Sunday, September 25, 2011

Earning a Living with What you Love


A dilemma you will face as you start to sell your designs is pleasing yourself vs. pleasing your customers.  When you began you delved into your work.  Maybe you didn't consider the economics of your production process. You paid too much for fabric because you "just loved it" or spent hours intuitively sewing stuff together, creating and enjoying yourself.  Maybe sometimes you even flubbed up bigtime, a yard or two of fabric wasted. With a sigh you chalked it up to experience and moved on. You didn't have to answer to anyone. Then maybe you decided to open a little online Etsy shop -- "Just to see what happens."  You got a sale or two -- your confidence surged and why not?  Someone thought your design was nice and was willing to pay for it!  Some of us stop here.  We sell something occasionally to supplement our incomes.  But even at this level the dilemma starts. You still don't have to answer to anyone but yourself, you still only design when inspired. But as you turn what you love into a business you must start to consider your target market, what will sell, your marketing approach, analyze the response to your ads , customer service, customer complaints, etc... While the internet has certainly leveled the playing field in most industries earning a living with your art is hard work. At the point where a designer begins to consider the financial feasibility of his work artistic compromise is necessary and will be from now on until you reach the ranks of Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen or Gianni Versace.
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