It seems to me that at some point in time, there’s a division of purpose that occurs for those of us who decide to exhibit and sell.
The crafter or hobbyist wants to become professional and faces the dilemma – whether to sell or not to sell.
That begs the question, ‘Are you now making for the art, for the passion or simply to sell?’
Can’t we possibly do it all?
Honestly, I don’t believe anyone should be made to feel uncomfortable because they make to sell – it’s a valid reason to create, after all, and viewers and collectors want to buy.
And yet, these questions still arise for those of us who make for the purpose of offering that work for sale.
Why for goodness sake?
Having worked in a textile and fibre art gallery for only a short time, what I’ve experienced are people who not only love to see work crafted by a skilled maker but who also wish to add to their collection of textile and fibre art, wish to buy a thoughtful gift for friends and family, or simply want to be surrounded by creativity.
Sometimes people just fall in love with a theme, expression, or indeed (like me) a colour.
It’s no easy accomplishment to brooch that chasm between hobbyist and crafter to become someone who wants to sell professionally, whether that’s through a gallery, a gallery shop, art fairs, markets, or online.
But once that decision is made, my advice is to go all in and do it well.
Merch your work and your brand to its fullest capacity.
Revel in designing how you’ll wrap, box, post, and promote yourself and your work – it’s yet another arm to the world of selling, and it makes your work look even more appealing.
Treat your link with a prospective buyer as an experience and make it memorable for them, so they’ll not only remember your work but also buying from you.
Having purchased through various outlets, I find Etsy shopfronts to be one of the most interesting and worthy of further research, including how the product is wrapped and boxed, whether it comes with a discount to promote further purchases, promotion of the maker or storefront, and even sometimes a short thank you note.
It makes a difference – suddenly, purchasing becomes a pleasant, memorable experience, and most of them deliver.
Not all, but most.
So, if you make to sell, take pride in what you do and do it well.
Don’t be dissuaded – rather, show how successful you can be.
To sell or not to sell is a decision only you can make – and many of us are right behind you.
All views and opinions expressed are my own, except where acknowledged information is included from other sources.