Tag Archives: Craft

Crafting is My Passion

The very title of this article is actually an understatement. To say that crafting is my passion does not do my passion for crafting any justice. I love crafting. I love it with every fiber of my being. I love being elbow deep in it and creating something new. I love taking two or more materials and combining them into something wonderful to be cherished, if not by one, but for generations to come. This love for crafting is a feeling almost indescribable. It is comparable to the air I breathe or the water I drink. It is a life-blood, a synergy, a middle center to my very being. It is deeply rooted into my psyche connected by my biography, my geography and local topography. It is strongly associated to my heredity with highlights given by my heritage. To simply say that I love crafting does not describe it well enough to convey my true feelings, however it is the best way I know how.

There are a lot of small craft businesses out there and a multitude of them whose owners feel the same way that I do about crafting. You will find some that are not has passionate and may only be in it for the money, but you will know them by how they talk about the topic of crafting. If there is a passion within them about it, they will have no problem trying to describe it for you. Those are the true craftsmen/craftswomen. Nothing against those that choose to only make a profit from the business. They are good business people. However their passion lies elsewhere and not within the craft itself. The craft itself, is not about making a profit, first and foremost. That comes after the fact. Profit is something you make on top of the craft, like icing on a cake. The icing is sweeter than the cake, but to the crafter, icing is only enhanced by the cake. With no passion or drive the icing is nothing more than whipped sugar and milk. The cake is the foundation and without it, the icing sits on nothing and stands alone. Sure the icing is good, but the cake makes it better. Just as in business, the profit is good, but the crafting makes it better. Some may disagree with that statement and say that it is backwards, but not the crafter. For them it is about the feeling first and everything on top of that makes the feeling better.

It is about feeling, passion, creativity, empowerment, ownership, self accountability, dedication, fervor, devotion, a zest, the spirit of a storm wrapped in the calm of a cloudless sky. This is about the crafter, the craftsman/craftswoman, the creator, the artisan, the journeyman, the machinist, the maker, the manufacturer, the mechanic, the smithy, the specialist, the wright, the technician. Call it what you want, its all about the craft and the person behind it. It is about the creation of something that will outlast its creator. It is about the formation of something greater than themselves and the feeling of accomplishment when the completed craft is in front of them. Its about the art which is imagined and then brought to life by the artisan. It is about the immersion into the final product which when completed is a piece worth ten times its weight in gold.

My feelings and passion for these skills here written, are intended to uplift those who put their heart and soul into a project, but have a hard time voicing their passion. This is for those who create a piece of art or craft a genuine one of a kind handmade treasure, but lack the language skills to best describe those feelings. It is for those who put in the time, effort and energy because they have a will that is strong and a passion that is stronger to make something beautifully unique, but not the verbal ability to speak of it eloquently enough.

I love crafting and if you have even half the passion for your job, as I have for crafting, then your success is already guaranteed. If not, then I wish you all the luck in finding your passion, because once you do, nothing will ever come between you two and you will want for nothing else ever again.

Maybe this is your craft, maybe not, but if I have omitted any specific craft, my apologies in advance, it was not intentional:

    • Applique

    • Armorer

    • Azulejo

    • Basketry/Basket weaving/Basket Making

    • Batik

    • Bead-work

    • Blacksmithing

    • Boiled leather making

    • Bookbinding

    • Bouquet

    • Bubble-gram

    • Cabinet making

    • Calligraphy

    • Cameo glass

    • Canvas work

    • Carpentry

    • Cast paper

    • Casting

    • Clock-making

    • Cooper

    • Copper-smith

    • Crewel embroidery

    • Crochet

    • Crochet

    • Cross-stitch

    • Decoupage

    • Earthenware

    • Embroidery

    • Embroidery

    • Farrier

    • Fletching

    • Flintknapping

    • Floral Design

    • Furniture making

    • Glass bead-making

    • Glass etching

    • Glassblowing

    • Glass-making

    • Glassware

    • Goldsmith

    • Gunsmith

    • Ikebana

    • Intarsia

    • Iris folding

    • Knife making

    • Knitting

    • Knitting

    • Lace-making

    • Lacquer art

    • Lapidary

    • Leather carving

    • Leather dying

    • Leather painting

    • Leather stamping

    • Leather-work

    • Letter carving on stone.

