Why creative people need to rethink sales

Hanging out with the Queen of Hearts… phew I got to keep my head

Yesterday, my best friend and I took our teens to Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC).  It’s a massive event in the heart of Seattle, full of comics, super heroes and movie legends. So, what does it have to do with crochet?

Well, it does and it doesn’t. I was there to have fun with my kids, and help daughter make some connections. She’s an amazing artist and we’ve been looking for inkers for her work, to no avail.

Creative types are creative types and they often share the same weaknesses in their “business” models. Let’s look at these shall we?

  1. They have a thing against “business” even when they are in business selling their creative productions. – Think of how many people accuse the successful creative of being a “sell out.”  Um, no they are not being a sell out, they are actually selling their work and doing things like, oh I don’t know, paying bills and buying food. I like food, don’t you?
  2. When at live events, they set up their booths and then sit there like lumps. Hey I get it, you’re probably an introvert, guess what, me too! If you want to sell your stuff you need to be willing to ENGAGE your audience and buyers. That means you have to at least pretend to like people or at the very least, look up and smile at them…. At fiber shows i see people reading books or crocheting (or doing other crafts) at ECCC the artists were nose down into their sketches… um, we know you can crochet, knit, draw, paint…we want to buy from people who engage us.
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(left) Sara, Minion in Chief and Fearless Daughter… (right) JP Roth, awesome writer and creator of some FREAKING awesome characters in Diablo and World of Warcraft…this chick totally rocks!

Like JP Roth, who is an AWESOME writer! JP was experiencing a “slow” time at the show when daughter and I walked by… I had admired the artwork on her latest offering a graphic novel series (Ancient Dreams)that had just launched and we were about to walk away when she called after us… “You ladies look awesome.” (Why yes we did, Sara was in her rocking tapestry jacket and i was in my Fearless Leader vest…cause why? Cause I can.)   What did JP do right? SHE ENGAGED US!  In fact after lapping around all the booths, we came back, she remembered us and we purchased her books. (Daughter HAD to have them…and frankly I enjoyed the read!)  Though her booth set up was simple, JP knew the real trick to marketing her work… Be yourself, You are part of the Booth, and ENGAGE!  JP Roth’s Site

3.  Display, how otherwise creative people can suck at booth display I will never know. Either people crowd their booths with too much stuff, lay everything down flat so there is nothing to catch the eye or they have a sparse offering…(and sit like lumps)…  These folks had it going on!  Check out The Oatmeal and Woolbuddy.com (these guys did the show right!)

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The Oatmeal had it going on! Great displays, engagement and product signing. Yes, I purchased Mathew Innman’s products, why? Because his cartoons make me laugh. That simple.


 If you are going to do live shows, regardless of how big or small remember – Be attractive, Be Engaging and HAVE FUN!

Rethink your sales strategy…lighten up! You aren’t selling out or buying in to any system, you’re buying food that you like to eat. Damn it that’s important!

Keep checking in for more helpful hints and tips for crochet sellers or service providers through the month of March.

When we all do better, we all do better!

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Jackie Huang had needle felting action going on in his booth selling fuzzy critters. He had a great display and was actively engaging customers WHILE working on his stuff…now that’s how you do it baby.

About Laurie A. Wheeler

Laurie A. Wheeler is a blogger, crochet addict, yarn designer and champion for independant artisans and crafters. She is also known as Fearless Leader of the Crochet Liberation Front.