Friday, May 18, 2018

Thoughts on Online Selling

I have 19 pieces for this sale. With the checklist updated, I know what needs doing for each item; some needs tags, photos, write-ups; others, only editing, maybe new photos. Plus (re-)pricing, making up more calico bags, (not for every single piece, but a few of smaller, a couple of mediums,) and twisting thrums to hang tags. And checking and rechecking what I wrote. I forecast a minimum of two days at the speed of the bullet train.

One great thing about forgetting so much is I can't remember why exactly I had another crisis of confidence last week. I know it was about technique, that I'm certain my best technique days are behind me. It's about looking at my work objectively, assessing desirability of individual pieces, what else folks could buy for similar prices, like going to a memorable concert or taking home a beautiful cookbook.

This last crisis started while inspecting my pieces, made worse by looking at photos of an impeccable Japanese textile exhibition. Yikes, every piece was parallel and perpendicular, it's a good thing I can't find the pics any more. But I don't remember much else, so I can't rehash those bad feelings, (which I am/was prone to do,) I can't relive the foreboding. Or is it re-boding?

I've moved beyond that; I regret, I lament, but I accept, I never achieved the technical expertise I aspired to, something I as a Japanese thought was the very first, fundamental step in any making. I won't stop looking for ways to improve, but regretting, that's for wussies. (Not to mention, one alternative is not making.)

Never mind, I'm feeling so enthusiastic about weaving at the moment.

With online selling, my biggest fear is misrepresenting the pieces. Conveying flaws, characteristics important to me, (i.e. "not as soft as my merino/cashmere",) and accurate colors, (at least on my monitor,) are priorities, although they can leave an impression of whopping negativity to some. In person, I am afforded a chance to observe prospective customers, and choose what/when to convey these things. I don't mean not telling, but they, too, notice things on their own. And then how shall I convey texture, the loveliness of such subjective experiences? I also like stories attached to pieces, and I have one for most pieces, but when I have 19 I don't want to overdo them. I also love moody pics and close ups, but how do they convey accuracy?
This was one of the "identifying flaws" pic that didn't work.

I used to be embarrassed by, (on behalf of?) a weaver who kept putting in the same pieces in exhibitions. I don't worry too much about my pieces living in galleries awhile, but what are we to do with leftover making in the long run? Even if they are nice and I as the maker think they deserve a loving human, it's embarrassing to keep putting them online. Do I need contingency plans beside mom, friends, and local charity shops?

Goodness, this making thing, it's endless!

8 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you're talking about...continuing to list things that haven't already sold. That's primarily why I closed my Etsy shop after selling off whatever I could. Not suggesting you not try to sell your wares,just explaining why I couldn't do it anymore.
    I have a ton of work, mostly art quilts, that I just don't want to sell. They'll be with me til the end, I guess. Or I'll eventually sell them when I've tired of them.

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    1. Whereas, you know me, when I'm finished with the making, I would like them to kindly vacate valuable space in my head so I can move on to other things. :-D They are like adult children to me.

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    2. Besides, considering how slow I am in making things, I'm surprised I've amassed this many pieces.

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  2. The making for selling is so...fraught...with so many issues. I still cringe at the hubris I had thinking anyone would actually want to buy my stuff - and got so offended when they didn't. But I have had a good run at it - 40 some odd years. I am going to keep going for a while longer, but don't know how much. One of the challenges with selling textiles on line is that textiles are, well, tactile! And photos rarely do them justice. But it sure would be nice to be able to sell on line and not schlepp my stuff all over creation. Well, only one out-of-town sale this year and maybe one next year. For the rest I will keep doing the two local ones for a while. It all depends...

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    1. Yes, exactly, they are tactile. I tried schlepping my wares a few times in our tiny town, but my stuff was more expensive than what folks expected of our Christmas/craft "market", so there's that. I'd been happy to leave stuff with local galleries and their staff to do the schlepping on my behalf, but now I realize how hard my first two outlets worked for me. Friends and others in the know have recommended bigger tourist centers; I've been to a few those places but most were more suitable for factory-made items, and all are too far to visit often enough to check how they and my stuff are doing. I have also been approached by some local retailers, but some have been unsuitable, (an aromatic ethnic restaurant?) while it takes me a long time to develop a style/line just right for others. Nelson is a tiny place so I feel I must make distinct style/line for different outlets. Life expectancy of retailers in New Zealand is shockingly short, but I think this is not uncommon in many other places. Plus the confidence, and my slowness, yada yada yada...

      And yet I persist!

      That may be the problem.

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    2. I often study smaller empty retail spaces in town and imagine a store filled with handwoven textiles from all my friends, but a) New Zealand doesn't put high monetary value on handwoven textiles, and b) many Nelson- or New Zealand-made gift stores have come and gone, the only one surviving here is a big chain, and good for them for surviving, but a friend once told me they pay the makers pittance and much of their wares are, again, factory-made. I think I have unreasonably high expectations because I am Japanese and we do pay deary for handwoven textiles and for craft in general. Oh, dear.

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  3. Yes, I agree with Laura! Textiles are tactile, and I find them hard to sell online. Sometimes I sell something online to people who saw and touched a textile earlier in a shop or at an exhibition. And then one needs good photos, which I find quite stressful to get.

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    1. Yes, most of my online customers are repeat customers. And I am so appreciative of their continuing support/interest.

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