    • Locksmithing

    • Macrame (knotting)

    • Marquetry

    • Metalworking – metal-smith

    • Mosaic

    • Mosaics and inlaying

    • Needlepoint

    • Needlework

    • Origami (paper folding)

    • Paper crafts

    • Paper embossing

    • Paper marbling

    • Paper marbling

    • Paper model

    • Paper-cutting

    • Paper-making

    • Papier-mâché

    • Parchment craft

    • Patchwork

    • Pewter

    • Porcelain

    • Pottery

    • Quilling

    • Quilting

    • Quilting and quilt art

    • Ribbon Embroidery

    • Rope-making

    • Rug hooking

    • Rug making

    • Scrap-booking

    • Shoe-making

    • Silversmith

    • Spinning

    • Stone carving

    • Stone-masonry

    • Stoneware

    • Tatting

    • Tinware

    • Upholstery

    • Watchmaking

    • Weaving

    • Wood burning

    • Wood carving

    • Woodworking

Crafting Your Customers

Now, I must start by saying I was a little reluctant to title this specific article what it is, but honestly, I could not come up with anything better. I want to relate the topic and associate the information, to grab the attention necessary. So, it is certainly not to be taken literally, but figuratively and in a small craft business sense.

With that said, here we are and what does it actually mean? ‘Crafting your customers’ is a method of thought in small business that creates new marketing ideas/techniques to connect to your customers. It also means to constantly update your customers on changes to products/services as well as change marketing perceptions so that focus is placed on your business and the products you sell, from a customers point of view.

Easier said than done, as with anything, but the importance relies on always staying a step ahead of your customers needs, satisfying their wants and desires, but more importantly giving them no excuse to return to your business again and again.

So what can you do to help your customer not only understand their needs, but show them you have what they need and want what you have to sell them? The following details a few keep points that will help to place focus in that area that will help your customer understand they have found not only a good business, but one they can count on for years to come:

  • Every person is different, so they all consume media differently. To ensure they are all satisfied, give them options to choose from. You may have a Facebook and Twitter account, but have you connected them yet, so when you post to one you actually post to both? You should also consider that there are plenty of other social media outlets besides the previously mentioned. Such as Google Plus (Google+), LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace, Tagged, CafeMom, My Life and Multiply. Those are just a few of the hundreds to choose from. That doesn’t mean searching them all out and placing your product on all of them, it just means select a few and begin there. The old phrase do not put all your eggs in one basket applies here and it makes sense. Don’t rely on just a couple of social media outlets to get your message out the door, when there are so many to choose from.

  • Answer the customer, emails, your phone in a positive light and with a happy disposition at all times. You may not be aware, but everybody has the ability to hear smiles…yes hear them. If you are positive and happy on the phone, your customer will know it. They will hear your smile. That goes the same for face-to-face and email communications. Always be as positive as possible, even if the news is not good. Try to find an alternate answer to make sure it works out for you and your customer.

  • Embrace the negative and turn it into a positive. (NEVER Place Blame, take responsibility and move forward). Emphasizing the negative for any reason is not a bad thing, so long as you don’t place all your focus on the negative and stay there without moving to some resolution. In Business this is especially true. You can evaluate the negative and then move forward with a positive. Take it as a learning experience and keep moving forward. If you focus too long on that one negative aspect, you will feel the repercussions with your business for years to come.

  • Impress existing customers and spend more time doing so. If they have spent their money once, they will continue to spend more money. Make sure you give them more reasons to spend their money. Impress them with new products/services, show them the benefit of the product and they become a free marketing tool who will not only buy from you again but tell everyone they know. This is a win-win situation because you spent a little more effort on a customer who has already given themselves to your product. Look at it this way, have you ever seen cable TV providers advertising on their own networks when you are already a customer? They do this to impress their existing customers to not only stay with them, but continue to purchase from them. This could be from current products/services or from upgrading or accessories. It is a marketing tactic that works and works well. Place that focus and you will reap the rewards over time.

  • Create a suggestion box for your customers. This could be a physical box or an online suggestion area. However it is important to hear from your customers. You may not hear from everyone, but you will hear from some. Some will be positive and some will be negative. Maybe you don’t want to hear about the negatives, but it is a necessary evil. You cannot learn from mistakes if you aren’t aware of them. Also, remember to always respond to everyone as quickly as possible. If they have a problem, get it fixed. If they have a compliment, send them a thank you response. Whatever you do, make sure you do it as quickly as possible, so they know you are attentive. Even the negative customers will be impressed with a quick response and give 2nd chances if you are quick enough. Tried and true, it always works.

