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Monday, 5 December 2011

Craft With Confidence

I have always had some trouble selling my bits and bobs online and on stalls because I worry that something might go wrong. I have spoken before about my lack of confidence, which can hold me back at times, but recently I have really pushed myself to tackle this problem and just go for it. I think anyone selling handmade has had these woes at some point, surely they must ask themselves, "Is it good enough?" "Will anyone want this?".

I decided a little while ago to have a list of rules, a bit like a guideline to selling my work, so that I wouldn't have the worries and concerns hanging over me. I should really give it a name like 'The Crafting Survival Guide' or 'Sew and Sell With Confidence'. To some people this might sound bonkers, but we are living in an age of low self-esteem, due to the media feeding us images of perfection and constant squashing of small businesses.

First things first, after making something that I intend to sell, I ask my self three questions. "Are you proud of it?". "Is it well made?". "Will people like it?". The first two are more important than the third, the third is really about if it will be popular. I feel if you're going to sell something it has to be well made, the people who buy something from you will expect quality and this is vital if you want to secure more sales. You should be proud of what you make! Every completed project should be an achievement and you should be proud of yourself, if you don't then ask yourself, "Why don't I like it?", "What could I do differently next time?", "Am I being silly and putting unnecessary pressure on myself?". There is nothing wrong with having high standards, in fact it pushes you, but if people around you are beaming with pride at your achievements you should listen to them!

The next thing I think about is, "Who will buy them?", "What should I call it?", "How much should I sell it for?". I always under price my work, unfortunately I was born with an over sensitive conscience and I dislike being greedy. I have always wanted to provide great crafts at affordable prices. We are in a recession! People can't afford to buy things at obscene prices! Ask yourself- "Would you buy that in a shop or a stall at that price?", "Is it worth the money?". The people browsing your shop or stall will more than likely have a tight budget, they wont buy something if it is over priced.

I recently took part in Frighten Brighton, where I had a stall, I sold the most I have ever sold at an event. I didn't really know how to react, I was happy of course, but also shocked that people really liked my work. I worked really hard making all my little treats, why shouldn't I be proud of myself, well for the first time I was and it felt great! I think having achievable standards and working hard will be the way forward for me. I think buy asking yourself fair questions and planning your work through helps enormously. Don't put pressure on yourself and look at your work and be proud of yourself because you made it!


  1. "if people around you are beaming with pride at your achievements you should listen to them"

    You've absolutely hit the nail on the head there!

    I'm usually quick to dismiss my friends and family (because they're duty-bound to be nice to me) BUT am learning to hear the difference between "I have to say this because I'm your friend" and "No - I REALLY like this!". And if they really do like it, then it stands to reason that their friends will like it... and their friends... and the public at large. :) I'm going to start using your checklist!

    It's so easy to be self-critical - and I'm really glad you wrote this and also really glad that you did so well at Frighten Brighton because your work is wonderful, affordable and beautifully made.

  2. This is me too, I convince myself that no one would want to buy my things…why would they, and the worry doesn't end when my items sell either, I always live with the thought that someone may return my item – touch wood, they never have.

    Don't get me wrong, I make sure my products are up to a really high standard before I even think about selling them but when you put so much time and care into something, you are selling a part of who you are… and this is why I lack confidence.

    I, like you, put myself out of my comfort zone and also sold the most I ever have, and it's on going, but I still worry!

    But I think that our weakness of insecurity is probably a really big strength, without this maybe our products wouldn't be to such a high standard! Maybe we'd sell something that wasn't perfect. Maybe we wouldn't believe quite so much in our products!

    I found your post so reassuring, I thought it was just me!

    Thanks for boosting my confidence!

  3. Ooh, great post!

    I also think once you gain that confidence in what you are making and selling, that confidence shines through and actually helps you to make more sales!

    The times I've done worst at craft fairs have been when I was most worried that people wouldn't like what I was selling or I was worried that people wouldn't buy enough to cover the cost of the stall.

    I think that makes it important to chose fairs and events based on where people who are looking for what I'm selling are gonna be! I'm not surprised you did really really well at Frighten Brighton as I'd imagine that that is exactly the market you want to aim your lovely work at!:D

    I was also really unconfident in what I was making, but I've decided to listen to the nice things that people say about them and actually believe it ;)YAY!!