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From TV shopping channels to an international eCommerce business: Sara Davies on Crafter’s Companion

We have been working with our client, Crafter’s Companion, for 4 years now, enabling them to reach an international audience online and almost tripling their online sales.

Crafter’s Companion was founded and is owned by Sara Davies, best known for her appearances on Dragons’ Den and Strictly Come Dancing! However, last week she took to the stage at the eCommerce expo to give a talk on the Crafter’s Companion success story, and we wanted to impart her words of her wisdom! 

Crafter’s have seen a lot of success thus far in their niche sector of craft supplies, that other retailers in the same sector simply aren’t achieving. The deployment of their new and improved transactional eCommerce site back in 2018 has certainly contributed to enabling Crafter’s to hold such a dominant position in their market, but as Sara Davies explained in her talk, there’s a lot more that goes into building a strong eCommerce brand.

What was Crafter’s secret ingredient to success? 

Sara Davies conceived the idea of Crafter’s Companion whilst she was still a university student, and although the business has grown in size and scale, the original concept has remained unchanged. 

Crafter’s predominantly sits within the crafting sector and is a brand that seeks to unify and curate communities from the craft products they sell. It is Crafter’s ability to deeply understand and connect with this community that has become their unique super power when it comes to growing their business. 

What kind of customers contribute to Crafters’ community? 

The whole eCommerce business is driven by a small number of incredibly passionate crafters. So therefore, the entire business is focused on serving this end customer. 

Crafter’s have lovingly labelled these customers as ‘Emma’s’ and ‘Jean’s’! Sara went on to explain how they separated the two persons;

“First off, there are a lot more Emma’s than there are Jean’s!”

The persona of ‘Emma’ was categorised as a customer who is ‘into a bit of everything, but isn’t dedicated to one area of crafting and will spend a fairly small amount on purchases, every now and again’.

Jean on the other hand, is Crafters’ more dominant persona; Jean is retired, she has more disposable income and time to spend on her crafting projects. 

Sara quoted;

“We can’t service Emma and Jean at the same time, and although there may be 10 Emma’s for every Jean, Jean is where we want to be, and who we want to sell to, because she will be more of a brand advocate.” 

How do Crafter’s Companion market differently to their two personas?  

Jeans are most likely not on Instagram, or twitter. Jean is far more likely to have a facebook account, and to be an active participant in crafting groups and communities on there”.

Crafter’s therefore focus on pushing 80% of their marketing content on Facebook. Jean spends time in crafting groups, and so Crafter’s set out to build communities for these groups and have introduced initiatives such as free product gifting, active commenting and engagement from Sara herself. They have even deployed micro-influencers into the groups to support further on brand advocacy. 

But Sara was keen to point out that this type of marketing activity isn’t something that can be achieved overnight, rather, it is a personable means of cultivating a community, which she has spent years in the making. It’s only from truly knowing and understanding their customers that Crafter’s have been able to commercialise this. 

How do Crafter’s achieve the balance between video marketing, community groups and a transactional website? 

Sara commented that “A lot of our customers come to our website because they’re looking for content and ideas. They will behave in a different way to someone who has landed on the site via an ad, AKA, an Emma!” 

As part of Crafter’s roadmap, we will be helping them look into ways that they can serve two different versions of the website depending on whether they are targeting an ‘Emma’ or a ‘Jean’! 

For now though, it’s simpler to look at Crafter’s as 2 businesses, the eCommerce side and the video channels side. Sara commented; “the eCommerce site is more geared towards our Emmas, and the video channels are for our Jeans.”

That’s not to say that the video marketing is more important though, Crafter’s Companion is the most successful eCommerce site in their sector within Europe, and it is growing well within the US too, with 65% of their revenue now being driven by sales from thousands of ‘Emmas’ in the States! 

So, how do Crafter’s plan on turning those ‘Emma’s’ into ‘Jean’s’?! 

Sara stated that the best way Crafter’s have learnt from their customers has been to get directly in front of them. 

Although website data, analytics, and AB testing has momentous benefits, Sara’s aim is to more deeply understand her customers on a personal level.

To do this, Crafter’s has opened 2 physical retail stores that essentially act as loss leaders, and are there purely for the purpose of studying customer behaviour. These stores have cleverly been opened in locations where the vast majority of their ‘Jeans’ live! 

How do Crafters plan on growing the business in the future? 

Crafter’s is now in the exploratory stage of expanding in the US, all with the help of Sara’s PR efforts out there! However, the business model largely remains unchanged, as it has always been to expand on their community of followers, rather than cater to lots of different people by diversifying their product range. 

Slowly, more of their ‘Emmas’ will turn into ‘Jeans’, as we set to work ensuring their eCommerce site behaves in a dynamic yet targeted manner to all of their customers. 

As Sara so brilliantly explained;

“If you try to be all things to all people, you will mean nothing to nobody.”

And on that note, we think that this is the key takeaway for all eCommerce businesses seeking out their growth potential – work with an agency who truly understands the value of your customer and sets out to help you please them!