If you’re anything like me, you started paracording as a hobby because you wanted to make yourself a couple of cool bracelets. Then you became hooked and before you knew it you had more bracelets than you could wear in a year and it was costing you a fortune in materials. You’ve had a few people buy bracelets off you, mostly work colleagues, family and friends and you’ve been told several times that you should start selling your creations. Well that’s where I started too.
I’ve been where you are now, I’ve thought about selling on Etsy and Ebay and have done both. I’ve also sold quite a few through Instagram to people who have admired my work. The big question here is how do you take the next step? How do you go from being a casual crafter to making this into more of a side business, or maybe even with time your full time business.
Rather than posting up lots of pictures of random creations, the style changing regularly as I try out new tutorials, I realized that I need to focus more on a style which makes me unique while keeping true to the style of bracelets that I like to make, because if you love what you make then others will too. So I did some sole searching and came to the conclusion that I really like post apocalyptic styling, grunge, zombies, lots of aging metal with patinas. So I started to try out that sort of style and was really happy with the results.
I didn’t want to completely change the focus of @knotparacord, so the natural next choice was to set up a new selling account, which I could build a brand upon and have a clear identity. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll already know that I came up with the brand A F T E R M A T H. You can go check out what I’ve done so far at @aftermath.edc. It’s still in the early stages of building a brand and I’ll be documenting the stages and progress and sharing it with you on here.
Let’s take a look at some existing well established Instagram paracord brands:
@scordvolution has a dark asthetic to their Instagram, punchy high contrast images with stone and textured background used to contrast against the paracord and metal beads. What makes them stand out is the use of lots of beads, not just skulls but also spines and spikes to really give the bracelets an extra wow factor.
There’s a big push for only using the highest quality hand made materials, giving each bracelet a unique look and feel.
@am.cord has more of a classic jewelry brand feel to it, with images of bracelets on a clean white background and the use of custom made shackles and beads which are exclusive to them. I feel like I’m looking at a high quality fashion / jewelry brand which you’d expect to see in the glass cases of a high end jewellery shop.
@alexpedition.ru is more of a rustic brand, using a mixture of hand made and off the shelf items. The photos are so beautiful and showcase the bracelets in the kind of wild setting that you expect the owner of one to be wearing it in. This is a clever tool as potential customers will fall in love with the visually artistic pictures before they even explore the bracelets which are showcased within.
Alex also posts shots of himself at work, which most paracord artists shy away from. It really helps people to associate the brand as being more than just the bracelets, becoming attached to the artist too and building a much stronger, longer lasting bond.
I think you’ll agree that they all have very recognizable branding and a distinctive style of their own which makes it very easy to identify their work when you see it in your Instagram stream.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons already while starting to develop a brand identity and I know I’ve still got a lot more lessons to learn. The plan is to detail this process in a series of How To posts over the next couple of months. Looking at existing brands and identifying what makes them so unique and successful. Detailing how I came up with the A F T E R M A T H brand. Discussing everything from identifying a style that suits you and your target audience, sourcing materials and even getting the packaging right. I’ll also look at how to get more quality followers on Instagram.
I’m really excited to take you on this journey. I’m only just starting out myself and I can’t wait to see where this path leads.