I’m an Artist, Not a Social Butterfly
by Patricia Lezcano.
I am starting to feel a little better after finding this site and hearing others going through the same things I have.
There is so much to learn when you are trying to sell your own jewelry. I feel I’ve lost my way.
I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to get my pieces sold there’s no time to do what I love, create!
I have an on-line store where I show my jewelry, but haven’t sold one piece yet.
I don’t do well with promoting my store or my work.
I don’t do well selling in person, though people like what I have to show.
I haven’t been able to get people to come to my site very much, even to give an opinion much less buy something.
I spend a considerable amount of time working on my store’s site page because I am not comfortable selling my jewelry in person.
But what I love is designing and creating new pieces.
My thoughts were, “If I make money at it, it’s a passion, if I don’t make money, it’s an obsession!”
So far, it’s an obsession.
I don’t have friends or co workers to turn to for advice.
I don’t have strong computer or web skills.
And unfortunately I am very uncomfortable around people – which is why I tried selling online.
But I can’t seem to get many people to find my site, and I’m not sure what is stopping them from buying.
I realize if I want to sell my work, I have to find a way to get my work in front of buyers.
Not being able to sell it in person, I feel my on-line store would be a better approach.
But my lack of people skills is hindering me again. I don’t blog or Twitter.
Thank you Rena for this site and all those who encourage others.
Patricia’s One of a Kind Designs
Working with your strengths
Don’t despair – there are a lot of artists who feel the same way you do about connecting with people.
If it’s already difficult for you to connect with other people when you’re not trying to sell your jewelry, it’s even more challenging to do it when you are trying to sell your work.
That makes it feel safer for you to spend the majority of your time in your comfort zone of working on your online storefront and making more jewelry – instead of outside of your comfort zone networking, promoting, and pursuing opportunities that will help you sell your work.
First, if you haven’t already read my article on Overcoming Shyness in Selling Your Jewelry, please give it a read-through.
Believe it or not, shyness has always been a big issue for me. It still is.
But I’ve learned to see my shyness as a strength, not as a fault.
So whether your discomfort around people is shyness or something else, I believe you CAN get around it and build a successful jewelry business.
In fact, I think you made an excellent step toward connecting with people by posting your story above.
So what’s your next step?
Well, I think one of the most important things for you to do is to get comfortable with the fact that you’re not a born social butterfly.
People are blessed with different skills and natural tendencies – so while some folks are naturally charismatic and social, others of us have different talents when it comes to people.
So accept the way you are, and find the strengths and aptitudes it gives you.
Here’s my quick story of how I realized this, and how it enabled me to move forward: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Jewelry Artists.
Much research has been done on shyness and the related traits that tend to accompany it (such as empathy, intuition, deep concentration, etc.) – showing that there are a lot of “highly sensitive people” who find social situations uncomfortable or overwhelming.
Do some Google searches for “highly sensitive person” and “highly sensitive people” – you’ll find a lot of info on how to use your shyness / sensitivity as a strength, and as the key to creating your own path to success.
Also, if your chosen way to sell your jewelry is online, then you know you’ll have to focus some effort into online networking, promoting, and getting your work in front of the people who are likely to be interested in it.
But relax – you can find ways to do it that are in tune with your natural strengths and aptitudes.
You don’t necessarily have to use Twitter (as you mentioned above). Many folks gravitate to Twitter because it fits perfectly with their natural strengths and aptitudes.
But others find it too overwhelming, fast-paced, and hard to connect with people in quick 140-character messages.
So if Twitter and FaceBook feel too busy and fast-paced, and aren’t a good fit for you, don’t worry! There are plenty of different networking opportunities online that are suited to other styles of communication.
Many highly sensitive people who find crowds and parties uncomfortable tend to naturally communicate better one-on-one – in a slower, calmer, deeper environment.
So spend some time looking around the Web for forums and social networking communities where your most-likely customers can be found.
Usually you can spend some time safely observing a community before joining or posting anything, giving you the chance to see if you’re comfortable with the people, the culture, and the communication style there.
And remember that if you get started in a social networking site and find that it isn’t a good fit for you – you are free to safely leave it at any time, no questions asked by anyone!
