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Katy West highlights what to think about when you're considering selling your product.
How to sell your product will ultimately come down to what the product is, and where the most suitable platforms to promote and sell your work are. ‘Craft’ spans from high-end one-off pieces, to large-scale and batch production. Identify what you make, where is the most appropriate place to sell it, and who your consumer is.
What is relevant to everyone is the accessibility of digital platforms that allow you to take ownership of how your work is experienced online. If you are stocking your products through agents, retail outlets, online stores, or managing it all yourself through your website, maintain control over what is seen by whom. Just because it is easy to make things visible, don’t scrimp on quality and consistency. Make sure all images you produce are of excellent quality and clearly support the narrative of your work. Be consistent with mail-outs, Social Media posts, and blog updates. Don't bombard people with your work, but schedule your posts to correspond with what you produce. Tailor your promotional activity to suit the product, be it a formal press release corresponding with website updates, or a cheeky Instagram image of a moment.
Plan your PR approach. As you develop a product, plan its promotion and retail plan. What is it for? Who would use it? Release small details about the product through your social media channels. A social media presence is seen as a must-have for those who want to sell their products or promote their work.
Cat Leaver, Head of Strategy at After Digital, shares her top five tips for selling through social media:
Another thing you can do is send a well-written press release to media contacts. Contact existing stockists to bring the new product to their attention, but don’t assume they know who you are. Send them your biography, product description, website, and a price list with your wholesale and recommended retail prices. Find out what mark-up they add, and if they charge VAT. This will affect your retail prices, which you want to keep consistent. Calculate how many units you need to sell to make a profit. Focus on your numbers and quantities. Target retail platforms appropriately, and commit your time and efforts to match.
Find appropriate places to sell your work. It may make more economical sense to have one exclusive stockist in an area than five. Use your online presence to promote and publicise your work and if relevant sell direct to the public. Don’t compete with your stockists. Take advantage of agents selling on your behalf, and know when it is best to sell direct. Attend a trade fair to promote your products to wholesale buyers and meet media contacts. Visit first, and make sure it is right for you before you invest in a stand.
Sell directly to the public. You have an opportunity to meet your audience and make good returns and margins on your sales: pop-up a shop, team up with a cafe, office building or studio, and make your own statement about your products and how you want to showcase them. Trust your instincts - you know your own products best! There are no right or wrong answers for how to sell your products. Be cautious and bold, and invest the same care and attention into how you present and promote your work you, as you do in designing and making it in the studio.
Arist and illustrator, Suzanne Scott, of WhimSicAL LusH discusses her experiences of selling through the online marketplace Etsy, and shares her top tips for making the most of having an Etsy shop: