A parable for artists and makers:
Potential customers are walking past the white tent because they see so many other white tents, and they just keep walking. They saw white tents last weekend and will see more next weekend, and for any number of weekends in the future. The white tent is just a commodity, always there, nothing special. If they don't buy now, so what? They feel no urgency to stop and look because so many more opportunities are readily available.
Are you making work worth talking about?
Listen to Seth Godin's presentation "How to get your ideas to spread." It is only 17 minutes long but will give you enormous insights for years to come because "All of this applies regardless of what we do."
Seth Godin says it in this video below.
"Consumers don't care about you at all, they just don't care. Part of the reason is -- they've got way more choices than they used to and way less time. And in a world where we have too many choices and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff."
What if a white tent was a purple cow?
As the video explains, the message is to make your work remarkable and memorable. What if all your merchandise was "purple cow" -- so that consumers would notice it.
"The thing that is going to decide what get's talked about, what gets noticed, what gets purchased, is...
........ is it remarkable?"
"Think about how you can sell to the people who really care about your work because the riskiest thing you can do is be safe."
Is your work remarkable?
Is your display remarkable?
Is your signage remarkable?
Are you remarkable?
"And 'remarkable' is a word that should be highlighted because we think it just means noticeable, but it also means -- worth making a remark about." Will people go home and tell their family and friends, "You should go see what I saw today!" or "You will envy what I bought today!"
Seth Godin says:
1) Design is free when you get to scale.
2) The riskiest thing you can do is be safe.
3) Being very good is one of the worst things you can possibly do. Very good is boring. Very good is average.
"Triple your sales by being remarkable."
Can you reinvent your work? Can your work be remarkable?
More ideas soon.
P.S. If you tell me that craft fairs don't allow purple tents, you've missed the point of this post. On the other hand, given the trends, I'd consider breaking a few craft fair rules.
P.P.S. AT THE REQUEST FROM ASK Harriete readers I finally figured out how to add an email subscription to my blog! Now ASK Harriete can be emailed to your mailbox.
Please try it out and let me know if it works.
Golden Girl from the California Collection was on display at Craft in America Study Center. Yes, these are the people that produced the PBS series about craft.
Redefining the San Andreas Faultline
September 8 - October 27, 2012
Craft in America Study Center
8415 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, California 90048.
Three bracelets (below) from the Golden Girl Fruit Crate symbolize three remarkable women from California.
The Golden Girls of California are Mrs. Fields, inventor of the cookie company franchise which started in Palo Alto, Ca.; Judi Sheppard Missett, inventor of Jazzercise in San Diego, Ca.; and Barbie, the infamous doll and California golden girl invented by Ruth Handler which later became Mattel in Southern California.
The reuse of post-consumer material in this series reflects California as both the ultimate consumer culture and the leader in the recycling movement and green design.
The bracelets symbolize the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of California. California exports ideas as well as products from its fertile valleys.
The fruit crate symbolically represents the historic fertility of California’s valleys bountiful with fruits and vegetables. Orchards once covered Silicon Valley, but it now blooms with inventions and enterprising ventures.
This post was updated on June 21, 2022, to provide current links.