So don’t be afraid to step into the water and experiment.
Of course, on social sites you DON’T advertise your jewelry; you chat about whatever the other members are chatting about, post tips, ask and answer questions, and help others.
Everything you do on social sites contains a link to your profile there – and your profile is where you can discuss and link to your jewelry business.
People like to buy from people they know and like, so getting to know people online this way helps you grow a base of enthusiastic friends and customers.
Look for online communities where you feel safe and comfortable.
For example, what about joining an online social community for shy people? I can’t imagine a safer, more understanding place for someone who’s uncomfortable in social situations.
And your understanding of the folks you’ll meet there could make you a tremendously safe and comfortable person for them to shop from.
Providing online gift shopping (for your jewelry) could be a great way for you to be of service to people in shy online communities, Patricia!
I hope I’ve given you a fresh perspective here.
Once you realize your shyness / sensitivity is a gift, you can start finding ways to build your jewelry business that are in tune with your natural abilities.
Patricia, please keep in touch here, and let us know how you’re progressing!
We care about you and we’re all pulling for you.
by: Patricia Leccano
Dear Rena, I am overwhelmed by your kindness. You’ve taken so much time to answer my problem. Your response to my dilemma was very insightful and helpful. And more than I could have hoped for. You have given me much to consider. Ever since I first found your site and found useful information, I have returned time and again and will continue to do so. Thank you for your help and encouragement. Sincerely, Patricia
I’m shy too
I really don’t talk much because of being shy but I find that if I just smile a lot it helps.
I’m not into the social networking either, I’m trying facebook, trying to link up with jewelry designers but all I attract is my competition, LOL, that didn’t work well.
There has to be hundreds of helpful answers and comments here in this fabulous web site, no matter what you sell on line. This site is like a door way to hope. I do know one thing for sure it takes time to get noticed on line so you can’t get discouraged and you sure don’t want to give up. If I can do it, You Can Do It!
Overstocked with Rocks
by: Patricia Lezcano
Thanks for the encouragement Millie! And I agree, there is a wealth of information to be gleaned here. I am in need not only of the advice, but the wisdom and encouragement of those who found ways to succeed.
I just want to express how grateful I am for your site and these wonderful articles, especially aforementioned one. I am a very shy and non-social type, and this article has given me a bit of hope. It lets me know I am not alone in these emotions and situations. I do have an online business that I just started, and it has been very slow. I have been feeling down about it lately and needed some encouragement, and as usual, I turned to your site, and got exactly what I needed. Again thank you soooo much!
Two words – JOIN ETSY. www.etsy.com. You can open up an Etsy shop for free, and when you do you can read the gazillion tips for attracting buyers. It’s definitely a learning curve and takes some time. I’m not saying that it’s a swift route to success, but you will be with like minded folks. There is a wealth of info there if you just reach out and grab it!
I’m shy too
by: Carol from Austin
Hi there. I’m shy too and I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a social butterfly to sell jewelry. I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum from a social butterfly. I just had to make a few steps away from shyness. If you had told me 20 years ago that I’d be selling jewelry at arts and crafts fairs, I would have said you are nuts.
Join a crafters or beaders group in your community if at all possible. You will see that a lot of people who make things are natural introverts. Hopefully this group will have shows of their own that you can participate in. Go as a shopper if you aren’t ready to go as a vendor. See how the vendors interact with the sellers and pick your style.
Basically shoppers want someone who is friendly and takes time to listen. A lot of those social butterflies tend to force themselves on shoppers at shows and shoppers don’t like it.
I realize I’ve only addressed in-person sales and not web sales. Doing shows is inexpensive advertising. Be sure to have business cards with your web site on them.
I feel like your telling my story!
by: Jamie Santellano
I feel like your telling my same story. I’ve been creating Jewlery now for the last 3 1/2 years or so, and feel stage frieght very often. My place really is in the Studio creating…it’s what I do best.
Selling at venues always brings a level of anxiety for me, and because so I tend not to do them very often.
I, like you would much rather sell strictly on-line from my website, so when I found this site and started reading some of the blogs, I found inspiration in the tips given. Some worked for me and other’s didn’t. I haven’t given up though.
