Monday, May 31, 2010

The Strangers the Better

Y'know...I've been thinking that many of the really exciting things in my life have come from talking to strangers. Some of my favorite people were strangers before they were friends. Um..well...actually, barring family, all of my favorite people were strangers first. Now there's a significant statistic right there!! ;-D

But neat and wonderful things happen to me because I am inordinately friendly... indiscriminate, you might say. Gregarious, obstreperous, and definitively NOT shy. (well, actually I am shy, but anxiety makes me talk more, so who can tell?) When it comes to trying to get inspiration, it helps to be chatty. Other humans are fascinating...and other humans are your audience and your market if you are creating art for any other reason than to satisfy yourself. I love my work...but I can't wear all of it. I've only got two arms, after all, and short ones at that! So it's good to talk to other people both for the sheer joy of knowing them, and for their input on what they find exciting artistically.

On a more practical level, however, there's marketing. Call me silly...but I like money. I like being able to buy new tools and supplies. I like having a little profit in my pocket for that extra latte. And I really like the affirmation that happy customers provide! Now that is a mojo boost right there! Being sociable is a must for marketing. Wear your work. Talk to people. And it doesn't even have to be anything approaching aggressive sales. (I don't know about you, but personally I can't do persuasive sale tactics.)

Case in point. I'm out of town right now visiting my in-laws. My oldest son and I were on our way back to their house and saw a really interesting shop to check out. Turned out to be a funky gallery of recycled home furnishing and cool vintage finds. Plus some of the best smelling handmade soap I've ever come across. I discovered a charismatic metal man who demanded to be mine. He wants to stand on my craft fair tables with cuffs stacked on his arms. REALLY, he does!! So I gently carried him towards the counter. A salesgirl approached and asked me if I was finding everything okay... So I talked to her. It's what I do. I told her how excited I was about the metal man because "I make these cuffs, y'see" (holds out arm) "He'll make a great display!"

She got excited too, and oohed and ahhed over my cuffs. Then she introduced me to the manager who, by the by, does a lot of shopping for her store on "this place called etsy". I chatted to the manager, she was thrilled to meet me, and immediately placed an order for fifteen cuffs. (mojo-meter goes DING DING DING!!) And if I had the sense not to leave home without my inventory, I would have already filled said order. (kicks self in butt, which is a challenging gymnastic feat) I shall ship it, however, when I arrive home.

Moral of the story: Wear your work. Chat with strangers. Don't be shy of saying "Oh well see...I make this stuff...." and carry your cards and maybe even some stock! You never know what amazingly coincidental "why does the good stuff always happen to YOU" kinda things might happen if you just talk to strangers.


  1. I love the fact that out of 'chatting with a stranger' I got to travel on a plane for the first time in my life and come live with you for three months :)

  2. hurray for the mojo meter! and for talking to strangers.