"My first promotional efforts simply involved presenting my items at crafts shows, posting some fliers, and hoping for word-of-mouth referrals," states Judy Proudfoot, 45, who has been designing and selling handpainted T-shirts and other clothing items at crafts shows and shops since May of 1995. Working out of her Alexandria, Minnesota home, Proudfoot uses a unique watercolor method with acrylic paints to create wearable works of art.
"I created some fliers and posted them at local grocery stores, providing my name, telephone number, and the types of clothing items I offer," Proudfoot explains. "I really believe in the value of fliers. There are other ways to go about promoting your offerings, but not if you don't have a lot of money to spend. I also found out how much advertising was being done by various crafts show promoters, to decide whether or not to participate in the shows; if they are inadequately promoted, that can either make or break my business in terms of sales."
Proudfoot also asked a local coffee shop owner if she could place a rack of her clothing items in the establishment. "I knew the more affluent members of our community go there," she says, "and I wanted to display my designs in a place frequented by people who could easily afford them."
Proudfoot keeps an eye out for unique opportunities to promote her clothing items. "Without paying a penny, I took part in an annual Christmas home tour, during which women visit historic houses," she says. To participate, she simply contacted her local chamber of commerce. "There were 18 homes open to the public, and I was in one of them, displaying and promoting my clothes."