I don't f*****g this so!
I once worked at a local gift shop. It taught me A LOT of things. But the biggest
AH-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! moment (it was a big ah-ha moment!) was this:
Customers would come into the shop containing a mixture of handmade in New Zealand and made in China items. They would lift up a Chinese item and say (grumbling): Oh, made in China and put it down in disgust.
Are you looking for something in particular? I would ask to which they would reply:
Ërm yes, I want to send a gift, but I really want something that has been made in NZ. I want to support our economy"
Oh how nice, I naively thought when I first started.
My excitement at the locals wanting to support NZ Artisans soon turned to disappointment however, when they were directed towards handmade items, only to exclaim: HOW MUCH?
Oh dear. It suddenly dawned on me what I had been doing in my own art business.
For YEARS in fact.
I had been trying (and failing) to find that perfect, elusive item that was handmade but still priced low. I tried EVERYTHING. Except accept the truth and as a consequence, find the answer.
I realised, that what these particular customers were telling me was this:
They wanted handmade items at made in China prices.
I knew in that moment I did not WANT to make handmade items and sell them for made in China prices.
Therefore, they were not my market. THIS was the massive breakthrough.
It seems totally obvious now! ha ha. But I was so lost in trying to create for a market that was not my market I was never going to move on until I understood this vital piece of information.
I have long since let go of desperation to make a sale.
Now I set prices based on a reasonable and reasoned system.
I accept I am not going to appeal to the masses.
I am broadening my range to suit the customers who DO want to spend their hard earned money on my creations rather than try to reach a broader customer base.
As I work on building my online shop and joyfully create items to sell in it, it is taking a lot of time to prepare, but I do so willingly knowing that my target audience will be delighted once it's ready.
I too am delighted to have finally worked this out as I was one step away from throwing in the towel.
The gifts in this have been: trial and error, changing tactics, making mistakes, picking myself up and brushing myself off (repeatedly) each time I fell, talking to people, becoming so poor I had to work in a gift shop, never giving up.
You will note, that in the image I haven't put made in China Vs handmade. I do not see this as a competition, there is a time and a place for everything. In the end it comes down to a choice.
Personally, call me old fashioned, I choose handmade simply as it brings into my life great joy, fun and happiness.
If you would like to know when my shop will go online you can add your name to my non-spamy emailing list here.
Have a most excellent and creative day.