Q & Cake

Q & Cake #22

March 16, 2021

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Marketing tactics for a retail shop location
What I wish I knew about wholesale (Before I started wholesale)
Taking an intentional break from social media


In today’s Q & Cake (our own fancy version of Q & A) Elisabeth and Cami discuss several questions from listeners about marketing on Instagram without burning out or feeling slimy, selecting hashtags to expand your reach on Instagram, navigating sales tax for stationery businesses, and forming a solid business partnership. These are questions from fellow artists, calligraphers, designers, stationers, etc. that will hopefully help you in your own biz journey as a creativepreneur!

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How do you find the right hashtags to use for your posts to gain more traction? I’ve recently started posting my wedding suites, but not getting much attention! @inkandvellum_

Cami 2:30

I don’t even know if hashtags are as important anymore. I don’t know if people are scrolling through hashtags as much now. I’m not sure. But I think for using hashtags, it’s good to get really specific because I think the larger more popular ones get lost and like the hashtag, custom wedding invitations, hashtag, wedding sweet kind of thing. So using like hashtag, pink and green wedding or something like that, with a little bit more specific could be a good way to get more traction. I noticed when I started doing more specific like, or like using the word aesthetic in the caption or not the captions or the hashtag like hashtag, mountain aesthetic wedding or hashtag mountain aesthetic, like those types of things seem to be getting more traction for me when I use that type of hashtags. So maybe try that instead of the ones that have, you know, like invitation, which is going to have like five bajillion posts. So maybe just playing around with it in terms of drilling down a little bit more.

Elisabeth 2:30

Yeah, definitely narrow down. Because I think when you are looking up hashtags, you can see how many times one has been used. I think they still show you that information. Yeah. So it’s like you don’t want to be in a hashtag group that has a million other posts because you’re going to get drowned out among that really quickly. And I want to say too, that Instagram is only one part a very small part of a marketing strategy for your business when it comes to weddings. So keep posting on there because people definitely go back there to take a look to see if you’re active to see if your portfolio is up to date. I heard a wedding planner say the other day that the first place she goes and looks for vendors’ portfolios isn’t even their website, she goes to their Instagram. So it’s good to keep things up to date for sure. But in terms of gaining more traction on your posts, just keep posting and staying consistent. But don’t get so hung up on having like the perfect absolutely perfect hashtags or anything like that.

For sales tax, do you charge it on the total price of the stationery or just on the material cost? I’ve heard that you don’t need to charge sales tax on service based businesses, such as graphic design, and I can’t figure out if I should include the time I spent designing into my calculations. Thanks! @melissa_and_seventh

Cami 4:34

Okay, so I don’t charge sales tax on wedding invitations because they are a service. This is like a gray area, I think with taxes because it’s like technically you’re providing a material at the end. But I still consider it a service so I don’t charge sales tax. This might be wrong. Sales Tax stuff stresses me out.

Elisabeth 4:54

Yeah, it is definitely challenging because if you’re mailing out the invitations on behalf of the client, I’ve had this conversation with my accountant before, it’s like then pretty much all of it as a service, right, because like, delivered to each guest, but like the client themselves, like, doesn’t really receive a final product, they get a couple of copies for their wedding day and for the photographer and the planner, and all of that. Honestly, if you wanted to be on the super safe side, definitely consult an accountant in your local jurisdiction and area to see what the laws are. However, my accountant said a couple of years ago, we had this conversation and she was like, I’m not gonna lie, like to be on the safe side, you probably do want to be charging sales tax on the materials, just on the materials, not the service base part of the business. So if you’re charging 1000 for your design fee, 2000 3000, whatever that may be, that would not be taxable. Yeah. However, the materials, part of it would be taxable. But it gets very complicated and confusing. So like, really, the best advice we could give is to consult with someone in your local area that knows the laws, because I think states are shifting things all the time. And now states are really even trying to push more towards they’re trying to figure out how to tax like online businesses and services and all this great stuff, so who knows what they’ll pass next.

