As Martin Luther King Day came and went, as I do every year, I had strong emotions about the mind-set of, for the most part, of “big box retailers”. ‘It’s MLK DAY! Time to buy a mattress on sale . . . or a refrigerator…or clothes…or jewelry…or a car. As if that were the core message Martin Luther King would want to share on his birthday, or any other day for that matter.
I’ve also been doing some marketing research. Marketing is a huge part of my business . . . really, who wants to keep having parties when no one knows about them? It’s important though, that my marketing is in congruence with who I am. As my business coach onece said – “It doesn’t have to be smarmy.”
I recently watched a tutorial on ‘how to get a million sales on Pinterest’ and the first thing suggested in creating my business pin, was to offer a “discount coupon”. Ummm yick, I don’t make widgets, carpet or mattresses.
My friend and marketing expert-team member recently lifted an eye brow at my use of a unicorn in some of my product shots for the Etsy site. It’s a bit kitchsy . . . maybe even unprofessional. I get it. After a wee bit of chatting, it’s agreed that the unicorn stays. Why? -because, a unicorn is very ME. I have agreed to a shot with a solely white background and she has agreed that I get to keep the unicorn 🙂
It goes on like this in all aspects of my work, weather it be teaching or making. I’m kinda unconventional like that. Recently someone said I was “wasting so much valuable time, doing ‘live’ teaching. You should do videos.” Well, yeah, . . . nope. I hated watching videos and not being able to ask questions, and the clients I work with are a lot like me. I enjoy seeing them and sharing our work and time over Skype and sometimes we just talk about life. [Insert plug for OnLine Class starting in February – HERE] Marketing… LOL . . . see I I just slid that little promo right in there…OPEN AND ABOVE BOARD.
I said all that to say – again – that I don’t do sales, coupons or discounts. Why? – cuz I don’t make widgets, carpet, or mattresses. What that means is that I don’t mass produce anything, and my time and talent has value. Each piece I make is made, by hand, one at a time. Each class I teach, is taught in that moment and the artists I am working with are the only students at the table in that moment – they all create, whatever it is they are going to create and I am mindful of their strengths and needs.
Another reason I don’t do that is, I think it devalues the work. I am telling people, by having a sale, that the piece/class is not worth what you would have paid – that in fact, I must be overcharging for my work in the first place, if I can afford to discount. Ummm ewww. That kinda stuff ticks me off, I cannot imagine what clients and potential clients would feel. It always burns my butt a bit when I need something, and I buy that something, and a week later, it’s on “clearance sale”. If I could wait to get the thing, I spose I would and then I’d be staring at circulars or websites waiting for the sale. I really do have better uses for my time.
I do offer gifts with purchases. I do this, not as a gimmick, but as a shown of appreciation for your purchase, an acknowledgement of your time and also, it supports fellow makers. This month, I’ve been offering cake pops from Drunken Cake Pops and a cool loofah soap from Pretty and Perky. Last year, for Mother’s Day I offered a gift pack of smell good lovelies from Pretty and Perky.
This year I am offering an opportunity for some fabulous person out there (and you are all fabulous) to have me make a custom piece that only you will own. No – as a matter of fact I am not planning to reproduce the piece you suggested . . . I’m not looking for new design ideas from you. I really am offering up a gift and it is a collaborative gift. This issue, presented in the form of a rather bitter question, came to me and I thought I’d clarify.
What I get from these moments is how “trained” and often “jaded” people feel. I get it, and I am sorry and if you are one of those people that needs a sale to buy my work, or take my class(es), you are not my kinda client, and it’s really okay. Sometimes buying something on “sale” causes a person to feel like they are winning something. I think wearing handcrafted adornment that is well made and well priced is winning. I think learning something new, going past your perceived limitations of creativity is winning.
I do provide a returning customer gift to those that have purchased from me before . I just think that if you appreciate my work enough to collect it, you ought to be honored for that.
I do offer pricing on my work and for my classes, that I think values me and my talent and honors you and where you choose to spend your money.
I do this work full time – teaching and selling what I make. It is how I “make a living” . . . how I pay the electric bill; buy food and gas – It IS my job. It means something to me to have happy students leave a table and feel good about what they created and the time they spent; to have a happy adornment wearer walk with their head, mayhaps, a bit higher, because of how they feel when they wear a Phoenix Original.
I love what I do and I love my clients. Thanks for loving me back 🙂
Oh hey, there’s new work on the Etsy site and more to be placed soon. I’ve been making up a storm. Check out the link to the right.
Much Love and Light,