artfire

Collaborate with artist friends to get your work seen (and purchased) by more qualified buyers

note: this is Part 2. If you missed yesterday’s post, go read that first. Then come back. It will make more sense. 

Continuing on with the idea of collaborating with other artist friends in order to get your work out there and seen (and purchased) by more qualified buyers, here is a second option. Of course you could do both. Imagine.

Now that you’ve carefully chosen the fellow artisans that you want to collaborate with, make a date to interview each one, maybe one a week. You can either do it in writing, send them email questions, or record through a conference line. Basically, you just both call in to the line and chat. When you hang up, an MP3 arrives in your email. It costs about six dollars. You can then put a link to the audio on your blog with a photo and short bio, some photos of her work and link to her site. Of course, you all agree to feature each other on your blogs. If you do this for 20 weeks straight, with 20 different artists and you each have 250 followers, well, you do the math. Just like the first method, you multiply your list of buyers many times over. Easy peasy, right? Let me know when you’ve tried this how it worked for you, OK?

2 More Easy Ways to Sell A lot More Crafts and Bring in Bundles More Cash

Are you feeling a slump in sales of your craft after the holidays? Maybe you have a website or an Etsy site and a mailing list but you feel like everyone you know has already seen your work and you want exposure to new buyers.

It’s great to have a presence on Etsy, Artfire, etc but honestly, you’re missing a lot of qualified buyers who value handmade and have the money to buy your creations but don’t have the time to hang out on those mega-sites. Honestly, even though I make my living helping artists make theirs, I get overwhelmed on Etsy. There’s just too much choice.

So how do you get exposure to more qualified buyers who will be return customers and loyal collectors? Here are two very simple ways.

Both these tips involved gathering some of your online artist friends. Look for people whose work compliments yours and each others.

Ideally, choose artists from different parts of the country because you will have completely different friends. While all of your friends, I hope, have seen your work and all of their friends have seen their work, your friends haven’t seen the things each other make. Make sense?

For purpose of demonstration, let’s say you gather together 20 crafter friends. You put together a simple word press site that shows the craft and a short artist bio of each of you. You don’t have to put a shopping cart up but rather can just link to each artist’s own site. So, even if you don’t have a formal email capturing system set up, although you should, let’s say you have a mailing list of just 100 friends and fans. (and of course include previous buyers.) Now you send out a letter to all of your 50 friends telling them you want to invite them to a virtual invitation-only craft fair with 20 of your online crafter friends. Each of the artists sends this email with link to group site to just 50 friends. Now you each have 1000 new people looking at your handmade jewelry, scarves, soap, candles or other craft. And that’s if you each only had 50 names on your email list. You probably each have more like 250 contacts, right? So that’s 5000 new people seeing your work. And they aren’t just any 5000 people. They’re already fans of your friends’ handmade work. Now, imagine if you got together a group of 40 friends instead of 20 and each sent the link for your virtual craft fair to 250 of your contacts, you’d have 20,000 new people viewing your work.  And this isn’t even taking into consideration that you each have Twitter followers and Facebook friends and Pinterest followers.

Think, mini Esty. But, these people won’t be overwhelmed like they would on Etsy so they’ll buy. And the whole thing hasn’t cost any of you anything except the shared price of a domain name and a site. So maybe you’d each chip in $10. That’s not much to pay for 20,000 new viewers who are qualified buyers, is it?

Check back tomorrow for the 2nd Way to Sell A lot More Crafts and Bring in Bundles More Cash. You can find lots more ideas like this at “12 Easy Ways to turn your Creative Hobby into an Extra $1200 a Month’ HERE

One of the biggest mistakes you can make on your Etsy or Artfire site:

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 you getting your work in front of discriminating buyers?

