Buttons, Badges & Pins - People Power Blog

fabriquons tous nos produits la première boutique Macarons Macarons Montreal Quebec

La boutique ouvre officiellement ses portes le 11 octobre 2014.

Bomacaron est la première boutique en son genre au Québec. C’est aussi l’atelier dans lequel nous fabriquons tous nos produits.

Voici quelques photos qui vous donneront un petit aperçu de l’endroit. N’hésitez pas à venir nous voir et nous questionner, il nous fait toujours plaisir de partager notre expertise et notre passion!

Great news for  all button makers and button people in Montreal.  The guys from Pinscity and Bomacaron have got together to open a button store on Ste. Catherine East in Montreal.

Nic and Joel are making custom buttons right there in the store and both are experienced button makers who can help and advise on any button making project.  Ontario has had a button store for some time, in Toronto, but this is the first button store I have heard of in Quebec. They are stocking button makers, button machines and button parts right there in downtown Montreal.

This is what the store looked like in August 2014 and this is what it still looks like on Google street view.

New Button Store opening in Montreal

New Button Store opening in Montreal

Yes I don’t see a button shop either.  But this is Google street view, it’s always out of date!

The new store is the one with the “Bieres” sign and next time I’m in Montreal I’m going to swing by and see how Joel and Nic are doing.  I will provide a new update with the current picture soon.  In the meantime lets support these guys and their brave new venture!

Macaron Machine Inc.
dba Bomacaron.com & Pinscity.com
4204 Ste-Catherine East
Montreal, Quebec
H1V 1X3

Tel 514 334 7000  Ask for Nic or Joel  Checkout their websites, I know they are being updated but worth a look.  Joel’s site is  http://Bomacaron.com

and Nic’s site is http://PinsCity.com

They are coming together as Macaron Machine Inc.

 

Selling your button designs in stores can be a great way to launch your button business.  But buttons are a low cost item that can walk very easily if you have them in a jar or on a board.  Packaging buttons is a good way to go.  You can make sets of matching buttons and put them on a display card or 4 in a bag with a header card.  I will be writing a separate article about button packaging in due course.  Another way to ensure you don’t loose buttons to pilfering is sell them using a button vending machine.

These machines are traditional gumball machines converted to take capsules.  You can then add multiple buttons in a capsule or also put a special offer or a coupon code in the capsule.  People enjoy putting in a coin and turning the handle to see what they are going to get.  There is a nostalgia surrounding the gumball machines.  Everyone remembers them from their childhood.  Button vending machines work for you whilst you are somewhere else, maybe making or designing buttons, maybe at home tucked up in bed with a good book.  Put your button sales on Automatic!

Beaver Meridian Gumball Machine

Beaver Meridian Gumball Machine

Button Vending Machine

Button Vending Machine uses capsules

 

This is the flagship!  The Beaver Meridian Gumball Machine is a very cool retro style solid metal machine in bright red and designed like a globe.  I think it looks very cool.  As with all these machines there are some options for the coin mechanism.  You can go for a coin mechanism that takes a quarter, two quarters or even 4 quarters.  If your in Canada you can have a loonie or toonie coin mechanism.  You can even have 2 x $1 or 2 x $2.  All these machines also have the option for TOKENS or FREE VEND options.

Beaver Coin Mechanism

Coin Mechanism for a Beaver Meridian Gumball Machine

 

The above Button Vending Machine – Meridian is quite pricy ($600 – $800) and at 70 lbs it’s quite expensive to ship.  But there are other options:

Northern Beaver Vending Machine

Northern Beaver Vending Machine

The Northern Beaver takes 1″ or 2″ or 3″ capsules.  You can fit 3 1″ buttons or magnets in a 1″ acorn capsule.  You can fit 3 buttons or magnets up to 1-3/4″ in a 2″ acorn capsule.  The 3″ capsules are a quarter each so I find them a bit expensive but they do take a few 2-1/4″ buttons.  The 2″ acorn capsules are only 5 cents each, the 1″ acorn capsules go down to 3 cents each. I see more opportunity in those than the 3″ buttons.

Round Beaver Button Vending Machine

Round Beaver Button Vending Machine

The Round Beaver has all the coin mechanism options but is only available for 1″ vending capsules.  The stand is also an optional extra.  They sit nicely on the counter and come with fixtures for bolting down or attaching a security wire (as do all Beaver vending machines).  The Round Beaver you can pickup for around $150.

