Handicraft entrepreneur uses online tools such as Facebook, website to do business
KUCHING: In an era where technology prevails, entrepreneurs see the need to keep up with the fast pace of change or risk being outdated.
Gone are the days when a pure-bricks business model will thrive well in this economy.
Adapting some form of marketing online is a key node for all businesses, especially in an industry where trends constantly change such as fashion and handicrafts.
Many websites have been created over the years to accommodate the many wants and needs of savvy Internet users.
However, only a few sites could cater to the more-common needs of the general public.
Facebook is perhaps the most popular choice for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for expanding their business database online.
One fine example is Crafty Heart, a local seller of handmade crafts and craft supplies online. Business owner Debbie Tehin utilises her website, www.crafty-heart.com, to procure products, supplies as well as clients.
“I prefer selling online rather than offline. I can afford to sell my craft supplies at affordable prices as I need not take into account the costs of logistics, for example, or rental and other costs pertaining to a physical shop,” she told The Borneo Post.
Tehin revealed that thanks to global connectivity, she was able to procure supplies from countries such as the US, China, Hong Kong and Thailand.
“I believe in testing the products first and if I like them, I will sell them. I often search for inexpensive products that can be used in card-making as well as scrapbooking.
“Then, when I learnt that other crafts such as felt became a hit in Malaysia, I started selling more needlecraft-related items such as ribbons, fabric embellishments and so forth.
“Customers would also send me suggestions and if I could get these items I would sell them.” She further said her business was greatly aided by the existence of a dedicated Facebook page.
“We all know that Facebook is a very powerful social marketing tool,” she said, “I’m glad I created a Facebook page for my business because it has helped my business tremendously.
“I managed to reach out to an entirely different target group in Facebook.
“The demand for crafts and supplies in Malaysia is always there. I believe it’s increasing, with many crafters starting online craft businesses whether it is for finished handicrafts of for craft supplies,” she affirmed.
Looking at the local scene, awareness is being created with the formation of several bazaars in Kuching such as The Bloom Bazaar held last year and The Street Bazaar 2012 held at Waterfront Kuching just last weekend.
“The public is now more aware and appreciative of all things handmade, and it is a very good sign.”
From her many years of observation, Tehin noted that crafts followed trends which often disseminates quickly into the public.
“There is a trend for crafts. I think it’s healthy.
“In this industry, it’s perfectly okay to be inspired by others but we always remember to inject our own personal touch into whatever we make.
“If we are sincere and passionate about it, it will show in the crafts we make,” she concluded.