About three, or four weeks ago I was reading through the newsletters and found Rena’s books on Social Networking, and also Easy Ways to Sell Your Jewelry Every Day, and found them to be a huge help.
I am starting to breakdown some barriers, but still have my moments of needing the solitude.
Since you want to persue the online thing I would recommend the Social Networking. Even though social networking requires some of your participation.
What’s really cool is following along with some of the pointers that Rena lists in the book, I realized I had already been doing some of the things listed like social networking, such as having a profile, posting pictures of my work, and posting status updates related to my creations.
In my efforts, I found that someone on my “friends list” was starting a meet-up group, so I attended feeling COMPLETELY uncomfortable about being there, and found out through conversation with the girls that there is a site called “Social Oomph,” which is a great way of updating on twitter, facebook, as well as other sites. What it does is drip-feeds your posts according to the date and time you program.
You can have updates on your profiles such as, twitter and facebook without actually logging on. Directing them to your site is much easier this way. I feel it cuts back on the anxiety.
I hope this helps you out! I know it definitely has helped me. 🙂
Best of luck! And thank you Rena for having such a great site that we can refer to!
Not so bad to be shy
You might like to hear another side of this issue. When I am at a craft fair or other such selling venue, I do not stay long looking if the sales person is trying to sell or engage in small talk, I find it distracting. I much prefer to look in peace and quiet with the sales person available if I have a question. Just a smile and hello and offer to help if needed is the ideal situation for me. Hope this helps. Good luck.
Too shy to sell
by: Divella Delights
I have been an artist for many years, my specialty was Sumi-e painting until my passion for beading won out. I have always preferred to be in my studio and not talking to people. Marketing was always the hardest part, still is. I have found one thing that helps though; maybe you could give it a try. Try and think of your jewelry like someone else made it. What would you say about it if someone dear to you made it? How would you promote it? Practice in front of a mirror talking your jewelry up. Don’t forget to say some wonderful things about the artist!
I felt the need to comment on your response to Patricia. I am not generally a shy person, but do find it difficult to promote myself (as an artist) and my work so feel some of the same feelings as Patricia at times. I just wanted to complement you for providing a response that was very kind, encouraging and well thought out. I agree that there is always a way to use what may be considered a weakness (usually by the person who experiences it) as a strength and your encouragement for Patricia is appreciated by me as well
Kudos to you
ps Patricia, kudos to you as well for reaching out and being so honest about your struggles and frustrations. Each question we ask just brings us all closer to the success we are trying to reach. Thanks
More great ideas!
by: Patricia Lezcano
With each new person who adds something here I am getting more and more great ideas as well as feeling better about not being the only one to have such a hard time selling. Please know how much it means to me that Each and Every one of you took the time to write something here. It is helpful in many ways. Rena, your site continues to inspire! If anyone would like to look at my website and give some advice, I would love it.
it looks like you have spoken for alot of us, because it was like I read my story as well.
I did go onto your site and I absolutely love your jewelry.
You are very talented and I think it’s just a matter of time before you succeed.
Thank you for sharing your story, and thanks to Rena and everybody else for their advise.
PATRICIA IS ON HER WAY
Being shy allows us to develope our sensitivity, intuition and creativity. All things the true artist needs to communicate their art. So you are in a great place already.
I found that a friend who loves your work could possibly be an enthusiastic promoter for word of mouth sales.
Even hiring a compatable sales person works, much like hiring an agent to represent you.
A Gallery or favourite shop could promote you and in this busy world you can communicate by email, snail mail or phone as well as a number of ways to send smart advertising by mail to arouse their interest.
There are some fantastic publications about on
overcoming shyness, self talk and assertive training etc all topics that help you talk to your customers when you are ready. It is so lovely when someone likes your work and asks you to make them something special.
I especially love the quiet creating time but I find I need a balance too, a word in passing can open up some great ideas, as one enhances the other.
Best wishes on your journey.
by: Patricia Lezcano
Before I had posted here I was about to lose all hope for getting anywhere in selling. But thanks to Rena, her wonderful Success Tips and so many who keep coming up with great suggestions I believe there is still hope for me yet! Each time one of you adds to this I get more great advice and feel a real true connection. We understand each others stumbling blocks and dreams. Thank you for taking the time to share, and for looking at my site. I will continue to dream.