In a little over one month, I’ll be taking the leap and going full-time. I can’t wait to have infinitely more time to focus on what I love, but I am NOT excited about trying to get my name out there and market myself. Especially on Instagram. Is it unrealistic that I really don’t want to spend an hour or two every single day trying to figure out the algorithm and become an influencer? I can see myself getting Instagram burn-out really quickly, which is the last thing I want. Is there a way to market myself without feeling icky? How much time/energy per day should I put into marketing, on instagram or elsewhere? @arielgbearden

Elisabeth 7:34

Social media is so fun, you can take a couple of different approaches, you can take the jump all in approach, but it sounds like you are definitely more on the side of not wanting to spend a bunch of time each day on this app, which I totally understand. So I would just start figuring out maybe like a posting schedule. Or maybe you say, you know what my goal is to just post a photo of my work one time a day, I’m going to post it and leave it basically you don’t have to be doing anything crazy. You don’t have to be doing reels or whatever else or like try to get attention and try to get Insta famous. 

Cami 8:45

Yeah, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do in your business. I mean, you know, except for things like paying taxes. Nobody wants to do that. But you don’t have to like spend two hours marketing on Instagram by any means you can set it up like Elisabeth did where she did like three posts a week that were planned and ready to go and literally didn’t have to think about it. She did that for a good while like I enjoy posting on Instagram so it’s not like that big of a deal for me but something that helped me just kind of get out of the idea of like I kind of market and work on this grind is like every little thing you do on Instagram is like another tiny little drop in the marketing bucket. So if I leave a comment on a wedding planners post or like a store that I want to be in like if I like their posts and be like oh I love love the way this looks for whatever that’s just another little tiny drop in the engagement bucket that moves my business just like one millimeter forward so even just something as tiny as one comment can help you market your business you don’t even need to go through and like like 100 things or post 100 things or do 100 reels you can literally just like leave a comment and actually be a real person and like that’s the moving the ball forward just a tiny little bit. So maybe that takes the pressure off. You just think about it. That way everything is just like a tiny little drop in the bucket.

Hi guys! As I’m starting to wholesale my art prints, I’m finding that a lot of retailers require me to barcode my products. The research I’ve done has left me pretty confused as there are so many steps to this process that are completely foreign to me. Do you barcode your products for wholesale? If so, could you please talk through that process? Thank you so much, I’ve learned so much from you already and really appreciate your help! Alyssa @respirareartem

Cami 15:11

Alyssa, I hate to disappoint you, but I know nothing about how to barcode products because I’ve never done it. I don’t know what large retailers you’re working with. But if you are working with fairly large ones, they will have like that, like the whole guideline of here’s how to do it. And I know it’s very confusing. Honestly, the best resource I can recommend for this would be Katie hunt from proved a product and she has Proof to Product Lab where they have basically like a mastermind on this type of stuff for like barcoding products and figuring all those things out with working with bigger retailers. So that is to I would recommend looking into things like that because I just don’t have any insight because I’ve never had to do this. And I’m gonna avoid it as long as I possibly can.

Hey ladies! Just wondering if you might have some tips on starting a partnership business. Me and another local stationer have been thinking about joining forces. We’re still in the beginning stages of it and truthfully, we don’t know where to start! Thought you might have some good tips since the both of you run the Biz Birthday Bash and have made it so successful. Thanks so much! @momentodesignstudio

Elisabeth 17:50

You have to be able to discuss things well and understand each other’s personalities. And Cami and I are very fortunate and that our biggest fight quote, unquote we ever had was whether or not headshots should be squares or circles on our website. So you know, it’s like the is the dumb things that kind of come up. But as long as you can navigate those and work around them, then definitely do it. In terms of making it a legal partnership, I mean, you can be a partnership for a long time, as long as you guys are both claiming income like 50/50 into your own businesses. It’s kind of like an unofficial partnership. But then Cami and I eventually decided to start an LLC for Biz Birthday Bash, and we made it an S Corp. So we’re both on payroll, which is wild, we are our own employees.

Cami 19:23

We also have an episode about this too, just in terms of how to work together. And like kind of navigate that and start off on the right foot. It’s called – How Do We Work Together? Our Systems, Personalities, Roles, Etc! You can listen to it HERE. 

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