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After the sold out Instagram courses (season 1 and 2) Alex from Turquoise Port and I decided to set up a mailing list course to support small business owners. We had both unlocked the magic of the mailing list years before and were so happy to be sending weekly emails to our customers to stay in touch and in front of their eyes. The plan was to teach the class in a single day, in person in Tokyo with lunch and snacks in Alex's light-filled Tokyo Showroom.
But then, all of a sudden (and after selling some seats in the class already) Alex relocated to New Zealand. It took us a heartbeat to know that we wanted to continue our business partnership and have been meeting online every Monday since. We quickly pivoted the course we'd already started writing into a two week offering, purely online, with 6 self-paced video modules with tasks attached. And we also added two live calls in the mix. And because we like giving things away, we also created a private community for expat business owners that we are giving FREE for three months with the purchase of the course as well as bonuses.
We've now finished writing the course, have completed all the task sheets and are now ready to record next week. Wish us luck!
If you're interested in finding out more, tap the button below to take you to the course page.
We just can't wait to get started!
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Email marketing is definitely alive and kicking in 2021. After a worldwide pandemic, when businesses and events went virtual, a newsletter is still the best way to reach your ideal customers. Here's why I still think they are brilliant (even though secretly they feel a bit 1998).
1. Connection with your audience
When people get to know, like and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. And buy from you again, and again, and again. 1000 true fans are all you need for a fabulously successful handmade business.
2. Building Personal Relationships
Getting an email straight into your inbox is a more intimate experience for your customers than scrolling through Instagram and maybe or maybe not seeing your posts.
3. You Own Your Email List
What if Facebook and Instagram closed tomorrow? What if your account got deleted? You still have a way to get in front of the people on your list, and as they are your best customers....
4. Less Work
Mailing list subscribers are more invested in your products than social media followers so are more likely to buy. This means you have to create less content for your social channels overall.
5. Your Biggest Asset
Sales are down, in-person events are cancelled, you have a busy month with family situations...whatever spanner in the works that prevents you from making sales can be solved by emailing your list with an offer, launch or event.
Social media platforms come and go but people hold on to their email addresses for years, even decades.
7. Website analytics
Subscribers are far more likely to click through to your website from your newsletter than they are to find your link in bio or Google you. This helps with your Google ranking too.
8. Repurposing Content
We create so much content in all areas of our business and our followers only see a small percentage of it. Isn't it exhausting? You can add events, press, podcast appearances, testimonials, new products, blog posts, video links and so much more to your newsletter. I've even added my FAQ page and About Me page from my website to my newsletter.
9. Valuing your community
By adding bits and pieces of valuable content, your community will value you and feel like you value them. Just remember that the content needs to make sense for your brand.
How about adding tutorials, recipes, travel tips, how-to guides, quizzes, checklists, freebies, mini-courses, meet-ups to your newsletters?
10. Valuable feedback
If you want to test a new product or launch something, you'll get a more useful and engaged response from an audience that knows you well.
When you write something down and send it out to several hundred people, it's amazing what that does for your motivation to get things done. The feeling of not letting people down can be a great driver for your business.
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Hello. My name is Victoria and I'm a stationery addict. Honestly, I love nothing more than walking around Tokyo stationery stores on my solo 'Artist Dates' days, with a special love for the retro-classic mom and pop stationery stores you find in local areas. Japan has some amazing products available that I haven't seen anywhere else that I use on a daily basis in the studio as well as in life. Ideas of where to shop for these lovely items is coming up soon. But first, here are a few of my faves...
1. MT Tape
Any masking tape fans here? I'm really fussy about my masking tape selection, not just for the designs and colours but the quality of the tape itself. MT is my go-to tape due to the durability and stickability, and I don't even mind the extra spend if it stays where it is and looks gorgeous. If there's such a thing as a 'masking tape snob', I'm it.
2. Masking Tape Cutter
This Kokuyo cutter was a revolution to how I cut my masking tape. It cuts in a perfectly straight line, is super ergonomic to use with minimal effort and looks beautiful on my packaging. As the blade is so good, it also means that I use/ waste much less tape.
3. BuJo (Bullet Journal) Body Scanner/ Outfit Stamp
I try to do a bullet journal every day before I start work. Although I don't really use the official BuJo method, I do use an actual journal designed for bullet journalling to plan my days (mine is from Leuchtturm) . I love to think about how I feel at the start of each day and this stamp helps to pin point any pains and issues that I have physically. I also try to plan the feeling that I want at the end of each day which this body shape helps me focus on.
4. Staple-less staple
This cool Harinacs device punches a hole in pieces of paper and somehow folds the bits together to attach them without staples. I have no idea how it works, other than it works and I don't need to buy staples anymore. What's not to love?!
5. Slim Scissors
These slim scissors, about the size of a pen only a bit flatter, are also from Kokuyo. These are the perfect addition to my on-the-go sketchbook kit for those weekends away (remember those?!) or for a grab-and-go day working at a coffee shop or co-working space (pre-Covid). I've always loved to make collages with bits and pieces of tickets and leaflets while I'm on the go, so these are the perfect light-weight, non-bulky pair.
6. Yamato Starch Paste
I love, love, love this glue, used by schools up and down Japan. You can use your fingers to spread it and clean up is fast and easy. Although the plastic packaging is a bit of a turn-off, Yamato have worked hard to make their refills out of paper containers. You can read more about that here.
7. Zebra Mildliners
Perhaps it's because it's Spring that I'm loving all the pastels, or perhaps it's the annoying bleed through the paper of regular highlighters that led me to these Zebra Mildliners. Much more subtle in their colours compared to the 80s/90s versions, these ones show you the important stuff without it being visible from space. The image on the right shows the difference between the Zebra colours and a regular highlighter.
8. Zebra Sarasa Pens
I I ever leave Japan, I am stocking up on YEARS worth of these pens. I'm a pretty heavy-handed writer so I need a sturdy pen to stand up to the pressure (hello sillicone grip?) and they make my handwriting look all grown-up and pretty. And Zebra is always coming up with new and fantastic colours which I just can't resist. And they do refills too.
BONUS INFO: Sarasa means calico or printed cotton chintz in Japanese and was a fabric favoured by the Samurai.
The big question is 'where do I get my hands on all this goodness?' That, my friends, is coming up soon where I'll take you to some stationery stores, stores that carry stationery, some local places and some amazing temples of stationery. Are you in?
I always feature my new blog posts in my newsletter, so get on the list for alerts here.
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It seems to be all doom and gloom throughout the world at the moment. We're terrified of getting sick, losing loved ones or losing our livelihoods. Anxiety is at a high and we are constantly watching the news or reading reports about the Corona Virus.
So I'm here with a positive spin on this. No, I'm not going to deny the gravity of the situation, it's clear that this is serious stuff, but I refuse to let it terrify me into inaction. That doesn't mean I'm off out on packed trains, going to clubs (too old anyway) or meeting up with friends for hanami. Quite the opposite. I'm hunkering down with the fam for a while, doing my bit so I don't spread this thing to the vulnerable in society.
First off, I'm picturing a moment in time when this thing has all blown over. Which it will, at some point. That gives me enough strength to keep going. Going out less means spending less, which means I can earn less for the time being.
WHAT I'M GRATEFUL FOR
WHAT I PLAN TO DO IN LIFE
WHAT I PLAN TO DO IN BUSINESS
SOME IDEAS FOR YOU
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I'm Victoria, the founder, designer and creator at Bikudesigns, a vintage kimono accessories brand in Tokyo, Japan.