Whether you are just starting your handmade business or you are already a seasoned artist, pricing your products is always one of the biggest challenges. Pricing is not as easy as it may seem and there are quite some aspects you should consider if you want your prices to work for you. Whether you like[…]/a>
Do you think you know your customers? The ones that have already bought your artwork and the ones who potentially might become your customers one day? And please, don’t say your products are perfect for everyone…
It is very difficult to promote your products and your business in general if you don’t know who your customers are. Some business owners resist the idea of defining a target market because they want to be able to sell to everyone. They feel such a definition would limit their audience and reduce the number of potential customers that might walk through their door. The truth is that business does not work like this. Without the knowledge of your customers you might be spending your effort on selling sand to the Arabs. Sometimes it might work but it wouldn’t make much sense, would it?
So. It has been decided, target market is something you must define before you can even dream of being successful in your business.
Everybody means nobody
If your products are for everybody, they are for nobody. Even Apple products don’t suit everyone, do they?
Same counts for your marketing activities: if your message is not targeted for specific audiences (your potential customers), it is very unlikely to be seen as useful or interesting by those audiences. Both your products and your promotional content have to be tailored to your audience’s expectations and needs.
Limiting your market might seem a bit crazy but in fact this way you can focus your efforts on the people that are most likely to spend money on your product. When you have your niche defined it will become easier to present the benefits of your products to the audience because your products fit their style and/or lives. The market will still be large enough to bring you a good income and you will be able to build up your position in that market as you are very clear on what you provide.
New business owners sometimes start with targeting everyone as they hope they eventually will find someone interested in their products. This is not the right attitude as the costs of the promotion will result in very little response. To make your marketing efforts successful you have to tailor your campaigns in such a way that they will reach those most likely to buy. As an artist you are looking for people who appreciate handmade AND can afford it. Don’t waste your time and money trying to reach those people who love your product but have no money. As much as they might love what you make, they won’t buy it anyway. And guess what? The ones who do have the money but are not too crazy about handmade (or your products in particular) will not buy it either.
Alina Tyro-Niezgoda is a Polish artist living and working in Warsaw. Alina finds inspiration everywhere, from the curiosities of the natural world to industrial designs and everything in between. Soutache echinoderms, colorful felted bags, metal clay dragons and soft woven shawls all find their way into her repertoire. She never stays focused on one medium nor one style, but there is one thing all Alina’s creations have in common: they are all results of the artist’s immense passion for creating.
“There is only one reason for my activities: I love to create. It doesn’t matter if it is a new business, a building, a hat or a bracelet. What really matters is the idea that is being born and then has to be executed in the best possible way.”
We asked Alina some questions about her experiences with art, especially as a child, and her response really got us intrigued.
“Ever since I remember I was always most happy when my hands were busy. Most of all I loved to draw, knit and sew.
I remember one of my early projects, a really crazy one. I got my colleagues to help me out with collecting all the ties their fathers, brothers and uncles were not using anymore (I still hope the owners did agree to donating their ties to me, though…) and then I used the ties to make a grandiose skirt… It weighted a ton, but who cared!
Anyway, I am a daughter of an engineer and an economist, but there always has been a creative factor hanging in the air. My Mom was not very good at using her hands, but my Dad enjoyed tinkering a lot. I always tried to combine creativity with the technical knowledge (I have a Master degree in architecture), but then both my children decided to follow artistic paths, one in music, the other one in visual arts.”
We would love to see that skirt, wouldn’t you?
If you are an European artist, if you would like to have your shop and your blog on Handmade in Europe, if you like saving money and if you think contests and competitions are fun, this is the right place and time for you to be. It takes as little as sending photos of[…]/a>
Before trying to find out where the thin line between inspiration and plagiarism lies, it is important to realize one thing: copying is as old as we (humans) are. This is what we do and this is how we learn: we watch what the others are doing and then we imitate them. We move forward by making improvements and introducing adjustments but, in fact, no creative work would ever be done without copying first. Now, if you think this is an excuse good enough to copy other artists as much as you like, you better know that you are wrong. Because our natural and subconscious tendency to copy is one thing and a conscious creative or artistic process is something completely different.
