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​Marketing for Artists and Craftspeople

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The Creative Mindset

Artists and crafts people love the creative and productive part of their profession. Naturally! There are some who regard the need to sell what they make with disdain. "I'm not a sales person or a business person," they say. "I don't want to be involved with that dirty and demeaning stuff, I'm an artist".

If only they had a sales person or a distributor to deal with business, to just magically take over sales, so that they could concentrate their creative energies on their jewelry, textiles, or their pottery.

Marketing Approach for Artists and Crafts People.

The reality is that the same marketing principals have to be applied by crafts people as by shop keepers and every other business. The same questions need to be asked.

  • Where are the gaps in the market?
  • What's going on in the market and where is it headed?
  • What market needs am I fulfilling?
  • What customer profile am I going for?
  • Why should anyone buy from me?
  • How am I going to package/price/sell/promote/distribute?
  • What profit level do I want/need ?
  • How will I handle cash flow issues?
  • How will anyone know about me?
  • What am I doing about selling on different platforms?
  • What am I doing about social media?
  • What have I learnt today to advance my buiness?

Those are questions that need to be answered. It's best to write down a few lines on each topic to clarify your thoughts. No need for great length (though a business plan is always recommended) but still these are questions that everybody who intends to sell something must address.

An approach to marketing that works for you

The key to marketing is to find an approach that works for you. But remember making and producing a beautiful product or a great service is not enough, hoping that word or mouth will work is not good enough. Everyone in business must take on a proactive approach to marketing and must make decisions about how to go about marketing.

Some couples decide that the woman creates and the husband handles the business side or the other way round. That can certainly work, but even then I highly recommend that as a craftsperson you are involved. You must find out what's going on in the market place and direct your creative energy to react to the market.

Some women say I will find a salesperson or distributor and that will solve my problems. That can also work. However you must factor in the costs of sales. What percentage would the distributor take? Can you afford to give them 20% or whatever percentage that you decide on? Can you afford a sales person? Will you work on a purely commission basis?

Commit to Understand Marketing

I have found, even if you take someone on to do marketing and sales, you must first start off by doing it yourself. You must learn to understand and feel the market. There are no shortcuts. Marketing must be part of every artist's skills if they want to succeed. As sales increase, there may be enough fat to turn to specialists who deal with marketing. However, you must be in a position to direct them and be in a position to cope if they leave.

Make Marketing Part of your Daily and Weekly Schedule

People in the arts get their greatest satisfaction from creating and making the things they love. I suggest that you have to determine what the balance should be. I suggest that at least one day a week be dedicated to marketing/sales and in addition at least one hour a day be spent of marketing activities – and preferably at a set time of each day.

Marketing is Creative

Marketing is also a creative process, and creative skills need to be applied to marketing and sales. It is vitally necessary to fight against the mindset that thinks about "the nasty commercial side of the business." You have to invest time, energy and thought into creative marketing and sales ideas.

Sometimes women say they don't know where to start re marketing, and are not sure what to do. In the same way that you keep up to date and learn about your craft, it is critical to educate yourself about marketing, take a course, read books and articles. The internet is a great source for material that is free. Set aside a period on a weekly daily basis to educate yourself. Join a networking group and find out what others are doing and make contacts with like minded people.