This pretty well sums up the first phase of our artistic careers.

We are so happy that someone actually loves our work that we gladly hand it over. We sign things. We believe promises. We take orders for things we have never made before. As Sally Fields so famously said at the Oscars …”You like me! You really, really like me!!”

This innocence has dangers.

People will want your work but are not particularly interested in your success. 

These are not necessarily bad people, they might simply not have a good head for business or not understand your needs. 

Sometimes, you don’t understand your limitations as well.

It’s your work, your name, your reputation, your time, your money … losing these things is your problem.

So here is your best defense … 

TCYB … Take care of your business.

You have duties to your clients when you sell. You agree to produce a piece of good quality, deliver it on time and price it fairly. 

Your customer has one duty … to PAY you for it. On time.

Sounds simple until you get some curve balls.

Someone asks for a special order

If it is for something you DO NOT REGULARLY MAKE, say No with a smile and, if you can, recommend someone else who does that kind of work.

If it is for something you regularly make, but in a different size or color … make sure you get everything in writing and a 50% non refundable deposit on the item. The deposit simply makes sure they are serious so you are not stuck with an un-sellable piece later. 

The shape might be an easy fix but the color ? … make sure they know exactly what the color range of the glaze is and are willing to accept the fact it might not look exactly like some other piece.

A Craft Show looks very exciting ...

Do your homework … find out what proportion is hand made and what is buy/sell imports. Visit the show a year ahead of time to see how it is run. Check out the hidden costs e.g. union fees, electrical outlet charges etc. Try to find artists who have done it before and ask them about how it is managed.

Someone asks you to contribute to their charity auction.

This usually means no money, no sales and no future business. Sadly these well meaning charity affairs have turned into bargain hunting.

Only give when YOU believe in the cause or when the people asking are good clients.

People sometimes want to borrow a piece … make sure they insure it against loss, theft or damage. 

 © Chris Campbell 2019