Selling yourself short
So, I’ve been selling my crochet work for about a year now and as those of you who sell your work will know; it’s a tough world out there for us little handmade businesses.
I’m often asked how much my elephant string costs and nine times out of ten people will laugh in my face when I tell them the price, well, I have news for you: this year I’m raising my prices because I have a vision for my business.
the name is pretty self explanatory, I sell crochet goods. The bag part came about because that’s how my reintroduction to crochet came about. I made myself a bag.
What I need to keep in mind though is the line of text below the name.
From now on I’m calling it my mission statement.
It reads ‘handmade crochet articles for the connoisseur’. I chose those words for a reason and when people tell me my goods are too expensive I need to remind myself of why I chose them.
Firstly, the handmade part:
I’m stating that my goods are made by an individual (me), and that means that they are individual items. Even if I use a pattern (mostly my own designs) and they look the same, each item is still made by my own hands.
Secondly, the crochet part:
I’m reiterating what is already stated in the name of the business. I make crochet articles. I do not sell knitted items or sewing, it’s only crochet for me. I might add a lining to a bag but the bag is 100% crocheted.
Thirdly, the articles part:
I chose articles over goods or items because of the ‘art’ in it. It denotes a sense of upper class. I’m not trying to be snobbish but if I take my elephants for example, I put about two weeks worth of work into each string and the yarn is carefully chosen, good quality, hand dyed South African yarn, plus the pattern is my own. I need to market to clients with money otherwise I won’t sell a single elephant string.
Lastly, the connoisseur part:
Just like the articles part, connoisseur helps establish the target market. I am looking for clients who understand quality, who will look for out-of-the-ordinary goods, who appreciate handmade goods and who are not upset about paying for such items.
So, having said that I have decided that I will no longer let people who tell me my prices are too high discourage me, or distract me from my goal.
I will search out stores, online or not, who will sell my work to my target market.
That is what I am going to do!
It doesn’t mean that every crochet, or handmade business, has to have the same market though. In fact it would suck if every handmade business aimed for the same market because no one would make any money, would they?
Yesterday I asked my facebook fans how they deal with the rejection of being told their prices were too high, here are some of their thoughts and my responses:
When I started selling a few things here and there I thought about making things to sell at the local farmers’ market, which happens every Saturday. After discussing it with my hubby I decided against it.
He had a very good point: he said, that most people who go to craft fairs are actually there to look for ideas, kind of like a real life Pinterest, if you like 😉 They will look at your work, ask you questions, seem very interested and then most of the time, they will walk away without buying anything.
That’s why I have decided to sell online, there are so many different options, like Etsy or Dawanda or From The Heart Emporium, the South African online store I will be selling through.
I think in order to make a handmade business a success you have to decide who you want to sell to and forget about the rest.
I do feel that if you advertise to the right market though even non-crafter will appreciate your work.
I think being open and transparent is a good thing. So, here it is: