Thursday, 12 February 2015

Ignoring business advice ...

There are many - many! - of us small (micro) businesses, trying to sell our work, both online and face to face.  We are competing in a huge marketplace, and often it's the little tips that help.  That said, I've seen it stated many times that we should find the one thing we're good at and stick to it.  Well, I'm going to fly in the face of that little piece of advice and state that, while this may work for some people, it's not set in stone.

Those of you who follow my work will know that I create both traditional jewellery (mainly earrings) and more unique wirework.  I started with the jewellery (as many do) and progressed to working with wire, which includes making my own findings, as well as the little wearable wire pictures.  I would say that if I'm known at all, it's the wirework that I'm known for, as I have developed my own style over the years, which is often (I hope!) instantly recognisable.


But last year when I was considering which direction I needed my business to go in, I considered that little piece of advice and ultimately ignored it.  Instead of shelving the regular jewellery work and focusing purely on the wirework pieces, I continued to create earrings.  It was not a failure.  People didn't sneer at the fact that I was trying to do two quite different things, and I sold almost as many pairs of earrings as I did wire pendants.  My earrings may not have a recognisable 'style' like my wirework, but does that mean I have to stop making them, just because they don't fit with my brand?  (Whatever that is - I have to confess that to me it's one of those techy marketing terms that eludes my limited comprehension ... )
 

I'm not suggesting it would be sound business sense to blithely continuing making a diverse range of items that just don't sell - it's important to keep track of what's actually successful for you - but neither is it particularly sound business sense to stick to just one thing when two (or maybe more) work.  It is of course impossible to be all things to all people, but as they say, variety is the spice of life.

Do you sell your work?  Have you found that it suits you to concentrate on one thing, or do you have more diverse success?

5 comments:

Tamsin Chennell said...

I sell a few different things - crochet( various items), jewellery, etc - if I want to diversify more I will.

Carley Tillinghast said...

I sell mostly spiders and bugs, but I have also sold jewelry and trees as well. As I do tatting along with wire work it means I can offer two different products at one table. Makes my space way more interesting. Might not make sense to some people, but it does make sense to me.

Esther said...

I could never manage to make the same thing over and over though I am trying to develop more regular pieces not just one offs to get a better balance and yo have something I can make when my brain isn't in creative mode.

Jas Mathews said...

I have made hats for over twenty years. Over that time I have always had another product that I sell as well. I've done bags, men's ties, hair scrunchies,hair bands, children's felt head bands and now felt brooches and organza hair clips. I don't think the second product detracts at all. If anything it's something to sell to people who don't want or like one of my hats but it all helps to keep the business afloat. Like your wire work, my hats are a somewhat niche market and I think sometimes you have to accept that not everyone likes your fave design. Having another string to your bow helps the creativity too, you're not just churning out 'same old same old'. This is one piece of advice I have always ignored!

anne corr said...

I find 'business' advice totally useless and completely ignore it, but then I don't think I am a 'business'. I am doing what I want to do, and sharing it via means of modern technology. When someone buys I am delighted - it is affirmation that what I am doing has value. But I remain clear about my goal - to create is the pursuit and business is a bonus! I am lucky to be in the position that I am in, and I know that, but part of that is recognising what matters to me is not wealth!