Monday, October 20, 2008

Feeling utterly discouraged today . . . I've got the selling blues . . . so I turn to creating

Well, I've done all the things that I advocate on my own blog - advertised, stocked my shop, worked on my photos, and done my best to establish a brand - but alas my sales are down more than ever before this month. I know that it could be blamed on the U.S. economy right now which I do believe is a big part. I'd like to think thought that I have more control over my own sales than that, and that perhaps, I'm missing something.

This time last year, I was selling several times more per month than I am right now in my Etsy shop. I noticed that sales of fellow Etsy feltmakers seem to run the spectrum with some selling at the same pace that I am and some doing a bit better and a few doing very well. Those that seem to be doing very well also seem to have quite a lot lower prices than I do and/or they have a very unique product to sell with an interesting style. For those who have much lower prices, I wonder how they do it and make a profit that actually pays themselves a wage, or perhaps they are just approaching it as a hobby. For those of you selling your wares consistently right now, if you have a pricing or otherwise secret, believe me, I'd love to know.

At this point, I'm wondering if I'm washed up! Some days I feel as though I am being replaced by the presence of more and more feltmakers coming on to the scene with the popularity of the ancient art form growing. I have even thought about switching interests into to doing more fine art and sculptural creations with felt. I've been thinking about that for quite a while and can not seem to get it out of my mind. Perhaps it is time to listen to that inner voice and renew my creative spirit with a different focus for a while. Sometimes, I think it is too easy to simply give in to the financial bottom line and want to make things that I think will sell, but I've seen that isn't always the answer and can be frustrating at times.

Today is just one of those days when discouragement comes knocking and makes me reevaluate my creative endeavors. Although, I do not think that is a bad thing. It only forces me to wedge my way out of my little comfort zone. This usually results in some magnificent growth in my skills and creative ventures though. I guess we'll see . . . for now, I'd better return to my feltmaking. If all else fails, I am always at peace when I am physically creating. It is my refuge.

12 comments:

  1. I have been facing similar "woes" lately, as more and more beadweavers appear on Etsy and more work in styles similar to my own. sigh. What's a girl to do? I've been thinking of taking a time out but then I worry about losing what little "foot in the door" I do have. Back to beading and the sanity it gives me...

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  2. I feel exactly the same way! But reading your post reminded me that it's okay to take a break from the sometimes disappointing world of online business and lose ourselves in the much more fullfilling world of creating.

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  3. Whatever you do don't lower your prices in the hopes of being more competitive. The felters with lower prices who are selling more than you are are most likely losing money.

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  4. Don't get too discouraged. Just remember that there are many who are feeling the economic crunch because of what's going on in not only our economy, but the world economy. Keep creating, because if anything, you'll have some wonderful gifts to give!

    Angie

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  5. Hey honey, don't worry... you are not alone. I went through exactly the same patch last month, after sales dropped to one a month on forums like Etsy. How discouraging! I think there are a lot of artists who are also struggling right now, maybe a bit more than they are letting on.

    Be assured your work is beautiful and worth every penny (in fact very reasonably priced). At times like this we will always suffer those who can afford to sell for less... whether they are making any profit remains to be seen, especially when felt takes so long to craft. But hold tight for as long as you can... the wave will pass and in the meantime you don't want to devalue your brand... it may not recover as quickly as the wave passes.

    I too have seen a rise in popularity for crafting with felt, so maybe we will have to suffer a wave of newcomers too, but to me and many others you will always be one of the leaders in the Etsy market and someone we aspire to. So don't give up!

    Consider it a time to refocus and maybe try something new as you suggest... maybe the fine art side of feltmaing could see you through this tough time?

    Sara xx
    P.S. Can't wait to see where your creativity takes you next!

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  6. If you're washed up, then it's in your lovely felted soaps!

    I think your products are lovel, but admit that the economy has me holding back on some purchases right now.

    I do plan on Christmas shopping at your shop in a few weeks, and I'm looking forward to it!

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  7. I think you answered your own problem there! Get creative, don't forget why you are an artist! I think when we focus too much on the bottom line we become less inspired. I know its happened to me. For those of us who are trying to make a living with our art, it is really a hard dichotomy. But remember, when you feel inspired, fresh and start to tread new ground that enthusiasm will show through in your shop (which is gorgeous by the way)!

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  8. Creating always makes me feel better. It is a really hard time for most crafters right now. You have very nice products. Keep working at it.

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  9. Hope you are feeling a bit better after reading all these heartfelt words!
    Make for the joy of making, just what you feel like making. Then if it sells that is great but if not then at least you had a great time making it!
    I love your creations and to be sure the economy will pull together again and sales will start to pick up.
    Big hug and a big smile XX

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  10. Thank you so much for all the encouraging words. I've read each comment at least a few times. Your words are wise and comforting. And, it is nice to see that I am not alone in my view and my circumstance. I got busy and dyed some felted wool last night. I plan to do more this evening. I feel more of a freedom to do some experimentation now and just let the creativity flow. If things sell, they sell. If not, at least I'll have some lovely presents and enjoyed making the items as was pointed out :)

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  11. I agree - try not to forget why you are doing this. Creativity will start flowing again and your love will be renewed. Do what you love and the money will follow.

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  12. I share your pain. It's tough to hang in there and be creative when sales are down but I'm going to do my very best to stay positive.

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