As Artisans we love to create a unique refinished piece of furniture.
But as artisans we wear many hats!
We are consumers - we find a pieces, paints, supplies, etc to purchase
We are contractors- we make repairs, at times make pieces, sand, etc
We are cleaners- we prep and clean our areas & pieces
We are painters- we paint, wax, seal
We are designers/stagers- we have props for just about everything
We are photographers- we take countless pictures at several angles
We are marketers/advertisers- we describe our work/our items
We are salesmen- we sell to survive
We are movers- we pick up, deliver, package/ship
We are bookkeepers- we keep track of expenses, profits, losses, mileage, taxes, etc
Gosh.... If only we were paid a salary for each title!
As artisans wearing so many hats means we also face many obstacles!
We'll take a look at some obstacles that have been brought up on FPBT FB Page as well as some FPC's Pages & how to face them.
Obstacles that artisans face can be put into 3 categories;
1. Obstacles we have control of.
2. Obstacles we have no control over.
3. Personal Obstacles
*Some have been discussed in our prior posts & will be linked throughout this post.*
1. OBSTACLES WE HAVE CONTROL OF;
- Utilize space
Be organized, Stack items. (Play tetris with your unfinished pieces.)
- Rent a storage area.
First think about costs involved & if it will be worth it.
- Know your space/storage limits.
Have self control, don't over buy!
How to Price The Piece /Getting the Price it's Worth
-Research your market area.
- Join an FPC in your area.
One of FPCs goals is to help with market area pricing.
(If one is not available in your area, inquire at FPBT about starting one.)
* See our related Post, "My Simple Furniture Painting Pricing Guide."
* See our related Post, "Getting a Better Price For Your Painted Furniture"
Choosing the right Color
- Most often a shade of white or a neutral color will be your quickest sale. When people spend money on a piece they plan to keep for a long time, they want it to last longer than a color that's in style right now.
* See our related post, "Why White?" It will help you better understand why customers prefer whites & neutrals.
- Bright, bold & dark colors limit your customer base. You may want to hold off on these colors for custom orders unless you know your market area is seeking them.
Finding a buyer & getting the right person to see my piece
- Describe your item properly
- Stage your item professionaly
- Take multiple, clear pictures.
Where to Post/Advertise (There are several options)
*See our related post, "Why Advertise on Social Media?"
FB; Business Page, Personal Page, Marketplace, BST Sites
IG; Business Page, Personal Page
Your Business Website
I'm sure there's more...
Keeping track of all your posts
Create a spreadsheet with each item, site & date then add dates when you've bumped
Describing the item
Education is key here! We may know our product/item but the majority of our market/customers do not. When we describe the product/item, it helps the customer feel more confident about our profession!
-The picture is the first thing people see & is considered part of the description. Be sure to watermark it!- Use the Name/Style of furniture
- Use Adjectives (Beautiful, Amazing, Unique, Quality, Shabby, Smooth, Detailed, Character, etc.)
- Provide the Measurements
- Provide or describe the Color(s)
- Where would or could this item go or be used in a home. (ex. Buffet/Dresser)- Be professional.
* See our related post, "Tips for an Effective Post."
Getting a good photo/staging
- You need good light
- Different size props
- Think 3 items when staging
- Don't overcrowd or distract from item that is for sale.
* See our related post, "Using A Task List."
- Treat this like a 'job';
You need a schedule keep in mind this isn't 24/7, but remember you have deadlines, and need a 'paycheck'.
Again, think of it as a job! Being organized with tools and supplies is a must! You do not want to waste time searching for something when Time is Money! You can utilize storage bins, shelving units, toolbox, file cabinet, rolling cart, etc. When you have a place for your supplies, you simply put your items back after you're finished using them.
2. OBSTACLES WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER;
- It can cause wood swelling.
- It can extend paint dry time or make it dry to fast.
- If your delivery vehicle doesn't have a cap and it's pouring rain or snowing you may have delays.
- When you try to stage outside & the sun isn't where you need it or it starts to rain or snow.
We need to plan ahead for these situations, remember we're professionals.
We can not change the world or how people are. Some people are mean or just plain rude, and there is nothing we can do about it. However, we can control how we respond & it should always be professional. (I try to pretend I'm responding to my Mom or Grandma, it helps!) Keep in mind that others will see this response, even if via private message. This person may show it to whomever they want, some have shared screenshots on their social media pages.
*See our related post, "Saying No Thanks."
Location; (We may or may not have control over.)
1. Home; We live where we live for several personal & or business reasons. (You may want to offer delivery/shipping.)
2. Store Front; Research locations cost per sf, taxes, traffic, parking, etc. prior to leasing, renting or purchasing.
3. Vendor; Research locations cost per sf, commissions, foot traffic, how they market, how the owners sale performance is compared to others, contracts, etc.
*See our related post, "BOOTH RENTALS / VENDORS / CONSIGNMENT (Part 2; Get Answers!)"
*See our related post, "Selling in Smaller Markets - Think Outside of the Box."
3. PERSONAL OBSTACLES;
-Knowing our value.
-Getting ppl to value the time & creativity put into the work/piece.
-Getting ppl to realize not everyone is trying to unload stuff quick & cheap.
We need to realize that we can not expect others to value our creativity & time if we ourselves do not. We need to build confidence in ourselves, our work & realize this is a profession!
-Letting go of pieces we love.
We as artisans fall in love with our work, however we want/need others to appreciate and love it as well. We also do not have space for all of our finished pieces & need to let go.
A good rule of thumb; if you keep an item, you must sell another item of equal size & value. (My husband and I made this rule before we opened our shop & it has worked well for us.)
-Understanding that not everyone will like/love our work & some people are down right rude.
Everyone has different opinions & styles. Just because we love what we do or the piece we've refinished doesn't mean the next person will. It's ok, there are millions of people who appreciate artisans all over the world. The right person will fall in love with your piece!
To be an artisan we have to overcome several obstacles. Some we have control over, some we don't, and of course we have our own personal obstacles. At the end of the day we have to believe in ourselves & know that we can overcome them as a Professional Artisan!