An awesome article from the Rants and Raves of a New Age Chick, blog of fellow veggie Susmitha of veganosaurus and artbysusmitha!
As an independent artist who's been selling online for a few years now I have learned many selling tips from other online sellers who generously took the time and effort to share their knowledge - from taking top-notch photographs to dealing professionally with customers.
But I've also learned many lessons by personal experiences. Among these, the most important one is to never let a slump in sales bring me down. I understood the hard way that the more I obsessed about not having a sale, the longer it took for one to occur!
It happens to all of us. The problem is, not only do we let the lack of sales bring us down but we also make some really wrong moves which could be avoided if we took a few breaths and looked at the situation for what it really is... a fall which will be followed by a rise. It's always a cycle!
A couple of things to keep in mind always:
VALUE YOUR ART AT WHAT IT'S WORTH
During one of my slumps, I was approached by a store to sell them my miniature animal sculptures for less than half their value just so they could mark up their selling price at a 100% and make huge profits. They said that the discount I was offering them wasn't enough. I had a hard time making a decision. By grossly underpricing my work I could make a small chunk of money right then. I had no guarantee that my stuff would sell in the future at what I was asking for anyways. But just the thought that I would be selling off my 'babies' to these greedy people who didn't even appreciate the time and love I put into them (no matter how much they oohed and aahed over the animals) really bugged me. So I didn't go through with the deal. Today I'm selling the same little critters for what they're truly worth and I feel happy knowing that only someone who completely appreciates the value of my art will pay the price for it and therefore my 'babies' will have a loving home :)
A small discount to promote sales could be useful on occasion but freaking out and marking down your prices way below what you deserve is really not the best way to go. Waiting a few weeks or even months and earning 60 dollars for that beautiful painting you put hours of work into is far better than getting 25 dollars for it right now! (Unless you're in dire need of cash which is another issue altogether). By selling yourself short you not only disrespect the art but also reduce the value of your creations in the eyes of any future buyers.
CREATE ONLY WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
I create when I feel the need to create. When I'm overcome by the urge to sculpt and mold and twist and hammer. And then, I make whatever floats into my mind and flows out of my fingers. My designs are rarely pre-planned. A large part of why I don't, nor can I, make two things which are exactly the same. It is extremely difficult for me to create something on order. And on the rare occasion that I do take on custom pieces, I always make it clear that if the creation has to be of my usual top-notch quality, it might take me a lot of time to make it and it might not be exactly what is being asked for because I neither force myself to make something I'm not comfortable with, nor make myself create when I don't feel like it. It is very very important to me to pour my heart and soul into what I'm making so the final creation vibrates with the love.
It's good to keep an eye on the market trends and know what styles are popular and maybe even incorporate that into your designs. But changing your style entirely just to get out of the slump would really hurt you in the long run. Particularly if it's something you don't even enjoy making. Heck, if you have to earn a living doing what you were not happy doing then you might as well take on any regular job instead of creating art. It is very important to remember that just because the jewelry you're making is not in a popular style right now, doesn't mean no one likes it. When you make that necklace with a smile on your face that smile seeps right into your creation and well, it's hard to resist buying a necklace that's smiling at you and making you smile :)
MAKE EACH PIECE AS IF YOU'RE CREATING FOR YOURSELF OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE
My most popular pieces have been the hardest to let go of simply because I wanted to either keep them for myself or gift them to my mom, my sis or a really really close friend! :) When I make something with myself (or the people I love) in mind then I automatically pour even more love into it than I normally do. I pay extra keen attention to every little detail and I completely enjoy the creating process because of the anticipation and excitement of the reward.
Remember why you started to create in the first place? If you're anything like me then your art never started with an intention to sell. You created because it made you feel good. And you made things for yourself or as gifts for friends and family. You didn't treat your creation as just another product that was fun to make. When it's for you, or someone you love, it's more precious than that! So the next time you work on that lovely art doll, constantly picture her sitting on your coffee table. Visualize the glow on your friends face as she writes in that handmade paper book you're making.
When you create this way you have nothing to lose. Even if by a rare chance what you've created doesn't sell for a while then you are still happy because you get to keep it or gift it to someone you love.
LEARN TO LET GO
I've seen this time and time again! When I obsess about the slumps for days together it's as if I'm creating a block for any sales to happen. I'm just focusing on what's not happening and getting frustrated. The day my mind is preoccupied with something else and I haven't even thought of my shop all day long... WHAM! That's the day I get the sale(s)!!
Trust in yourself and in your art. Make something, list it and forget about it. The less you're thinking about sales, the more sales you get. And as you keep practicing this letting go, you'll ultimately reach a point where the slumps become rare and are gone before you even notice. Nirvana! :oP
When you make something with love it will sell! It might happen today or next week or two years down the line. No matter when, a sale is certain. No two ways about it!