Updated: Jul 4, 2020
It may sound funny to people that know me, but I am learning about becoming practical. I am not a practical person by nature and this could lead to failure in my creative venture.
Since I began making art with the intention of selling, I had some practicalities in mind. But being impractical my whole life, it was still a blurry area. I ran through trends and some market research along with dozens of podcasts with successful makers. I understood I could make money from my craft so I went for it. And I have made money from my craft. This boosted my confidence. But lingering around my mind like a toxic gas I began creating correlations with other makers and pondering what it truly might take. Only after I opened my shop is when I became more serious about it. I sold 11 slippers in one day and I just couldn't handle it. No problem I said, there is a two week turnaround. I got my workshop in tip top efficiency and continued on gratefully. But the toxic gas still lingered, my impractical mind went on about it's day. I knew that in order to make this work, I was going to have to face some serious challenges and truths.
I also see that times are changing, the way things are being made and the way business are run is changing. This does open up opportunity. This doesn't help me too much at this moment because the cost for making and selling felted slippers is still the same. But with a growing population and interest in sustainability, there may be a place for me out there. No matter what if there is demand, I still need to make slippers fast enough. And there might be ways to do that.
I met a beautiful kind family from China during a felt-making workshop. The whole family loved the final results of their felted slippers. The husband being a business man said they would sell like hot cakes as souveniers in New Zealand. He was easily confident they could be manufactured and almost looked as if he was determined to have it done. China can make anything he said! I was skeptical but believed him. What do I know. He also mentioned other ways they could be made more quickly to meet demand for a moderate cost. I loved his ideas and it boosted my confidence.
So, I looked into my thoughts and feelings again and they became more real. When lingering thoughts become more real, I can recognize them more clearly, leading the way to changing them for my own good. It is now more clear to me what is required to sell my crafts online. Now it's a matter of how. Imagination and creativity is my greatest strength so no doubt will I find a way.
Some ways I worked around this scenario earlier was by creating different products that are quicker to make. I've delved deep in clutches, handbags, earrings and scarves. I love making all of these things and up until this point I had been cycling through them. Once my shop is up and running, I may need to cycle through them again. Either by adding them as extras to my slipper shop, or by creating separate shops for each product type. I also have plans for an extensive collection of short video how to tutorials. This takes things in a whole new direction. I haven't even mentioned crafting kits. Another idea is to delve deeper into slippers and offer an outdoor slipper, ultimately and outdoor shoe, with the intention on creating a Russian style felted shoe as a successful business that has already proven to been done. I love this idea and in the future I can always add bags and scarves to the shop.
That's no solution yet, it is only the beginning. What I've come to learn about being impractical to being practical is removing denial as fast as possible, pin point lingering thoughts, bringing them to surface so I can see them clearly and truthfully. Once I recognize the truth, I can begin creating ways to solve these practical problems. I can become a practical person, less blinded by my imaginative creative mind.
So what's next? My eye opening moment is that I need to work fast. I need to get my products out there as soon as possible. I need to experiment with multiple product types. Cluthes are higher and more consistent in google trends then slippers. I might head to Upwork to hire a market researcher so I can apply correlations once I begin selling products in order to better understand my demand and market. I need to test test test and I need to do it fast. Ultimately, I need to make money to support the venture and keep the ball the rolling.