If you’re looking for more exposure for your work, how creative are you about where you sell you crafts? If you make items for dogs or their people, do you sell strictly to pet boutiques? Have you thought of approaching handcrafted galleries? Shoppers who value handmade will pay more if they see your work in a craft gallery rather than a pet boutique beside inexpensive imports. If you make baby gifts, don’t just sell them to children’s shops. Try to get them into shops with other hand made products. Why put your handcrafted pieces in a location where they are compared with manufactured goods? Get your work in front of buyers who are discriminating enough to appreciate handmade. What other locations can you think of where your work will get the attention and price it deserves?

Are you missing this HUGE segment of the RIGHT buyers for your crafts this season?

Are you counting strictly on Etsy, Artfire or other online platforms to sell your crafts for the holiday season? If so, you are missing a huge chunk of the market and a ton of revenue.  Here’s why:

There are a lot of web-savvy buyers who just don’t like to shop online. Even those of us who do purchase manufactured products, books or music  online, want to see and touch art in real-life. For many shoppers, meeting the craftsperson face-to-face is part of the attraction of buying hand made pieces.

It’s mid October and definitely time to be getting your work out there for early holiday shoppers. So, how can you get your work in front of the people who value made-by-hand? If you shy away from the large seasonal craft fairs like Harvest Festival, I don’t blame you. The booth fees are hefty and the whole experience is exhausting. Many artists who previously exhibited at the big festivals report more sales and a better bottom line when they exhibit at smaller venues such as school, church or community craft fairs. If there aren’t any small festivals in your area, you can approach schools, churches or clubs and offer to set up an exhibit of your work and give a percentage to the organization. (Think of it in place of a booth fee.)

House parties are another good way to sell your work. Ask friends, relatives or co-workers to host a party where you can display your work for their friends. Maybe partner with a caterer who is willing to make appetizers just for exposure to new clients.

Retirement homes are often happy to let you set up a display at no charge. It gives their residents an activity and chance to do their shopping independently. Look for upscale independent living communities, not nursing homes. Many of these residents have good disposable income, are educated in the arts and thrilled to have unique gift options without having to depend on anyone to take them shopping.

Corporations and hospitals are open to people setting up a lunch time or after work sale for their employees. It cuts down on personal days or “sick days” which are commonly used as shopping days around the holidays.

Ask gallery owners or boutique retailers to host a trunk show of your work for a percentage of the sales. Particularly if you make jewelry or smaller gift items, it benefits them as well. Galleries sell fewer large pieces of artwork before the holidays so this is a way for them to offer something to their clients that they may not show the rest of the year. If it ‘s a success and your pieces sell well for them, they may agree to carry your work year round.

For more ideas on how to sell your craft, download a free copy of “13 Easy Low-Cost or NO Cost Tips to Turn Your Crafts into CASH NOW” on the right side of this page.

How are you making it hard for customers to give you money?

Today’s post is by guest blogger Tara Swiger a yarn-obsessed, pink-haired, crafty-business-loving, wonky-embracing teacher + helper. Tara blogs about yearn and the business of craft at http://www.taraswiger.com/

One issue that keeps coming up in my one-on-one work with crafters is that it’s not crystal-clear how someone will give them money.

If your site visitors don’t know HOW to give you money, than they probably won’t!

Here’s a quick list of ways you are making it hard for me (or anyone!) to give you money:

It’s not clear what you do, or that you take money to do that thing
You have an Etsy or Artfire shop, but I can’t find it on your website (or your blogger blog). If I have to scroll down to find it, it’s too hard to find.
You sell in ways other than Etsy, but I can’t find that information.
I’m not sure WHY I would buy from you. What are the benefits? What makes your thing different than Joe’s thing?
I don’t know who you are. If your About page describes a faceless business, I’m not going to get that thrill of buying from a real, live person.
You only have an Etsy or Artfire shop, so I don’t know how to find more about you. I can’t get to know you via Twitter or a blog or an About page.
You list your prices in your country’s currency. What is it going to cost me, a self-involved American?
This is only a partial list!

Do you have examples of what businesses do that makes it hard to buy from?

Share it in the comments!