Hey there friend! Welcome to Part 3 of my mini-blogging series entitled The Art of Selling Art, in which I attempt to make you feel better about exchanging your handmade creations for cash, (and teach you how to make it happen more often.) In case you need to catch up, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.
Today I’m going to talk about how to assign a value to your art.
But first I’d like to talk about shopping for clothing.
(I’ll connect the dots! I promise.)
Here is the northern hemisphere autumn is sliding into winter. As the temperature decreases we inevitably become more conscious of the function our clothing serves.
We start reaching for blouses with longer sleeves leggings lined with fleece, and overcoats covered i9n faux fur for warmth.
But of course, there are still those of us who remain fashion conscious and still want to make sure that our blouse is a flattering fit, and our fleece-lined leggings will match our booties and earrings.
Still others within the same and separate division want to ensure that the blouse and leggings are comfortable enough to wear for long hours. Some even consider whether or not the items could be realistically slept in.
Can you see how the function of something originally thought to be intended for warmth starts to evolve? It comes from a item created to cover, protect, and heat our largest organ (our skin) to something that expresses our personality, makes us feel comfortable, confident, and individualized.
A shirt isn’t just a shirt. A blouse isn’t just a blouse.
These can be items we wear to identify and define ourselves with. They are more than the sum of their basic functions.
And so is your product. It is not just a necklace, scarf, picture, mug, or whatever its original, utilitarian classification may be.
Function is only a small part of why people buy products, and often times, it isn’t even the most significant or relevant part. While function does count, it isn’t the whole picture.
Yes, it matters if the item is the right size / fit / material. But beyond that? After someone is sold on the basics, then things start getting more abstract. They want to buy something that feels specialized for them.
People will pay extra for something they perceive as unique and personal–something they can view as an extension of themselves.
When someone is looking for a new blouse, to go back to my original example, she may try to find one that not only looks fantastic on her, but that she also knows will match most of what she has in her closet. If she can locate one matching both qualifications, then it’s probably going to be okay if the cost is a little bit more than what she was expecting to pay.
She isn’t just buying a blouse. Now she is buying something that will make her feel more confident to speak up in work meetings, more comfortable running errands, and more attractive while getting herself ready in the mornings. If these are things she values, the perfect find is worth it to her.
When someone buys one of my beaded barrettes, they start off by observing the practical functionality of a quick and easy way to fix their hair.
But then it goes beyond that.
They become attracted to the intricacies of the beadwork, and start to view the piece more as a work of art than a basic clip. They feel the rich colors will compliment their variety of hair tone, and they know that the combination of both together will trigger lots of attention and compliments, making them feel more confident as they go about their day. Because my pieces are so different from any of the usual barrettes anyone can find at a depart store or chain hair salon, they feel they are purchasing something that is a direct expression of their own personality and style. They may even be buying a piece that they know they will wear almost everyday, making nearly any price tag worth it in the long run. The sense of confidence and overall work of beauty that will be shipped to them is worth so much more than the asking price, in their minds anyway, and that’s all that really matters.
I think you get the idea.
Yes, your product probably serves some kind of function, whether its to complete an outfit, decorate a wall space, serve a beverage, or be used to complete a different project. But it is so much more than that.
When communicating the features and benefits of your products, strive to demonstrate its offerings beyond its basic function. Your own confidence in your work and its value will increase as you learn and discover all of the underlying motivations of your customers, and asking for the right price will get easier.
It will always be hard to sell your own creations, but knowing and believing in the real value of what you are offering will make it lesser and lesser of a struggle.
Thanks for joining me for this mini blog series! If you liked what you’ve read, please share it with your other biz friends–because even the most confident-seeming among us can use the occasional boost.