Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Work it Wednesday 7 tips to weather the rough economy as a jewelry artist

Asymentrical Egyptian Revival Earrings

Todays Work it Wednesday (really a marketing monday post) is about getting through this rough economic time, or at least keeping your head above water.

I've been seeing and reading alot about people quitting making jewelry because they aren't making any money right now. I can't judge and say whether thats a good thing or bad-not my call to make. I will say, IF you don't want to quit, you don't have too. You do have to grow a thicker skin and work a little more creatively to make it thru the lean time.

Here are seven tips to help you keep your head above water.

#1: Are you promoting yourself? Sometimes people promote alot, then get a ton of sales. Thats a good thing, but they get so busy selling, they forget or don't spend the time to promote themselves then wonder what happens when sales fall off. You have to keep putting yourself out there, even if you are the hottest thing going right now.

#2: How to do #1? Put yourself everywhere you can think of. That includes all your social networking like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Lovli, etc... And add people back! Networking is KEY. Not just for sales, but for support. Sometimes the only other people that get your frustrations are other artists. Slip a couple of business cards in any order or destash ebay sale you make. Do a promo swap with others-send them your business cards and add theirs to your packages. Leave one everywhere you can - coffee shop bulletin board, doc office table, etc....Hand one to everyone you meet.

#3: Look for alternative places to sell. Perhaps doing Esty as well as your own site, or approaching local stores and doing local fairs. Also, set up a website, not just a blog, Etsy, Artfire or Dawanda to sell your work. Jean Campbell at Beading Daily had a great post last week about launching your own website. Its really not hard, I promise!

#4: Have faith. Easier said than done I know. Remember that this slump is only a temporary situation. Don't dwell on the problem but focus on a solution.

#5: Since workloads are slower, its a great time to allow yourself to try something new in your work. Always done polymer clay but never got around to learning how to beadwork a bezel around your clay cabs? Now's a good time. Curious about wirewrapping but haven't had the time to devote to it-now you do. Not only will this take your mind off sales, it is expanding your creativity which will ultimately expand your sales.

#6: Barter with others. Love someones handsewn skirts but haven't got any money-ask if they will trade you. You can do this with alot of people from other artists, to graphic designers, massage therapists, hair dressers, just about anyone. I know of a massage therapist who trades her work for credit on her Veterinary bill. You won't know if someone will trade, unless you ask!

#7: Promote others. You heard me, promote other peoples small businesses. If you found someone who makes great soap-tell everyone you know, or web surfed and found an amazing jewelry artist-tell everyone about their work. Basically this is a "do unto others, as you would have them do unto you" type of thought. I personally like to think that whatever intentions I send out to the universe, return to me. So, if I am cheering others in their success, others will cheer me too. What goes around, comes around so why not put out happy successful thoughts.

I think it boils down to making a conscious decision to find solutions rather than be bogged down by problems, to weather the storm with a positive attitude, surrounding yourself with other artists and maybe a whole lot of chocolate ;-)

Feel free to post any tips you have too! I'd love to compile a list then make a Craftgossip post with the suggestions.


Bead-Mused said...

Great post, Barbe. Here's another suggestion: Consider teaching what you do. I may not always make money selling what I make, but I often make money teaching someone else how to make something similar. If you don't like standing up in front of a group, considering selling tutorials at places like Etsy or on your own website.

Jennifer Cameron said...

All great suggestions! The best thing is to keep a positive attitude. If you are desperate, it shows. Also keep in mind that when the slump is over and you've consistently made work, you will have an excellent inventory for customers to select from!

The Vintage Kitten said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing X

Barbe Saint John/ Saints and Sinners® said...

BeadMused-yes TEACHING!!! thats a great one too!

Jennifer-I agree, desperation shows, people can smell it LOL. And you are right about have a good inventory stock when things swing back around.

Vintage Kitten-you are welcome!

CatHerder said...

Great post...thanks for the jumpstart

Deborah said...

Ive always been a big barterer,I love that others are getting ito the spirit of it and really finding enjoyment and satisfaction from it!