Sunday, April 20, 2014
Yesterday I was at Stroud Farmers' Market. I don't have a regular spot there so I'm often next to people I don't know and yesterday I found myself next to the mushroom stall for the first time. As is usual between stallholders, the mushroom seller and I struck up conversation from time to time. Topics, as usual, included the weather (an unseasonal biting wind on this occasion), whether there were many people about (there were) and how we were doing for sales.
At one point my neighbour said "Gosh, you had to work hard for that, didn't you?" Someone had been talking about a fish design plate of mine that had got broken. I didn't have fish plates there with me but he took a card in case he wanted to come to the studio to see any fish plates I have here. So no sale, but general market-type conversation, as far as I was concerned.
My neighbour, though, was struck that I "had to" talk for ages and still get no sale. My day at any event is full of conversation like this so it hadn't seemed out of the ordinary. I just hadn't thought that for her, people come up to the stall to buy mushrooms, they nearly always end up buying some and then after some pleasantries they go away again. By the end of the market the mushroom stall is nearly always sold out. That's an unimaginable situation for me, even when I have a half-price sale.
So as a craftsperson, I do have to work at selling. Working at it means engaging with potential customers all the time, encouraging, helping, guiding and yes, mostly, watching them walk away empty handed. But the work is enjoyable. I'm proud of what I make and how I display it and I'm happy to talk to people about it, or anything else. And some of them come back and buy something.
Maybe you are one of my customers? I don't keep this blog going as frequently as I used to but still enjoy feedback and comments on the blog are always welcome.