Defining the customer first

In the workshop I am taking we are to define who our ideal customer is first, and then develop the product that customer would love to buy. We are to start narrow, with a single customer persona and a single product, and then expand from there.

I did a lot of brainstorming over the past couple of nights and came up with a long list of attributes, titles, styles, abilities, and interests that spoke to me.

Of course, the type of work I want to do will inform my choices here. I’m not going to define my customer as white mid-60s dude who loves golf and ships in bottles. However, neither should I take what I already do and try to twist reality to create a customer who will buy what I’m already trying to make.

Obviously I want to create products that involves one of three things: surface pattern designs, illustrations, or creating tutorials.

I love love love creating tutorials (I even have one up on Skillshare!) — but I feel that I would be in a better place to create tutorials when I have some real credentials behind me. No one wants to learn from another amateur, right?

Anyway, below is the list I have come up with. Just writing this down made me realized how scattered and wide my area of focus was! Getting this down to a really specific profile or ideal customer is going to be a real challenge for me. Surely this is really hard for everyone to do, right?

Anyway, I thought I’d put down my huge list here. To be clear, this is a complete dump of all descriptions I could come up with that actually made me think “Yes.” My next steps are to dramatically cull, edit, and choose from this list. Something where I can say that my ideal customer is a geek mom in her 30s who loves crafting and DIY, and knows her way around a computer. Actually, that’s not too bad. I just typed that all out without really thinking about it. Maybe I should listen to my subconscious. Or maybe I should print out a poster of these words and throw darts at it.

WHO

  • DIYers
  • Crafters / Makers
  • Home decorators and designers
  • Geeks / Hipsters
  • Academics
  • Amateur designers

ATTRIBUTES

  • Disposable income
  • Impulse buyer when the bar is low
  • Heavy online user
  • Wants to be unique
  • Tastes run to the unusual, quirky or humorous
  • 20-40s
  • Tech savvy

STYLES

  • Retro/Vintage 70s
  • Mid Century Modern / Mod (50s,60s)
  • Eclectic
  • Whimsical
  • Novelty/Kitsch/Curios
  • Modern
  • Minimalism

ABILITIES

  • Tech savvy
  • Web savvy
  • Cricut
  • IPAD / Apple
  • Adobe
  • Graphics programs

INTERESTS

  • Pet lovers
  • Wild animal lovers
  • All animal lovers
  • Science
  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Self improvement
  • Time management
  • Budgeting
  • Bullet journaling
  • Crafting and crafting supplies
  • Stationery
  • Digital creation
  • Home decor
  • Paper
  • Office supplies
  • Feminism
  • Environmentalism
  • Body positive
  • LBGTQA+
  • Self Expression
  • Activism
  • Bookworms
  • Grammar nazis
  • Word lovers
  • Music lovers

So here’s the deal

I’m stopping my 365 days of design early. Really early. But it’s all for very good reasons:

  • I made sales. A lot of sales. More sales than I thought I could do with just slapping some designs up on Redbubble!
  • I found my style. I finally felt like I wasn’t copying someone else’s style or the styles that I see everyday on Instagram. I was doing my own work that came from the core of my creative self. And those were the patterns that sold the most!
  • I had enough patterns that I was proud of to submit my work to UPPERCASE magazine for their upcoming Surface Pattern edition. Even if I don’t get selected, just the fact that I felt confident enough to give it a try speaks volumes.
  • My imposter syndrome slunk away. I’m sure it’s still lurking around the corner, but hey, at least it’s feeling ashamed of itself right now.

But most importantly, I am actually trying to build a viable side business. I have a full time job that I work hard at (and I actually love), and I am a mom, and a partner. As such, I have limited time and limited energy and if I want to move this forward and grow my business, I need to focus for a bit on the actual business side of things.

So far I’ve been doing the spray and pray method of promoting my art, now it’s time to develop strategies, get focused, and do what needs to be done to take this thing to the next level. I’m currently taking a workshop to help me out on that aspect, because this is territory that I’m pretty unfamiliar with.

No regrets. This is not giving up; this is making the right decision to move to the next stage because it’s the right time. I’m really proud of myself, and really excited for the next steps.

Happy 2019!

Davida