This past week, the news was full of more doom and gloom about retail closings and mall bankruptcies. It would be easy to get discouraged, thinking, “If a big department store that’s been in business for generations can’t make it, how will I?” Well, you aren’t in competition with the big box stores. And if you’re comparing yourself to them, it’s time for a major mindset shift.
Your target customer is the discriminating shopper who wants something unique and handcrafted. Yes, people are being more careful with their dollars now and you have the advantage in that when times are tight, consumers want what they are spending on to be special. They may not be shopping for household appliances right now but when it comes time to purchase a gift or a piece of artwork for their home, they are making conscious choices and want something they don’t see everywhere.
Keep sight of who you are and what your work is all about. You are an artist and unless you are not staying ahead of the off-shore knock-offs, you have no reason to be concerned about ‘competition. You have something special that your customers are proud to give. They love to tell the recipient that they met the artist in person-it’s important to know the story behind their purchase.
Right now it’s more important than ever to have your products “shout” of handmade. Take the time to put hangtags on each piece, identifying it as handmade, maybe even talking about the technique. Include a bio and ideally a headshot. Remember, it’s the human connection that makes the difference.