Having a regular supply of sustainable home goods stores is incredibly important for our planet. Between plastics, the myriads of chemicals found in our couches and cozy things, the toxic creation process and the piles (and piles and piles) of so one-time-use products, this is one of the largest industries to take on, and one of the most impactful for the purposeful brands we work with.
This week, we’re going deep on the ethical home decor niche—what it means, who the ideal customers are, the type of pillar content that works the best, and how to build loyalty into this type of brand. We can’t give you all the answers for your unique business in one article, but dang this is some pretty nice market research for you.
About Building a Business with Sustainable Home Goods
I’m going to come out and say that this means you’re going to be asking a lot of questions. You’re going to reach out to suppliers, creators, manufacturers, artists, and anyone in your supply chain.
When you’re building a business focused on sustainable, ethical, and/or fairtrade home decor, you have to be able to answer questions about chemicals, preservatives, sourcing, creation, supply chain processes, and a whole slew of manufacturing questions because you need to be able to provide those answers to your customers. It isn’t enough to know this stuff, put it where people can find it.
The good thing about asking these types of questions is that it means you’ll earn a positive reputation in circles of people pretty quickly. This is especially true if you’re interested in working with local artists.
Asking the right questions because you’re interested in sourcing (or making) the products will help grow your community—which is great because the sustainable home goods market is going to be really community oriented.
Who Buys Sustainable Home Goods? How to Speak to Them?
In general, people that buy sustainable home goods are educated, they care about the environment, and they understand the value of a great product. These people are often connected to a community that have some level of interest in greening up their lives, so make sure to reward sharing. They give each other recommendations too so set clear guidelines around how your customer support speaks to your network.
Go to war on one-time-use products.
There is almost 100% chance that your ideal customer relates to plastic reduction in the oceans and they have included anti-plastic measures in their regular lives, so do what you can to connect with regenerative-earth messages and longevity of your products.
The ideal customer for a sustainable home good business has money and they live with the belief that they speak with their wallets. They want to make purchases that support their beliefs. Be up front about your costs and the lengths you go to, to stay sustainable in practice.
What Kind of Content for Sustainable Home Goods?
This one is FUN because you get to be creative.
If you’re selling your ethical home decor online there are a few things you’re going to absolutely NEED to be able to communicate what you do.
Lots of photos. And hopefully a usability video too. Remember that your ideal customer is tapped into a community and that community will see and experience your products as soon as they walk into the house of your customers.
Whether it’s the vase the bouquet goes into, the couch they share at tea time, the click of the lamp when the sun goes down, the hand made wall hangings, the wooden silverware at the reclaimed dinner table, or the wax wraps for leftovers, the sustainable home goods niche is meant to be on display. TAKE PICTURES – and ask for pictures from your loyal fans!
We often say that a business’s main pillar content source isn’t super important, as long as it’s out there really consistently. While that’s always true, for this niche it’s best to have articles. Blogging DIY upcycled home decor or the different chemicals found in common products makes a really lovely platform for people that are researching sustainable home goods or searching for their perfect product.
Love Your Social Following
Have a very clean, crisp vibe coupled with lots of imagery, beautiful things, plants, and earth tones. Spotlight your products at least once a week and share fun facts about the industry. Don’t be afraid to be controversial here.
How to Build a Loyal Following for Your Niche
I’m going to be honest with you here. Without a big network of people that are comfortable repping your name, you might have a bit of a slog in the beginning. You’re selling longevity, so you have to prove yourself to your community, and that takes time.
Make sure that the content you’re putting out is factual and that you’re engaging with people on your social media channels. You want to make it the absolute priority that your customers are taken care of, because great customer support by people that are educated in your products is going to be huge for you. Stick to your guns.
Start with Micro-influencers Right Away
When I’m talking “micro-influencers” anymore, I’m talking about people with between 500 and 5000 followers with great engagement. I need to say that because my definition of a micro-influencer is smaller than most organic marketers right now. Why? Because we’re dedicated to loyalty for our clients, not huge numbers.
People with small and loyal followings are the best places to start because loyalty begets loyalty. People with small followings are WAY more excited to share a product with their following. Send your favorite micro-influencers an easily produced product or an e-book with info for their audience. Ask your friends to share your product/swag with their audience.
Note: This way to build loyalty, like the others, takes several months of dedication. It almost never happens instantly.
Join a Foundation
Do what you can to get your products featured on a foundation’s website that you give back to. Being connected to a nonprofit or a charity that fights against single use products is one of the best ways to get recognized and connect with your ideal customer. This lets you raise your price a bit as well because your perceived value is higher when parts of your proceeds go to causes that resonate.
Building your sustainable home goods business? Let us know if this was helpful for you in the comments.
And hey – if you want to brainstorm ideas for how to build loyalty and connection into your digital community, hit us up.
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