Wednesday, December 29, 2010
It must've been a couple of years ago when I read the "Quit Your Day Job" article on etsy.com about the artisan FancifulForm. There were a lot of striking parallels between her situation and where I wanted to be business-wise. She was young, about 22 if I recall, she sold polymer clay floral sculptures and jewelry, and the business was supporting her and her schooling.
Being the silly shallow person I was I filled with jealousy, and poured over the article and her store for clues to the magical path of success. I was trying to decipher the qualities that made her products sell themselves at art-appropiate prices, since I find it inethical to outright copy another artist's creations for profit.
Every few weeks I'd hunt down the article and her shop and scour them all over again. I refined a lot about my business because I had that shining example of what it takes to be successful to study. Most of the "Quit Your Day Job" articles don't necessarily apply to my medium because of the differences that come from working with polymer clay.
Then one day, her shining customer service rating took a nose dive, and the 3 most recent pages of feedback were negative, angry comments. "Never delievered", "shipping wrong item", "never responded to convos", etc. It was very shocking.
And not too long after that. The shop and the article disappeared.
They were erased like she never existed. Of course shop owners have the right to end their store at anytime, and maybe she moved on to bigger and brighter things. But a quick search of her company name reveals nothing but a random blogpost from an etsy fan congratulating her and another estian on making it to the front page.
The fact that the article is gone is a little confusing to me. Etsy seems to want to mull over the fact that one of their shining examples metaphorically went down in a ball of flames. I feel like they should follow up and post why it went wrong. Much like their offshoot from the "Quit Your Day Job" articles that focus on artisans still working towards that dream.
I would really like to be able to reference that article now. With my skills finally developing to a level that I'm proud of, I have to spend more time gauging what an appropiate price point is, and the easiest way to determine that is to compare to other items available. (Keep in mind I'm referring to what the market will bear, I have little interest in charging more than the market will bear for my work)
And the untold story of FancifulForm would be an excellent reminder to the rest of us struggling for financial indepedence. It will always take work. Hard work. Long Hours. Relentless application of our best work. What better oppurtunity to be reminded of the very real chance of failure than to examine the causes of a real world case from a seller that seemed so promising and untouchable.
Anyway, I wish I had that article to reference. Even though it displayed the same tried and true advice from all of the other sources on the site. Photography is paramount, have perfect customer service, and a wide variety of pieces. It's still nice to be able to reference how those principals apply to a polymer clay artist like myself trying to make it in this massive marketplace we're a part of.