Outgoing and ostentatious
by: Brandi Collins
I am a licensed funeral director and Embalmer in the state of California. I am on the board of the Livermore Art Association. I have over 12 years of retail management experience. People who know me would say I am the party let alone the life of it.
I tell you all of this so that you grasp the idea that I know and am trained to help people suffering from emotional crisis,to sell product, I know how to lead, how to encourage and “get the party started.”. But when you get me in my 10 x 10 my demeanor changes entirely (I’m 5’10” and plus sized so initially I felt overwhelming to take in.) Selling my product the last few years had forced me to grow.I have grown from sitting or standing be hind my POS (point of sales) to approaching people and having a grand time.
I have always had the concept when I worked for other business that if you can make them smile or laugh your in.
I have tag lines, because they break the ice with the potential client. When you get that smile your golden, their wall of protection is cracked.
Listen to what they are talking about as the enter, establish if they are with friends family shopping for someone or themselves ( are they trying on or just touching).
One line that I say almost every time when its a 2 or more in a group. “Let me know If I can get you into any trouble” it always gets a smile or out right laugh, and then inevitable back and forth with either the spouse and her hubby/bfriend about not needing help, or she says I can do that on my own, and I respond with something like “well idle hands to the devils work so please don’t hesitate to use me.”
(my business name is Villain Accessories and my tag line is Because being beautiful makes you the bad guy.)
Then I watch as they pick up and look. and this where where customer service kicks in I will say when they hold it up their neck, I say let me show you how it is supposed to look, and I take the necklace from them and hand them the mirror and I put it on them. SERVICE is the only thing that separates you from the guy next door. From there you can tell them about the product, this is hand forged.the stones are. Your informing. so learn your product where it is from gem lore your product is interesting but they don’t know it if you don’t share it with them.
Another one I say when I see they are really looking is “Feel free to touch and fondle” we are so used to not picking up items, growing up don’t touch is imprinted in heads, it requires a bit more straightening through out the day but would you rather straighten and restock or keep a neat booth?
I hope my words have helped you understand that we all suffer from sort sort of shyness. But with some practice and armed with the some information you can change a selling moment to a casual and fun informative opportunity that allows you to make money.
by: Patricia Lezcano
Thank you Brandi for your suggestions and ideas. It always amazes me how kind people will be. The fact that you took the time to share this with me and others says a lot about you. And I am sure there are others like me out there who appreciate your helpful input.
Thank you Patricia!
by: Qyn Glavych
Thank you for being so BRAVE! You put your tender emotions out there in a way that touched me deeply. I just know this is a first step of many for you!
I’ve struggled with shyness my entire life, and didn’t pursue my own dreams because of it. By default, I ended up in jobs that took me away from what I really wanted to do. The up side of that is that I landed in sales jobs, and learned to sell OTHER people’s things. Somehow I found that much easier than selling and promoting my own designs. One thing I’ve learned is that there is nothing WRONG. Many artists gain insights and inspiration from looking inward, and many have challenges going “outward”. It’s normal for artists. I wanted to pass along a book that helped me a lot, if that’s allowed here. It is Julie Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”. It is a beautiful book that helped me work through some of the things that were blocking me, and helped me get focused on making the changes I wanted to make.
I wish you the best of luck!
I used to be like that..SUPER shy. But then I started putting myself out there. You cant let this little thing hinder you
First..you need to get yourself comfortable in social settings. Take a family member or friend with you and go out once a week. Like go to a bar, go play pool, something. You dont have to get crazy, but those sort of places have a lot of people and opportunity to meet new ones.
Also, what helped me was working in retail. It kinda forced me to have to talk to people. Then when you do it long enough you just get used to it and you talk to everyone like you’re working.
and after doing that for awhile if that still doesnt help..maybe you have anxiety. Which a lot of people have and don’t realize it. It was super hard for me to get out of my “shell” and start talking to people. I had it super bad. but practicing does help a lot. People like us just have to work extra hard. But once you got it, you got it!