  • Ask your customers if and how they would like to be contacted. Some people don’t mind handing over their personal information if they see value in doing so. An email newsletter is good at getting information about your product out the door. However if that email address information is all you need to collect, then make sure that is all that is requested. You may have a booth or a storefront and want to put a mailing list book out for customers to sign. That is absolutely fine, just make sure you are not asking for any additional information that you will not use. For example if you want to send an email newsletter, you don’t need to ask for the customers physical address and vice verse.

  • And finally, you can’t just tell people about your product/service, you have to show them. Nothing says “BUY ME” like a visual display. Giving them perspective helps to craft an understanding of the versatility of your product/service. You can create YouTube videos to show them how you make your products. You can create ebooks, or blogs explaining your products with photos. You can take action shots (no head shots) of your product in action to display in store/booth. There are many ways to present visually, explore and experiment for what works for your products. You may just find the golden key to help push your craft that much quicker out the door, but if you never try, then you will never know.

One final point. Before implementing any of these actions, it is important to emphasize that many things can bring stress to a business, but nothing more worse than the owner/operator. You will at times find yourself pulled in so many directions you can’t keep your head straight. Stay positive and things will always work out for the best. Always try to keep a positive attitude and you will always see positive returns. No, it isn’t easy, but with practice and time, as with everything, it can be become habit. When you make it a habit, then it becomes one less thing to worry about. Stress is a killer and a business killer at that. Staying positive will not only keep you sane, but prosperous and will also keep your customers happy as well as your business successful.

Crafting is Value Based

With a multitude of craft types available in the marketplace and an economy that is sluggish at best, it can be tricky to sell your “wares” to a public that is certainly ready to buy, just very hesitant. They are ready to buy because they have been frugal with their money and saved, but that also means they are hesitant because they are frugal and reluctant to spend when it isn’t necessary.

If you are ready to sell, start with what you have and work your way up to a steady growth. Do not try to do everything all at once. Make every attempt to start small with what you have and grow very slowly. There is nothing wrong with slow growth and “taking things at a snails pace”. This is especially true in selling crafts as well as starting a small business. People are fickle and most recently very quick to discern what they need to spend and what something’s value is based on what they have to spend. In a nutshell, people don’t want to spend what they don’t have but more importantly they don’t want to spend what they have on anything, if they think it has no value.

A lot of small business owners will tell you that you need to focus on marketing, or customer satisfaction or quality or even “up-selling” accessories. While all of that is true to some degree, for a craft business to be successful, especially small start-ups, it always comes down to value. In crafting, value is what sells and nothing else. Not shiny, or expensive or some new “fangled” accessory. Simply put value is what the people want and need more than anything else.

Let’s put it this way, say, through quality you make the best necklace in the world. You market everything through Facebook/twitter/Google and have thousands of followers waiting for your product to be sold. You have a website ready to take orders. You have a “state-of-the-art” call back service and comment section where you can help customers with any issues that arise on the spot. You even went so far as to have additional accessories to add, that increase your profit margin. Now you come up with a price model and start to sell this necklace for a hundred dollars. You decided on this price point, to help offset the cost of start-up with not only materials, but the tons of time you have invested as well as the countless “marketing internet facilities” which you have invested into to get a leg up. It is understandable, but you will quickly find that you have successfully created a much smaller niche for selling your product than you were expecting. The reason is…value. People won’t pay for your expensive product if they don’t feel they have a need. And passing up an expensive craft is easier than breathing to a customer.

Make no mistake, all these things are helpful in due time. They do have their place and purpose which will serve to help promote and sell your products. Should you decide to go this route, nobody is faulting you for trying. It would be better to enter an arena of selling when you are ready to grow the value with the product. To even possibly expand your line of crafts to include both value and high-end items. However in the beginning, it is more wise to be reserved than it is to rush into things. Everything has its place and everything has its time. You do not need to be “The Craft King” overnight. You need to focus on your product and deliver the best value. That doesn’t mean the cheapest and it doesn’t mean no profit margin in giving away the product. It simply means creating a product that people will want AND is affordable.

If you do take your time, take things slow and present the best value for your customer, they will beat a path to your craft door every time.