Inspiration is good. And important.
We all need inspiration, no matter who we are and what we do. But inspiration is something elusive and maybe this is why it’s important role sometimes is being overlooked by people obsessed by uniqueness and originality. Some people believe that in order to create, the inspiration has to come from a totally uncommon idea; something that no one has ever thought of before. Yet, when you look at the creators of the greatest art, inventions and ideas, you will see it is quite the opposite.
You are getting influenced by the surrounding world and there is no way to avoid it. Your creativity is not coming out of the blue, it is being born from all the things you have seen and experienced so far, also from the art you admire and from the people you respect and interact with. As an artist, you can’t help but be inspired by other artists – and there is a big chance that you will inspire others in return.
You might want to check our earlier post 40 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY.
Plagiarism is bad
Plagiarism has very little to do with inspiration. While inspiration opens new doors to you, shows you new possibilities and gives you motivation to go beyond your everyday routines and limitations, plagiarism only confines you to reproducing the things that have already been done. And you also have to realize that copying other artists’ ideas or designs in order to gain profit or fame is nothing else than theft.
Although sometimes it may look like the easy way out, or a way for you to show off and seem smarter and more talented than your fellow artists, plagiarism is in fact very destructive to your artistic career. It can have consequences you have never thought of and may cost you a lot. First, by simply copying you do not move forward in any way. You miss opportunities to learn and practice new skills, you also miss chances to receive honest feedback on your own work. And if you get caught your integrity and artistic performance will be questioned, and your good name will be lost.
Really, honesty is much better a way for an artist, even though the results sometimes come later and can be less spectacular.
It is creativity that produces invention and innovation.
It is creativity that makes our lives more fun, more interesting and more full of achievement.
It is creativity that is so often expected of us at home and – especially – at work.
Everybody wants to be creative but many people believe they can’t, just because they were not born that way. Many others believe that creativity is all about those aha! moments which sometimes happen to other people and never to them.
Here is a great news: creativity does not come from nothing. New creative ideas are grounded in ideas and knowledge you already have. Another great news is: creative thinking can be enhanced by external forces, and it’s not necessarily reliant on “good genes” or natural ability, as many people believe.
Here you can find 40 great ways to give your creativity some boost, just try some of them and see what is working for you.
Relaxing and ‘doing nothing’ can be extremely beneficial for your creativity. States of being and inactivity allow the creative potentials of your mind to manifest themselves. They allow your insights and inspirations to flow.
Sleep is quite essential for the growth of creativity. Our sleeping brains continue to work on ideas that we are struggling with during the day and it is very much likely that after 8 hours of rest we will think about our experiences in a whole new way which will lead us to finding solutions more easily. Sleep helps to consolidate memories and sharpen thoughts: our memories are restructured before they are stored and creativity appears to be enhanced in the process.
3. Listen to classical music
The brain functions better and is more creative when listening to certain songs and compositions. For instance, Albert Einstein found listening to Mozart compositions helped his thinking, though he never understood why. Now it has been scientifically proven that the brain’s performance and creativity increases from the positive effects of certain frequencies which are characteristic for classical music.
4. Play piano
Apparently piano playing reduces stress more than other creative art activities. Since stress is one of the most common factors that can block creative thinking playing piano will help to ease and clear your mind so that it can be freer and more creative.
Going for a walk or doing other physical exercise on a regular basis can really get your creative juices flowing. When we are physically active the body loosens up and our mind becomes freer which makes it easier to come up with new ideas and solutions. However, the effects of exercising are not everlasting and they drop when we are completely at rest.
Everybody has heard the importance of great photos before, that’s because they can make or break one’s shop. But on their way to improving their shops people very often come across enough “do this” and “never do that” tips to become quite lost and confused.
If you are not very experienced with product photography, this post will give you 10 easy to follow steps (and a lot of resources) that will help you with bringing your photos’ quality to a whole new level. And if you consider your photography good it still might be worth reading as there always are new things to learn.
Before going further please note that this is not a tutorial on a particular photography technique. It is a guide that will help you in finding your own creative way of photographing your products.
