When I first started making jewelry, I pretty much make what I like to make. I tried to learn all the different interesting techniques, soaking up all the information my brain can hold. It is magical to be able to create all those beautiful sparkly objects.
Then I wanted to be able to sell my work to replenish my supplies and buy new tools. I plunge into researching on how to make this new obsession into a legitimate business. At that time, I would hear people talking about target markets. Heck, I didn’t know what that meant. I figure that “if I make it, they will come.” Ha! So on with hunting down shows to apply to, and jumping with excitement wherever I get accepted.
Well, I learned my lesson really well this weekend. It was like my light bulb was turned on by this craft show. Sales were so slow today that I decided to play a game. Each time a new person came near my table, I would try to guess whether this person would stop and look, whether she would pick up a piece of jewelry to take a closer look, or would she make a positive comment, or would she make a purchase. All this was based on my first impression of this shopper.
Although I barely made enough to pay for expenses, I learned a valuable lesson. Each artisan will have his/her own markets, depending on their art medium and style. Some questions to ask in order to find your audience would be:
- From what neighborhood(s) will my potential buyers be from? Well-to-do neighborhood with manicured lawn or fixer-uppers?
- From what kind of income range? Will they have discretionary income? I know, it can be hard to tell in this economy.
- What age group are they? Younger or older?
- Will I have the highest or lowest price points in the show? You really don’t want to bring your $100 items to places where most other people are selling $5-$10 items.
- Will my art be appreciated? Are these people used to buying imported mass production or will they appreciate the handmade process by local artists?
- Do they mind having the same things as everyone else or would they prefer uniqueness?
- How are they dressed? Conservative? Flamboyant? Chic? Casual?
- Are they wearing any jewelry? If they are, what style?
I’m sure there are more to the above list. The one advantage or disadvantage in selling online is that the target market need not be defined as clearly as direct selling in art shows. As an artisan, I’m glad I get to do both. If I only rely on virtual sales, I would not have learned how to define my target market even to this date.
Well, I’ll just jot this weekend down as an experience. To make myself feel better, I snatched a chocolate cake that was put on half price at the end of the show. :)