As many of you know, I managed a woodcraft co-op store in the ’90s. I loved selling those beautiful handcrafted wooden products to customers who came in the store to admire the unique creations.
I found working with the professional crafters a big of a challenge at times. As the manager and sales person, I was always noting the best sellers and getting back to the producer to tell them we needed more of this or that! Too often, I heard: But I didn’t like making those or am tired of making them, or ran out of the wood I like to make those with ….. so I won’t be bringing any more into the store.
Oh no! I would think. But in reality there is a thin line between what you love to make vs. what sells …. and how do you deal with that!
Jess from Create & Thrive has written an article about this very same thing. Here are some of her thoughts:
But here’s the bit you may not like:
Just because you love making it does not mean there are people who want to buy it….
When you start making for profit rather than for pleasure, your perspective needs to shift.
You need to stop thinking exclusively about you, and what you enjoy – and you need to start thinking about your customers.
Easier said than done? Maybe!
I agree with Jess that your perspective needs to shift: Are you in this for fun or profit? Do you want your business to grow or just stay small?
There is no pat answer to this for everyone. As I know that some products are not meant to wholesale, I also know that not all professional hobbyists are meant to grow into full time businesses.
The choice is up to you! But, if you do want to grow your business, you need to starting thinking about your customers. See what they like and don’t like.
One of the greatest advantages of exhibiting in a craft/holiday show is to see and hear what potential buyers like about your products/line. If you pay attention to the feedback, you will know which direction to move in.
I often attend Wholesale Gift Shows for the same reason: I want to see what is selling, what the new trends are, and what people are saying about the products at the show. And this is when I am NOT exhibiting!!
So where do you stand? Are you a crafter or a business??