There is a sentiment that pops up fairly often on FaceBook about “When buying from an artisan (one who works with hands and heart)
While it seems geared to those who are buying our work, there is much in it to think about as you decide whether selling your work is really what you want to do. Anytime I accept a commission or am asked to sell a completed piece, here is what I think about as the Artisan/Maker.
As an Artisan (one who works with hands and heart)
- You are Selling MORE than just an object.
- You are selling hours of skill building and experimentation.
- You are selling days, weeks and months of frustration
- You are selling moments of pure joy when concept meet reality.
- You are selling a piece of your heart,
- a part of your creative soul,
- and a precious moment in your creative life .
You Are NOT JUST Selling a Thing.
One of the hardest decisions any artisan has to make is deciding if it even makes sense to sell their work. Is what your are making unique and thus can compete. Or, it is a hobby you and other enthusiasts enjoy – but frankly there are just too many sources for the same product you are making.
Is what you are producing for sale able to command its fair market value. I should warn you I have little patience for “what the market will bear” because if the market cannot bear to pay you a fair premium then you should not be in the marketplace.
While of consuming interest to you, really just a passing fad that may or may not have a permanent place at any level in the crafts market place. For example, two years ago it was friendship bracelets, this past year Paracord knotted bracelets were hot, looks like the next few months we will be seeing lots of rubber band jewelry.
Thinking about Paracord, of the dozens making Knotted items, I can only think of maybe 4 who are really producing anything approaching unique enough to build a niche in the market place for themselves. Maybe another dozen who are producing products to be used either to make the bracelets (jigs, charms, etc) that may or may not earn them a place in supplying the needs of enthusiasts.
You also need to decide if you are comfortable setting your pricing in a way that undermines the good of the craft for short term gain. If you are just into selling for the pin money, admit that to yourself as you consider your path
These are questions only you can answer, but if your work “looks” like a Wal-Mart special then it is going to be a tough road to over come the financial challenges that can easily take the joy of creating from you.
If not, then maybe instead of trying to make it a business, you should focus on enjoying this, building your skills, knowledge of your chosen craft and expertise. You might have to find another way to fund your hobby, but it just might be well worth the effort so you can continue to
Enjoy The Making