"Do you sell online?" - Yes
"Do you do many markets?" - Yes
"Do you wholesale?" -Yes
"Do you do custom pieces?" - Yes
When I think about selling my work, there are many channels and ways to get myself out there. When I started, it was word-of-mouth and mostly to friends interested in supporting my "hobby." Then I added a website slowly getting online order, and eventually got up the courage to start attending markets. I think about the ways I sell my pottery similar to an investment portfolio, it is important to diversify because there's always going to be ups and downs across all the different ways you can sell your work. I'm writing this to encourage those starting out to think about the different ways they want to market themselves, and also to remind myself that I have NOT put all my eggs in one basket.
This year, 2022, I decided to signup for more markets and events than usual, and I consciously decided to try different types of events....farmers markets, small-town sidewalk sales, street fairs, and highly curated and produced artist and craft markets. Some have been good, some have been disappointing, and all have been a lot of work and exhausting. I have done 14 events to date and have 3 left for the year.
After the last one, I'll sit down and take a closer look at how they worked out. It's easy to feel elated or devastated during and immediately after an event. After the emotions have worn off, I'll sit back and see how well I really did. When I come off what feels like a particularly bad event, I'll give myself a day or two to have a pity party and then let it go and focus on the next one. After I've boo-hoo'd a little, I'll remember markets are not the only way I'm reaching people. Once back into the studio, I'll be reminded of the 50 soap dishes drying and getting ready to be fired for a client. I'll see the stacks of ornaments and remember my biggest online sales season is about to start. So yes, maybe I didn't do as well over the weekend as I thought, but I met many great people, and several pieces have been sent out to new homes to be enjoyed by people who did not know my work before now.
Being a working artist is difficult. You quickly realize that much of your time is taken up by the business side and only a portion is making new work. If you want people to find your work, you need to give them multiple ways to support you, and it's up to you to put in the effort to make it happen. It's hard and can be frustrating when your vision isn't realized, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Focus on the fun, which will remind you why you are pursuing a career as an artist in the first place. So get out there, diversify, and have fun. (This is a message to myself as much as it is to others).