Saturday, January 28, 2012

Problems and Solutions

I've been itching to try out some of the things I've been learning in my online searches about doing better on Etsy sales.  One thing was to finally get new and better photos.

The problem:  I need a white box.  My daily schedule doesn't give me many day light hours after work or before I pick up my kids from daycare.  Due to this, I tend to have to rely on artificial lights, which don't work well on their own.

The solution:  First, I've found tutorials on how to make ones that would work for artificial lights.  That would help to a degree, especially when used in conjuction with photo editting programs like Picnik.  I was fairly pleased with this free online tool when I played with it tonight.  I also decided that, if nothing else, I can use the smallest room in my apartment, which is fairly empty, has plain white walls, and a window that allows a nice amount of light in.  In a sense, it would be a fairly large white box.  I can add tracing or tissue paper to the window to diffuse the light and prevent too much reflection or glare.  I tried it out today and was happy with the improved results over my usual photos.

 Dark lighting.  Flat imagery.  Moody.  Nice but distracting background.

More interesing angle.  Cleaner background.  More interest.
Better composition (less wasted space).  Still needs work.

My 12 year old niece (who also makes jewelry) was watching me work on the new images on Picnik and helped give opinions as I tinkered around.  It says something that after seeing the "After" image above, she shuddered when I showed her the "Before" image.

Problem:  Because my items are meant to be worn, I really need to have them modelled.

(Possible) Solution:  I've talked to two people about possibly modelling some of my pieces, a friend at work and my younger brother's fiance.  They both seemed fine with the idea.  Not sure how I would pay them.  My friend said she didn't need money or a discount, but couldn't resist when I said I could give her free jewelry.  What can I say?  She likes my stuff!  ;-)

I have a couple other people I can possibly talk to about modelling my items.  I really do like keeping it to people I know, at least for now.

Problem:  Promoting my items and finding more venues.  I'm having a heck of a time finding vending events (like craft fairs and consignment shops).  I also don't have the time to go to "local coffee shops on open mike nights" too often because of my busy schedule. 

(Possible) Solution:  Talk to some of the poeple I know who vend at events; they may be willing to give me ideas on how to find these things.

Problem:  There's the idea of giving some of your items to well known singers and such and also possibly loaning some to local photographers in exchange for them to refer people your way (and free or discounted images of your items being used by models).

(Possible) Solution:  Think about the people I do know and who they might know.  My sister owns Cleopatra's Closet and she's also a well known belly dancer in her area.  She has a lot of belly dancer friends, knows a number of photographers, and has connections throughout the US and abroad.  She may be able to refer me to a few that I can contact.  There's also a few other dancers I know.  I may also have artistic connections in other areas as well.  I need to put out my feelers.

Another possibility is to contact several of the authors/owners of the bigger blogs I visit and ask about doing a giveaway through them.  It's a fast way to get exposure.  Something to consider.

I think my biggest problem is... I don't promote myself enough.  I have quality items and I am proud of what I make.  I need to be more proactive about selling them.

The main thing is this (and this is what I told my husband today):
It's about creating, but what's the point in creating if you can't share it.  How can I share it, though, if I can't fund it.  That's why I need to sell more; so I can afford to get the supplies to create more.

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