Roadblock #3: Art School Teaches That You Shouldn't React to the Marketplace
does the process of developing your bread and butter line make you feel uncomfortable? You should like this whole segment was written for Nate, and that is because if you are feeling that way, if it is making you feel uncomfortable, that is because you're suffering from Road Block Number three, which is art school, discourages you from reacting. Teoh the marketplace. It's just like, yep, guilty, guilty as charged. I'm so this is really an extension off this idea that the miss it money compromises artistic freedom, right? If I'm doing something for the money, I'm selling out. And that's because most people sort of perceive this right, like what you love and what the market wants, and it's really narrow in the middle. I don't believe that's true. I think it looks closer to this. I think there is a big overlap, or there can be a big overlap between what you love to make and what the market wants. So first of all, we're gonna embrace this idea like there's a lot more room for those two thi...
ngs to work together. The perception of reacting to the marketplace and this is what we started talking about in your hot seat is that you look at what other people are selling and you make work accordingly. Right when I say reacting to the marketplaces, that kind of what most people think this is the wrong way to react to the marketplace. This is why you feel guilty about it, because you're like, Oh, I see so and so over here and they're selling key FOBs and that seems you working for them. So maybe I should sell key FOBs that does not the right way to do it. Instead, reacting to the marketplace means making more of what is selling for you. Onley for you. You don't have to pay attention. Anyone else, you're just thinking about what works for you. But here's the tricky thing about this. Reacting to the marketplace starts with interacting with the marketplace. You can't react until you've got some feedback to go off of. And this is why it's important to get over analysis paralysis, because you're never going to know what the marketplace wants until you put work in the marketplace. And so that's why I really love those forced deadlines, right? Booking the model. I'm setting the launch date because it forces you to get out into the marketplace. And so the question that I always ask is What is the quickest way you could bring your work to market so that you can get feedback? So my younger brother decided he wanted to start this side gig where he finds coffee, mugs it through shops and resells them on the Internet. And you've got this kind of quirky, ecstatic. And so for the last couple of months, every so often he'll call me up with a whole list of questions, right? He's like, Well, I've got this spreadsheet and should I use Shopify or should I use this website or should I use that website? And then he text me one day and he's like, But what about Etc? And should I do that? And so I picked up the phone and I called him, and I was like, You are going about this the wrong way. He's like, No, this matters. No, it doesn't. You have no idea if this idea is even viable because you haven't put it out into the marketplace. So in his case, I was like, You want to sell online with starting Instagram account. Put some stuff up there, start interacting with people. See if people are even interested in this idea to People want to pay $20 for were drifted coffee shop monks, right? Get the product out there as quickly as possible. Doesn't matter which ones that you pick if no one's coming to it, right, So how can you get work into the marketplace now? That said, I do want to talk about this difference between in person and online marketplace entry in terms of getting feedback. So most artists don't have a big enough following to get initial marketplace reactions solely online. It's just really challenging unless you're super committed to, like huge audience growth right at the beginning. But what happens is I think we probably will experience this. You make something and you put it online, and then it's crickets, right? Or you're just not really seeing people's reactions because you can't see through their screen. It's amazing to me what people will say to their friends when the only thing that divides U is a table at a craft show, right? You're like, this is a soundproof air in front of me, like I can hear you whispering with your friend about this thing. Right beyond that, people are so bad at hiding their emotions on their faces, right, Like you would immediately read people. And you're like, I know exactly what you're thinking. You don't get that online. You might. I mean, if you're lucky, you might get a troll. I know that sounds ridiculous if you're lucky, my control. But usually that means you have enough of a following that someone decided that they don't like you. But for the most part, you're not going to get that feedback. So I think it's really important, especially in the beginning, to think about bringing your work to market in person. I started my business doing craft shows. Part of that was because I honestly had no idea how to make money. Otherwise, like I didn't know his 7006. I didn't know about etc. I didn't occur to me. I could make a website cause that was really hard too expensive to dio there there was no instagram. I was like, Oh, people who want to sell handmade jewelry to craft shows. I don't do them anymore, but it was the best thing I could have done to start because it was so much feedback, not just in those things that people were saying when they were thinking I couldn't hear them through the air, but also in just seeing what people