This past weekend, my friends went to a western shop in Dodge City, Kansas, expecting to purchase some handcrafted “Cowgirl” jewelry. Disappointed, but not surprised, they found everything they picked up was made in China. Thankfully, my friends are conscious shoppers and didn’t buy imports believing they’d found authentic American cowgirl goodies. But how sad that the shop owners, like retailers all over the US, stock their quaint shops in historical buildings with imported knock-offs when there’s an abundance of authentic, handcrafted merchandise they could carry instead.
I appreciate that a sole proprietor of a small shop in Kansas may not want to spend the money to go to one of the semi annual wholesale handmade in America shows,though, I’d argue that smart sourcing is money well spent. Even so, a savvy retailer doesn’t need to leave her home town to find some of the best metal smiths in the US. She only has to peruse one of the online American-made sites that are strictly for the craft trade.
(a great one is wholesalecrafts.com)
The fact that so many boutique owners don’t know this tells me there is even more of an opportunity for you, as artists and crafts people, to get your authentic work in the hands of the buyer and show her how your quality is better and that it hurts her integrity to sell chinese imports in an American western shop. So,find a shop where your product is compatible, and make sure the owner/buyer knows you work. If you make wearables, wear them ALWAYS, give them as gifts and ask everyone close to you to wear your work whenever they might be around the people who have the buying influence. And make sure everyone has plenty of your contact cards in their pocket. There’s a right and a wrong way to approach a shop you’d like to place your work in. The first impression will make or break your likelihood of getting your work into the galleries of your choice so be sure to download your free craft marketing tips from http://www.craftbizblog.com. We’ll also expand on this topic so, stay tuned for more info on our summer teleclass series.Lets Connect