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 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.
Are you Doing One thing a Day To Market your Craft?
If you are 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. I know that trick. I’ve done it. I’ve never thought of my workweek as Monday through Friday because being self employed, I don’t follow anyone’s scheduled. I work when it’s best for me and my family. But, 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 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.)
So, Monday morning 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 again.
Send this digital image of your best piece to your list of past buyers or those who have visited your booth at shows, come to your home open studio or just expressed interest in your work. (You DO keep a list, don’t you?) If you don’t have a data base of past customers, send the image to all your friends and family. You aren’t selling anything. You are simply reminding them that you are a talented crafts person. If you have already made prints or reproductions of your work, mention it. If you are in an exhibition, mention it. If you haven’t ever taken your work out of your home studio-mention it. Be open and honest about your newness and people will want to support you. Ask them to share it with their friends. A great way to get people to notice your work and pass it on is to include a quote or some kind of meaningful sentiment or story. Nothing too long, just something to make them smile or stop and think. Something that makes them nod in agreement and want to pass on to friends.
So, by Monday you will have taken your four first steps. Simple steps that will get you rolling on the the next steps.
In any business, it is always easier to bring back existing customers than to attract new ones. Obviously, you want to do both but if you have an existing buyer/collector list, cherish them. They are your most valuable assets. Send them “love notes” of customer appreciation regularly. Your art is a piece of you. You aren’t selling hardware. This is a relationship and if your buyers feel you see them as friends, they’ll be loyal to you. They will show your art to their friends and your list of collectors will grow.
See how much you’ve accomplished even though you didn’t know where to start?
Assuming you’ve followed the baby steps so far, today you are going to make a vital move. If you don’t have a data base of your mailing list, or even have a mailing list, today you will start one. This is everyone you know. Everyone. Remember, you aren’t selling to your friends and family. You are sharing your art with them. (If your work is wearable or home decorative, see other blog entries for tips on getting your work seen and download the free tips in the upper right to give you more great ideas.) If you are like the rest of us, you probably have scraps of paper and business cards all over with names of people you’ve met. Most of us toss them because we have forgotten why we picked them up. But, each of those people might know someone who could become your best customer or the connection to many great collectors. Maybe someone’ sister has a gallery or uncle is a decorator to the very wealthy. You won’t be imposing by sending them a beautiful image with a brief greeting or sentiment online. Think of it as a gift. Because it is.
Even if your list has only twenty names right now, use a contact management program such as Constant Contact. You can start out with their free trial, it’s simple, user friendly and you will have your list automated to start.
This should be day six. Now you have a list, you have an image and you are going to order some postcards. Use a site like modernpostcards.com to order one thousand postcards of your favorite piece that you photographed on day one. You can have the same quote or sentiment that you used for your email printed on the postcards. These are very inexpensive marketing tools which you will use both as mailers and handouts. Include a special offer or invitation to a home exhibit or trunk show. (more on this in other blog posts and tips at right.) Also have your domain address (url) printed on them. YOU DON’T HAVE A DOMAIN NAME OR WEBSITE? NO PROBLEM. YOU WILL BY TOMORROW. At least you’ll have a domain name and landing page.
Day seven, if you haven’t purchased your domain name, do that now. Go to a site like bluehost.com and buy your own name. Even if you have a business name and already have a web site, for ten dollars a year, buy your own name. If you already have a site under a different name, you needn’t change that, just re-direct the url with your own name to the site. This takes three minutes and is important because people are more likely to remember and search for you under your own name than a business name.
In the first week, with one small step a day, you have a great start on your art marketing program. If you need help implementing any of the above steps, be sure to email me at the contact above and I will point you in the direction of someone who can get you on your way to a successful craft marketing campaign. Keep checking back for lots more tips on where to go from here and remember to go up to the right hand of this site and get your free gift of “13 Quick, Easy, Low-cost or NO-cost Ways to Turn your Craft into Cash NOW!”
See how much you’ve accomplished in one week with just baby steps? And to think you didn’t know where to begin.