Marketing and promotion options using a Button Vending Machine.

Above I’m talking about selling buttons but there are also other uses.  These machines have interchangeable coin mechanisms.  Those coin mechanisms can have some interesting possibilities. The FREE VEND option is a coin mechanism that requires no coin.  Just turn the handle and out pops the capsule.  Why is this useful?

Think of putting a machine in a local venue like an art gallery or a café.  When someone turns the handle they get a free button and an ad.  That ad could lead potential clients to your store, your website or to your latest special offer.  A great way to get customers coming to you.

What about TOKEN VENDING?  Our mechanism takes a 0.984″ token which is a pretty standard token size.  You can get tokens personalised, stamped with your website or your logo.  You can send a token to your mailing list, give a token out at trade shows or even walk the streets and hand out your token.  It will bring people to your store or event.  Event and party organisers can use tokens to distribute “random” capsules that are a kind of lottery.  What about a party where you have to find the person with the matching button.  The Button Vending Machine keeps the mix random.

How do I promote my website or business with a Button Vending Machine.

Depends on your business ….. but let’s say you have a bicycle store for example.  Come up with 5 or 10 slogans about cycling.  I love my bike!  Cyclists do it better!  Watch for cyclists!  etc.  Make some cool designs, add a button or magnet business card so there are 2 buttons in the capsule.   Get a Button Vending Machine with a $1 mechanism and set it up in your cycle shop.  Your customers will like the slogan, buy the button and take home your business card for the fridge.  If it cost a $1 they will appreciate it – If you give them away we all know how many end up in the garbage!  Entertain your customers AND promote your business.  The $1 coins will pay for the buttons and the machine in no time.  This method can be adapted to almost ANY BUSINESS and it works.

 

 

Non-Profits, Not-for-Profits, Charities, Organizations all need to raise funds for their causes.  There are many ways to do this.   Many of them get into the junkmail business, many canvas door to door or on street corners.  Many of the canvassers do not even care for the cause and are paid quite well for bugging people.  The large charities employ sub-contractors to knock on doors and if they make a sale of, say, a $10 monthly subscription the first 2 years or as much as $240 will go to the sub-contracting company and only the subscriptions in the third year and beyond benefit the charity.  I know I’m going to get angry emails from the large charities telling me “It’s only the first years subscription that goes to the sub-contractor” but whatever the deal is and I know they vary, I don’t think the generous subscriber new they were filling the coffers of the for-profit canvassing company. Full disclosure and real volunteers would be a better way to go, but I actually believe these charities harm their image when they call people on the phone during dinner or knock on doors when people are relaxing (or sleeping).  As for the junk mail?  That’s just got to stop.  Our household has given annualy to possibly 10 charities for years.  We probably get more than 1000 letters a year.  Yes averaging more than 3 unnecessary letters a day.  You could argue that’s a lot of trees but it’s also a lot of cash that should be going to saving whales, fighting climate change, or building women’s shelters.  It should be used for whatever the money was actually intended for. 

Darfur campaign button Anti-poverty fundraising button Haiti relief fundraiser
Darfur, Sudan relief
Anti-poverty
Haiti relief

campaign button
fundraising button
fundraiser

Fundraising with buttons is extremely low cost, fun, attracts new subscribers and interested parties and does not bug anybody because people come to you

There are many ideas for using buttons to fundraise and I will layout a few ideas to show that instead of sending junk mail getting a button maker is a better investment.

1) Buttons are a low cost way to promote your organization.  Get your name logo out there.  It’s obvious but simple.

2) But what about a “Make your own buttons table” in front of your office, at street festivals, yard sales, schools, universities or any public events.  As well as your button maker you need blank circles, crayons, pens and markers. Get people to draw their designs and put it in a button for them right there and then. People will flock to your table and as they come they will bring more people (naturally, you don’t have to set up a robocall)  Make it for a donation for your cause and you will get $5, $10 for a button that costs 8 cents.  I once even got $50 for a single button because the donor believed in the cause.  You should also have your own designs available at the table for people who don’t want to draw.  Not just a button with your logo but a load of buttons that are relevant for your cause.  Make them funny, make them pertinent, make them serious. Make some radical and some gentle.  Have buttons that describe the full array of your cause with humour and with passion.  All the time people stand at your table, reading your button designs, more people will come. ( You won’t have to bludgeon anyone with your clipboard anymore, they will come to you.)

