....and then you opened your store and your Creative Muse got squashed like a bug!
What is a Crafty Retailer to do?
Recharge your creative batteries! Rejuvenate that flaccid muse! You will feel happier and more fulfilled, while your store will be healthier and more successful. I recently taught four workshops at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival ("SAFF") in Asheville, North Carolina. Always curious about the state of crafty retail, I took the opportunity to survey some of the folks I met about their brick and mortar retail experiences. It was no surprise to learn that 100% of those asked told me that they frequently shopped online, both for reasons of price and product availability. When asked to identify what was special about their favorite brick and mortar stores, most were uniform in their response there as well: INSPIRATION and EDUCATION.
Savvy Crafty Retailers will take that role very seriously. Set aside some high priority/absolutely no interruptions time every week to release your own creative spirit. I am happiest when I am creating and I grow very resentful when I ignore that need. I bet the same is true of you.! After years of living in an artistic wasteland because "I didn't have time," I decided to make Crafting a priority. I have become regimented about giving myself the time I require in the studio. Additionally, I spend several hours a week online, surfing the web, lurking on blogs, conducting Google Image Searches, etc. in an effort to see what is inspiring the rest of the craft world. There is always something that lights a fire in my own heart and I am soon OFF on a new journey. My recent interests include stamped metal jewelry, torch fired enamel, and three dimensional fiber work. The more I learn about other techniques, the more exciting and original my own work becomes as I incorporate my new passions into my current creations.
Beaducation...home of some of the stars in the jewelry world...for an opportunity to learn metalwork, bead weaving, PMC, Chainmail, Wire work and more. For example, download the tutorial for Tracy Stanley's killer riveted metal ring for only $24.95!
Etsy is a Mecca for tutorials and I have learned a ton from the talented artists who maintain Etsy shops. In fact, just this morning I popped a wire crochet video tutorial into my Etsy shopping cart. I have seen a number of online tutorials on this subject, but Israeli Artist, Yoola, does the best work I have seen. I have crochet experience and could probably teach myself, but I know that I will save myself lots of time (and wire) by plunking down the cash and learning from an expert!
Although on line tutorials are awesome, there is no substitute for "hands on" learning, so make it a point to take some classes a few times each year. I am embarrassed to admit that, until recently, I have been remiss in this regard. One of my resolutions for 2011 was to focus more on being a student. I have taken four classes in the last six months and it has been a blast. I recently took a stamped metal jewelry workshop from Holly Hancock, owner of Beads in Tampa, Florida. Cold connection metal had been on my To Learn List for several years, but I was too busy and too intimidated to tackle it on my own. An email newsletter from Holly was all it took --- I got the last spot in her class a few weeks ago. The class lasted most of the day and I made the sweet little heart pendant Holly had on display, as well as a more personal piece. My workshop creations were very primitive and clearly the work of a Newbie, but I am SMITTEN! I bought all of the tools Holly had at the shop and then went on line and bought even more. I happily used my clothing budget for craft products yet again. Yup, inspire first and sales will follow...
Are you getting the job done?