Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

Nope.  Not playing.

As an artist of handmade goods, I've decided not to play into the consumer-goods-deep-discount trope this year.  I'm not buying mass produced items today.  I don't sell mass produced goods any time.

I make one of a kind jewelry.  I'm proud of this.  In over twenty years of making necklaces, I've never made two the same.  Ever. 

Lime green druzy and turquoise, 2012.
I've lost count of how many necklaces I've made.  But the most common response I get to my jewelry is an appreciation for its uniqueness.  People want things that are special.  Things that can represent who they are, or believe themselves to be.

It's hard to find this quality at a big box store, isn't it?

Cobalt druzy and kyanite, 2013.
With this in mind, when planning for holiday sales this season, I made the business decision to focus on handmade markets.  My Etsy shop is "on vacation," because ALL of my jewelry is scattered at other sales venues.  Two art shows (more about this in a few days), two private home sales, and a major holiday show with 100,000+ potential customers.  

Each of these venues appreciate the art of handmade.  In fact, they focus on handmade.  And you know what, these are busy markets.  People are interested in buying quality, specialized ART.  And venues like this make shopping even more convenient than those crowded, generic stores.

Arizona druzy, 2013
Along with deciding where to sell this holiday season, I also thought about my prices.  Always a difficult decision, no matter what season.  Do I price things so that I pay myself a "living wage" for the work I do?  Or, do I keep my prices reasonable, so that people like me can afford a bit of beauty and specialness?  The end result is always the same = lower prices.  But, NOT give away prices.

In the past, I've followed the Black Friday dictate that says % off is essential for sales.  No more.  

My prices are already low.  I offer 10% off ( and sometimes more) on any future purchases to regular customers.  But, following the deep discount trend just doesn't work when you're making one of a kind items.  It seems to take away from the over-all value. 

Citrine cluster and lampwork, 2012.
I think the message of handmade, (one of them, anyway) is to re-introduce people to quality.  To the value of uniqueness, of specialness.  In a world where it's all too easy to feel anonymous, a handmade gift says "I see YOU.  I value who YOU are.  YOU are worth my time and energy, to find a gift that honors YOU."

This holiday season, I'm proud to sell handmade.  I'm also committed to buying handmade.  'Cause the people I give gifts to deserve no less.  And neither does my artisan community.

1 comment:

  1. I browsed your etsy shop in the not too distant past and was really glad to see your prices were reasonable. Very reasonable. It seemed totally fitting with what I know of your personality. I'm always torn between recognizing artists deserve to be paid decently, and promoting art for everyone. Value is so much more that than simple money and I actually hate that money comes into the art world at all. Yet we all have to buy food (and beads). I hope you sell out this season. Your work certainly has much greater value than the simple coins it is exchanged for :-)