An Alternative Marketing Approach: The Importance of Intention in Making Our Craft

11 Oct

Intention & Handmade Products

The secret behind a successful handmade jewelry or crafts item, artwork, or design, is a well-perfected intention, and a great amount of curiosity and love. This, I believe, is the reason why some of my work gets sold, and some items stay unsold no matter how I lower the price or re-package the product.

Intention, I believe, is the secret ingredient behind everything in life. Intention, not the one we convince our selves we have, but the actual innermost motivation that makes us nice to people, sociable, active, or none, is what really matters.

I have had around two years to witness and measure the influence of intention on marketing my handmade products and designs.

I will tell you one thing that is a solid truth, discovered during endless hours spent at craft-shows: People buy the items I most love. The products that I made as “replicas” – of pieces I first made with love, curiosity, a sense of adventure, and an open-mind – barely made it into a customer’s handbag!

All my “firsts” got sold, while many unloved replicas, are still stuck with me here in a box, a drawer or a craft-show display unit.

In the middle of noticing how intention affected the way people and customers were attracted to my products, I started realizing all my favorite pieces are getting sold, and I am getting stuck with the “replicas,” the soulless ones, the pieces I made while I was imitating the “mother” piece, the first-born baby, the handmade item I made with great love, and care.

Those first pieces were full of soul because I was shaping them for the very first time, entering the realm of “creativity,” and taking great care in choosing the beads, the colours, the form.

The replicas, however, are pieces that I made with no sense of adventure, with a little bit of boredom looming over my head,  an obvious lack of enthusiasm, and most importantly, were made in a factory-like mode!

What did I do when I realized my favorite pieces are almost gone? I started hiding them; grounding them and not taking them to the first day of the craft show I was participating in. My sales would suffer… so next day I bring some of my favorite pieces and mix them up with other pieces, and lo and behold, they get sold almost instantly!

There is a particular ring I loved so much, but I didn’t think it suited the market I was selling it to. Guess what? It’s gone, although it’s quite eclectic, and the people over here love a uniform, mainstream kind of style. But it got sold, and people started asking for similar eclectic rings; people who didn’t look like they would ever sport a ring that looked absolutely out-of-the norm. And I sold in huge numbers, because each ring was made with a great sense of curiosity, each one was an experiment on its own, no replicas, no boredom, but a heightened sense of curiosity, with a big pinch of love. I have sold all the “good” rings. Each one of them.

Did you know that “factories,” especially those producing accessories and apparel, mobilized machinery for only certain parts of the process, while the rest of the work gets done by people? Which means it’s partly handmade, yet, these products do not carry the glory and the vibe of a handmade item made by an individual, creating his/her products in a factory-less setting.

This means, every-time I entered a factory-like mode, the items I made by hand, did lose part of their soul. They were never attractive to buyers, although, they looked exactly the same as the “mother” item I made, and which got instantly sold.

An Alternative Marketing Approach: Sincerity sells!

Intention, is this covert motive that we hide behind our words, artwork, lifestyle, and even the way we dress. Even when we are vocal about what we think, or want other people to believe, is our intention, still this doesn’t mean that our innermost is necessarily on the same page. An example: A man who acts humble, only his intention is not the true nature of humility, but to impress people and attract flattery.

Another example: An artist who paints with the intention of scoring fame, while using his/her God-given talent for this mere purpose, and not for the higher purpose of actually journeying through the endless realms of art and self-discovery… for art that does not involve self-discovery, and a real search for answers, and a mechanism of change, is probably a form of artistic hypocrisy.

I have fallen into the traps of false intention so many a-times. And have grown to actually hate the very product of my hand that I created with a false intention.

This, people, feel

Customers’ eyes immediately wander towards the “good” items, the loved items… while no matter how hard I try to sell them a truly gorgeous earring, they will not buy the one I’m holding, they will buy the “original” piece or design I created first.

The most important and challenging lesson that I learned ever since I started my crafting journey is how to “perfect” my intention, before actually perfecting the handmade item I was working on.

I started asking myself questions like:

“Why am I working on this?”

“Am I waiting for applause from an audience, or am I working on this out of pure love?”

“Am I motivated? Do I feel like doing this, or am I just ‘finishing’ work like a factory?”

I realized, over the course of time, that handmade work, a painting or a design, are “deeds.” There are “good” deeds, and there are “bad” deeds.

Good deeds come from a place of love.

Bad deeds come from a place polluted with insincerity. When I switch to a factory mode and create pieces just to “finish” the work, I am being insincere. Whereas when I am putting all my attention, enthusiasm, and commitment into my work, I am positively being sincere.

And sincerity sells, exactly because we didn’t have the intention of selling when we made the ring, the painting, the design, or the article.

When we don’t have the intention to impress, to sell, to convince, and concentrate only on the process of creativity, we bring to life a product that stands out, attracts, and can sometimes become legendary.

I have seen many artists who worked so hard at getting famous, wearing certain clothes to accentuate the fact they were artists, wrapping themselves in suffering to deserve the title, artist, yet they never make it past the limited circle of like-minded artists and sufferers. Why? It’s insincerity.

On the other hand, you see artists who become eternal legends. Why? They were busy making art, they had no time cultivating fame. And for that very reason, their work became immortalized.

To work within sincerity, every day, on every item, one needs to cultivate an inner observer that knows when things are getting spoiled by other intentions and thoughts.

I pray that I would reach a level of sincerity in every item I create, and that my deeds, whether as handmade products, paintings or designs, will be “good” deeds, fueled with love, sincerity and commitment.

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5 Responses to “An Alternative Marketing Approach: The Importance of Intention in Making Our Craft”

  1. Aisha December 12, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    This article is right on time!

  2. Megan Joel Peterson (@OpalescentOkapi) November 25, 2012 at 3:39 am #

    Thank you so much for this post! I found you through the Slow Marketing movement on Facebook, and I’m so glad I did. I love what you have to say here. It’s so important to keep our focus on crafting and creating the things we love, rather than solely on the things that will sell. Ultimately, we’ll end up so much happier, and with work we can truly be proud to call our own. Thank you.

    • Karboojeh Handmade November 25, 2012 at 6:42 am #

      Thank you Megan for your nice comment :) And thanks for letting me know about the Slow Marketing movement… I didn’t know of this term before, and I am thrilled they quoted my post on Facebook. I also saw you tweeted about it – so, thanks :)
      After writing this post I went deep into a silent “corrective” period, where I’m trying to stop myself from creating insincere handmade work. This is a tough, everyday, choice to make – every-time I hold my pliers, or paint brush – but I hope to reach the stage of only making sincerely, one day at a time.

  3. Elaine Hansen (@HeartWorkGuides) November 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    Love what you are sharing about “Intention” and “sincerity” – where is our energy as we are creating or manufacturing? I also enjoy work and website. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karboojeh Handmade November 25, 2012 at 6:34 am #

      Thank you Elaine for stopping by and reading my article, and for the kind words. This is one of the least read articles on my blog, by the way. I am a bit surprised someone read it!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts & comments ♥

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