Do get a graphic designer to design your buttons!  Good design is the key!!!

QR code button 

3) Got something interesting on your website? Draw traffic to the page with a QR code.  What’s a QR code?

Pin-back buttons, pins, badges or whatever you call them are an ideal vehicle for promoting websites but what about a button that can be scanned on a cellphone and the image takes the cellphone user straight to your website.

QR codes don’t just need to go to a homepage, you can generate a QR code to lead a browser to any web address, to a special offer page, to a secret page or a surprise page.  Follow a QR code button on your smart phone and see where you end up!

 

 

4) Use your button maker as a tool to leverage volunteers.  If you have a large number of volunteers coming in to help then that’s great but you need a way to utilise that people power.  You also need a way to give those that do volunteer a sense of satisfaction, the sense that there voluntary labour was put to good use.  I used to be involved in an organization that had lots of walk-in volunteers. I found that if I invested time in explaing tasks to them I would sometimes be dissapointed as they could loose interest and drift away.  On asking I found they often thought the volunteer jobs pointless.  But explaining to a new volunteer how to make buttons takes literally a minute or two.  They work away at making buttons and as the finished buttons pile up they get a sense of achievement. You can use the button maker to judge staying power in your new volunteer.  Once they have proved themselves making buttons for your next event, you can invest some time and take them to the next level, they have earnt it.

5) A printing press in your office.  Once you get good at making buttons you can publish a new button even daily, it takes minutes. As and when a new campaign slogan comes up, a reaction to a press release or a new idea formulates; put it on a button.  Have new designs on the website with a pile of freebies at the front desk for drop ins, for a donation or otherwise. Those buttons will go forward and spread the word. Let your supporters spread the word for you.

  • Buttons are inexpensive
  • Buttons are excellent low cost fundaisers (Do the math!)
  • Buttons draw people to your organisation
  • Buttons draw traffic to your website
  • Buttons can be used to leverage volunteer power
  • A button maker is like your own printing press in the office
Syndicated article from The Button GuySyndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
This article is reprinted with permission.
http://TheButtonGuy.net/
Syndicated Button Guy Blog Syndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
The following article is reprinted with
permission.
http://TheButtonGuy.net/

Faisal asked

“I’m interested in button making and I design fanart too. How do I get people or businesses interested in getting buttons made or using buttons for fundraisers?”

Thanks for the question Faisal, it’s a big question and I will try to answer it here in short form and at the end I will link to other related articles that I have written.  Cheers!

How do I start my custom button making business?  How do I market my buttons? How do I start a button making business?

1. Create your tools.

2. Identify your market.

3. Create your marketing plan for your launch.

4. Consider timely or seasonal and ongoing strategies.

1. Create your tools:

Your tools are what you need when you walk in the door the first time to meet a potential customer.

Samples and Business Cards.  Keep samples handy, that way when you see your friends, family or meet new people, you can give them one. They’ll probably compliment the design, at which point you can say “Thank you! I made it myself. If you ever need buttons for an event or business, let me know”. They might not need them right away, but they’ll have you in mind for when they (or someone they know) do. Better yet, make your samples double as your business card: put your contact info on a button and voila! You’ve got a button business card. It can be round, square, or whatever shape and size you want. If you make them as magnets instead of pinbacks, you have the added benefit of the free publicity you’ll get when they put it on their fridge, locker, etc. The 1-3/4” x 2-3/4” rectangular button maker makes great business card sized magnet or pin-back buttons. BUT REMEMBER: if that’s your card, people may ask for the same shape and size, so be ready to buy that machine – or limit your business cards to the size of the button maker you own.

You need a price list.  That means an easy to read, single piece of paper with your prices.   Give price breaks for larger quantities, but don’t go too cheap.  No point making 100,000,000 buttons if you’re going to lose money (and time) on every single one!

You need a website. This can be a free site (such as WordPress). To start, make sure you have 2 pages: one that says who you are and what you do and the other with your contact information so potential customers can get in touch to place an order. Having a website with your address, phone, etc. increases trust while publishing prices online assures customers they are getting a fair deal.

