The Aftermarket

9 Nov 2013

So the market has come and gone and  for little jenny wren dolls it was not a success in terms of sales but it was successful in reminding me that for what ever reason my work does not sell well at markets and my time would be better spent elsewhere.

Still I made some things which I rarely make and have added a few little treasures to the shop.
Now that my mind is clear of deadlines I can relax and make the final custom and shop dolls for the year.
This feels like a good place to be. 
While I have been making things for the market I have been thinking about and planning my work over the coming weeks and it will be good to be able to just go to it.

I am liking where my little business is at the moment but I can't help but review 2013 and think about, maybe even plan a little of 2014. 
There were things I wanted to achieve this past year and haven't but also things I hadn't dreamed of that just popped up and took over. 
There has been quite a lot of pattern innovation this year and I have enjoyed that, experimenting with new shapes and construction methods.

I have to tidy away the mess caused by my market madness 
and then I will be able to sit at my worktable and create. 
Such a good feeling

( The three dolls in this post are available in the shop )

2 Responses to “The Aftermarket”

  1. When I hear you mention markets, I always wonder how well you retail there. Certainly in Toowoomba (a rural City 2 hours from Brisbane) the handmade stalls for toys, have mixed success. There is certainly plenty of interest, but people don't buy. I think it has to do with the mentality of looking for bargains at markets. People go with cash and plan to only spend so much. We have bought a handmade humpty-dumpty doll, Raggedy Anne doll and the most recent purchase was a lama stuffed toy, made from real lama skin. Our cat absolutely loves this doll, even though it was bought for our daughter!

    I think it takes enthusiasts of handmade to keep an artisan in business, and they may trickle into a market (like us) but the majority of shoppers are looking for bargains. I understand why you feel your energy is best spent elsewhere. I think you're doing a great job at self marketing by your blog, and I bet you're not even trying to do anything but share your thoughts. But your main market is going to be handmade enthusiasts and those who appreciate how long it takes to make crafts by hand.

    If I could give you some feedback, just simply by my roaming the internet looking for free patterns: I stumble across a lot of new handmade blogs simply by looking for search words of "free patterns dolls", or whatever kind of pattern I'm looking for. Dishcloths is another free pattern I look for. I know you're not into making patterns, but if you want to do something with your time, which I'm sure will generate new interest in sales, work on a Jenny Wren free pattern of something you know is challenging to make for dolls (ie: shoes). Make it a simple pattern (knitting or crochet) so beginners can attempt it, and make it different to what you would normally make and sell for your dolls. Many more people will use the free pattern, rather than buy your dolls at first, but you sew the seed of interest. People start making their own dolls and appreciate how time consuming it is, then when they look at your prices, they can fully appreciate why it's not retailing for something like a Cabbage Patch Kid, which is commercially produced.

    My husband and I like handmade, simply by our Google searches for free patterns. It's what inspired us to go find a handmade retailer at markets. The problem is, we don't frequent enough to keep any artisans in business. But I think direct marketing is probably what you need, and keep it typically Jenny Wren. Don't feel like you have to re-brand yourself or your style of writing. Just find new ways to generate interest. Search engines are like your market stall, and you can put the word out in new and thoughtful ways. :)

    1. Hi Chris, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I really don't have any intention of being a market regular, for all the reasons you have outlined. I guess I do one every once in a while just to satisfy my urge to meet my customers face to face. That is a great idea about the free pattern and something I have been meaning to do as the ones I have done in the past still bring lots of views to my page. One good thing about the market was that I made a couple of new patterns and tried out somethings that I have had on my to do list for a while so there were positives.Oh and Stephen did a whole lot of housework while I was gone so I came home to a sparkling house - wonderful.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.