Choose Your Customer

Searching for your perfect customer? Change your thinking and your approach, and start earning more.


Bracelet shopping


You have handmade work for sale. Who will buy it? You may be under the impression that you have to find out which customers will be interested, but in fact it’s the other way around.

You choose the customer that you intend to sell to, and you should be aware that you are doing this, because it is a very deliberate act. You will communicate this through your pricing, your presentation, your message and the venues where you sell your work.

As an example, consider a necklace that you have for sale. If you place it on a piece of printed cardboard with a hole punched in it to go on a pegboard display, what does this say about it? If that same necklace is displayed in a beautifully made box, how does that affect the perception of its price? If you sell at a street fair, how much would that necklace sell for? And how much would it sell for in a prestigious gallery?

Price is relative, and customers come in many varieties with different amounts of purchasing power. It’s your job to produce not only well-made products, but to use pricing, presentation and a well-crafted marketing message to create a “perceived value” for the customer – the customer that you choose.

You must know your own costs and the formula to use when setting wholesale and retail prices for your collection so that each piece is profitable for you to make. Sometimes artists believe that if they use this formula, then they should sell each piece for only the minimum required mark up.

But that’s not really the case. Your work is worth what you say it is, as long as people are buying it. Want to sell your handmade items for a higher price? Perhaps you are currently selling at the wrong shows or events. You might need a more professional presentation on your website, in your booth display or in your marketing materials. And you may need to use strategies to add value to your work.

The message you convey through your marketing should reach out to the customers you choose to approach. Purchasing art or craft is very much an emotional experience. Speak to the customer and focus on the benefits to them because after all, what do they care about the most? Themselves.

Take a good look at your own creative business. Are you thinking small, trying to price low enough to beat the competition? Or are you choosing your customer, building value and reaching out to them where they shop and speaking the language they understand?


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