2.   Identify your market:

You have, in your question, identified fundraisers as a potential market.  Who raises funds?  Community groups, Non-profits, church groups and activist organisations. Start with a list of local groups that you wish to contact.  Send them samples (5 buttons or magnets, or a mix of both, is more than enough) and a pricelist.  If you see an excellent potential client, make them a personalized button and go and meet with them face to face (perhaps at one of their events!).

If you want to sell CUSTOM buttons (meaning, you use or create designs specifically for your customer):

Any local business is a potential customer, canvas your local business area or drop a business card button through the door whilst taking the dog for a walk.  Local small businesses are your best bet when starting out, as big chain stores often buy at head office and not at branch level.

Don’t forget your friends: they are your biggest supporters, probably your first customers, and will be the happiest to tell other people that their friend is in the button making business. Create a personalized button for each of your friends (if they like Godzilla, give them a Godzilla button with their name on it). They will wear it, go forth and spread the word.

If you want to sell YOUR buttons (meaning, you want to sell your own art in button form):

Set up a booth at local farmers’ markets, flea markets, or one-of-a-kind shows.

Create an online store on etsy, ebay, or other online shop.

Do a “crowdfunding” campaign. Rockethub is a great company to help you with this and can give you more information. Simply put, you set a goal for the amount of money you want to raise (which can go towards establishing your button business: maybe you don’t have a machine yet, maybe you want to get another one) and then you promise your donors a product in return for their donation (which you give to them once your campaign is complete). This is a great way to a) get the funds you need to purchase your gear and, b) start establishing a word-of-mouth client base before your business even begins!

Identify potential resellers. Look for stores in your area that could resell for you and take it a step further: ask the local bicycle store if they want to sell bicycle buttons, ask the computer store if they want to sell nerd buttons, ask the pet store if they want to sell animal buttons / fluffy animal buttons / animal rights buttons.  Then use your creative genius to design a set of buttons for them to sell.  Either they buy a box of buttons from you or you negotiate a cut of consignment sales. Talk to them, get their ideas. For example, you could create 5-30 designs for them, laid out on a clean, professional looking board (or in a counter top box or jar) in the store and split the sale 50/50 with the store owner.  You may have to settle with a consignment deal – meaning, you get paid when they sell (so you’ll have to keep an inventory and check in from time to time).  But if the store owner allows a small add on the board that says “I Make Custom Buttons” and contact info, then it could be the beginning of something good.

 

NOTE: Match the buttons you create to your personality and the personality of the store (and owner) you choose to work with.  If you’re an avid cyclist do cycle stores.  If you’re a tech wiz do computer stores.  YOU WON’T CREATE GOOD PRODUCTS IF YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED!   Example: If you’re allergic to anything furry and hate animals it will be harder for you to identify with animal lovers, likely your buttons won’t be so good.  If you’re an animal rights activist and want to make anti-cruelty buttons (and I’m 100% with you), there is still no point going to the local pet store that sells Chihuahua’s with pink bows if the store owner isn’t an activist.  Put a Chihuahua with a pink bow on a button and you will win that customer.  (Disclaimer:  Here I apologize to all animal activists that have Chihuahuas with pink bows – I have a Pitbull that behaves like a Chihuahua and wears pink bows sometimes.)

3.   Create your marketing plan:

A marketing plan for a new business usually means a $0 budget but there are still free online notice boards, free classifieds, crowd funding possibilities, trade/swop ideas and tabling event possibilities. Follow this simple list, add your own ideas and work through the list. That’s a plan!

Free classifieds: There are many local online noticeboards such as Craigslist and Kijiji. Just go in, use the free option and place some ads. Search for free classifieds online. Some newspapers allow free classifieds but keep it local to start. You can get into shipping, returns, credit card payments etc. later. This may bring an order or two but it’s a good place to start, you begin to formulate in your own mind why you are better, why people should use your service and primarily that will be because you are “local”. People like to deal with neighbours. Don’t just be cheap! Underselling products is a key reason for small business failures.

Tabling, Festivals, Street Parties, Yard Sales:  Tap into your local community, what’s coming up? Setup a table at your neighbours’ yard sale. What about the Christmas fundraiser at the church. Does your local business community run a festival? Talk to the Business Improvement Association. Even if you go there and stand all day and sell just $50, next time your neighbour talks to someone they may just say, “I know someone who makes buttons.”  Do not underestimate how much money you can make at a school or college lunchtime break if you can setup a table. What about a “Make your own button table.” Basically any public event is a potential button marketing event.

