Anyone can tell you that being a crafter, professionally, is no easy task. Sure you can make something, but can you sell it at a profit?! And can you sell enough at enough of a profit to make it your only source of income. For many the answer is no. For others, they do it anyway because it’s what they love to do. For some years now I have made and sold a variety of handmade items, some with greater success than others. I have pushed through every struggle and tried to make the most of every success, believing that someday all that hard work will come together and I will flourish.
I love making things, there’s no doubt about it. I will always make things for myself and loved ones, the creative impulse can’t be quelled. But recently I have had to face some harsh realities and decide whether I want to keep pouring myself into trying to make/keep a business of it. It’s one thing to do it as a hobby, but another thing altogether to try and make a living at it.
Etsy, one of several online market places for vintage and handmade goods, has never stopped being a drain on my time and finances, despite my considerable efforts and high hopes. I haven’t had the greatest luck with consignment stores (stolen goods, discrepancies in inventory, and the time and gas money to check in on them regularly). And lastly, as of the end of November, I will no longer have a rented booth space at a local artist gallery, which has been my sole source of dependable income (they say that what I make does not fit into the vision they have for the marketplace).
It seems, that I must take a step back and re-evaluate what I’m doing. I know that my crafty sensibilities of making something wonderful out of what I have on hand doesn’t lend itself to the highly focused product line that allows others to market themselves effectively. Being a Jill-of-all-trades serves me in my real life because I can fill most of my own needs, but it hurts me in the professional craft world, but I’m not known for any one thing. I enjoy making things out of what others would throw away, but it means that I cannot guarantee repetitive quantities of any particular item, and so I never “make a name for myself.”
So, as of Dec.1 I will no longer have items in any “brick and mortar” locations… at least for a while so I can wrap my head around my next move. And as of Feb 15, when my last Etsy item expires, I will no longer have an official online shop. In the meantime, I’m toying with the notion of offering my current inventory (which will be cluttering up my house soon enough) to family and friends (that includes you, my blog followers) at a deep discount for holiday gift giving. And I will simply write about my creative activities in the interim while I get my head wrapped around all this.
Are any of you struggling with similar thoughts and feelings? If so, please leave comments… There is some healing to be had in not feeling alone in the middle of questioning ourselves! How would you handle the overstock? Love to hear your thoughts!