Marketing Tips From Gussy Sews

Hi there, I’m Maggie Whitley - also known as Gussy of Gussy Sews! I write a lifestyle blog and design a line of handmade accessories and bags based out of my Minneapolis home.

I put a lot of time into my blog and shop, and just recently launched a mentorship program - built specifically for bloggers and Indie Biz shop owners!

In just a few short years I discovered Etsy, and my journey into handmade began. I learned to sew, perfected my signature ruffle, relocated to Minneapolis for a job, moved my shop from Etsy to Big Cartel, attended my first Blissdom blog conference, planned for and then successfully left my day job, and am now getting ready to celebrate TWO YEARS of Indie Biz life.

And oh, my goodness - this Indie Biz life has been a beautiful mix of challenges and rewards. Not only have I learned so much about what it means to run a handmade shop, but I’ve learned so much about who I am. Getting to this point required A LOT of determination and consistency. So with that, I’d like to share with you some of what I’ve learned.


Know your direction Set goals, write-out your plan and be intentional. What direction do you want to go? How much money do you want to make? How much time do you want to commit? How much time can you actually commit? What kind of milestones do you want to make after 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years? How interested are you in becoming a leader in your industry? By knowing the answers to these questions you’ll have a much better focus when marketing your Indie Biz.

Create buzz You can do this by launching new projects 3 to 5 times per year. Hayley of The Tiny Twig does a fantastic job doing this! She markets her brand by launching projects such as an ebook or pop-up shop throughout the year. “I don’t like to bombard my readership with a million new product releases, but I do try to keep on the top of their mind,” she says.

Know your customer Ask yourself: How old are my customers? Where do they shop? What do their spending habits look like? What are their hobbies? Where do they live? Once you understand WHO your customer is, you’ll have an easier time marketing to them. This ties in with my first tip, knowing the direction of your Indie Biz includes knowing what your customer looks like.

Connect regularly Twitter and Facebook are excellent for connecting with customers, but my personal favorite is Instagram. We also love to send newsletter updates, keeping our focus of the email clear and precise. Another way to connect with your customers is to feature them on your site. Ask if you can share a photo of them wearing or using your product. And make sure you write a blog. I post updates about what we’re doing in the studio, new product launches, share my Indie Biz journey, and just recently we added a new column called Handmade Husband. Your blog can be anything you want it to be!

Network with like-minded business Heather of Just recently shared with me that she believes in networking with women who are passionate about their business and blogs, and ones that are encouraging and supportive have been the best. Networking with like-minded business can also help when it comes to marketing, too. You’re more likely to have a similar audience/customer base, along with their loyalty towards handmade.

One extra tip As your business grows it’s important to continue to share links to your newsletter sign-up form, your favorite posts, that new product you launched last month. If your goal is for your Indie Biz to grow then as the months pass you’ve certainly found a few new customers, and they may not know about your newsletter or your recently-launched product. Don’t bombard your online community, but don’t announce something once and assume that’s good enough.

Alrighty - that’s all I have to share! Thanks so much to my friends over at Big Cartel!

Your #1 fan, Gussy [xo]