Birthday party events for kids:   What about doing birthday party events for kids with your button maker?  It’s simple to organize coloured pens, markers and pre-cut circles for kids to draw on.  Don’t forget to take a few magazines or comics so the kids can cut out the stuff they’re into. Create a craigslist (or other) post specifically about your birthday party services and see what happens!

Trade / Swop: You’re starting out, you have no cash – what if the local church wants $30 for a table – offer them custom buttons instead.  If a local business is willing to trade products or advertising in exchange for buttons, that could be a good way to get the ball rolling and lower your start up costs.

4.   Consider timely / seasonal and ongoing strategies.

Whether it’s for the launch of your business or for ongoing business you’ve got to be timely and seasonal.  As I write, Christmas is looming. So why not offer to put family pictures on a button for people to give out as Christmas gifts or include with their yearly Christmas cards?  In the Spring you want to be thinking about Summer events/festivals and planning ahead.

Here’s a simple framework – I know it’s not rocket science – for how a button maker should be thinking and preparing:

Spring:     Summer events, street festivals, beer gardens, yard sales

Summer:  Back to school

Autumn / Fall: Halloween, Harvest Festival, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah,

Winter:   Christmas, Holiday Season, New Year, New Year Resolutions, Valentines

All year round:  Birthdays, Marriages, Funerals, Graduations, Births.  Also new movies, trends (QR codes), comic books (any new Marvel release) and then the humdinger of them all: ELECTIONS at every level: local school or National Presidential elections all need buttons!

Some final words for reflection and advice:

Starting ANY business takes a lot of legwork to get it up and running.  The most effective advertising is ALWAYS word of mouth.  Do a good job for each customer and they will become your ‘sales representatives’.  It may go wrong occasionally (don’t ignore it!), do what it takes to win that customer back (but remember that once in a while you’ll run into a client that can never be pleased. Don’t take it personally).  Go a step further for your customers: Under promise and over deliver. Establish your customer base and as long as your service and product is good (and fills a need) it will grow naturally without expensive advertising.  Be creative. Don’t try to get too big too quick, steady as she goes and I wish you luck with your new button business! 

 

 

Faisal asked

“I’m interested in button making and I design fanart too. How do I get people or businesses interested in getting buttons made or using buttons for fundraisers?”

Thanks for the question Faisal, it’s a big question and I will try to answer it here in short form and at the end I will link to other related articles that I have written.  Cheers!

How do I start my custom button making business?  How do I market my buttons? How do I start a button making business.

1. Create your tools.

2. Identify your market.

3. Create your marketing plan for your launch.

4. Consider timely or seasonal and ongoing strategies.

1.   Create your tools:

Your tools are what you need when you walk in the door the first time to meet a potential customer.

Samples and Business Cards.  Keep samples handy, that way when you see your friends, family or meet new people, you can give them one. They’ll probably compliment the design, at which point you can say “Thank you! I made it myself. If you ever need buttons for an event or business, let me know”. They might not need them right away, but they’ll have you in mind for when they (or someone they know) do. Better yet, make your samples double as your business card: put your contact info on a button and voila! You’ve got a button business card. It can be round, square, or whatever shape and size you want. If you make them as magnets instead of pinbacks, you have the added benefit of the free publicity you’ll get when they put it on their fridge, locker, etc. The 1-3/4” x 2-3/4” rectangular button maker makes great business card sized magnet or pin-back buttons. BUT REMEMBER: if that’s your card, people may ask for the same shape and size, so be ready to buy that machine – or limit your business cards to the size of the button maker you own.

You need a price list.  That means an easy to read, single piece of paper with your prices.   Give price breaks for larger quantities, but don’t go too cheap.  No point making 100,000,000 buttons if you’re going to lose money (and time) on every single one!

You need a website. This can be a free site (such as Wordpress). To start, make sure you have 2 pages: one that says who you are and what you do and the other with your contact information so potential customers can get in touch to place an order. Having a website with your address, phone, etc. increases trust while publishing prices online assures customers they are getting a fair deal.

2.   Identify your market:

You have, in your question, identified fundraisers as a potential market.  Who raises funds?  Community groups, Non-profits, church groups and activist organisations. Start with a list of local groups that you wish to contact.  Send them samples (5 buttons or magnets, or a mix of both, is more than enough) and a pricelist.  If you see an excellent potential client, make them a personalized button and go and meet with them face to face (perhaps at one of their events!).

