Saturday, March 15, 2014

How to Play up your Differences

If you are an Etsy seller (or any small business owner for that matter) I highly recommend that you read the Etsy blog, and especially the Seller Handbook.  Sometimes I have an idea for a blog post and then I am reading the Etsy blog and I see they already have a post about the same topic, and it's written better than mine.  Sometimes this is discouraging.  Other times I do find something amongst their posts that is new to me.  Yesterday I was reading this post Sellers: What's Your Point of Difference?.  The second topic in the post is titled "How to Discover Your Difference".  I decided to try her exercise.  Here is what I learned:

1.  I found a lot more ways I am different from other soft sculpture doll artists than how we are the same.

2.  It would take a lot more research to really discover our differences and similarities, because just looking at someone's photos doesn't give you the whole picture.  For example, how is their customer service compared to mine?  What is the quality of their work in person?

3.  I was distracted by all the amazing dolls out there I had never seen before.  Ha!

I absolutely adore these sleeping newborn babies from Fretta's Lovable Dolls.

Because I was so distracted by the dolls I decided that I would like to add a little more "fun" to my blog.  I've been writing a lot about business and I would like to start including more features; features of other artists, and lots of pretty pictures.  So I will be contacting a few artists I like, but if you are interested in sharing your work on my blog please send me a message or comment below.  Also a note: while I'm interested in all kinds of art I will probably only be featuring soft sculpture doll/plush/bear type artists on my blog to keep it cohesive.

I love love love the drawn faces on the babies in the EFamilyCreations shop.  This little guy is very dark but is my favorite.

What did I learn from this exercise?

One thing I noticed is that many soft sculptured dolls sold on Etsy are made from another artist's patterns, for example Dinky Baby or Waldorf dolls.  There seem to be very few soft sculpture baby doll artists creating their own patterns and unique look.

You can find many people making and selling Dinky Babies, but here is the official Dinky Baby shop on Etsy.  I love their big cheeks.

Another thing I noticed is a problem with cohesion.  A few of the artists I looked at sell many doll styles or different products other than dolls in their shop.  I personally think this is a negative if you are trying to build a recognizable brand (and maybe they aren't trying to do that so I'm not knocking anyone).

Lastly I noticed that overall my photos are better.  I am not a perfect photographer let me tell you.  I hate the photography part, especially when I take the photos, upload them, see they are wrong and have to start all over.  I get very irritable.  Since moving to Mexico I have been struggling with this because I used to have a photography setup complete with a light box and several lamps.  I have not purchased or created a light box yet here and I only have two small lamps.  I need to work on this, but for now I think my photos are ok, some of them just need to be brighter and without so many shadows.

The idea of this exercise is to find your differences and play them up.  I guess for me that means I need to continue working on building my brand.  I need to focus on my dolls being unique and original patterns and I need to continue to improve my photography.  Of course I already knew all this so really all I got out of this was some new doll favorites ha ha.  However, all of these exercises are worthwhile because even if you don't learn anything new, it can help you refocus or solidify notions about your business that you already had.

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