were actually buying. So thinking about how you can bring your work to market and get feedback. Is it craft shows? Is that arts festivals? Is that farmers markets? Is the trunk shows? Is it gallery exhibitions? Is it trade shows? Is it shopping parties or something that you invent where you're like, Hey, Susan, can you call three of your friends and we're gonna get together tomorrow night and drink wine? And I'm gonna try to sell your friend stuff. People do it all the time. That has multi level marketing corporations. Why can't you do it with your own product right now? Not all of these are going to work for you, and that's okay. Not everything is gonna work, but really thinking about how you could be creative and getting your work out there so you can start to react to the marketplace. And I really consider this, like so much about data collection as it is about selling truthfully. Selling is actually a data point, right. I sold three pairs of this hearing and zero pairs of this hearing that tells me something. But again, it's also about getting that feedback and getting that interaction. So once you start getting into the market place, you can look at what is selling and why is it an aesthetic isn't the Is it the materials? Is it? The motif is that the color palette is that the price point is that the perceived value there could be all of these factors, so you might have someone buy a piece of furniture and start realizing that, like what they love, you know the whimsical creatures, and it doesn't matter if it's on a big piece of furniture or if it's on a lamp. I don't know why I want you to paint lamps, but apparently we're gonna keep talking about if it's on a lamp or if it's on a print or whatever, it ISS right. So you start to see what it is that people are drawn Teoh. Or maybe it's that they actually, really I love the idea that it's hand painted furniture and maybe they're looking for some slightly different designs as well, so you could learn that as well. So there's a lot of different directions that you could go. It's like in the case of my work. When I first started, I was doing literally just a chain all out of steel. And then I one day decided I was gonna throw in a couple of silver pieces. This sold crazy, better for a much higher price. I can't explain to you exactly why throwing like five pieces of silver, which literally cost me about $2 more into this, let me charge about $100 more for it. But it did so then I was like, Oh, hey, I should put some accents of silver and more things right direct things that I learned from the marketplace at Craft shows that I never learned. One stuff was just sitting in my Etsy shop, the same thing with these. So I started doing these multi stone pieces, and the first thing I noticed was the first piece of that sold out were like the whitest stones. There's there's a lot of variation in the stone that I use, and some of them are really dark. But it was these White Stones that, like everyone, kept snap enough, right? And so when you're thinking about the marketplace, you can think about this idea that everything is an experiment. So I ran the sale and I sold a handful of these and I was like, kind of interesting, right? Because I had this other necklace that I thought would sell really well. It had been the one that I had been like promoting the most. I had gotten that one shot on the model a couple weeks before, and people weren't buying it. I was like, OK, well, they're buying all the White Stones. I wonder if it's because my customer, where is a lot of black? So in the next email that I sent about the sale, I sent out that image. It's old, right? So, looking at what's selling and starting to think about why, right? I mean, my customers wearing a lot of black, let me show it to him on black. Oh, right. I do want this necklace now. That said, you don't have to know all the reasons why something is selling better to use it as a starting point. I had a hunch on that one, so I tested it. But at the end of the day, what matters is that, for some reason, my customers seem to be responding to the whiter stones and the ones that have a lot of dark in them. Okay, cool. When I source stones, I'm gonna buy more white stones. Um, and so there are a couple ways to think about evolving your art and evolving your product line based on these reactions to the marketplace. So one is simply to make more one of a kind of work that it's similar to what? Selling they like the white stone. Let me use the White Stones. But you would also think about expanding your offering with variations on what is selling. So this is an example where you know, I was using a little bit of silver. I was like, OK, well, what happens if I put more silver in? So I did that and then I wanted to do this other line where it was using thicker steel. And even though the first prototype I made for myself was all steel was like OK, I know my audience well enough mystic, A silver Lincoln there. And what's interesting about that is that I went to a trade show and I had some of these pieces and I had a few pieces that were all steel. My buyers were like, What? Can you stick one of your your signature silver links in there? Okay, sure. Like you know, So that is reacting to the marketplace. You're reacting to your customers And what selling for you and the same thing, right? More, more white zones. Keep doing what's working for me. This is about the processor. I love the process of making these of figuring out how these stones go together. And if it means I have to buy stones that are whiter instead of stones that are darker, not a problem. I can handle that cause I still get to do what I love and sell more of that