A new startup business in Myanmar (Burma) contacted us asking
How to promote small business for women who live in villages doing sewing
They sell to both tourists and local Burmese customers.
Marketing to the sales channel
The main challenge here for the women is that they are a disparate group and so clubbing together to make a single selling organisation who can take on the marketing and promotion to a range of distribution channels (web and retail shops mainly) is probably the best use of their time.
I did a search result for the words “Myanmar Handicrafts” and it’s clear there are plenty of existing online shops selling in this category as well as Facebook pages – which is good for international sales in the English language.
Steps to introduce their work to the channel
- Get samples of their sewing work. Take photographs of each lady who made the product.
- Contact each of these websites and send them two photos of the women and their sewing. Ask if they would like to sell your products in their shop.
- After 1 week if they do not reply by email, telephone them.
- If you can, ask to visit each shop owner with a bigger selection of sewing for them to look at and then face to face discuss if they will buy from you.
The basic method is to bring awareness of your product set to people who already have an audience of customers – this B2B route to market is faster than trying to build up your own audience of prospects.
Key issues will be
- Quality control
- Having sufficient stock to deliver in volume
- Getting good payment terms
- Scaling for growth – Kiva.org may be a good way to raise money
But by getting face to face with retailers I think this group of village women will stand a good chance of finding outlets for their work.
Downstream it may be worthwhile finding charities like Oxfam, Unicef and Save the Children to see if they’ll buy product for their online and catalogue business.