page and Instagram … I get a lot more engagement from followers … they feel like they know the person and the stories behind the designs … and see the products in detail rather than just a photo.
So in this madly inauspicious year, Alison found that by October her Etsy shop income had already doubled 2019’s, and sales have also picked up via her own site. Breakthrough continued to help, not just with specialist web-related and business marketing input, but also with product-costing when she was asked to sell to a wholesale stockist who’d noticed her on social media.
Alison, with a jewellery-maker friend, also helped the Etsy Made Local Cornwall event to move online this year, with a site which enables buyers to browse and link to makers’ own Facebook pages, on which they’ll be live-streaming.
Between her creativity, drive and resourcefulness, and Breakthrough’s expertise and funding, 2020, in Alison’ words:
might not be the year that I was anticipating, but it has far exceeded any expectations of what I could have possibly hoped it to be.