Are you feeling as if no matter how much work you sell, it isn’t generating enough income? Are you concerned that you can never produce enough pieces to make a living? Even artists who sell a lot of work find that eventually, they hit a plateau because selling crafts that are hand made one at a time is still trading time for dollars and does limit your income. If you have to produce so much work to make enough money, it may stop being fun and actually feel like work.
So how can you increase your income as a crafter if you’re already selling as many pieces as you can comfortably produce?
You need to find other “profit centers” as my friend Barbara Winter calls multiple income streams. (she says “streams sounds wimpy”.) So what other ways can you bring in income without having to ramp up production?
The best way I know is to leverage your time and knowledge. Let’s look at some opportunities for increasing revenue that will also help get your name out there.
If you produce a product that is based on your signature design, one great way to leverage is to sell kits with all the supplies and instructions so that others can duplicate it but you are still getting paid. I wouldn’t worry about losing sales because the person who would purchase a kit to make a piece like yours is a different customer altogether than the one who would buy a finished piece. Say for example, you are a jewelry designer. You can make a piece once and then sell the instructions, beads, findings, etc as a Make-it-Yourself kit. Or, if you make handbags, for each style you design, make up a pattern that you can sell along with the fabric, buttons, zipper, thread and any other supplies needed to make the bag.
Another very simple way to leverage your revenue from art is to teach both live classes or virtual. It’s very easy to make a video demonstrating “how-to” do your craft and sell either a digital version online or a physical DVD. Again, the client who will pay for your instruction video is not the same client who will buy the finished work.
Go through the craft section at any bookstore and you will see color plates in the “how-to” books featuring different artists’ work. An added source of income is the sale of your pattern or instructions to an author or publisher. Of course, submitting articles or patterns to craft magazines is another great vehicle for selling your design.
Some artists will choose to have two or more different series in their line. One can be a higher end, labor intensive limited edition while the other can be more competitively priced. This works well if you sub out assembly to work-at-home parents who can each have their own cottage industry. You pay them by the piece and it’s a winning scenario for everyone, including the customer who may not purchase your higher end work. Making sure the lines each have a distinct look will help to maintain the prices on the more upscale pieces.
When you offer to do a demo along with a trunk show at a home party or local boutique, you will be able to reach the crafters who will pay you for lessons and kits as well as the collectors who will pay for your work rather than do it themselves. Any exposure you can get will be a marketing step.
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