“Sell” Yourself Then Your Product
Check into buying the book “You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourself” by Harry Beckwith. Selling involves selling You first (gaining trust), then product, then price, believe it or not. As mentioned above in comments, getting an opening line helps open conversation and putting a potential customer at ease. When conversation is open, trust can begin and the book can help you discover what works for you.
by: paula hisel
when i first started selling my jewelry, i had a really hard time interacting with my customers in my booths at fairs and festivals. i was really nervous and felt like i never said the right thing.
so i went to the library and found this book about learning how to flirt like a southern girl. it was all about how to make people feel good about themselves and in doing so, managing to get the things you need.
i manage the reception/front desk at a dr’s office so i started practicing my newfound skills on my patients, and it has been a huge help in developing my skills with my jewelry customers.
it helps to find a nice thing to say to each person i come into contact with, even if its just i like your shirt or that is a good color on you. everyone likes to be complimented, and it helps develop a conversation with them. from there you can find what they like and might be looking for.
it also helps to have something small you can keep in your bag/purse/backpack that you can give to potential customers. i made small lapel pins that i attach to my business cards and hand out to people. it was amazing to see how many people responded to the small gift and purchased all kinds of things as a result.
i also keep business cards on me at all times. when people go out of their way to help me (like when i forget my kroger card and someone loans me theirs in line), i hand them a card and tell them thanks and that if they ever need any jewelry, i would love to say thank you for their good deed with a nice discount (usually 15 or 20%).
i hope these ideas help. just be confident in who you are and what you are doing. your jewelry is beautiful.
The power of shyness
I just want to express my sincere thanks to all who are sharing their shyness experiences and tips here! (Especially to Patricia, who was brave enough to start the conversation.)
This is really an enlightening, empowering discussion.
Thanks also to everyone who kindly said such nice things about my comment for Patricia! :o)
Alternatives to being your own retailer
by: Lisa W.
It’s very tough to get online sales from your site even if you are very computer savvy.
For online sales, I would suggest taking advantage of the many crafters marketplaces available. Etsy, Artfire, 1000 Markets, and other similar sites are likely to have the customers looking for the type of work you have to sell. I sell much more through my Etsy site than my personal one, although I maintain both.
If you really want to do face-to-face shows without having to interact too much with the public, consider whether you have a friend who would like to become your booth sales person. You can sit toward the back, making jewelry, and your sales helper can steer people to you for custom work, which you do in back of the booth, maybe while people watch. or, you can take orders to fill that night and bring the to the 2nd day of the show. This can sometimes create interest in your work, and stir up an ordering frenzy. I used to do that when I had a friend who loved to work at shows, and she was both a buffer for me, and very entertaining to have around.
For support, of course this newsletter is tops, but what about all of the great forums available online? Just google “jewelry making forum”, and you will find all kinds of online communities. Some will suit you more than others, so sign up for several, read, and lurk for a while. You will find answers to many dilemmas, and you’ll find others to commiserate with. Some that come to mind – About.com (http://jewelrymaking.about.com/), Bead and Button (http://cs.beadandbutton.com/bnbcs/), Art Jewelry (http://cs.artjewelrymag.com/artcs/), all have communities with active and fun forums. My personal favorite has been www.jewelryartistsnetwork.com. Most makers there lean toward silver and metal work, and everyone is very talented and supportive.
Finally, consider whether you might work best completely behind the scenes, either as a consigner or wholesaler. In each case, you have to work hard to get accounts, but you only have to work with your shop owners and not directly with the public.
There should be many ways to work with jewelry without involving the public, but you will have to be creative, hardworking, and research your alternatives!
Thank you Lisa
by: Particia Lezcano
Thank you Lisa W for your input. Though all the other thoughtful responses were kind and well meaning, I did not find all of them to help me work within my litmitations. Yours addresses other ways to try, that dont involve changing me. I think this is more of what I was looking for. That doesnt mean everyones answers arent helpful. Because even if I dont use them all, many others who have the same problem will find them useful and I am glad for that. I will keep looking for other ways within my own limitations for trying to sell my jewelry. And I will look into the sites you suggested. Also, for those who suggest sites such as esty etc, these charge a fee and seem to force the seller to sell low to encourage buyers. I make each design only once and have my prices as low as I can, so there isnt room for addtional charges on top of paypal etc. This obviously works for many, but not for me. As ever, I am open to all ideas, who knows what may be the one that makes a big difference!
