The Merch table...

The place to chat with your fellow MIMForum members about whatever you want that doesn't relate to instruments, or isn't specific to one instrument family. Pull up a chair, grab a cold one out of the virtual 'fridge, and tell your friends what's on your mind.

Re: The Merch table...

Postby Steve Sawyer » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:39 am

Perry Ormsby wrote:People are willing to practice their woodworking chops to make a better product to sell, and provide them with a living, but throw their hands up in the air when it comes to marketing, because it's 'too hard'. So is honing your hand skills.

Both are highly specialized skills - marketing and woodworking/lutherie. Yes, to be successful commercially a craftsman has to acquire the marketing skills - a perfectly valid point. But some successful marketers could never acquire the knowledge, experience, patience and "touch" to be a craftsman. Would you disparage them for that failure? Then why disparage the craftsman who finds marketing equally as unfamiliar, foreign and challenging?

Offering encouragement, suggestions, tips, ideas, advice - all appropriate. Education in the case of someone mis-reading or mis-understanding their market can also be helpful. Castigating someone for their failure to master an unfamiliar and challenging professional capability is not. If you have been successful at developing a market for your product, you have my sincere admiration; either through natural ability or sheer effort you have accomplished something that can be very difficult. I have known many "artistic" people who have failed to make the transition to making a living from their creative skills. But be always aware that offering insights and guidance based on your own experience - both successes and failures - can be an invaluable contribution, much more so than simply finding fault in the failure.
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Re: The Merch table...

Postby Ryan Mazzocco » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:16 pm

I didn't take Perry's comments to be a castigation at all, rather a challenge to those who who want to be successful but aren't putting in the work on the marketing side. it's true, that some people are better at marketing than others, just as some are better at woodworking than others. Steve, in your example above, the marketer probably is good at marketing because he wanted to get into marketing and worked hard at it. But if he wants to be a luthier but doesn't put in the work, or doesn't do it right he won't become one. That's not disparaging, it's just the facts. If he is never able to acquire the skills needed then he will never become successful. It works the other way around as well, and I think that's Perry's whole point. It's not always a matter of being lazy or unwilling, but sometimes it is. And if that's the case then he has no one to blame but himself. I'm trying, and much of what I've learned is tips I've learned from Perry. He is extremely generous with his time, experience and knowledge. I've received a lot of tough love from this group here at the MIMF and it has always made me a better luthier. Besides, Perry is doing much more than "simply finding fault in the failure." Search Perry's posts and you'll find whole threads where he does nothing but give upbeat, positive advice on how to make it in the business like he has.
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Re: The Merch table...

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:31 pm

I do not take Perry's remarks personally either.
I do work hard at the wood working aspect, and I am willing to work just as hard at the marketing end of things.
My job is partially a sales position, and partially field supervision, so I have some experience. I have been told by my helpers (brother-in-laws) that I have the gift of gab. :-)

I'm just not certain about how to get my product in front of as many people as possible without spending huge money.
As I said earlier, I have now gone to three different guitar shows, and had really good response, which has not translated into a sale.
The fees for the shows is not huge, but there is a cost certainly. 150 dollars for a booth.
I have built nice display stands so the guitars can be displayed in the playing position.
I also have professionally made business cards, and a website. Admittedly, the website needs some attention.

I have though quite a bit about going the consignment direction, but the stores don't seem to want to go that way either.
Insurance seems to be an issue.

It seems that the economy has had quite a negative effect also.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: The Merch table...

Postby Steve Sawyer » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:48 pm

Thanks for straghtening me out re Perry's intentions Gordon/Ryan...

Perry - I'm new around here, and I apologize for being unjustly judgemental of your comments. I was reading them out of their broader context.

I was also probably guilty of unfamiliarity with the circumstances of some of the thread participants, and projected what would be my own way of looking at this issue - do I want to make a significant income from my craft badly enough to accept the business requirements as part of the deal, or do I just want to pursue my craft and keep my day job?

I agree that if I were to decide to "go pro" that I'd better be prepared to go at running the business side (including the marketing) with the same energy and professionalism as I bring to my craftsmanship.

For the record I'm retiring from my "day job" soon, and have no desire to go back to deadlines, deliverables and quirky clients! :)
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Re: The Merch table...

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:19 pm

"If you want to sell enough to make a living, you have to rise to the challenge in all aspects. 'Build it and they will come' doesn't really work."

Very, Very True!
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Re: The Merch table...

Postby David King » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:10 pm

In many ways the marketing has never been easier than now with social media and the rest of the internet. Americans have amazing ingenuity and a great work ethic but we often also come with strict self-censorship and a great reluctance to blow our own horn. Getting around this obstacle might require a good therapist (to which we are even more reluctant to contemplate). We just need learn how to get out of our own way.
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