You may be surprised to see me DIYing literally everything about my business. My shop name is hand written on Kraft paper hangers for keychains and jewelry pieces. All artwork on the packaging is drawn by hand. Even my business cards are handcrafted, drawn onto index cards in my own, clear handwriting. I love offering this personal touch — but it seems society often demands an unnecessary ‘bells and whistles’ approach.
I’ve been creating some art since I was a pre-teen. People often asked if I sold my work – the answer was usually no – I had no idea how to start a business, much less, where I would find paying customers. I enjoyed making things for others just for the smiles on their faces — getting paid money was a rare and delightful bonus.
In 2009, I started working to build a business out of my arts and crafts. I quickly learned that the standards some communities hold their sellers to seemed almost unattainable for me as an unemployed newlywed trying to make just a few dollars in spending cash. I suddenly felt a great deal of pressure to have more things…
- a cricut machine
- a printer and printable address labels
- a fancy-ass DSLR camera because according to some communities, only the most finite detail and quality photo will do
- a paper-slicer thing-a-ma-jig
- pretty ribbon and wrapping / boxes for packaging
- VistaPrint business cards
- paid advertising
- more recently, I’ve been told repeatedly that my products “won’t sell” unless I have multiples of each item [it’s rare for me to make the exact same thing twice].
For years, I’ve beat myself up a lot over lacking or unable to afford all this and more… I felt it could be a reason I wasn’t making sales. It could easily manifest as nameless, faceless voice firmly stating my apparently obvious failures. But I also argued with myself that these aren’t needs. These are extravagances. This is a thing I can do and it’s a large part of what makes me happy.
It’s 2018. For the first time in my life I’m being told new customers will “definitely be ordering again!” and “will be ordering Christmas gifts” from me. It’s truly an honor to be so appreciated. To know that my work has hit it’s mark.
But get this:
- my product photos are staged, me holding the item, laying it across my personal desk or hanging it from whatever pretty jar I have available from my kitchen
- I take every photo using the 5-megapixel rear camera in my Samsung Galaxy J3 Prime. Maybe it doesn’t pick up all the finer details of a speck of dirt, but is that really necessary for this? I think not.
- I don’t edit the photos. I check to be certain they’re not blurred and that the color isn’t off by much and that’s it. When photographing products for the purpose of selling, I try not to use a filter.
- I wrap my products in Kraft paper. I got a huge roll at Walmart for just over $4. My spouse has also used it to make origami boxes for items to be hand-delivered in.
- My advertising is completely free. I took the time to connect my Google Calendar to IFTTT applets which share each of my products at least once every two weeks.
- My shop at Spreesy is also free. I still plan to use Etsy again, but for now, am delighting in the work having a customer base has added to my schedule.
What is all this telling me? We long for simplicity. There is a hunger for a real, personal touch when it comes to the products we purchase. People want to know that time was taken and care given to making them the most pleased patron in the county. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why this is my work.
Have you also felt pressured as a crafter / artist? To market your products in a specific, fanciful way? I’d love to hear about your experiences — comment below, or feel free to reach out to me in some other way.
Thank you for reading.