If you want to sell CUSTOM buttons (meaning, you use or create designs specifically for your customer):

Any local business is a potential customer, canvas your local business area or drop a business card button through the door whilst taking the dog for a walk.  Local small businesses are your best bet when starting out, as big chain stores often buy at head office and not at branch level.

Don’t forget your friends: they are your biggest supporters, probably your first customers, and will be the happiest to tell other people that their friend is in the button making business. Create a personalized button for each of your friends (if they like Godzilla, give them a Godzilla button with their name on it). They will wear it, go forth and spread the word.

If you want to sell YOUR buttons (meaning, you want to sell your own art in button form):

Set up a booth at local farmers’ markets, flea markets, or one-of-a-kind shows.

Create an online store on etsy, ebay, or other online shop.

Do a “crowdfunding” campaign. Rockethub is a great company to help you with this and can give you more information. Simply put, you set a goal for the amount of money you want to raise (which can go towards establishing your button business: maybe you don’t have a machine yet, maybe you want to get another one) and then you promise your donors a product in return for their donation (which you give to them once your campaign is complete). This is a great way to a) get the funds you need to purchase your gear and, b) start establishing a word-of-mouth client base before your business even begins!

Identify potential resellers. Look for stores in your area that could resell for you and take it a step further: ask the local bicycle store if they want to sell bicycle buttons, ask the computer store if they want to sell nerd buttons, ask the pet store if they want to sell animal buttons / fluffy animal buttons / animal rights buttons.  Then use your creative genius to design a set of buttons for them to sell.  Either they buy a box of buttons from you or you negotiate a cut of consignment sales. Talk to them, get their ideas. For example, you could create 5-30 designs for them, laid out on a clean, professional looking board (or in a counter top box or jar) in the store and split the sale 50/50 with the store owner.  You may have to settle with a consignment deal – meaning, you get paid when they sell (so you’ll have to keep an inventory and check in from time to time).  But if the store owner allows a small add on the board that says “I Make Custom Buttons” and contact info, then it could be the beginning of something good.

NOTE: Match the buttons you create to your personality and the personality of the store (and owner) you choose to work with.  If you’re an avid cyclist do cycle stores.  If you’re a tech wiz do computer stores.  YOU WON’T CREATE GOOD PRODUCTS IF YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED!   Example: If you’re allergic to anything furry and hate animals it will be harder for you to identify with animal lovers, likely your buttons won’t be so good.  If you’re an animal rights activist and want to make anti-cruelty buttons (and I’m 100% with you), there is still no point going to the local pet store that sells Chihuahua’s with pink bows if the store owner isn’t an activist.  Put a Chihuahua with a pink bow on a button and you will win that customer.  (Disclaimer:  Here I apologize to all animal activists that have Chihuahuas with pink bows – I have a Pitbull that behaves like a Chihuahua and wears pink bows sometimes.)

3.   Create your marketing plan:

A marketing plan for a new business usually means a $0 budget but there are still free online notice boards, free classifieds, crowd funding possibilities, trade/swop ideas and tabling event possibilities. Follow this simple list, add your own ideas and work through the list. That’s a plan!

Free classifieds: There are many local online noticeboards such as Craigslist and Kijiji. Just go in, use the free option and place some ads. Search for free classifieds online. Some newspapers allow free classifieds but keep it local to start. You can get into shipping, returns, credit card payments etc. later. This may bring an order or two but it’s a good place to start, you begin to formulate in your own mind why you are better, why people should use your service and primarily that will be because you are “local”. People like to deal with neighbours. Don’t just be cheap! Underselling products is a key reason for small business failures.

Tabling, Festivals, Street Parties, Yard Sales:  Tap into your local community, what’s coming up? Setup a table at your neighbours’ yard sale. What about the Christmas fundraiser at the church. Does your local business community run a festival? Talk to the Business Improvement Association. Even if you go there and stand all day and sell just $50, next time your neighbour talks to someone they may just say, “I know someone who makes buttons.”  Do not underestimate how much money you can make at a school or college lunchtime break if you can setup a table. What about a “Make your own button table.” Basically any public event is a potential button marketing event.

