Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stepping away from the computer...Spring shows

Kerry Alice and I started Twigs and Heather in 2000. We opened our studio and started doing local craft shows in New Hampshire and Boston. We were also lucky enough to have an amazing web guy...my now husband, Jason. In 2000 there was not an awful lot going on in the world of craft on the Internet. Sure things were going on there, BIG THINGS, but as far as selling your art on line it was minimum. We were lucky enough to have a good website and be able to email other websites and shows about our work. Things like The Switchboards and Indieshopping were very helpful and informative when it came to learning more about what other artists were doing and how they were doing it. I really feel as if that is where I started to find "my community".

We were also lucky enough to be part of the Indie community when it was, well, still Indie. Twigs and Heather has been part of the Renegade Craft Fair, Handmade Arcade, Bust Craftactular and our beloved Boston's Bazaar Bizarre. These were and are the big Indie shows. And because of these shows as well as our online presence over the years we became known for our kick ass designs.

Fast forward to now. Indie is well, in my humble opinion, not so Indie. Selling online is so gimmicky. (See Kerry Alice's previous blog post). The Internet is over saturated, no SUPER over saturated with people selling their crafts. We are lucky that we have loyal customers who love our work. Plus they come see us at our shows. We love our town of Boston. We are know for what we do around here and have a few stores that promote us and our jewelry.

This year we are really looking forward to our shows. We just participated in the Design Hive Market in Cambridge MA. We sold a bunch of things including a awesome birch bark bracelet. We will be back there on April 5th.
We are also really looking forward to the Twist Fair in Northampton MA. It is May 1 and 2. It was one of our best shows last September and we are psyched to be doing it again. And we are also trying a new show this year. The Brooklyn Artists and Fleas. Brooklyn's fine residents are good to us. We get many customers from there are we are happy to go check this one out.

So Kerry and I are really looking forward to doing our 2009 shows. There is nothing like putting our whole collection out for everyone to see. Some of these pieces never make it online and can only be seen at a show. Plus we are really proud of our displays. We are having 3 more of our freaky town houses built right now.

It's funny, these days it seems like the measure of an artist's success is measured by the number of sales found on their Etsy page. (our is 36). But to us it is so much more. It is the ten years of experience that we have had. It is all of the happy customers over the years that have come to our shows just to buy as special piece for someone. It is all of our custom work we do. These projects mean so much to us.

Honestly, I need to get away from the computer and be around people again. Participating in craft shows is where we started and it is where our business began. It is where we shine. Plus, it helps me remember all the reasons why I love what I do.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One size does not fit all- Marketing

WOW! There is a lot of advice flying around these days when it comes to marketing your craft business, or should I say MY craft business.

Every time I go to a forum, there is another person talking about their "steps to success".

Twittering is BIG. But don't just twitter about what you do or what you have just created, that would be spamming or shameless promotion.
Twitter about your dirty dishes, or walking your cat for the first time.

Ah, OK...

I have just come across yet another blog article about "finding your nitch" "your demographic" "your brand".
Yawn....When I read things like this, I can't help but think "What do you know about me and my business!!!" Honestly, when people say to me "you know what you should do..." I stop listening.

I started my jewelry business with Heather over 10 years ago. Heather loves the organic objects, I love to make, really, what ever tickles my fancy. I make what I WANT and hope people will love and see the beauty in it.

OH NO!!! Am I confusing people with a blurry sense of my brand? Will people not see the cohesiveness in our different product lines??? Will I miss the mark on my target market?? (I DO make things that I like AND sell consistently too, BONUS!)

I love what I do. I love to create new pieces. I never look at my work and say to myself, "self, have you considered how this will fit your demographic, brand or nitch? Are you screwing yourself Here? You are all over the map when it comes to your inspirations with these new pieces, ya know!!!"

When people ask me what advice I have for other crafters, I always say "DON'T follow other people's advice. Do what YOU feel is right. Go with what YOU know and follow your heart (awww).

Sean Combs (P Ditty) once said " If you don't take risks, you may never get anywhere." Smart guy (and SUCCESSFUL too)

Rant over...

K alice!!!