When a hobby turns into a business, the people attempting to sell their handmade items take a risk. These brave people allow themselves and their crafts to become vulnerable to the opinions of others. Everyday people take risks when they decide it’s worth sharing their handcrafted goods with others, because they believe in themselves and they have faith others will believe in them as well.
Jennifer Kay Allen, an artist in Western North Carolina, is one example. While always being artistic and creative, she became interested in painting around 2009. At first, painting was an outlet she used to relieve stress and relax at the end of the day. Since then, she has been able to sell many of her paintings through various avenues and has launched www.jennikay.com .
Living in Western NC, much of Jennifer’s inspiration comes from the mountains. She uses bold colors and a variety of brushes and styles to paint trees, mountain scenes, and funky looking animals.
In Jennifer’s pursuit of sharing her artwork with others, she has found one of the most beneficial methods of publicity to be through hanging her paintings at a local restaurant. Brixx in South Asheville has displayed her paintings for several years, and Jennifer has sold over 100 paintings through the restaurant. Several years ago, Jennifer made a humorous, time-lapse video showing her making a painting. One of her friends liked it enough to show the manager of Brixx, who then allowed Jennifer to begin hanging her paintings in the restaurant.
Social media has also been a great marketing tool for Jennifer; it has allowed her to share pictures of her paintings with people across the United States and offer them for sale. One exciting instance of how social media has helped Jennifer to market her artwork was through the use hashtags on Instagram. A celebrity discovered her artwork and purchased a painting.
Upon asking Jennifer what one piece of advice she would give to someone wanting to sell his/her handmade items, she shared…
“For years I had someone close to me tell me how ridiculous it was for me to “waste” time on my artwork and that no one would ever want to buy it. When I finally started doing it regardless of how other people felt and did it just for me, I discovered that others DID like my artwork and WANTED to purchase it! It boosted my self-esteem to know someone liked my work and wanted to hang it in their home. That made me feel good, so I kept painting and I’m still painting! My advice to others out there in the same boat would be to do what you love, and get it out there for people to see. Put it out on social media or blogs and you’ll be surprised at how many people will actually love it.” – Jennifer Kay Allen
For the people who take the chance of sharing their handmade creations with others, they risk criticism, but they also stand to gain a strong sense of community and support from people who love their products.
To see more paintings by Jennifer, visit www.jennikay.com .
Do you know a crafter local to the Carolinas who has taken a chance on offering his/her handmade products for sale? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I might feature the crafter on my blog.