Friday, August 23, 2013

If You Are Ever Stuck in an Elevator with Me

"Life is like riding an elevator.
It has a lot of ups and downs and someone is
always pushing your buttons."
~ fortune cookie

I love the blog Indie Retail Academy by Clare Yuille. So much so that when she had a five week e-class on What Retailers Want, I signed up and paid my money without hesitation {and then promptly got so busy that I couldn't even do one of the exercises. But I think that I can go back and do them all later. *Sigh* Does that happen to anyone else?} Clare is in the UK, but her lessons and wisdom are spot on no matter where you are in the world. Plus she is just so darn nice!

Recently, she has been unfolding a series she called "How To Stop Worrying and Start Selling." I read all her posts with great interest as she seems to know exactly what I am hoping to hear and does it in a way that is easy to understand and actionable. This particular message in her series is one that resonated with me: how do you describe what you do in one snappy sentence?

As a maker, I have creative ADD. {Ooh...shiny!} I cannot sit still for long periods of time unless I am completely absorbed in what I am doing and then time stands still. That is when I forget to eat or use the bathroom. But finding that thing that sucks me in completely is sometimes a crap-shoot. There are so many inputs, so many piles and lists clamoring for my attention, so many crafty ideas left unexamined, that it is hard for me to focus when I walk into my studio. I feel like every bead is screaming at me to 'MAKE SOMETHING' and 'PICK ME!' that I have to stop the beady voices and often leave the room completely. {Or is that just me?}

Okay. It sounds like I need an organizational intervention. Perhaps in another post. ;-)

But back to the one sentence idea.

{Think Good Thoughts - bracelets}
I am the 'Queen of the Cliches' as my secretly snarky husband recently said to me. But I would prefer to think of myself as the 'Princess of Positive' instead! I made up these bracelets with the hopes of getting the attention of the Uncommon Goods jewelry call for submissions back in June, but unfortunately, they were not chosen, despite telling a story and being 'uncommon.' {But I understand that this is now an ongoing monthly contest, so scoot over there and enter something!}

So I walked into a local boutique called Girls in Pearls while wearing the 'take risks' bracelet. I went in there to pitch some other jewelry, but this bracelet is what caught her eye. In addition to the jewelry, she asked that I write up a little card about me and my inspirations to put in a frame by the display.

Uh-oh. Even though I am a prolific writer, I always find it a bit daunting to write that short bio for publication without sounding full of myself. I try to be pithy and fun, but also serious about what I do. So this one sentence idea seemed like a great place to start.

{Think Good Thoughts connectors. I am proof that wearing these messages work!}
This is also known as the 'elevator pitch': a clear, succinct and precise explanation of your proposition. If you were stuck in an elevator with the editor of a magazine you loved, or the CEO of a company you wanted to work for, you would have roughly a 30 seconds to a minute to share what you do, why you do it and who you do it for.

Per Clare's instructions, the fill-in-the blank breakdown goes like this:

I am ______________________I make ____________________ for _________________
and I create _________________.

Here is what I would write:

I am an artisan jewelry designer who makes unique jewelry  for people who appreciate handmade one-of-a-kind art and I create jewelry that tells your story.

Of course, as a former English teacher, I would jazz it up a bit. You can change the syntax anyway you like. And it can be more than one sentence. But not more than three. {You are riding an elevator, remember?}

Erin Prais-Hintz is a creator, inspirationalist, encourager and connector.
An artisan jewelry designer, Erin creates wearable works of art
that tell your one-of-a-kind story.
What story do you want to tell?

The descriptive words to define me are intriguing and hopefully want someone to find out more. Adding a question at the end, gets the listener {or reader} involved in the action and gives them a way to feel connected to what I am pitching. It opens the door to a conversation. If I wanted to distill it down even further, to just a motto or byline, I would say something like this:

Tesori Trovati Jewelry - Creatively Telling Your One-of-a-Kind Story

My 'elevator pitch' is always a work in progress, and I will continue to play with words to keep refining my message, but for now, I feel confident that if I am stuck in that elevator with the magazine editor or the CEO I would have a pretty compelling pitch that might make them invite me to step off at their floor.


So my challenge to you is to think of your own 'elevator pitch', your short description of what you do and why you do it and who you do it for that you can use to grow your business, put on cards and banners and define what you do to help the audience who is looking for you hone in on what makes you special and unique and hopefully sell more!

Share your 'elevator pitch' in the comments!


Ann Schroeder said...

I think your pitch is great. I especially like the question at the end. I not thinking about a pitch, but what I am going to put on my Think Good Thoughts Connector! I love those!

Divya N said...

Here is my pitch - I am an apparel and jewelery designer who makes one of a kind kitschy jewelry with an Indian touch.
PS: Love the colors on the connectors

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

I'm not ready to make an elevator pitch quite yet, Erin, but I would offer an alternative to your hubby's moniker... I favour "Troubadour of Treasured Truisms" LOL. Have a great productive weekend (and I suggest blinders to counter the "siren call" of the shiny ones.)

Saraccino said...

I like how you challenged yourself and the result is even better! I also think of this in a different setting quite often (we have to explain our basic research in the lab in easy and fast sentences to a public without the scientific background in... less than 5 min... okay, I am soooo not good in it ^^).

But quite a while ago someone told me about my creations that they would be a little bit odd... or rather they and me are the oddest she knows (and she hoped I would understand that because she meant it in an highly positive and praising way). There I found my little pitch that I added to my blog and cards (and all the other things): " add a little odd to your life." A lot of people find it strange, others read at and get it at the first moment and smile... but I love it and I am so thankful that I got the help to find and see it because this is the shortest way that I would use to describe me and my work :)

KayzKreationz said...

I love these, especially the 'take risks' one. And I like your idea about a 3 sentence description/pitch. I need to figure that out for me.

baymoondesign said...

BayMoonDesign carries handmade artisan necklaces, earring, bracelets and whimsical cards that are all meticulously made from high quality metals, gems, and papers! I live by the Delaware Bay in the summer and the Florida Keys in the winter. My work is inspired by the water, earth, and sky--hence the inspiration for my shop's.

What are your thoughts?