Birthday party events for kids:   What about doing birthday party events for kids with your button maker?  It’s simple to organize coloured pens, markers and pre-cut circles for kids to draw on.  Don’t forget to take a few magazines or comics so the kids can cut out the stuff they’re into. Create a craigslist (or other) post specifically about your birthday party services and see what happens!

Trade / Swop: You’re starting out, you have no cash – what if the local church wants $30 for a table – offer them custom buttons instead.  If a local business is willing to trade products or advertising in exchange for buttons, that could be a good way to get the ball rolling and lower your start up costs.

4.   Consider timely / seasonal and ongoing strategies.

Whether it’s for the launch of your business or for ongoing business you’ve got to be timely and seasonal.  As I write, Christmas is looming. So why not offer to put family pictures on a button for people to give out as Christmas gifts or include with their yearly Christmas cards?  In the Spring you want to be thinking about Summer events/festivals and planning ahead.

Here’s a simple framework – I know it’s not rocket science – for how a button maker should be thinking and preparing:

Spring:     Summer events, street festivals, beer gardens, yard sales

Summer:  Back to school

Autumn / Fall: Halloween, Harvest Festival, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah,

Winter:   Christmas, Holiday Season, New Year, New Year Resolutions, Valentines

All year round:  Birthdays, Marriages, Funerals, Graduations, Births.  Also new movies, trends (QR codes), comic books (any new Marvel release) and then the humdinger of them all: ELECTIONS at every level: local school or National Presidential elections all need buttons!

Some final words for reflection and advice:

Starting ANY business takes a lot of legwork to get it up and running.  The most effective advertising is ALWAYS word of mouth.  Do a good job for each customer and they will become your ‘sales representatives’.  It may go wrong occasionally (don’t ignore it!), do what it takes to win that customer back (but remember that once in a while you’ll run into a client that can never be pleased. Don’t take it personally).  Go a step further for your customers: Under promise and over deliver. Establish your customer base and as long as your service and product is good (and fills a need) it will grow naturally without expensive advertising.  Be creative. Don’t try to get too big too quick, steady as she goes and I wish you luck with your new button business! 


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QR Codes or Quick Response codes and buttons are a marriage made in heaven.

Pin-back buttons, pins, badges or whatever you call them are an ideal vehicle for promoting websites but what about a button that can be scanned on a cellphone and the image takes the cellphone user straight to your website.

QR codes don’t just need to go to a homepage, you can generate a QR code to lead a browser to any web address, to a special offer page, to a secret page or a surprise page.  Follow a QR code button and see where you end up!

QR code button making techniques

How to generate your QR code artwork for a button.  There are dozens of free code generators online.  Try this one  or just search for one online.

What are QR codes


QR-Code in a Newspaper

“QR-Codes are two dimensional barcode (datamatrix) that is designed to have its contents decoded at a high speed.” source

With the technology of mobile phones constantly advancing, especially within mobile internet, QR-Codes are the perfect solution to quickly and efficiently bring mobile phone users onto the mobile web. QR-Codes can be used to store all kinds of data including web addresses. QR codes can also be used on:

  • Buttons ( pins, badges)
  • Fridge magnets, locker magnets
  • Magazines
  • Papers
  • Business Cards
  • Buses
  • Signs
  • T-shirts

How QR-codes Work?

Take a mobile phone such as an iPhone, android or blackberry or any phone with a digital camera. Take a photo (or scan) the QR code to capture a picture of the QR-Code.  The in built QR-Code software decoder will then transform the data into an action by the mobile phone, such as:

  • Connect to a web address
  • Download a MP3
  • Dial a telephone number
  • Prompt your email client with a sender address

This is done in a millisecond making the transformation from a users mobile phone to the mobile web instantaneous.

How to put a QR-code on a button

Putting a QR-code on a button is not really different from putting anything on a button.  You need a good quality artwork and you need a reasonable printer. Artwork can be generated online.  Just decide on the url you want to link to, fill out a simple online form and most sites email you back a .png file instantly.

Try this free online QR-code generator

Layout your sheet as you would normally.  Of course a square button is great, especially if you have a square button maker or if you are getting your buttons custom made by a pro, they will have a square button machine, but a round button will also work fine.

Add some text for the visual:  What about “Scan me”,  “Follow me” or “special offer”

You can use colour - they do not have to be black - but whatever you do TEST your qr-code before you make a bunch of buttons.  Make sure your code works!!

Enjoy!

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