Are you feeling overwhelmed by everything you hear you should be doing to market your craft? You aren’t alone. Most of us need a map before we start out on a journey we’ve never taken before.
So, take a deep breath and know that if you just start somewhere, take one simple step today, you’re on your way. Wait, don’t decide to start fresh Monday. That works about as well as waiting to join the gym on January first. Just take one step, right now, yes, begin a new project on a Friday. Even if you take the weekend off, you’ll be able to relax knowing you’ve taken that first step.
Today’s assignment: choose your very best piece. Something that hasn’t been out in the marketplace yet. Now, photograph it. OK. I know you might consider that two steps. If you’re really feeling ambitious, upload it to your i-photo or other photo program and save it. So, three easy steps. (if you really must be a stickler about the one step a day, choose the piece today, photograph it tomorrow and upload on Sunday. Those are very tiny steps.) Monday morning, it will be so easy to continue knowing you’ve already done the first 3 steps.
Now, you are ready to take a BIG baby step on your craft marketing plan.
I’m not calling this a BIG step because it’s difficult. It isn’t. It’s simple and just so obvious but is a big step because it will make a huge difference in getting your sales rolling Continue reading →
As we are getting into craft, gift and trade show season, I am hearing from clients and friends that two areas of the art market are doing well in the present economy. The reports are consistent that the very high end and the under twenty five dollar price points are selling. Mid price crafts are suffering. What does this mean for you?
My advise to any artist, craftsperson or retail gallery is always, in any economy, to make sure your line Continue reading →
January is the start of winter trade show season. As a maker, you should plan to walk at least one show. Whether you sell directly to the public or you’re considering selling to retail shops and galleries. If you can only attend one, I recommend you make it a general gift show rather than craft show. I know that sounds like a contradiction since you are in the business of crafts but you need to know what’s going on in the general gift wholesale trade for a number of reasons.
What should you be looking for as you walk the aisles?
Trends: Even if you do vintage crafts or very traditional work, it’s still important to keep up with the trends.
Notice themes. Are particular patterns, symbols or icons showing up across many lines? Sometimes a certain flower or animal print is popular. Remember when everything from clothing to home decor featured palm trees, owls or sunflowers? Last year, vintage trailers were the trend on fabrics like sheets and pajamas.
Colors and fabrics. You should be aware of the current color palette so that your work will coorinate and compliment. Who knew chenille would ever make a comeback?
Copy Cats: You also need to know if someone is knocking off your work, having it produced overseas and selling it for a fraction of what you sell it for. The likelihood of of getting the copycat to cease making it is questionable and you obviously aren’t going to lower your prices to compete but you should know that customers are seeing similar work at import prices. You may be able to tweak your line just enough to make it more apparent that it is handmade and you definitely will want to have other additional lines that aren’t being seen in mainstream shops.
If you’re considering wholesaling your work, try to visit several different trade shows. As you walk the aisles, notice which booths are busy. Who is writing orders? What do the artists who are writing the most orders have in common? Continue reading →
Tom and Carol Temple contacted me a couple of years ago when they were both in the newspaper industry in the Raleigh area. They had a dream of moving to the Blue Ridge mountains and opening a gallery and wanted to know if I thought they could really make a go of it. I consulted with them as they looked for locations and and sources and today, they are living their dream. Their gallery, Handtiques, features American handmade and 80% local artists.
The majority of the items they carry are functional. They like to show people that just because a piece is functional does not mean it can’t be beautiful and vice versa. Carol makes wire wrapped jewelry and Tom is a woodworker concentrating in jewelry and small functional pieces.
Char De Rouin worked high tech corporate jobs until she decided to homeschool her daughters and focused on her creative side doing everything from sewing, beading, paper arts, DIY projects, to theatre arts, She says “my art is all about layers, shapes, color and intuition. There are no rules driving the creative process, just intention. In this way, the story flows through the emotions I am feeling at that moment.” You can see more of Char’s work HERE
I fell in love with David Cohen’s art when I saw his Sneakerdoodles a couple of years ago. . He describes himself as “smack in the middle between left-brain dominance and right-brain dominance. I can soar in the ethereal world of metaphors and visual imagery and then shift gears into step-by-step logical thinking. I’m as likely to use a spreadsheet as a visualizing tool as I am to use magic markers and a sketchbook.”
In a 2013 interview he tells us how he went from mathematician and dotcom-er to making a living helping entrepreneurs find their authentic brand.
Several years ago Judith discovered that the secret to success lies in the power of our mind, and if we are genuinely going to make lasting changes it has to happen at the subconscious level, literally from the inside out. She wanted to re-invent her life and began training in energy healing techniques EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) PSYCH-K® and The Emotion Code. She has a stress management practice that focuses on helping others resolve emotional issues, release negative behavior patterns, and change false beliefs that are limiting and sabotaging their lives.
Sandy’s artistic training began at a very early age with the inspiration and tutelage of her grandmother, an accomplished artist. She would sit for hours watching her grandmother manipulate her oils and watercolors, bringing her subjects to life.
Sandy studied with William J. Schultz of Massachusetts, R. Clay Kent of Maine, and Louise Cherwak of Florida, among others. She says “When I discovered the French Impressionists, I fell in love with their appreciation of color and light. I am always struggling to capture the beauty I see in nature and everyday scenes. I believe that our experiences and the people we meet enrich us. Each of my mentors, whether through personal contact, museum visits or books, has brought me a unique perspective which added to my technique and ability to find beauty in everything around me – and to translate that beauty to the canvas or paper. Please, stop for a moment and see the beauty and color that surrounds us!” You can see Sandy’s paintingsHERE
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.