How to transform your hand-crafted artisan business into an impactful world-class brand — Lionesses of Africa

by Tapiwa Matsinde

Learning and refining your craft skills has taken a lot of your time and energy, and those of the artisans you work with. You are starting to see the results of your dedication and commitment and are now ready to take your business and work to the next level by positioning and presenting it in a way that reflects its high-quality craftsmanship and sophistication. Whether you are keeping your focus within your local markets or seeking to appeal to a global audience, excellence in craftsmanship, creativity and presentation are essential for successfully positioning your business as a world-class brand. To help you transform your hand-crafted artisan business into an impactful world-class brand here are key areas to pay attention to:

Define your vision. Get clear on your mission, values, and purpose and use that as a guide to developing your craft and business. As you do so hold on to what makes your work unique.

Get to know your market. The global standard of artisanal excellence is demanding. Observe the market, observe your peers, observe your customers. Understand what each of these areas needs then work to deliver it by taking note of what is expected and adapting what you’ve learned to suit your business.

Build a community. When your audience is connected to what you do, they become your champions, passionate people who become invested in your success by telling others about your brand. To achieve this kind of support means keeping in contact with them. You can do this through regular newsletters, by engaging with them on your social channels, and by taking care of your customers through the level of customer service you offer. World-class brands excel at delivering exceptional customer service.

Share the stories of your work. Give your audiences an insight into the inspirations, skills, motivations, heritage, and history that have inspired your work. You can do this through words, video, images, and audio. Whatever methods and channels you use to share your stories keep in mind to maintain quality over quantity.

Make a good impression. Investing in branding that reflects the quality of your work is essential. If you don’t have one yet, do consider creating a website to showcase your creations. Seek to present your best genuine self.

Embrace design thinking. Combining craftsmanship with innovative design aesthetics can improve your products, by taking your handcraft work from grassroots to gallery-level collectible creations.

Take your time to produce high quality products. World-class brands are not built overnight, but by one collection or product at a time. See what works, then make it better, paying attention to the small details. Often, this means producing small batch or limited edition collections of your creations, which in turn can increase your work’s value.

Be selective about where you show and sell your work. The businesses in your sector that you choose to align your business with will reflect on the value of your work. Positioning your business with other businesses at the level you want to reach can act as a motivator by encouraging you to keep raising your standards.

These are just a few ways in which to raise the standard of your artisan craft brand. If you are interested in learning more about what you can do, I invite you to visit my Mentoring Sessions, where you will find dedicated resources, articles, and information to get your handcraft business to where you want it to be.

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