Step1: Look around.
Take a look at some successful shops (or the ones that you like), and not only those selling products similar to yours. See how people photograph different sorts of products: pay attention to the composition of the photos and to their quality; notice the way of lighting the products; check the backgrounds and the props. Check the old listings in the shop (you have big chances of finding them among the sold items) and see what has changed in the shop’s photography along the way. Try to figure out why certain tricks work for certain products while some others don’t. This exercise will help you in judging your own photos, it will also show you that there are many different ways of photographing similar products.
Having done the exercise above take a look at the photos in your shop (or on your disc) and evaluate them in the same way. Note down the things you like about your photos and the ones you don’t like at all. Also take notes on technical mishaps, like bad lighting, blurriness, any imperfections you see and would like to get rid of. Doing this be critical and also be honest with yourself. If something is bad call it bad, otherwise you won’t be able to improve it. And if something is good, don’t forget to note it down as well.
So, by now you should have a list with all the strong points of your photography vs the weak ones and you should be able to see what areas will require more of your attention than the others. Keep your list and all the notes for the future – they will be of great help at the time of evaluating your progress.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN EVALUATING PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY
- General quality of the photos (sharpness, colors, contrast).
- Composition: how are the products positioned? are they fully visible or cropped? if cropped, does the cropping look accidental or intended?
- How is the product lit: are there any shadows on the photo? if yes, are they very obvious or not? are the shadows distracting? can you see reflections on the products? if yes, do they seem to be accidental or intended? are the reflections distracting? are they necessary (in your opinion)?
- Are the products popping out on the photos or are they blending in with the background?
- Background: is it neutral or rather strong? patterned or not?
- Props: are there many of them used? how are they used? do they make the photo prettier? are they complementing the product in any way? are they drawing your attention away from the product? are they giving you the sense of scale of the product? are they necessary (in your opinion)?
- Models: aren’t they distracting? how are they presenting products? how are how are they posed? how are they styled? how are the photos cropped?
Keep in mind: Product photography is a TOOL, it is not the PRODUCT. You cannot look at it in the same way as you look at art photography. It is not only about aesthetics. It is about presenting the product in the best possible way.
Welcome to Handmade in Europe! If you are a person loving unique and beautiful things, this is exactly the place where you should be.
WHAT HANDMADE IN EUROPE IS
- in the first place HIE is a community of a lot of wonderful people: artists, designers and creative individuals, those who sell and those who buy;
- HIE is a place where we do our best to support and promote the best of European artists and craftsmen;
- HIE is a source of many creative ideas;
- it also is a place where a lot of useful marketing tips can be found;
- altogether, HIE is the place to be whether you want to buy or sell beautiful and unique handmade items, meet interesting people or learn some new creative skills.
WHAT HANDMADE IN EUROPE IS NOT
- HIE is not just another online marketplace for handmade things (because it is so much more!)
- HiE is not an outlet for resellers
- it is not a venue for selling cheap imitations of branded products nor copies of artwork
The idea behind HiE is very simple. We want to create space for the artists and designers which they can use in the most creative ways using the tools we have prepared for them. We want artists to be heard and seen, and we want them to successfully sell their artwork. We want them to speak in their own voices and we are here to help.
Our other goal is to help the audience in finding the coolest and most unique handmade things that they can buy (or simply enjoy looking at).
What can we do for you
If you are an artist or a designer, we will provide you with your own space and all the tools an artist needs to make, market and manage a creative website. You will get a built-in store, image galleries, a blog and marketing tools, all ready for you to use. You can use an URL on HiE (like handmadeineurope.com/yourname), or we can set up your custom URL if you prefer (like yourname.com). And HiE won’t take any cut on your sales, we work for a small flat fee that you can check out in our PRICING OFFER.
If you are a seller of art and craft supplies, you also can open a shop on HiE. You will get the same set of tools the artists and designers are getting.
If you are a person looking for unique handmade items to buy, we have a wide range of shops selling good quality handmade products for you to choose from. Take a look at the SHOPS ON HiE page and start browsing.