I’ve been sitting here, day after day, wondering how to sell crafts online. I’ve come across forum threads, blog posts, dedicated sections on venue sites, books and classes. They all seem like they’re saying the same thing: marketing, branding, promoting… hustle, hustle, hustle. But what happens when someone does all this and it still doesn’t work. For me, marketing and promoting causes much stress and takes away from my creating time and energy. I would much rather make a product, package it and ship it off to where ever it’s getting sold. I hate consignment prices, so I am stuck selling online as well. I don’t like taking pictures. I don’t like writing listings. I don’t like marketing. If all I had to do was take reasonable pictures that show what the item is and the texture of the product, then taking pictures would be easy. If all I had to do was write a quick but detailed description of the product, then writing listings would be a breeze. If all I had to do was write in this blog and comment on my favorite blogs to promote my shop, then promotion and marketing would be a non-issue.
The complaint I have about this whole thing is: we are independent contractors, working for ourselves and yet we are still expected to perform as the corporations do. We are convinced by Etsy and now Artfire that we should take magazine quality photos, with an underlying message that full product shots are less a goal than artsy closeups. We have people like Timothy Adams telling us that all we need to do is blog, tweet, facebook, myspace and generally annoy the hell out of everyone to get our items sold. There is a barrage of successful sellers with tips and tricks on how to sell and luckily they’re all saying the same thing. Otherwise it’d be really confusing for the average Cathy Crafter. I have done these things. I have followed the rules of how to get sales and have yet to sell anything. I cannot imagine that being online for 8+ hours a day could do any less than increase sales, but it’s happened. I’ve been told I give up too soon, but 6 months of constant marketing and selling only three towels for the holiday season doesn’t say results to me.
Now, into the new year, I have a new line coming out. A few things are still in development, but I am expecting a release later this month. Am I excited? Yes. Am I looking forward to selling these things online? No. My items sell locally. They do not sell online. So, I will focus mostly on the shows coming up and list a few things online. I have 70 items in my shop on Artfire, so I don’t think people are looking at an empty shop and moving on. I do think that I have a lot of different things in my shop, but they are clearly marked in the categories. I can honestly say that I don’t know what to do other than focusing on these shows coming up. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Let me know your thoughts on this. I’d be interested to hear what others have to say.