By Silly Heather
I remember sitting in a business psychology class and the professor was breaking down the perceived differences of a Target shopper versus a Walmart shopper. The most glaring difference was that people perceive Target and Target shoppers to be of a different class and socioeconomic level (median income of shopper is $64,000 vs Walmart $30,000). But did you know that Target and Walmart carry 58% of the same exact inventory? So if they carry similar inventory and their prices can be comparable on the basics, such as toilet paper, milk, eggs, dish soap then what makes the average shopper choose one of the other?
Walmart has branded itself as the low price leader. They have drilled it into the consumers mind and it sticks. People associate Walmart with lower prices and for that they will forgive cleanliness, poor service and under stocked shelves. Shoppers perceive Target to be a higher end big box store. You can buy eggs and 1000 count sheets under the same roof, and they are willing to pay for the perceived value that Target’s eggs are better than Walmart’s.
Now ask yourself how are you delivering your perceived value? Its impossible to continuously book yourself for little to no money, give away your services, and undervalue your work but expect that clients will tell people you are Target quality. When a client calls, the last thing you want to do is feel/sound squirmish about your prices. Confidence is attractive and by that I mean, people gravitate towards confident people. If you sound confident with your prices over the phone and in person people sense your confidence and immediately begin to believe it. I remember back in the day when I used to book myself, I once answered a call and she asked me about pricing for a 2 hour party. I explained I charged $100 per hour (in my less than confident voice) and then before she could answer, I started explaining and defending my rate. I went into a a dissertation about why I charged so much and that I had a clean kit, only used quality supplies, and that I loved kids so much. She stopped me in my tracks and said “honey, you don’t need to tell me all that I just asked for a price now I would like to book you for my party.” (LOL moment) I was so embarrassed, but it taught me a great lesson. If you project the image, and self confidence that you are worth your rate and weight in gold people will believe and buy into it.
But, before you start branding yourself as the Red bottoms of face painters first decide which branding works best for your company. Here’s how you decide.
Walmart is living proof that you can compete on price and make billions. How? By doing volume. They have lower prices but they sell more volume than anyone else because price appeals to more people than we like to acknowledge. Everyone is looking for a deal, so don’t underestimate the power of volume. Target, is slightly higher in pricing and doesn’t do nearly as much volume as Walmart, but because their prices are higher they too can sell millions and net the same amount as Walmart.
Hopefully Im not too confusing. So here’s a more relatable scenario for my painters. You can do (5) one hour parties in a day charging $80 per hour and make $400 or you can do 2 parties for $200 each and make the same. Either method works, and you can argue both sides as to which method world best for you. I have worked with both types of companies. Typically the lower priced company, doesn’t expect nor advertise the same quality as the more expensive companies do. One company I know charges $50 per hour and each painter had the same kit. A rainbow cake, 10 stencils and sponges. Their clientele knows what they are getting when they hire them, and they do well from the volume of parties they can execute in a weekend. While I have other friends that charged $150 per hour and like doing 2 parties a weekend and enjoy the income.
Now, take some time to think about which works best for you.. volume or price. Then you can start working on your brand-able factor. A year or so ago I filmed a vlog (video blog) on my Paint Me Green channel called the Brandable factor. If you have a few minutes it might be a something you enjoy
Understanding and determining your brand-able factor is very important as it relates to business and sales. Consumers want to connect with your “brand”. The only way to do that is to identify why they would connect with you. Consumers connect over price, emotion, superiority, influence, and talent. It took me almost 5 years to build the FAB make up brand. I worked really hard to improve the line, listen to requests and feedback and create a paint I am proud of. When I first received the samples, I knew I had to tweak it to meet my standards and market. As you know FAB isn’t the least expensive, nor will it ever be. I wanted the price to reflect the quality, because price and perceived value are VERY closely linked. So, I have built my brand on quality, color, and ease of use. Perhaps, other lines sell more than FAB because of price, and thats ok. I had to stick to my brand and support it with all my efforts.
If you are trying to pinpoint your brand-able factor start with your desired outcome and work back wards…
Make a list of what you want and then write down how you plan to get them
- $600 weekend sales ( generated by bookings)
- More time with the kids
- No working on Sundays because of church and family time
- Build a HUGE client database
- $1,000 weekend sales generated by bookings
- full calendar every weekend
Example one would be best suited to work towards a higher booking fee to be able to maximize their open spots on friday and saturday while example 2 would be best doing volume so they can reach as many potential customers as possible. Before I had kids I would take bookings 18-20 hours a day. I would work gig after gig and hustle every weekend. I didn’t mind missing out on going clubbing because I was happily making money. But now that Im a mother, I cherish time with my kids. BUT, I am also realistic that kids are expensive and face painting income is heaven sent.
When it comes to my face painting brand I worked hard to brand myself as the event planners (agents) secret weapon. I make it easy to make money off of me because I give great service, I always pass out their cards, I am a good painter and great to their clients. Every Monday I send a thank you note to my agents with images from the event. (Click here to view my blog about the power of thank you notes) most of the time they aren’t at the event so they are always pleased to see smiling faces from their events. To local agents I am a good booking for them, and thats my brand able factor.
I know a GREAT artist in Maryland. She is so impressive with her costumes, set up, and her “special mirror”. She has a beautiful stand up mirror that she brings to her events and the kids really believe she is magical. She always looks amazing on the job, has such beautiful presence and you can tell she is worth every penny. Her brand able factor is presentation. Those that want a maserati to show up at their event call Sandy. Sandy’s brand appeals to clients that pay attention to detail and are willing to pay the price for the level of service she provides. Did she do it overnight? No… it takes time to build a brand. And a brand people will pay for.
If you find yourself fitting into the Walmart (volume and cost) category then you can brand yourself as the speedy party solution. You can advertise that you provide face painting at a great value and brand your business around those concepts. There are many times I am asked to do a one hour birthday party and I usually try to steer clear from those because they can eat up your day. My agents know I rarely can stay one hour anyways because I love talking to the kids and adults and taking my time. But for someone else, who likes to take on multiple one hour parties there definitely a market for it. And as long as you are branding around that concept, you have a chance of building a steadily busy business.
I wish I could say with a straight face that entrepreneurship was amazing 95% percent of the time. The truth is that 95% of the time, entrepreneurs are working hard to reach their goals. It’s scary, exciting, rewarding and draining, but it gets easier when you place direction within your business.
You don’t want to spend years climbing a mountain only to get to the top and realizing you were on the wrong slope. You can bypass some of the struggles, when you define your mission. Branding is part of the mission. For 11 years I have been branding Silly Farm as the one stop shop for Everything Face and Body Art. Our customers and loyal farmers know we can’t always offer the lowest prices, but we offer a far more tangible and benefit… service before, during and after the sale. Our name is synonymous with color, quality, service, and industry innovation.
I hope you walk away from the blog a little more confident in your branding strategy. I try to encourage painters that feel they aren’t as “amazing” as some of the people they see on line, to work at their level and their skill set. You can and will make money if you pick a path and pursue it with full force passion. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you give 100% to your business and purpose the money, fame, and success will follow.
Happy Painting <3
Heather – Your Paint Pal