April 5, 2009

A New Goal - 100 Items!

I've been in a nice creative mode lately. Between making a whole whack of new headbands and pouches, and fine-tuning the other new ideas I have for the upcoming months, I've really been excited about my work! I've been listing regularly, participating in forum discussions on Etsy and reading lots of blogs. It's been great getting reacquainted with all the awesome people on Etsy and my enthusiasm for my shop has been renewed - it feels really good!

Still, I've noticed myself stalking my own shop, checking and rechecking for sales and other activity. You Etsy sellers know the what I mean - you log on, check out the shop, answer convos, maybe head to the forums, make a few posts. And hey, while you're still on you might as well check the shop again. Maybe read a couple of blogs, check out Ravelry or Flickr or the like. And you never know, maybe something's happened in the shop by now, better check again... and so on until you start to feel disappointed and discouraged that nothing has sold and you want to scream at yourself to step away from the computer! And of course meanwhile all that time could have been spent actually making something! It's okay, you don't have to admit it (but I might feel less crazy if you did!) I know I can't be the only one!

will KNIT for food american apparel tank top
by moresassvintage (I LOVE this shirt!)

I've decided it's time for me to try a new tactic. I want to enjoy the creative process and the feeling of productivity and stop at that. I don't want to worry about whether or not things are going to sell when I'm making them because it inevitably takes much of the fun and freedom out of the process. So, I've got myself a new goal. Instead of watching my sales so closely I'm going to focus on filling up my shop. I'm aiming for 100 items and I'm really looking forward to working toward that goal. I've got some great ideas for Spring and Summer and I want to approach them whole-heartedly. And hey, if sales are slow, it'll actually be helping me to reach 100 items. Well, I wouldn't go that far, but at least I'll have something else to focus on!

In a similar vein, I'm reading a GREAT book right now called "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez. It's all about changing your relationship with money and work, and (among other things) recognizing the value of the unpaid work that you do in your life. The book is basically set up like a course, and I'm just reading it through once to get a broad view before I start in on the program. I plan to start a new series on my blog to share any insights I gain in the process of working through the book in earnest. For now, in order to help escape the craft=sales trap, I'm making a point of noticing all the things I get from selling on Etsy that have nothing to do with money. Like the chance to get to know so many great people and talented artists, and the encouragement and kindness of other sellers, or being a part of a movement that is questioning the mentality of our society and working to re-educate people on the value of handmade art. These are just a few of the many benefits of Etsy, the ones that are available whether sales are up or down.

Artwork by (you guessed it) an Ape!

I'll leave you with an excerpt from the book, about a study conducted on apes that fits perfectly with what I've been thinking about lately.

"In The Biology of Art, zoologist Desmond Morris tells of an experiment in introducing the "profit motive" to apes. The first step was teaching them to be artists and to produce drawings and paintings that were decidedly lovely. Once their "art" was established he began to "pay" them, rewarding them with peanuts for their work. Under the reward system their artwork quickly deteriorated, and they began turning out hasty scrawls just to get the peanuts. "Commercialism" destroyed the apes as artists and got them scrambling for the peanut instead."

Something to think about... Fellow crafters, feel free to leave your thoughts on this subject in a comment - I'd love to hear them! What do you do to stay motivated when sales are down? What other forms of "payment" do you get for your artwork?

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Waterrose said...

Have you been peeking in at me during the day???? LOL You nailed the etsy syndrome completely. I look forward to visiting and your updates on that book.

woolamina said...

This is such a great post! I'm glad I'm not the only person who experiences the etsy syndrome. It can really suck the joy out of creating. I'm excited for you and wish you luck with your 100 item experiment. =)

Erin Bowe said...

I had to check the url to make sure I wasn't reading my own post! Renewed enthusiasm - check. Still self-stalking - check. Decided to enjoy the process and focus on my goal of 100 items in my shop - check. Reading Your Money or Your Life - check!

I love the excerpt you chose - I thought about that story for a long time. This is actually my second time reading through the book - there are a lot of thought provoking topics in there. I would like to do the program, but have yet to take that first step. It would be interesting to check in with someone else who is doing it!

I recently had an online feature done on me in one of the local papers and was very surprised to read all the nice things the author said about me. Can I buy groceries with her comments? No, but they're so much more valuable than a steady paycheck in ways that can't be measured.


P.S. The headband pictured in this post is actually the one I saw in your shop that brought me to your blog. I just might have to have my husband get that for me for my birthday. :)

Linda said...

What a great post to read. I am focusing on quality rather than sales as well now. I just enjoy the creative stuff too much to let the sales take over now!