Guess what happened this week? I looked at the calendar and realized that my first summer craft show is in 10 weeks!!! EEEEEKK! Boy did that start a bit of a panic attack! There is SO much to do. There’s inventory to be made, a new booth to be built, photos to be taken and packaging to order.
All of these tasks will get me and my work into a beautiful booth and looking lovely.
Wait - there’s something missing. Not only do I have to make and display the work, I have to take care of the most important part. I have to tell my customers all about the work.
Telling them where and how to buy this show season is a start. More important is to tell them ABOUT the work.
Your customers choose to buy handmade work because they want to know the hands that made it. As fabulous as your earrings/mittens/painting/dress are, there is so much other nice work competing for their attention. Showing everything behind the work means they see yours as not just an object but as 3D story.
I’m embarking on a 10 week campaign to rev up my customers interest. Here’s my 10 steps to build the excitement. Do one of these every week and get the ball rolling!
1. The idea or inspirations behind the piece or the collection.
What made you think of the piece you’re working on? For me a lot of work is based on travel or food or flowers or a photo I’ve seen. Show your customers what you’re inspired by with a photo and add a few quick words. Adjectives are good here. Add 5 adjectives to describe the feeling behind the work.
2. The design process.
Sometimes I sketch the piece first, sometimes I throw a whole lot of beads and findings in a pile beside the photo. What do you do?
Take a photo and share it. People LOVE sketchbook photos.
3. Work space
This is where the magic happens. If your area is totally messy that’s fine, it makes it more real (that’s what I tell myself). Share a photo.
4. Tool time.
Take a photo of your favourite tool and talk a bit about it If you use technical terms explain them. Remember, what is obvious to you is magic to your customers.
5. The piece in progress.
What does it look like halfway done?
Share a photo of the finished piece sitting on your workspace.
If you, like me, are generating buzz for an upcoming show, document some of the process of getting ready for the show. How about a photo of packing your car? Or building your booth?
Wrap your work up as the customer receives it. This is a great time to let them know where, when and how they can purchase it.
9. Out in the world.
Show your work out in the wild. Hang your painting in a room, have someone wearing your necklace, put the mittens on a hand.
10. Social proof.
If you’re buzzing up for a craft show, take a photo of your crowded booth. If you’re selling online, take a photo of a pile of packages being sent to the world. Provide social proof of how great you and your work are. This is the crafters version of those testimonials you see on the back of book jackets.
In 10 weeks time my earrings will have gone from being a concept on paper to earrings inspired by the ocean, made in a torch that the customer has seen and understands (from my photo), from beads to final earrings, bought at my booth and worn at a party.
They are no longer earrings, they are a story.
Go ahead, it’s time to share your story.