This handmade home decor studio—which sells items such as handmade pouffes, knitted cushion covers, and colorful crochet baskets—increased its sales by 70% during the pandemic.
Dashes of color in a world of grey. Rays of happiness in an age of conformity. Katarzyna Szwarc is aware that these aren’t the descriptors typically ascribed to napkins. But, growing up, she still remembers the many hours she’d spend watching her grandmother knit beautiful serviettes. “True works of art,” she says. Katarzyna similarly recalls with fondness the time spent with her mother learning the art herself. “We didn’t want to copy the existing patterns, so we developed our own,” Katarzyna explains. “We made our own sweaters and we made a lot more too. In fact, this is how Moon Dot’s first pouffe was created.”
That pouffe today sits in the room of Katarzyna’s own daughter, Ania. And it’s more than just a colorful piece of decoration. “It proved extremely useful during the first years of motherhood,” Katarzyna recalls. “It was a toy for Ania to play with, it was a footrest for me while feeding her, and it was something else too—the start of a small business that gave me agency and strength.” The young mother knitted more pouffes and other handicrafts in her small studio in Poznań and started selling them at interior design fairs. But this form of sale did not work well for Moon Dot. Not only was there a considerable cost involved with renting a stall, but many of the customers did not make transactions on the spot anyway. “They almost always came back to me online and that was where we’d arrange the actual sale,” Katarzyna says. “That’s when I knew it was time to focus on digital business development.”
Katarzyna created an online store for Moon Dot and turned to Internet Revolutions—a Google-led training program to help small companies make the most of digital tools and grow online—for help. That training gave her tips on how to most effectively position Moon Dot online with search engine optimization (SEO) training and showed her what changes could be introduced on her own site to allow customers to find her products with greater ease. “The bull’s eye turned out to be, believe it or not, a change in the descriptions for our photos,” Katarzyna says. “This one tiny tweak allowed us to dramatically increase our visibility with those who look for products using Google Image search.” She also learned how to make better use of Google My Business and better analyze data, such as website traffic, using Google’s other tools. As a result Katarzyna, who also displays her products on social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, says she no longer waits for likes on her profiles—and no longer despairs when there are few of them. “With Google Analytics I can see clearly that even if the involvement in these channels appears poor, customers still find the site,” she explains.
In early 2020, Katarzyna was preparing to introduce a large collection of fashion accessories—several models of knitted beach and shopping bags and baskets, perfect for spring walks. Then came the pandemic. The restrictions entered into force quickly and Poles found themselves locked up at home overnight. “The cities were deserted and we could not move freely except in exceptional situations. We all lived under a great deal of fear and stress,” Katarzyna recalls. “Yet, this was also a time when people wanted to be surrounded by the kind of comfort and joy that Moon Dot provides. I was ready for that moment, thanks to the digital tools and competencies I had acquired.” Indeed, not only did Moon Dot not notice a decrease in orders, even in the depths of the pandemic, but actually recorded an incredible 70% increase in sales.
“Moon Dot came out unscathed from COVID-19,” Katarzyna says. “This has once again confirmed for me that a well-designed online store and the right digital tools can provide lasting security for small businesses like mine. It means customers can find us even if we do not invest a lot in advertising.”
Katarzyna’s advice to other small business owners is to constantly build their presence on the internet—no matter what industry they may be in. “The crafts I create are essentially the essence of the analog world, but they can only exist in conjunction with the digital world,” Katarzyna explains. “And the digital world is what gave me hope for the future at a time when many were losing it. Today I feel that I have spread my wings and plan a stable future for the company and my family.”
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