Wednesday, January 27, 2010

making it, selling it

Yesterday, I was contacted by a local television station that wants to do a short segment on me and my pottery for an afternoon program they have. Being the publicity whore that I am, I said "yes" right away. As the producer discussed the segment with me, it emerged that she wanted the focus to be on how to market yourself and "make it" as an artist or craft person. She is a huge etsy fan with her own crafty inclinations, so she wants this to be an inspirational segment for people who are considering a different kind of life for themselves that involves making and selling stuff.

I've been considering for a while of running a local workshop for people who want to market their work online, be more visible or successful on Etsy, and deal with the ins and out of websites. I've had to learn most of this stuff from scratch-- including designing and building my own website-- and I'm still always learning something new on Etsy that helps me sell more work. And I love to share this stuff, I'm constantly bossing my friends around on how they should be marketing their work or making changes to their shops. Though, it must be said, they are quite successful without me.

My husband suggested I teach a workshop quite a while ago, but it has suddenly seemed more pressing. This month, I was elected President of the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California, an organization of over 500 members. My election represents a big change in leadership just in terms of my age. I'm the first Gen-Xer to lead the organization, and in the weeks since my election, we now have a blog, Facebook Fan Page, and twitter feed. I feel that all of these things are vital to building and connecting our community of artists. At our annual retreat, it came up again and again: how do our non-tech savvy artists--many of them from the baby boomer generation and older-- compete in this web-based marketplace? Many of them are overwhelmed by the options and don't know where to start, but recognize that the way of relying on shows and gallery sales are not bringing in the bucks the way it used to. I want to help them.

I would love to get some feedback from my readers. What kind of information would you want from a workshop like this? What tips do you want to share? Are there things you wish someone had told you before you launched yourself into the web-o-sphere? All comments welcome!