Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Using The Internet To Sell Your Art

As I investigate "this selling your crafts" process, it is very apparent that in the early 21st Century, crafters who sell their crafts are of two minds. One vision is to sell in person at a craft fair or in some kind of brick and mortar store. The other vision, and usually by sellers who are under around 40, seem to have no allegiance to this brick and mortar vision and are comfortable and willing to sell online.

However, my experience has been, and I am guilty of this as well, its one thing to "see" it, but there is no more satisfying experience than being able to touch and feel an item. I noticed it at the craft sale Saturday and have noticed it over the years. So it is a dilemma.

The other problem with online selling for many artists and crafters is the fear that your original creation will be "ripped off." By that I mean that someone will copy your design and then sell it as their own.

Here is an example of what I mean. Hearts have always been a favorite theme of mine. I usually include one in just about all of my craft items and sometimes a painting as well.

Many artists use this theme as well. Am I copying another artist if I see something that uses hearts in an organized way such as this? I don't know. But I do know that I have seen vividly designed boxes that stretch the limits of what would be called the decorative arts. The concept is not original with me. How I execute it though, is.

Art is very derivative. An artist cannot escape being influenced by others. In fact, a teacher I go to made a comment that struck a chord with me when she said, "When I am working on a project or have projects in mind, I try not to look at what other artists are doing so I will NOT be influenced by them." To me, that is a telling comment. It is a very real realization that we are influenced by others. I have heard authors say the same thing. They are voracious readers but when they are writing, other than possible research they do not read any other competitive authors.

So, crafters are at a kind of crossroads...whether to sell online AND expose their work to others (and risk being ripped off) or to only sell in a brick and mortar or craft fair environment. And to be honest, after this past weekend I sold more items in those few hours to a minimal audience that I have almost sold all year online.

Now I am at a kind of dilemma, is it better to continue to sell on a site such as ETSY or make the commitment of getting the tent, tables and the paraphernalia that you need to go to fair after fair? At least items sold. This waiting online for a hit and if you are lucky a sale is, for me at least, increasingly frustrating.

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