Tuesday, November 8

The Story Behind That Fabric

The concept of 'being a sales person' has always been a tough one for me, as it is, I believe, for many crafters who would happily stay at their crafting table, singing along to '80s hits and sewing away rather than, gasp!, have to convince complete strangers to fall in love with their handmade work. While vending at Trash to Treasure this past weekend I took the opportunity to spy on how my fellow vendors interacted with potential customers and how I myself handled the act of selling. Below is my insight on the topic, written at the show...

Any crafter will tell you, that to be successful you need to wear many hats. As much as I’d love to leave my ‘creating hat’ on all the time, sometimes I have to switch to the ‘business hat’ or ‘marketing hat.’ The hardest hat for me, by far, is the ‘sales hat.’ As a naturally shy person, the idea of chatting up a stranger and trying to persuade them to open their wallet is often uncomfortable and, on occasion, terrifying. One way I’ve found that bridges that gap for me is just telling the story of my work or just one piece. What materials does it incorporate? Where’d the inspiration for the piece come from? Where did I get the materials? I use this technique to overcome the nervousness that comes from selling. “ Oh, the lace on this collage? It’s from an old dress of my mom’s. One of those really fun eighties dresses with a big lace collar and even bigger shoulder pads.” Or, “Can see you see that faint line? That’s where my dad traced the route my sister would drive to school. You can still see it through the paint. Don’t you love pieces with a fun history?” Do these stories always turn a looker into a buyer? No, but they do provide the shopper with a connection to my work (you know they either had one of those dresses or knew someone who did!) and, maybe, a reason to stay and buy.

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