personal branding for craft scene kids 2

You and I and even your little brother knows that CRAFTS, SEWING, KNITTING, and PRINTING are all extremely trendy and we are glad for this fact. It means that manufacturers are paying attention to us and giving us products we want and need, and that were not available a few years ago. My post-high-school post-college self is silently kicking me in the shins for not living through this before I had rent and bills to pay because believe me I would be spending all of my income on supplies. Brand new sewing machines in trendy designs and quarterly magazines for every niche hobby are popping up every month. Advertisers are picking up on more and more of the topics of concern to the DIY scene which has recently translated to “crafters” and gained popularity: do it yourself aesthetic, recycled materials, sustainable packaging, web presence in lieu of wasting paper, neat technological features and customized settings. They love that we love what we do and all of those advertising dollars can’t be wrong.

Defining Your Market

What do you think your market is?
Who do you think makes up your market?

Your answer could be a couple of things:

      The market is: your blog readers.

 

      The market is: potential etsy or craft show customers.

 

      The market is: your competitors.

 

      The market is: publishing companies who might pay you to write a book.

 

    The market is: a potential amazing dream publication of the future.

–OR–

    The market is: my mom in Tuscaloosa who likes to keep up on my kids. Okay, cool. You can stop reading because you are probably doing everything just right.

But the rest of you, read on.

What is the goal you have in reaching out to the world with your art? Why not just do it for fun and keep it to yourself? What is it about your personal drive that makes you want to put it out on the Internet for consumption? Do you want feedback on your work? Do you want recognition? Are you jealous of someone who is doing fantastic work and wish you could do the same? (Jealousy is a fantastic motivator, but be careful there.) Who are you modeling yourself after? If you thought about it, who would you rather be modeling yourself after? Is your stuff scalable to manufacturers or is it totally unique (OOAK: one of a kind, as the kids say)? Is it beautiful? Is it ugly on purpose? Who would you want to share it with if you could dream someone up? What does it say about you as a person and what kind of story can you craft to share this with the world?

Create vs. Consume

Now here is where I want to make my point. Please chime in if you feel prompted. Its easy and annoying to be shopping on ETSY or some other online market and see a sea of (let’s not mince words here) junk. The products and advertising I mentioned above could easily lead you to believe that because you go to Micheal’s and consume all of what they’re selling, you are somehow a more creative person for your effort. You can buy every new book that comes out on the subject you adore. (For me it is home sewing books- I am ob. sessed.) However, I am here to tell you that you need to change your thinking. Stop consuming and start creating quality work.

Stop consuming books and magazines, and make your own. Stop assuming you need to ingest someone else’s work and spit it back out in a generic way. The longer this trend continues, the more saturated the market becomes, and the less special you are for doing the same old thing. Sorry to get all Fight Club on you, but its true.

Instead, we need to realize that its about balance, and I want you to try and tilt your own balance more toward Create than Consume. Isn’t that what we all struggle with? I’ve been obsessed with this concept for several years now. I used the idea of Create vs. Consume to help me get myself out of debt by learning not to buy things I don’t need and to make do with what I had before looking for more. I used the concept to start to lose weight by realizing the number of calories I consume vs. the amount of energy I’m burning off. I even used this as a lens to look at all of my material things and cull out the unnecessary things, leading to a much simpler way of living that is ever-evolving for me.

Well, this happens in online communities, too, and in my next segment I’ll talk about the influx of junk that’s out there and what you can do to combat it.



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