Thursday, March 26, 2015

Applying For A Craft Design Team? Top 5 things you need to know!

As a freelance craft blogger, I have crafty friends who've applied to be on design teams; small companies, large companies, independant franchises.......
design teams come in many shapes and forms.   

What exactly does it take to get on a design team?

In my own endeavors, I've contemplated this issue and decided to do a little research.  The best people to answer these questions would be those at the top, so, I did just that and went straight to the source.  In this case, I've polled several companies with a checklist of questions, hoping to get the answers that can help you reach your goal.

The companies who responded are all well known in the craft industry and range from small but well established businesses, to large companies with a worldwide business reach.  Yes, I've been talking with some big, big businesses.  You use their products every single day.  

So, let's get to it. I posed 5 questions to the representatives of several companies, two of which, were the business owners themselves who offered up the responses.  Let me mention that one particular company responded with no set requirements, but rather has an eye for what the company is looking for and goes with a gut feeling.

Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit

from: Sizzix

1.   Is experience a requirement?  Or does someone new to the scene, with a fresh approach, stand a chance?
  • Experience is preferred.  A company will look at your blog to see what kind of content you're posting and what your blog looks like.   Go look at the blogs of the current design team.  It will tell you a lot about a company.  So, how does one gain experience?  Apply everywhere, all the time.  You will get a lot of rejections.  Don't give up!

2.   Does it help to have connections?  Other company contacts who know you and can vouch for your work ethic?  
  • It doesn't hurt to have connections, however, it's not a requirement.  So, if you know someone in the company or have a friend somehow connected, reach out and make contact.   Word of mouth is a powerful thing.  Let your crafty friends know you're looking .  Sometimes it does help to know people!

3.  What do you look for in researching your applicants?  Use of your product in their social media and blog posts?  Other?

  • Companies are looking for specific content.  Follow the trends and know what's hot.  As of this writing, these project types were mentioned by the companies I polled:   home d├ęcor, food, crafts made with an electronic die-cutter, jewelry making, fashion, quilting, sewing, paper crafts, party planning, teen & kids crafts, scrapbooking, card making
  • Being active in social media is a must.   Your profiles will need to be public.  For example, if you're listing your Facebook page on your DT application, but it's not a public page, you need to consider setting up a separate page from your personal page.  Give it a name that companies can identify with you.  For example, I have my own personal Facebook page, but for crafting purposes, you can find me at Waving My Wand.  Keep the same name for all your social media.  It's a good marketing tool and a good way of branding yourself.
  • Can I share my own observation here?  Based on conversations I've had with other craft bloggers, and as evidenced by following applicants who've been picked for design teams,  many companies go with applicants who are current users of their products.   

4.  Is there something to be said for enthusiasm?  Can it hurt or help for an applicant to follow up their application with an enthusiastic  endorsement?  Or is it best to remain silent and let your work speak  for itself?
  • Either of those reactions is perfectly acceptable.   

5.   Is there anything that can hurt an applicant?
  • An application that is not complete.  Make sure you follow the guidelines of the application.  If they're asking for your 3 favorite card making projects, show them just that.  The last 3 favorite DIY projects?  Give them what they're asking for.   Don't veer off topic and show them something else that you think is fabulous but doesn't meet the criteria of what they're asking for.

Is this helpful information?  I hope so.  Let me know what you think. 

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