About Liana

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Brisbane, Australia
My studio is located in Brisbane, Australia. For the past 10 years I’ve been enjoying creating jewellery designs from an array of mundane materials. Tupperware and knitting needles have remained a firm favourite. My designs have been published numerous times, graced the shelves of many wonderful galleries and stores and been worn by those whose aren’t afraid of colour and attention. All of which I am very grateful for. For several years I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with many businesses as a coach and workshop facilitator.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6124346


Click on the title to view the actual title of this post. There are a few friends I'd like to send this to. Maybe I'd send one to myself as well. Sometimes things are just that simple.

Anyway this post is really about writing a response to my friend Margaux Lange's recent craft show experience. I wanted to say more to her than I could say in a blog comment. I also thought her experiences are not unique and it was in the public interest to discuss this further.

Read her post first, if you haven't already done so.

Dear Margaux,

- Your work is better than that. A high-end craft show would probably work better for you. You don't need to be all things to all people, and not everyone will understand/appreciate your work. You can't please everyone, so why try.

- Do try to educate your public. They need it. Maybe a flier with info about your process, education and experience would help. You are doing a great job with this already through your website & blog.

- There is a real art to selling. Not everyone is good at it, and like most skills it takes time and practice to develop.

- You probably achieved more than you realised. Not all success is immediately obvious. I always thought people need to see you three times before they'll buy. This isn't a hard and fast rule but I believe it is often true.

- Be prepared for failure. It's going to happen again and again. Remember all your successes too, you already have heaps and you will have heaps more, because you are fabulous. Failure does not cancel out success.

- Embrace failure if you can. Nobody wants it, but you do tend to learn a lot more that way. Personally It's rare that I feel something wasn't worth trying, regardless of the result. Although don't keep doing the same thing that didn't work several times before expecting things to turn out differently this time - unlikely!

- Sometimes you DO need to just suck it up. But DO have a really good whinge first.

11 comments:

Ramona said...

I think an issue that is going to come up in the next year or so is consumer 'craft market' fatigue. This will hit America first I think as they hit saturation point with there love affair with the handmade. Cool Craft has served many makers well over the past 5 years but we need to think about longevity. Having spoken to several designers in the past few months I've noticed a real trend away from not just craft and design fairs/markets but also trade fairs -long since thought to be a key part of marketing an object based business. Having looked at Margaux's work I think it in a market context it may be too challenging - get it in the right retail space and it would be understood.It's beautiful well finished work that was proably competing with all sorts of cheap jewellery with bought findings and lower price points. You only have to look at Etsy to see the disparity in pricing - especially for jewellery. We all need to talk more about more sophisticated marketing strategies that go beyond slogging it out at markets.Sorry about the long post- this one got me so fired up. Cheers Ramona

Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

good advice liana. you are right about the 'some people are good at selling'. i'd prefer to leave it to the experts or hire a more charming stunt double if i could but you miss out on opportunities (and taking the commission yourself!) if you do that. after doing it myself i always feel a better respect and understanding for the stores and galleries that sell my work. and the direct customer feedback is valuable.

Nicola said...

Totally agree with you Liana.

I used to not like the sales side of things, but over time I've got better at it and have some well practiced things to say to the comments about price point of product lines.

I just received Bruce Baker's CD this week and it's AMAZING. All the girls on The Switchboards forum have been on about it for ages, but I only just broke down and ordered it. He covers everything I need to know for selling my craft at shows. From opening lines, come-backs to stupid comments, whether to demo or not etc etc - it's going to totally change things for me at my next show. http://bbakerinc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=2

Kara said...

Wow, that was tough going for her. I have to say that I am not good in the market situation. Have no stamina with fake smiles all day... no, actually, once Steven started buying me white wine from 11am onwards I got very good at smiling, slurring, winky suggestively!!! Har har...

I think finding a good high end market is the key. It is difficult when there are budget buys near by, which I recently found. By the time customers came to me, they went 'wow', 'great' then saw the tag and promptly put the handbag back on the table. I think some people think markets are places to only score bargains!

laura mitchell. said...

i absolutely adore them..bring them to Australia i say!

ps. loving the new work Liana, i have GOT to get over to MOB sometime soon. i need a brooch i've decided. :)

lau

Lynette said...

great advice...applies to all of us!

Leah said...

Great advice. I do think high-end work can be a tough sell at craft fairs, no matter how wonderful it is. But then there's always someone whose work is priced high who does fantastically well, so you never know. The artists/crafters who keep trying are the ones who will still be around 5-10 years from now, so we can't give up!

Midge said...

Liana,

You are a wise woman. Thank you for this post.

"Do try to educate your public."
- I'm realizing more and more the importance of educating our public. I believe it is one of our responsibilities as artists. I have many big ideas stewing in my head these days about ways I can accomplish this on a grand scale… muuhahahahaaaa! ;-)

"There is a real art to selling."
- It's interesting because I have a part-time job in retail, and I assumed I was fairly used to "selling" things to people, but man, it is an ENTIRELY different feeling to be selling yourself… your heart and sole, your art! It is definitely true that that skill will take time to develop. I've discovered I'm not so good at it… yet.

"You probably achieved more than you realised."
- Almost my entire HUGE stack of business cards disappeared that day at the fair, as well as the promotional postcards I had made for the event. I've always thought, you never know what that could lead to! I'd say that's a success in and of itself. It gets my name out there, regardless.

"Embrace failure if you can."
- You're absolutely right, embracing failure is a good thing. I've learned a lot from my experience at CB and I continue to learn from it to this day thanks to blogging and sharing my experience with others! It's great to have dialogue, with other artists, craft fair attendees, etc.

Again, thank you Liana, you know I think you're the best.

ramona, just wanted to let you know I loved your response, and I absolutely agree there will be a saturation point, particularly with the "indie craft fair scene." It will be interesting to see what happens next…

arthur's circus said...

Having just opened our shop, I can sympathise with all...somedays are good and somedays uurrgh. Selling one badge for $5. People come in and say lovely things about the shop, people's work etc and I try to say something about the individual designer/artist/craftsperson or myself regarding my photography in a bid to get the $'s. Although it's not always about the money, it certainly helps. On a bright note I sold one of your measure up brooches yesterday. Yay.

Jejune said...

I've been trying to remember where I saw his blog - which I think you might enjoy & get something out of...

Jejune said...

THIS blog, not his, LOL ;)