Friday, 27 April 2012

Top Ten Reasons to Buy From Artisans

I have a newfound admiration for David Letterman's writers. I started this top ten list thinking it'd be easy. After all, there are millions of reasons why you should buy from artisans right? Well I'm sure there is, but most of my reasons I had in my head were just repeating what I had already written down. So if you have any other reasons why people should buy form artisans, let me know. I'd love to have other people do my work for me. :)

Without further ado, here's my list of why people should buy from artisans.
  1. Artisans are living the dream. We all want to do what we want and make money doing it, and they've done it.
  2. Each item they sell is unique. There's no machine making each product perfectly identical to the last one or to the next one. There's no factory assembly line.
  3. Artisans create jobs, they don't ship them off to Third World countries. 
  4. And to that point, there's no child labourers getting paid less than minimum wage. If there are, it's the artisans' kids and that's called a learning experience.
  5. The communities built around artisans are amazing. There's rarely any backstabbing or undermining one another. People are encouraging and supportive of one another.
  6. Many artisans are the ultimate in recyclers. They take things that others may discard and turn them into beautiful pieces of art.
  7. Artisans not only make their beautiful crafts, they're often generous enough to share how they did it.
  8. Artisans are hard workers. Many work a regular job and then make and sell their crafts during their non-work time. In my opinion, hard work should be rewarded.
  9. Many artisans are local, which means you can ask questions direct to the manufacturer.
  10. Because they are the manufacturer, owner, sales person and clean up crew, artisans can actually think for themselves. Unlike many people who work retail who aren't allowed to think outside of what they're told, artisans can make custom changes, make suggestions on what works or doesn't and adjust pricing as they see fit. 
Point 11 doesn't apply to everyone, but for me, because I sell under a certain amount every year, I don't charge tax on my product. That's like getting everything on sale!

Friday, 20 April 2012

That's what friends are for

When I quit my job over a year ago, the only thing I missed was my friend with whom I'd go walking at lunchtime with. Since she lives in town, and I live in the 'burbs, that was our time to see each other, during the weekday lunch hours. I got to see her once when I was off, and we have a lovely time. Last year, she finally got her Canadian citizenship and she requested a dozen maple leaf soaps.

For some reason, after she put in her order, we never ended up meeting up. She thought I was mad at her, I thought she was mad at me, and neither of us wanted to broach the subject for the longest time. I finally decided to email her and see what was up. Turned out we weren't mad at each other, just some emails went missing.

So after probably one and a half years, we're finally going to meet up again. She still wants the maple leaf soaps she said, but they'll be given away as Canada Day gifts rather than as a celebration of her making it through her citizenship exam.

The picture has nothing to do with anything, it just appealed to my warped sense of humour.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Where the sales are

It's funny how you never know who you'll meet or what sort of relationships come out of these meetings. I wrote a while back about having frozen shoulder, and I had to go to physio for it. It happened that my husband was outside working and was talking to a lady in our complex. She recommended a physio close to our house and so I started going there for my treatments.

I was talking to the medical assistant at the physio clinic, and somehow we got onto to talking about work. Besides working at the clinic, this young lady is also an events/wedding planner. So I told her about my soaping company and she was very excited. She said that many brides nowadays want something different for their wedding favours. I gave her my card during my last visit there and she said she'd take a look.

I went back today for what turns out to be my last physio appointment and the medical assistant told me she loved my stuff. She's looking at buying a condo and when she acquires it, she wants to buy a whole bunch of my soaps. She said the other gal who works there also wants to order some as well. I'm hoping that it will also translate into future sales with her wedding planning.

So what started out as a bad thing (frozen shoulder) has turned out to be potentially positive.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Fear of success?

Is there such a thing? Or is it more the fear of rejection? I haven't made any pitches of my soaps to any of the big places I want to approach yet because, my excuse is that I don't have the right software to create a pamphlet or sales pitch. This is true, but if I truly wanted to get my soaps out there, I'd get off my figurative duff and get what I need to get the job done, wouldn't I?

I think the truth of the matter is that I'm just lazy. I have a normal job right now and it's easier to go for a steady paycheque than to try and make something work, knowing you have to work hard and do things really well if you want to get paid. Once you get one contract, you have to go hit up the next, and the next. It's always about promoting yourself and making a presence in the world, something I'm not good at.

Anyone have any hints on how to kick oneself in the butt to get moving?