When I was younger, I loved to be generous – I was always “that girl” who gave gifts to friends, made soppy handmade cards for my family member’s birthdays and begged spare change from my mom to give to a poor man. When I reached college however, something changed and I became less generous. I still love giving gifts to people but often stop myself from such behaviors to prevent heartache. I realized that some people don’t deserve gifts or affection and that I shouldn’t expect anything from them either. What is the point of this whole long drawn out paragraph you ask? Well, it is that we should learn to be generous – especially with our crafts.
When I jumped at the chance to teach a short jewelry making class at a hobby centre, even the Hobby Centre owners were skeptical of my decision. They couldn’t believe that I agreed – so many of the other successful handmade jewelry sellers refused to share their methods. I didn’t continue to teach at the centre as it was too far for me and some other reasons but it was still a good experience.
Why did I agree?
Mainly because it didn’t cost me anything to be nice. I didn’t have anything new and wonderful to teach that was not already available on the internet. I didn’t have anything better to do on the weekends than indulge in my love for beads. And I don’t know if it was out of naivete or stupidity but I didn’t think that teaching others would make them a threat to me and my business.
I can only teach how to make jewelry but I cannot teach others to make color combinations of beads. My style of jewelry is different – at least that’s what I believe, and just like I cannot copy other jewelry maker’s designs – I don’t think that they can either
After that I became selfish in a way. I tried to be protective of my small business. I didn’t disclose any suppliers, didn’t teach anyone and then I didn’t “grow” as a person or as a business in that period at all.
Being generous always contributes to good karma
I have often stopped myself from liking shops on Facebook because of some petty insecurities in my head that they were better than me. I have not appreciated other handmade artists because I felt like it would take away the spotlight from me. But one thing I realized recently is that I cannot do it all by myself. I can make my jewelry and share it on Facebook but I cannot share it to my friends if I didn’t have any I think growing older (ok I’m not that old) has made me more mellow….I have decided to “Like” other businesses on Facebook and share links more freely. I am trying to get back into my “I have nothing to lose and everything to gain” mentality. I am ready to open my mind to sharing and getting along
I recently participated in a Facebook page exchange where I got to share other talented artists and I got shared in return too. I have received so many positive vibes and such encouragement from it – not to mention that I also got many new “Likes” to my page.
Some ideas on how we can help each other:
- Mark other shops as favorites either by liking their page, messaging them or by sharing them on your Facebook page.
- Make collaborative products together that help all who are involved. For example, make jewelry that has beads made by a terracotta artist, or buy Thank You cards from paper crafters to include in your packaging.
- Send out other shop’s business info with our orders as well as our own.
- Buy products made by other crafters and gift to our friends along with the other crafter’s business card/details.
- Feature other handmade artists and interview them on your blog.
So how are you planning to help another seller? Do you think kindness to others is better for your business or not disclosing your methods?
Any ideas on helping each other? Please share in the comments.
P.S: This is my last post for this week. I’ll be back on Monday with the rest of my posts on setting up my online store and other handmade business articles