Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Frustrations...That Might Just Have a Point

Back in June, one of my favorite bloggers wrote this post in response to this post by double X regarding and how it "peddles a false feminist fantasy" by making women believe that they can quit their day job to "make quilts". I spent the last couple of months mulling this all over because it irked me so freaking bad that I had to take a minute to really figure out why I had so much emotion in the first place.

It wasn't because I disagreed with double X's sentiment that the majority of sellers on Etsy are female, SAHMs, who have husbands that pay for the 'real' bills and therefore they have the luxury of choosing to charge only enough to pay for their supplies (which I think is flat out ridiculous) and that there is a teeny-tiny percentage of sellers on Etsy that can actually sustain themselves on the income they generate by selling their wares.

There were several points made in the doubleX article that spoke to me and bugged me, but I think what really put me off is the same reason that my fellow blogger took the time to write her post:

I'm irritated with the notion that women do not value their time (by and large) the way that their male counterparts do.

So, I'm writing this post in efforts to make the mom-preneurs out there take note: take yourself seriously, for pete's sake.

That is, if you are actually attempting to make your creative endeavor a profitable one. The thing is, you have to educate yourself.

There is a huge difference between sellers who have come from a corporate background, and those who have not. You really need to have a game plan (i.e. business plan), the discipline, and the drive to make your business - on Etsy, or anywhere else - succeed.

I don't mean that you need to, necessarily, go out and get your MBA, or dabble in a corporate career if you have never had one before - but you do need to pay attention and learn from those who have the advantage of these experiences.

~ Do not be afraid to ask questions. ~
~ Do not be too proud to ask someone to be your mentor.
~ Do not assume it will be easy.

If you consider yourself a 'business' and you are not turning a profit, or only covering the costs of your supplies and you are satisfied with that, super. Just don't call yourself a business.

doubleX's article brought up how there is a slim-to-none number of male sellers on Etsy and correlated it to the fact that men (on the majority) realize that they would never fetch the price they required for the necessary time and effort it took to create their art.

I don't necessarily believe that. I think dudes, in general, aren't super excited about getting their wares photographed, listed and then maintain their shops...but I'm generalizing and speculating and doing all that stuff you're not supposed to do.

What I do know is that every venue has its market - Etsy's is not filled with customers looking to spend over $100. On anything. There is absolutely no reason for your creative endeavors to be sold in one spot, in fact they shouldn't be (because that's the whole "don't put your eggs in one basket" thing that you are not supposed to do). There are a ton of venues - online and in 'real life' alike. Research and figure out which venues are suitable to sell your art.

All of us, I am sure, have questioned the 'worth' of our work. We are our own toughest critics - and we should be. But that doesn't mean that we should just give away our art.

Take some time to think about it - I do on a weekly (at least) basis. Are you undervaluing your work?

** The picture shown at the top of this post is the Goddess Saraswati ~ The Hindu Goddess of Knowledge and Arts. You can click the picture for more info **
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skinner studio said...

Great post- thank you!

Field Notes said...

Thank you for the link love =D

I enjoyed reading your post too.