Are you hurting the sales of your crafts by trying to be a “Jack-of-all-styles.” The past few days I’ve been perusing Etsy sites and noticed that many crafts-sellers make everything from textiles to metal jewelry to pottery and it muddies up their image to have it all on one site. Sure, it’s fun to try out different mediums and techniques but you need to have a specific “look” that is YOU. Yes, it’s important to have a variety of price-points but try to keep a unified image that “brands” you.
With something like a half million Etsy sellers (don’t quote me on that figure- I keep reading conflicting numbers) your work has to not only be beautiful, priced right and of superb quality, it has to be memorable. It has to stand out from the crowd. Your Etsy site has to have a distinctive image that shoppers connect with your name.
You don’t have to get boring and do the same thing over and over to keep a unified look. If, for example, you enjoy making jewelry out of found objects, make sure your site isn’t a mish-mosh of beautiful pieces. Find a common factor and tie your work together that way. You might make initial jewelry with old scrabble tiles, vintage type-writer keys and pieces of torn paper. The common factors will be recycled and monogrammed. Then to tie it all together, maybe photograph it all on the same type of paper with your logo.
Find your best selling style, and of course one you enjoy creating and do different versions of that but keep a similar look across your site that is YOU.
How are you creating a unified look on your Etsy or Artfire site that brands you and makes you stand out from the crowd?
Are there tasks you know you should be doing for your craft business that you don’t know how to do? Things you have no interest in becoming proficient at?
Do you ever wish you had a fairy godmother who could handle a part of the craft business you dread doing? It could be a step in the process of making your craft or an administrative task. Not all parts of being an artist are creative. For example, you love to design and make one-of-a-kind jewelry but if you have to replicate the design, you find it boring. Or, you might find you enjoy making an original mold but casting or finishing might feel too tedious. Maybe throwing clay on the wheel and making your own glazes excites you but you’d love to have someone else handle the whole firing process.
If you’re like many creative people, you find the technical or book keeping end of the business overwhelming.
It may be your goal to eventually hire an assistant but as you’re building your business, how can you get someone else to do the work you don’t want to do? Believe it or not, there are probably people you know who enjoy doing the tasks you find downright boring. And it’s likely that some of those same people have difficulty with skills that are second nature to you.
There are a number of ways you can get the “icky” aspects of your craft business done without having to hire an employee. By teaming up with someone whose skills are complimentary, you can save time and energy for the parts of your handmade business you enjoy.
If you want someone who’s really invested in your success, you can partner with a more left-brained, linear type and share the profits. One of my favorite ways to get things accomplished without exchanging cash is to barter: trade skills or products. Get the word out that you love to know pearls and hand forge silver but you’re looking for someone to solder or stain or do your books. You might find a virtual assistant who’s happy to update your website in exchange for some pieces of your pottery or jewelry.
The first step to getting help is to know there really is someone out there who loves doing that thing you despise and can not do something you excel at. Believe she exists. Then, get out there and find her.
Terri has been self employed for over 30 years in businesses developed out of personal interests in the advertising, home furnishings, fine arts, healing arts and contemporary crafts fields. She started her first business in her 20s . Her most recent business, a gallery of contemporary craft, continues to thrive under the creative direction of a new owner. The businesses were all profitable and started on very little capital. Since selling her gallery in 2007, Terri has continued to help aspiring entrepreneurs, artists, crafts people and collectors become their own boss while making a living based on their passions.