I had a big day yesterday exploring selling greeting cards in shops. I walked along the street looking for gift shops with a theme or style sympathetic to my cards. Now that I have had some success I am feeling more confident about deciding who to approach and what to say.
Its an interesting process which begins with introducing myself and explaining that I am looking for outlets for my handmade photographic cards. If they are open to taking a look, I get out the sample cards. What happens next is, either their eyes light up, or they don’t. For some people the Paris theme resonates, and immediately takes them into memories of their last trip. Often these people are in shops that are complementary to the Paris theme or handmade style. For others, Paris is an old story, and lacks edge and relevance to an Australian context. And thats all fine. I am very fortunate that I had enough positive experiences very early in the process to know that I just need to locate the people who are going to love the cards.
Another eye opener has been the reaction to the random selection of one-off cards I have been taking along from earlier card-making activities. Many of these are of Australian landscapes, plants and birds. Some of the images that I liked, but felt were weaker photographically, have been singled out for attention. I find that prints of birds and flowers where the colour is very saturated, even to the point of losing some detail, are quite effective as cards. This makes me more willing to go with what I instinctively like and less concerned about theoretical notions of photographic perfection.
I have also been learning from selling things on online. I have some crockery for sale at the moment that is getting a lot of hits, and had a couple of enquiries, but no sale. This suggests that it “clicks” with a lot of people, but the price is too high. I think I am asking too much because this was something that I had specifically decided to collect for myself. It was going to be my special thing and I thought it was very pretty. Now I realise that cups, saucers and plates are not going to be my thing after all, but because of the sentimental value, its hard to let go for a low price.
Understanding “click” is a critical life skill, which I wish I had developed much earlier. Whether is a career, a friend, a house or a piece of crockery, we are all looking for that “click”, the thing that fits and feels right. In the past I wasted a lot of time trying to make things fit, or force situations to work, that just didn’t. I wasted a lot of energy lamenting not being liked, or not liking things in my life. Now I try not to waste a lot of effort on things that don’t feel right, and instead put my energies into finding the click, because thats where the energy is that will carry me forward.
And then there’s the matter of price. All that glitters is not gold. Even if something is attractive and appealing, and has that initial “click” factor, its not always the best thing to bring into your life just now. Everything has a price, whether in time, money or emotional investment, and that needs consideration too. Sometimes its necessary to say no to an appealing offer because its not contributing to your bigger picture; even it means the sweet taste of disappointment.
These forays into selling material items are also helping me with my professional organising business. Its very important when working with people in their own homes or offices to have that feeling that you can work well together. I can tell when people ring to make enquires, that they are also concerned about “click” and price. They are asking whether I am someone they can work with, and what the cost will be. Keeping that in mind helps me understand how to help us both work through those questions. Its important to show enough of yourself to allow people to experience that connection, if its going to happen, but at the same time, giving them the space to more towards, or move away. I feel comfortable knowing that everyone has their own way of working out what is right for them, and if things don’t work out, thats OK.