Patricia, when I read your comment, my first thought was,”Wow.. that’s me exactly!” It made me feel like there was hope for my online store. If you were sticking to it and trying so hard while dealing with the shyness then maybe I could too.
I too have a hard time dealing with people in any social situation. I even have a hard time talking online or leaving comments. I had to work up the nerve to leave a comment on here!
My online store hasn’t been working… not one sale! So I figured I had better get out there and promote my jewelry. After much emotional effort (not kidding!! upset stomach and shaking hands kind of effort!) I have tried twice to join a craft show and both times did not work out, although not my fault. The first time I was notified two months before the show that after 23 years they had decided to end it… just before what would have been my first show. I finally get the nerve up to sign up for another one and again… notified that they had decided to not hold it this year, try again next year.
I have tried to find other ways to promote my business and was having a hard time finding something that my shyness and nervousness could handle. The comment left by Lisa W was perfect. Ways that I could handle trying and am going to immediately do so.
Thank you so much Lisa for the great information and thank you Patricia for sharing and giving me hope. And thank you too Rena for this wonderful site!
A true feel
I would first of congratulate Rena for offering such a wonderful site for all the beginners at Jewelry making.I am a Management graduate with a heart for Jewelry designing(I know its a wierd combo)I wouldn’t blame only social pressures for my decision to pursue Management but,after 2years in corporate I am kind of desperate to do what I always wanted to do..Jewelry. Although I am creative,love to design I brilliantly fail each time I think of introducing my designs in the market or shudder at the thought rejection.
I do not have extravagant social network who would be open to buy jewelry,so i am trying to find new takers but have found none yet.Its highly demotivating but I do not know where things are going wrong.
NOT a social person
Hey, I’d be absolutely ecstatic if I could partner with someone who had a sparkling, vivacious personality who absolutely adored my work and was wildly enthusiastic about promoting it, and let me hide in my studio and produce the pieces he or she marketed for me.
I am so uncomfortable “selling” myself that I start blanking on names of gemstones and types of metals if the conversation turns at all personal. I can talk ad infinitum with someone interested about the merits of Oregon sunstone (for example), but anything and anybody else, I freeze up after “Hi, how’re you today?”
Also, I have a BIG problem with venue. I’m having a hard time finding my niche. Or any niche, for that matter. I have a HUGE base of admirers. I’d be a multi-millionaire inside a year if I had a dollar for every compliment I’ve gotten. Unfortunately, I live in an area where people are most likely to spend their Friday nights tossing back cheap beers and nachos and playing pool than doing something like putting on vermeil and rubies and spending an evening at the symphony. The only exotic potatoes people know about around here are Idaho blue potatoes. You mention a potato pearl to them, and they start visualizing loaded potato skins! That is a real reaction I got once, seriously.
Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE where I live. I just don’t know how to convince people that they NEED my jewelry art, when most of them haven’t ever even lived outside of the state, and the one big extravagance of their life was to spend a week in Hawaii fifteen years ago for their honeymoon.
Is it just me not being able to relate?
What about teaming up?
Hi there. Love the comments. What about teaming up with other people who produce art and selling each others designs? Also, well placed posters with pictures, flyers, business cards, a blog, website….these are all good, but the best is in person.
I have been scared to sell my work as well lately. I used to be in 13 stores in the Montreal region, then I started to give up. I aim to be in 2-3 stores a month, for a total of 24 to 36 stores by next year. I think that the hardest part is actually making the appointment. Once that part is over, having a neatly organized presentoir is good too. People love jewellery. Who is to say that they won’t love yours?
BTW, thanks so much Rena for your excellent site and tips. It’s great to see!
I can’t express how much I appreciate this exchange here which I’ve just read. So just take my word for it.
Blessings to all of you,
I’m so glad to hear how much this conversation has resonated with you, Chris. I think it has been a blessing for all of us to share our shyness here.